Following the landmark Lake View court case in Arkansas over a decade ago, the state has made huge strides in equalizing school funding and trying to give all students access to a great public education.
A new report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families documents the state's achievements in recent years and details what the lawmakers can do to continue making progress and close persistent achievement gaps for students from low-income families and students of color.
From the report's foreword:
"As a new generation of policy leaders in all three branches of Arkansas’s government takes center stage in 2015, it’s important to both remind ourselves (and those leaders) of the ability of our state to create fundamental change in educational opportunities, like what happened in the Lake View era, but also that—despite efforts by advocates on the topics noted above—important gaps in educational achievement remain a reality in Arkansas and they threaten to erode the promise of that era."
To close those gaps, the report recommends increasing funding for the Arkansas Better Chance Program (the state's early childhood care and education initiative), more after-school and summer programming, expanded access to school-based health programs, and a commitment to providing students with better access to technology like high-speed internet.