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Saturday, May 25, 2024

GOP Gov. Sanders Scores Giant Win for School Choice in Ark., Shuns Leftist Grooming Agenda

'We’ve seen how the status quo condemns Arkansans to a lifetime of poverty... '

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a universal school choice bill into law on Wednesday that bans grooming students with radical leftist agendas and hyper-sexualized materials, while giving parents more rights.

The law, known as Senate Bill 294 or the Arkansas LEARNS Act, mandates the start of a school choice program by the 2025-2026 school year, and gives pay raises to public school teachers across the board. Students with disabilities, precarious home situations, failed out of school the previous year or have parents serving in the military are able to receive vouchers for the next school year.

According to the Christian Post, the vouchers, or “Educational Freedom Accounts,” are going to be available to qualifying students as soon as the 2023-2024 school year.

The bill also prohibits topics such as critical race theory, which the bill argues clashes with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”

The newly-signed law also forbids public school teachers from discussing gender ideology and sexual orientation to elementary-aged students.

“A HISTORIC WIN for parents, teachers, and students that will set the education model for the nation, I’m ready to sign it into law tomorrow and end the failed status quo,” Sanders tweeted. “Every kid will soon have access to a quality education and path to a good paying job and better life, right here in Arkansas.”

The bill is not without its critics. President of the Arkansas Education Association, Carol Fleming, argued that there was not enough deliberation around the bill, and too few opportunities for parents and teachers were denied the opportunity to ask questions.

Sanders disagreed and said it was past time for the state to move up from the bottom of the education pile. The bill raises minimum teacher salaries by 39% to $50,000 and provides for every teacher to receive at least a $2,000 raise in the coming school year.

“We’ve seen how the status quo condemns Arkansans to a lifetime of poverty,” Sanders said in a signing ceremony in the state Capitol. “We’re tired of sitting at the bottom of national education rankings.”

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