FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Many Arkansans are still deciding if Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Arkansas LEARNS bill is the best move for their students, children and school districts.
With Sanders’ Arkansas LEARNS bill just a few steps away from becoming law, many Arkansans still have different opinions regarding Arkansas’ education system.
Nic Horton is the CEO of Opportunity Arkansas, an organization that focuses on the future of Arkansas, and Trevor McGarrah is a University of Arkansas graduate that went on to teach in public schools.
“I’m not in favor of the Arkansas LEARNS bill because I think it’s trying to do too much at one time,” McGarrah said.
“I think it’s exciting for me as a parent that I will have more choices for me and my kids in the future and it’s exciting for kids and parents all across Arkansas that need more educational options,” Horton said.
“As an educator, I’m frustrated and hurt that we were not really given a chance to voice our concerns or our opinions,” McGarrah said.
“This idea that people haven’t had a chance to read it or haven’t had a chance to have a say is frankly not true,” Horton said.
McGarrah says Arkansas LEARNS takes away public funding from public schools when they’re already receiving the short end of the stick.
“My concern there is with the siphoning away of public funds from public schools is we already are not able to meet the needs of our students,” McGarrah said.
McGarrah says educators like himself are doing the best they can and that this bill causes even more of a strain on teachers.
“We are not given a voice on what matters when they’re the ones having these policies that they want us to implement and expect us to implement with perfection,” McGarrah said.
However, Horton says having the Freedom Account Act lifts a burden off parents and puts a child’s education back in the hands of the parents.
“I don’t think it’s right that we have a system essentially now where kids’ educational opportunities are basically determined by their zip code. Making sure that parents have a say in those decisions is really important, and that, of course, is a big part of the LEARNS Act,” Horton said.