An unlikely find of Republicans
I'm not concerned about the Republicans' decision to launch an impeachment inquiry into possible wrongdoing by President Biden.
They can't possibly find anything because they have previously demonstrated they have no idea what high crimes and misdemeanors are!
Save some of surplus for LEARNS problems
Rather than looking at ways to spend that so-called state surplus, the Arkansas Legislature should fund some of the mandates in the LEARNS Act.
How about those literacy tutors or actual prekindergarten to help kids when and where it counts? If the reading level problem isn't addressed the right way, and it's not to date, schools will need a big increase in third-grade teachers, classrooms, etc. LEARNS mandates third-graders be held back if they do not meet reading level expectations but does little to make sure they get there. State benchmark exams show 23% of third-graders test below grade level. That's a lot of kids to hold back.
The Legislature should plan to save a little for teacher recruiting and incentives since LEARNS threw out most teacher rights and the salary structure that kept good teachers in the classroom and wanting to learn more themselves. First-year teachers are sometimes making more than those with years of experience. Our beloved and experienced teachers are quitting in droves and school officials are scared.
Maybe the Legislature should also save a little money for our actual public schools? They're going to need it as funding is funneled off to churches and pop-up schools that have several years to even become a certified legitimate learning facility, per LEARNS.
The public schools will need more local tax dollars to survive, but asking for future millage hikes may be shouting in the wind. It's hard to argue with those who've always supported school millage increases but will adamantly oppose them with that money being handed off to the local church and all.
(On a side note, just curious what will happen when the first Wicca school asks for state funding.)
Pay attention voters. Who are these characters worshiping at the throne in Little Rock rather than representing our state and protecting our schools? Why is our governor so quick to call those who ask that school reform be done right ugly names rather than listening to what they have to say? This is not about education in Arkansas. It's about ego.
The LEARNS Act was rushed through with little regard for known statistics and evidence of how aspects of it have worked and failed in other states. Parts of it have great ideas, but the rush to put a jewel in the crown of Arkansas' first queen forced this failure.
Our Legislature has a chance to make some of it right. Let's tell them to not blow those precious taxpayer dollars on rewarding the queen's friends with tax cuts. Instead, invest in the future of this state and try to correct at least a few of the mistakes of LEARNS.
Homeless need help having place to stay
It is urgent that we provide housing for homeless people in the area. The Fayetteville City Council passed an ordinance making it illegal for homeless people to camp on either private or public property even at the owner's invitation, and there aren't enough beds in shelters. We need to create a safe, legal temporary place for homeless people, but it's a long-term plan that is crucial.
Surely Fayetteville, a creative and humane city, can find the will and the means to solve this problem.
Mary E. Marchant