The State of Education in Arkansas

The State of Education in Arkansas 2023 Report: Growing Together for a Stronger Future

There is an urgent need and opportunity to address the current challenges facing Arkansas education.

As we emerge from the height of the COVID pandemic, we believe it is both a critical and opportune time to reassess the state of Arkansas education and establish a shared understanding of where we are now - and how we move forward. In the summer of 2022, with the support of many partners, Forward Arkansas launched a statewide study and engagement process to:

  • Assess education progress since 2015, the impacts of the COVID pandemic, and where we are today.
  • Identify the greatest opportunities to accelerate progress for all students in the next five years.
  • Put forth recommendations to support alignment, collaboration, and collective action around a bold vision and towards ambitious goals.

​​​​​Full Report Report Summary

About This Project

From June until December 2022, along with many partners throughout the state, we:

  • Analyzed current education and economic data.
  • Reviewed national research, case studies from other states, and exemplars in Arkansas schools and communities.
  • Engaged over 3,500 Arkansans, including students, parents, educators, state leaders, and business leaders for input and feedback through surveys, focus groups, and community meetings.

Eight Priorities to Dramatically Improve Arkansas Education

These priorities focus on the goal of providing every Arkansas student with the most important skills, dispositions, and experiences to compete for high-demand jobs of today and the future and live healthy, productive lives. While some are new, others have been a focus in Arkansas education since 2015 but have evolved based on the current context and landscape.

The following eight priorities are separated into two distinct but related areas:

  • Student Learning Priorities
  • Essential Conditions for Student Success

How We Collectively Move Forward

Five Guiding Next Steps

  • Set focused, ambitious, and measurable statewide goals.
  • Continue to enhance our data and the systems to capture and share it.
  • Focus on integration at all levels.
  • Use existing resources more effectively and creatively.
  • Facilitate community-led change within state-determined priorities.

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