State of Education in Arkansas

Our founding in 2015 was the direct result of a study that examined Arkansas’s educational system. Through this work, our founders identified opportunities to improve student outcomes. And in their effort to find middle ground and spur innovation and change, they created Forward Arkansas.

After seven years, and in the wake of COVID-19, it’s time we again evaluate where we are as a state to understand the progress we’ve made and to gain clarity on our collective direction moving forward.

To do this, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, we have launched the “State of Education in Arkansas,” a statewide study and engagement process to:

  • Elevate progress we’ve made in communities, schools and as a State.
  • Establish a shared understanding of where we are currently.
  • Layout priorities to accelerate progress in Arkansas education for the future.

With the support of EY-Parthenon, the largest global strategy consulting organization, we will host various opportunities for stakeholders at all levels throughout the state to provide input and feedback.

Stakeholder Engagement Opportunities Include:

  1. 1:1 Conversations with individuals deeply rooted in Arkansas’s education system and policies.
  2. Role-Specific Focus Groups with teachers, principals, district leaders, parents and other members of the education system.
  3. Community Focus Groups with parents, families, and other community members in every part of the state.
  4. Virtual Town Halls open to all.
  5. Survey of thousands of Arkansans.

That’s where you come in. We need your feedback to ensure our information is complete and to develop a solid direction for the future. If you would like to participate in this process, please scroll down to see the engagement opportunities by category. Let your voice be heard by contributing to the State of Education in Arkansas. Additional opportunities to participate (e.g., in-person focus groups) will be added in the coming weeks.


State of Education in Arkansas Survey

Click here to take the survey. The survey is open to all Arkansans.


Virtual Focus Groups

Parents/Students
Wednesday, August 17, 9:00-9:45 AM (Register)

Students must be at least eighteen years old or accompanied by a parent/legal guardian in order to participate. Recent Arkansas K-12 graduates are also welcome to participate.

Classroom Teachers
Monday, August 15, 2:00 - 2:45 PM (Register)

School Leadership
Wednesday, August 17, 11:00 - 11:45 AM (Register)


Virtual Town Halls

Thursday, September 15, 5:00 PM (Register)
Tuesday, October 11, 4:00 PM (Register)

The virtual town halls are open to all Arkansans.

Prior Opportunities

  • July 11-12: Six focus groups conducted at the ADE Summit
  • August 3: Teachers Virtual Focus Group
  • August 4: Parents/Students Virtual Focus Group
  • August 10: Higher Education Virtual Focus Group
  • August 10: Superintendents Virtual Focus Group
  • August 12: Superintendents Virtual Focus Group
  • August 12: Business Leaders Virtual Focus Group
  • August 12: Principals Virtual Focus Group
  • By August 12, completed 1-1 interviews with 45+ key influencers