To learn, change
As state leaders and school leaders across Arkansas strive to make improvements to the quality of education we are delivering to our students in PK-12, there is one persistent challenge that we have yet to overcome. In economically disadvantaged districts, often in rural areas with declining populations, school leaders struggle to find teachers to serve in their classrooms.
The search for solutions to the problem of low achievement in schools serving children raised in poverty is not new and is not unique to Arkansas. In the same way, staffing classrooms to which children in poverty report each day is problematic for school districts throughout the country, as in Arkansas.
One piece of good news is that this genuine problem has attracted the attention of all the key players, from politicians to policymakers to philanthropists to institutions of higher education. Groups such as ForwARd Arkansas have been formed to address educational challenges in struggling communities. Foundations are funding numerous strategies.
One collaboration is the newly created Arkansas Academy for Educational Equity at the University of Arkansas. Developed after years of planning by those in the Arkansas Department of Education, the U of A, and multiple community partners, it is our hope that this academy, one day, will serve as a national model for how to increase the pipeline of quality teachers into struggling schools.