Crosswalk Series: Opportunities to Advance Education in Arkansas

On behalf of ForwARd Arkansas, the Office of Innovation for Education (OIE) collaborated with ForwARd officers and several state agencies to develop the series: Opportunities to Advance Education in Arkansas. This series of working documents uncover and highlight potential intersections among ForwARd’s recommendations, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and related efforts among Arkansas agencies to transform Arkansas. These intersections are unpacked and situated in Arkansas’ current context to provide a richer understanding of the current work, identify potential next steps, and spotlight the unprecedented opportunities to advance and accelerate Arkansas’ transformation.

The State of Education in Arkansas

The State of Education report provides an overview of public education in Arkansas. The report is the result of an extensive research project, and features data on school performance, student demographics, test scores, graduation rates and more. There are four emerging themes from the report:

  1. Arkansas has been successful in improving access to education and in increasing participation in higher-level educational activities
  2. Arkansas has established policies and standards that should support improved student outcomes
  3. Student outcomes are still far below aspirations across the state; opportunity exists to improve
  4. Despite recent gains, the achievement gap is still significant, and this is reflected in economic, racial and regional disparities