School Choice Score: 0%
The state permits parents some choice among traditional public schools, where students can attend any public school in the state if there is room. Racial caps on inter-district school choice were finally removed in 2013.
Charter Schools Score: 68%
Arkansas’ charter school law is considered weak because there are no independent authorizers in the state to approve charter schools, there is a cap on the number of schools that can open and inequitable funding makes it hard for charters to thrive. The State Department of Education is the sole authorizer, and the State Board of Education can be called upon to review their decisions. Overall, not the greatest market for charter school growth but there is momentum growing to change that.
Online Learning Score: 0%
Providing online opportunities for students is a streamlined process as the state clearly defines criteria, process and a timeframe for authorizing online provider. The state now requires 50% of teacher evaluations to be based on student learning data. To ensure that students have true access, Arkansas could prevent school districts from restricting a student’s ability to enroll in an online course “substantially similar” to one offered by the district.
- Source: Digital Learning Now!
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
A new evaluation system was implemented, but student learning is not a significant component of the evaluation and evaluations do not have to be annually. In addition, teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations are eligible for dismissal if they do not improve. Teacher compensation is controlled by a state salary schedule, but performance pay is available for working in high-need schools or specific subject areas.