JOIN THE TEAM

Like our healthcare system, changes are needed in the American education system. I believe the lack of equal access to a quality education is the civil rights issue of our day, and we must demand success, accountability, and results in every classroom. Some of these key approaches were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act that was signed into law in 2015.

I also believe that the COVID-19 has exposed our weak distribution of Internet and broadband capabilities for both students and teachers. I continue to support funding and policy changes to enhance Arkansas’s ability to expand access.

I believe strongly that all of our children – those college-bound and those that will begin their career directly after high school – need quality direction and curriculum that helps prepare them for their "pursuit of happiness". That's why I'm so pleased to promote policies that encourage concurrent credit and skilled workforce programs – two strategies that better prepare our young people, increase the affordability of education, and build the talent that we need for our state’s future economy.

Central Arkansas examples of terrific concurrent credit and workforce skills training provided in a great learning environment include schools in Conway, Greenbrier, and North Little Rock. I'm also delighted to see that all of the school districts in Pulaski County have banded together to rollout the Ford Next Generation Learning program. Saline County has a workforce education campus being built that will partner with of all the school districts in the county. These are great local initiatives. I'm pleased that federal education policies facilitate this kind of local leadership and creativity.

Many students and their families find that the traditional public school is not for them and they are attracted to a public charter school or homeschooling. This kind of school choice innovation is well-established in Arkansas and thousands of students, particularly low-income students are benefited by these important choices.

As Vice Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Caucus, I have worked to develop the necessary resources for our HBCU’s use to grow and prosper. We are blessed in central Arkansas to have three HBCUs helping train young people for the jobs of tomorrow, Philander Smith, Arkansas Baptist College and Shorter College. I organized the first HBCU Summit held in central Arkansas on April 13, 2019. Held at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock, more than 75 participants attended the summit including Jonathan Holifield, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Dr. Michael Lomax, President and CEO, United Negro College Fund; Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.; and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. In addition, representatives from Arkansas’s four HBCU’s attended the summit to discuss the long-term sustainability and growth of Arkansas’s HBCUs.