University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

If you Choose not to Decide…You Still have Made a Choice

In The View from the OEP on February 14, 2013 at 9:59 am


Like it or loathe it, we hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day. And remember, just like we used to do in grade school, choose the sweetest Valentine card out of the whole pack and give to the one you like best in your class…

Speaking of choice, the Wall Street Journal declared 2011 The Year of School Choice after at least 13 states developed laws that would expand choice for students in each respective states. After reading the education headlines in Arkansas, we’re wondering if 2013 might be The Year of School Choice in Arkansas? Thus far, the headlining bills for the state have been bills that have focused on expanding choice, and our understanding is that there are more to come.

We mentioned last week that two bills had been proposed to amend the Public School Choice Act in Arkansas. Since that time, a third bill has also been proposed. The most recent bill, proposed by Representative Kim Hammer (R-Benton), would allow families to choose between public schools in Arkansas using a similar method outlined in the current school choice law. However, Representative Hammer’s bill is distinct in that rather than using race or segregation issues as a prohibitive factor in exercising choice, his bill would use the district’s poverty rate as the prohibitive factor. In other words, if the transfer will increase the percentage of students enrolled in the receiving district beyond 65%, the student cannot transfer.

Keep up with the developing news here on the OEP Blog, by following us on Twitter…or ‘Like’-ing our Facebook page.

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