What Level of Education Does the IDEA Require?

This is a question that plagues parents and teachers of special education students almost daily. And though the U.S. Supreme Court has remained silent on the issue since 1982, it looks as if it won’t remain silent for much longer. Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in …

What Happens if I Break My Teacher’s Contract?

It’s hard to believe, but another school year starts in Arkansas in less than three weeks. Even at this late date, some school districts are still trying to fill positions that have gone unfilled all summer. It’s this time of year when I get questions from teachers who have already signed a contract with one school …

RIF Policies and the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act

I’ve summarized the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act (TFDA) in a previous post, but since that time, I’ve received several phone calls, emails, and comments from readers who’ve asked how a school district’s Reduction-In-Force (RIF) policy might affect, or be affected by, the TFDA. Rather than reply to each reader separately, I’ve decided to write a …

The Little Rock School District Saga

On January 28, 2015, the Arkansas State Board of Education voted 5-4 to take over the Little Rock School District, at least in part due to the academic distress classification of six (6) of the district’s 48 schools. The State Board disbanded the district’s community-elected school board, and weeks later, the district’s superintendent, Dexter Suggs, …

Goodbye to Arne Duncan

Late last week, Arne Duncan announced that he would resign as Education Secretary in December of this year. Duncan’s reign as Secretary has been anything but quiet, as he’s drawn significant criticism during his tenure for leading an active agenda for the Department of Education. In Duncan’s first year on the job, his department received …

The Future of Student Assessments in Arkansas

It’s no secret that the Common Core State Standards are controversial, both here and throughout the country. I still don’t fully understand why, and I highly suspect much of it is political, but regardless, a controversy exists. In March, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he had appointed individuals to serve on the Governor’s Council on Common …

Legislative Update

Just a few education bills filed recently that have caught my attention: SB176: This bill proposes to modify the qualifications required for the Commissioner of Education. Currently, the Commissioner is required to hold at least a Master’s Degree and have ten years experience as a teacher, with five of those years being in an administrative …

Legislative Update

One full week of the 2015 General Session is behind us, and surprisingly, there haven’t been many education bills filed that have caught my attention. The most notable bill filed, HB1077, would allow public college and university staff members to carry concealed handguns on campus. If you recall, guns on college campuses was a hot …