The massive 144-page education bill, which was met with both praise and criticism, officially passed the Senate on Thursday.

Posted BY: | NwoReport

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The highly talked about Arkansas LEARNS Act, also known as Senate Bill 294 (SB294), officially passed in the Senate on Thursday.

The education bill, which has been met with both praise and criticism by many around the state, passed by a margin of 25-7-1, with 2 non-votes.  

Gov. Sanders put out a statement on Thursday, shortly after the bill’s advancement in the Senate, expressing her excitement. 

Arkansas is one step closer to unleashing the boldest, comprehensive, conservative education reform package in the nation with the Arkansas Senate’s passage of my signature Arkansas LEARNS bill today,” Gov. Sanders said in the statement.

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Senate Bill 294’s passing in the Senate comes shortly after the act was subject to hours of debate and testimony from members of the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. 

Senate Bill 294 was sponsored by more than 20 State Senators and over 50 State Representatives.

The legislation spans over 144 pages and provides a framework for Arkansas’ future in education. 

Arkansas Democrats responded to the bill’s advancement, with a number of local politicians sharing their disapproval for SB294, stating that it’s a “rushed” and “flawed” plan.

Not all of us were afforded the same opportunity to go and talk to the people back home [in our districts] that are going to be affected by this. There is bipartisan agreement that [LEARNS] needs amending before it goes down to the House,” said Sen. Greg Leding.

Other Democratic members criticized the bill, sharing that they believe the LEARNS act is bad for Arkansas educators. 

There is no salary schedule. There is no recognition that toiling in the field makes a difference,” Sen. Linda Chesterfield said. “This bill does away with the Teacher Fair Dismissal protection. When we give public dollars to private schools there is a problem. We don’t have the same ability to monitor those schools, and we were not reassured they will be held to the same standard [as public schools].

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