With the LEARNS Act (SB 294) headed back to the Arkansas Senate for final legislative approval next week, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL)—the nation’s most active youth liberty organization—is urging Arkansas lawmakers to focus solely on school choice. As it currently stands, SB 294 is a broad omnibus package that gives too much power to the state’s teacher unions, rather than focusing more specifically on expanding educational freedom in Arkansas.
While the LEARN Act would devote as much as $100 million to universal school choice, the bill would also spend nearly $200 million on union-backed salary increases, in addition to other giveaways unrelated to advancing school choice. As a leading advocate for pro-liberty educational reform across America (see the press release below), YAL now calls on Arkansas legislators to prioritize what’s most important to students.
Below is a statement from YAL Vice President of Policy Ted Patterson:
“SB 294 is more of a teacher’s salary increase bill than a school choice bill. The Arkansas Legislature should not be trying to sneak unrelated entitlement increases into a bill that ought to be about helping students afford better education. Parents in Arkansas deserve to send their kids to better schools, and the universal school choice within this bill is the right way to do that. It simply shouldn’t be mixed in with unrelated expenses, like millions of dollars for maternity leave, changes to transportation, or literacy coaches.”