Public education in Arkansas

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K-12 Education in Arkansas
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Tom W. Kimbrell
Number of students: 483,114[1]
Number of teachers: 33,983
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:14.2
Number of school districts: 289
Number of schools: 1,108
Graduation rate: 84%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $9,353[3]
See also
Arkansas Department of EducationArkansas school districtsList of school districts in ArkansasArkansasSchool boards portal
Policypedia
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Arkansas
Glossary of education terms
Note: The statistics on this page are mainly from government sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics. Figures given are the most recent as of June 2014, with school years noted in the text or footnotes.
The Arkansas public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards and superintendents. In 2012 Arkansas had 483,114 students enrolled in a total of 1,108 schools in 289 school districts. There were 33,983 teachers in the public schools, or roughly one teacher for every 14 students, compared to the national average of 1:16. There is roughly one administrator for every 271 students, compared to the national average of one administrator for every 295 students.[4] On average Arkansas spent $9,353.00 per pupil in in 2011, which ranks it 33rd highest in the nation. The state's graduation rate was 84 percent in 2012.[5]

State agencies

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State Education Departments

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See also
Arkansas Commissioner of Education
Arkansas school districts
List of school districts in Arkansas
Public education in Arkansas
School board elections portal
The Arkansas Department of Education is charged with the following responsibilities:[6]
  • "Implementing state and federal education laws"
  • "Disbursing state and federal funds"
  • "Holding schools and districts accountable for performance"
  • "Licensing all educators and providing public transparency"

The mission statement of the Arkansas Department of Education reads:[7]

The Arkansas Department of Education strives to ensure that all children in the state have access to a quality education by providing educators, administrators and staff with leadership, resources and training.[8]

The Commissioner of Education is the chief executive of the Arkansas Department of Education. The Commissioner of Education is appointed by the State Board of Education and approved by the Governor. The current Commissioner of Education is Tom W. Kimbrell.[6]

The State Board of Education is comprised of nine members appointed by the Governor to seven-year terms. Two members come from each of the state's four congressional districts. One member is selected at-large.[7]

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Arkansas State Board of Education adopted the standards on July 12, 2010. Full implementation was set to be achieved in the 2013-2014 academic year.[9][10]

Regional comparison

See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states
See also: Education spending per pupil in all 50 states

The following chart shows how Arkansas compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.

Regional comparison
State Schools Districts Students Teachers Teacher/pupil ratio Administrator/pupil ratio Per pupil spending
Arkansas 1,108 289 483,114 33,983 1:14.2 1:271.3 $9,353
Louisiana 1,437 132 703,390 48,657 1:14.5 1:244.3 $10,723
Mississippi 1,069 163 490,619 32,007 1:15.3 1:251 $7,928
Missouri 2,408 572 916,584 66,252 1:13.8 1:294.1 $9,410
United States 98,328 17,992 49,521,669 3,103,263 1:16 1:295.2 $10,994
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.

National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013

Demographics

See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Arkansas as reported in the Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[11]

Demographic information for Arkansas's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 3,244 0.67% 1.10%
Asian 6,941 1.44% 4.68%
African American 102,438 21.20% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students 2,346 0.49% 0.42%
Hispanic 49,504 10.25% 24.37%
White 310,896 64.35% 51.21%
Two or more 7,745 1.60% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

Enrollments by region type

See also: Student distribution by region type in the U.S.

A plurality of students in Arkansas attend rural schools. More than 64 percent of the state's students attend rural or town schools, compared to approximately 36 percent who attend city or town schools.

Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)[12]
State City schools Suburban schools Town schools Rural Schools
Arkansas 25.8% 9.6% 20.3% 44.3%
Louisiana 20.7% 24.5% 19.6% 35.2%
Mississippi 10% 8.9% 28.9% 52.2%
Missouri 17.4% 29.9% 19.2% 33.5%
U.S. average 28.9% 34% 11.6% 25.4%
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)

Academic performance

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Education policy terms
Academic bankruptcyAcademic EarthAcademic performanceBlaine AmendmentCharter schoolsCommon CoreDropout rateMagnet schoolsNAEPProgressive educationRegulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation RateSchool vouchersTeacher merit pay
See also

NAEP scores

See also: NAEP scores by state

The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri), Arkansas's fourth grade students scored the highest in mathematics (tying with Missouri).[13]

Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013
Math - Grade 4 Math - Grade 8 Reading - Grade 4 Reading - Grade 8
Arkansas 39 28 32 30
Louisiana 26 21 23 24
Mississippi 26 21 21 20
Missouri 39 33 35 36
U.S. average 41 34 34 34
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013

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Graduation, ACT and SAT scores

See also: Graduation rates by groups in state
See also: ACT and SAT scores in the U.S.

The following table shows the graduation rates and average composite ACT and SAT scores for Arkansas and surrounding states.[13][14][15]

Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*
State Graduation rate, 2012 Average ACT Composite, 2012 Average SAT Composite, 2013
Percent Quintile ranking** Score Participation rate Score Participation rate
Arkansas 84% Second 20.3 88% 1,697 4%
Louisiana 72% Fourth 20.3 100% 1,655 5%
Mississippi 75% Fourth 18.7 100% 1,673 3%
Missouri 86% First 21.6 75% 1,773 4%
U.S. average 80% 21.1 1,498
*Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express

Dropout rate

See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states

The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Arkansas was higher than the national average at 3.5 percent in the 2010-2011 school year. The dropout rate was lower than the national average at 3.2 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.[16]

Educational choice options

See also: School choice in Arkansas

School choice options in Arkansas include: charter schools, online learning programs and inter-district and intra-district open enrollment policies. In addition, about 5.41 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.

Education funding and expenditures

See also: Arkansas state budget
Breakdown of expenditures by function in FY 2012.
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 16.3 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. As a share of the budget, this is down 2.4 percentage points, or 12.8 percent, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 18.7 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education.[12][17][18][19][20]

Comparison of financial figures for school systems
State Percent of budget (2012) Per pupil spending (2011) Revenue sources (2011)
Percent federal funds Percent state funds Percent local funds
Arkansas 16.3% $9,353 16.02% 51.2% 32.77%
Louisiana 18.4% $10,723 19.11% 41.43% 39.46%
Mississippi 16.9% $7,928 22.33% 45.95% 31.72%
Missouri 22.6% $9,410 13.75% 29.33% 56.92%
Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013

Revenue breakdowns

See also: Public school system revenues in the U.S. to compare all states.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Arkansas totaled approximately $5.2 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Arkansas and surrounding states.[21]

Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)
Federal revenue State revenue Local revenue Total revenue
Arkansas $834,685 $2,667,090 $1,707,234 $5,209,009
Louisiana $1,570,393 $3,404,656 $3,242,171 $8,217,220
Mississippi $1,006,465 $2,071,467 $1,429,770 $4,507,702
Missouri $1,389,362 $2,963,196 $5,749,895 $10,102,453
U.S. total $74,943,767 $267,762,416 $264,550,594 $607,256,777
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)

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Expenditure breakdowns

See also: Public school system expenditures in the U.S.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Arkansas totaled approximately $5.7 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Arkansas and surrounding states.[21]

Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)
Current expenditures** Capital outlay Other*** Total expenditures
Arkansas $4,495,309 $607,962 $578,992 $5,682,263
Louisiana $7,440,499 $812,768 $149,430 $8,402,697
Mississippi $3,888,831 $368,906 $88,046 $4,345,783
Missouri $8,664,338 $856,962 $462,300 $9,983,600
U.S. total $520,577,893 $52,984,139 $29,581,293 $603,143,325
**Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)

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Personnel salaries

See also: Public school teacher salaries in the U.S.
Note: Salaries given are averages for the state. Within states there can be great variation in salaries between urban, suburban and rural districts. When comparing nominal teachers' salaries it is important to remember that for a true comparison salaries must be adjusted for the cost of living in each area. Thus, for example, when adjusted for cost of living, Los Angeles drops from second highest to 17th highest; New York City drops even further, from third highest to 59th out of 60.[22]

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Arkansas, the average salary increased by 2.2 percent.[23]

Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)
1999-2000 2009-2010 2011-2012 2012-2013 Percent difference
Arkansas $45,625 $49,850 $47,085 $46,632 2.2%
Louisiana $45,246 $52,201 $51,014 $51,381 13.6%
Mississippi $43,535 $48,722 $42,339 $41,994 -3.5%
Missouri $48,727 $48,373 $47,178 $47,517 -2.5%
U.S. average $57,133 $58,925 $56,340 $56,383 -1.3%
**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."

Organizations

Unions

In 2012 the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Arkansas ranked 48th overall, or "weakest," which was in the fifth of five tiers.[24]

The main union related to the Arkansas school system is the Arkansas Education Association (AEA), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA). For the 2004 tax period AEA had: $3.85 million in total revenue, $4.03 million in total expenses and $1.07 million in total assets.[25]

List of local Arkansas school unions:[26]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Arkansas government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Arkansas School Boards Association.

Education ballot measures

See also: Education on the ballot and List of Arkansas ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked 16 statewide ballot measures relating to education.

  1. Arkansas Act 78, Whether to Abolish the State Board of Education (1934)
  2. Arkansas Appropriation of School Funds, Amendment 2 (1932)
  3. Arkansas Assignment of Pupils in Public Schools, Initiated Act 2 (1956)
  4. Arkansas Ban on Teaching Evolution, Act 1 (1928)
  5. Arkansas College Savings Bond Act, Proposed Question Act 683 (1990)
  6. Arkansas Community College and Technical School Districts, Proposed Amendment 57 (1964)
  7. Arkansas Elimination of Public Education Age Restriction, Proposed Amendment 53 (1968)
  8. Arkansas Equal Educational Opportunity Act, Initiated Act No. 1 (1980)
  9. Arkansas Establish a State Board of Education, Proposed Amendment 30 (1938)
  10. Arkansas Federal Government Not Allowed to Exercise Power Over Public Schools (1956)
  11. Arkansas Free Education for All Children, Proposed Amendment 52 (1960)
  12. Arkansas Free Textbooks, Act 4 (September 1912)
  13. Arkansas Initiated Act No. 1, Arkansas School District Reorganization (1966)
  14. Arkansas Interposition, Proposed Amendment 47 (1956)
  15. Arkansas Junior College Districts, Proposed Amendment 32 (1942)
  16. Arkansas School Tax Limitation, Proposed Amendment 43 (1956)

Studies and reports

State Budget Solutions education study

See also: State spending on education v. academic performance (2012)

State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states which spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.

See also

External links

References

  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
  5. United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Arkansas Department of Education, "About ADE," accessed May 14, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Arkansas Department of Education, "State Board of Education," accessed May 14, 2014
  8. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed June 12, 2014
  10. Arkansas Department of Education, "Common Core State Standards," accessed June 13, 2014
  11. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
  14. ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
  15. Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
  16. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
  17. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
  18. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
  19. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
  20. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
  22. Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
  23. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
  24. Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
  25. Center for Union Facts, "Arkansas Education Association," accessed March 13, 2010
  26. Center for Union Facts, "Arkansas teachers unions," accessed March 13, 2010 (dead link)