State Capitol Week in Review
LITTLE ROCK – The legislature updated Arkansas school choice laws when it approved Act 754 of 2019 earlier this year.
One goal of the act is to eliminate possible confusion about what are termed “opportunity choice” options, which allow a student to transfer from a school that is failing academically.
For a long time the state’s “opportunity choice” law allowed student transfers from schools designated as being in academic distress.
But in 2017 the legislature approved Act 930, a far-reaching modernization of accountability standards. The act erased 40 pages of school standards and replaced them with more modern methods on how to assess the quality of local schools.
One of the changes made by Act 930 eliminated references to schools in academic distress. Instead, it referred to those schools as needing intensive “Level 5” support from the state Education Department.
To eliminate confusion caused by the deletion of references to schools in academic distress, earlier this year the legislature passed Act 754. It clarifies that opportunity choice is available to students who attend a school needing Level 5 support. It also allows transfers from schools with an “F” on school report cards.
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