Politics - News Analysis

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Signs New Law That Totally Screws Over Teachers and People Are Disgusted

Whenever Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders sponsors a new law that sounds positive, you can be certain she’s doing something really awful. The woman doesn’t have a decent or kind bone in her body and she couches this nastiness behind measures that sound positive when it’s anything but. Her latest abomination is called the LEARNS Act. And Queerty reminds us “Even when Sanders seemingly does something benevolent, it’s worth looking deeper. For example: a new state law that increases the median salary has wound up depressing wages overall.”

Yeah, that sounds like something Sanders would do.

The gist of the law is that all teachers will start at a salary of $50,000. Sounds great right? Especially when the starting salaries before were around $34,000 and how can a teacher, someone who needs a college degree to qualify for the job, afford to live on $34K?

But now, due to budgetary limitations, nearly a third of Arkansas school districts will no longer be able offer pay increases to experienced educators, nor do they offer additional education. This fits within Sanders purview because she has long opposed public school and it looks very much like she’s trying to drive experienced educators out. As the Arkansas Advocate reports, this is a direct result of the LEARNS Act.

The Act certainly sounds like a positive thing, because it raises the minimum teacher salary from $36,000 to $50,000 and mandates that all teachers receive at least a $2,000 raise for the 2023-2024 academic year. But the measure also eliminates the state’s minimum salary schedule, which required pay raises for teachers with more education and experience. It puts the onus on districts to create a salary schedule to receive state funding that enables additional teacher compensation.

And there are definitely critics of this new law. As early as last year they warned that eliminating a minimum salary schedule would hurt veteran teachers. Supporters of the legislation don’t see it that way and say it will give districts more flexibility.

“Districts can pay more than the minimum and were encouraged to do so,” said Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) spokesperson Kimberly Mundell.

She added that changes to the minimum salary will be discussed by the Joint Adequacy Committee.

Superintendent Jordan Frizzell said that while flexibility is nice, it’s not so promising in this case because there’s been little guidance from the state and that complicates matters because every school has different needs.

“It creates more of a gap between the haves and have-nots because in rural small schools, they don’t have the funding to go out 28 years on a salary schedule and compete with these larger schools and there may be larger schools just right across the street,” he said.

But that’s not all. “Teachers make teachers,” Frizzell noted, and this is why districts try to hold on to veteran teachers as long as possible because they can mentor new educators. He illustrated this by adding he recently hired a retired teacher as an example.

“We value her so much because she has now come in as a retired teacher and is mentoring some of our younger teachers, and you can’t take away the importance of that in our schools,” Frizzell said. “And when those veteran teachers hit the door and all you have is young inexperienced teachers, it does take an effect on you.”

And he said he’s trying to make the best decisions for teachers but he notes it’s tricky because funding is a “really complex” issue.

“It’s like I tell my staff all the time, if we have the money, it’s going to your pockets,” he said. “I mean you’re the people that are doing the work. We want to support you. We want to pay you the most money that we absolutely can.”

Leave it to Sanders to further complicate an already complex issue. And the sad thing here is that children in Arkansas will suffer because of another stupid law enacted by her that sounds positive but really, really isn’t.

Typical. People on social media spoke out, and obviously they are not happy:

meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus


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