Arkansas - Education

Education

See also: List of colleges and universities in Arkansas, List of high schools in Arkansas, and List of school districts in Arkansas

Education in Arkansas has historically been a major issue, and is a problem that continues to this day. Part of the problem has been the resistance to needed reforms, including low teacher salaries and small budgets for spending on students. The state's refusal to integrate, refusal to teach evolution, and poor school facilities also contribute to the poor performance of Arkansas students. Arkansas's education funding mechanism was found unconstitutional in 1983 and again in 2001. Governor Mike Beebe has made improving education a major issue again through his attempts to spend more on education. The failure to commit necessary funds and attention to education has resulted in an undereducated populace. Arkansas ranks as the 32nd smartest state on the Morgan Quitno Smartest State Award, 44th in percentage of residents with at least a high school diploma, and 48th in percentage of bachelor's degree attainment.

In 2010 Arkansas students earned an average score of 20.3 on the ACT exam, just below the national average of 21. These results were expected due to the large increase in the number of students taking the exam since the establishment of the Academic Challenge Scholarship. Top high schools receiving recognition from the U.S. News and World Report are spread across the state, including Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville, KIPP Delta Collegiate in Helena-West Helena, Bentonville, Rogers, Rogers Heritage, Valley Springs, Searcy, and McCrory. A total of 81 Arkansas high schools were ranked by the U.S. News and World Report in 2012.

The state supports a network of public universities and colleges, including two major university systems: Arkansas State University System and University of Arkansas System. Other public institutions include Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University, and University of Central Arkansas across the state. It is also home to 11 private colleges and universities including Hendrix College, one of the nation's top 100 liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.

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