Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls education a top priority
Education will be a major policy focus for Sarah Huckabee Sanders if she's elected as Arkansas' next governor, she said.
What happened: The Republican candidate for governor made remarks at a campaign event Friday in Bella Vista to a crowd of about 400, then fielded a few questions from reporters.
Why it matters: Arkansas received a "C" ranking as No. 22 in the U.S. in terms of overall education, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
- Yes, and: The state is 25th in terms of teacher pay, an influencing factor in recruitment and retention of quality educators.
What they're saying: "I think [education is] the single best place that we can impact and change Arkansas for the better," Sanders told news media. "One of the reasons I'm running is because I think education in Arkansas hasn't been made a top priority in the way it needs to be."
- Only about 31% of the state's third graders are reading at or above their grade level, she said.
- "We know that if a kid's not reading by the time they're in third grade, there's a 70% chance that they're going to have a lifetime in poverty," she said.
- Arkansas is below the national average in childhood literacy, she noted.
Details: Tactics Sanders believes will help provide better schooling for children include: using reading coaches in struggling school districts, providing teachers with resources and training to teach the science of reading, and expanding access to pre-K.
- Sanders didn't offer any ideas on how the state will pay for these expanded services.
The intrigue: Asked about her often-used line of education and not indoctrination, she said: "I want to make sure it never sees the light of day — things like [critical race theory]."
- "I don't want that to be part of our curriculum, and as long as I'm governor it won't be," she added.
Of note: There's no indication that critical race theory has been taught in Arkansas' public schools or that anyone intends to introduce it into the curriculum.
More NW Arkansas stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.