Ripe for Reform: Arkansas as a Model for Social Change
This report by Dr. Jay Barth examines how Arkansas has advanced community- and family- friendly policies in recent years through Republican and Democrat administrations including major improvements in education, expansion of children’s health care, maintaining a balanced budget and key social services thru two severe recessions, and making the state tax system more fair to low-income families. Barth argues that Arkansas’s ability to take on big policy problems is a tremendous opportunity for the state to advance and serve as a model for other states, but warns that this trend is in jeopardy now as Arkansas’s political discourse becomes more polarized. View the presentation of the report and subsequent panel discussion at the Clinton school, or download the report.
The guide by the Opportunity to Learn Campaign provides advocates and policymakers with recommendations for ending ineffective and discriminatory practice of out-of-school suspensions, which contribute to our national pushout crisis. It also includes a summary of the significant action and legislative proposals that are already underway in many states.
To move the needle on poverty in Arkansas, we must know where our communities currently stand. How strong are our educational institutions? How healthy are our children? How civically active are we? The Arkansas Community Foundation has compiled county-by-county data from a variety of resources to provide a snapshot of where our communities stand. You can read about this snapshot in the Aspire Arkansas Community Indicators Report.
College completion rates for African American males in the state of Arkansas are below 15%, as compared to 26% across all ethnic groups. Numerous individual initiatives are evolving in the state to improve college completion rates for African American, Latino, and other marginalized males; however, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation recognized the need for a more coordinated strategy which focused on policy and practice change. Read about WRF's Marginalized Males Workforce and Education Consortium (MMWEC) in the December issue of GCYF's Healthy Men, Healthy Communities Newsletter.
By focusing on students at risk of dropping out, donors are finding ways to move the needle on college graduation rates. This article by Evan Sparks in the Spring issue of Philanthropy discusses the Achieving the Dream initiative.