Despite a Republican governor and conservative majorities in the legislature, Arkansas has an education plan indistinguishable from those of the bluest states. The Arkansas Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (ADESE) has fully embraced CRT for its elementary schools across the state. The Division of Higher Education (ADHE) has not yet adopted CRT as a statewide mandate; however, they have made explicit plans to track data on minority students, teachers, and staff, in order to guide future decision making. Individual colleges and universities have taken the initiative to implement CRT to varying levels.
ADESE has a mandate from the state legislature to “close the achievement gap.” To that end, it has formed the Commission on Closing the Achievement Gap (https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/legislative-services/arkansas-commission-on-closing-the-achievement-gap), as well as the Disproportionality Institute (https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/special-education/data-research/disproportionality-institute). The Disproportionality Institute has gone all-in on CRT. with workshops and seminars featuring material by Ibrahim X. Kendi, among other promoters of CRT. On February 12, 2021, they gave the following presentation and published the powerpoint and video on their website:Presentation: Reaching Equity and Dismantling Disproportionality by Addressing Systemic Beliefs. Presentation Video
ADESE has completely redefined how federal funding will be allocated to local education agencies (LEAs) based on their disproportionality score (https://arksped.k12.ar.us/documents/cceis/Dispro-CCEIS-Overview.pdf).
The ADHE master plan states:
Equity: Baselines and goals for the categories of Underserved minorities, low income, adults, and rural students will be established using the Arkansas Higher Education Information System. First Generation College Student status will be added to the AHEIS system in AY2022 so that measurement and tracking of this data may begin in AY2023. Baselines and goals for the categories of Re-entry and former foster youth will be obtained once a determination is made on the best method for measurement. (https://www.adhe.edu/about-adhe/master-plan9/calculation-methodologies/)