Speaking of politics and education: The Arkansas Public Policy Panel sent word of a public school rally Saturday at the Capitol backed by the Arkansas Education Association. It’s a warmup for the 2019 legislative session.

The Policy Panel lays out the concerns;


This coming legislative session public education will be under attack again. There will be efforts to privatize our schools so that our public education dollars are diverted to segregated and ineffective charter schools, vouchers for private schools, and attacks on teachers.

They are going to try to gut the quality standards that ensure your child has access to a qualified teacher, a rigorous curriculum and proven education strategies.

It’s not all bad news. There are real solutions available to improve our education system. There are lawmakers who are committed to expanding pre-k, improving teacher quality and to ensuring that EVERY student has the opportunity to a great education. The lawmakers who care about quality education need your support!

Note the artwork’s mention of “hands off our retirement.” Evidence mounts that a well-financed push is underway to end defined-benefit retirement for teachers, at least in the future. Pensions are expensive. 401K-type plans are cheaper and require smaller public contributions (and smaller benefits). This is a source to watch for this movement, the Arnold Foundation.

When lawmakers end their own defined-benefit pension plans as legislators or dead-wood political appointees, I’ll believe they are truly budget hawks.