Specialized agriculture education in Arkansas will soon not be solely the purview of higher education. A measure approved in this year’s legislative session will create a pilot program for “agriculture schools” in the state.
Over a year after state Sen. Jane English began her crusade to reform workforce education in Arkansas, Charisse Childers is poised to carry out what English thinks is the centerpiece of that reformation: Act 892 of 2015, signed into law last month.
In the furor surrounding the final days of the legislative session, a couple of important worker education reforms could be overlooked. They shouldn’t be for two reasons: They promise to be effective, helping match businesses in Arkansas with capable employees (and capable employees with good jobs), and they demonstrate what bipartisanship can accomplish.
State Sen. Jane English has no use for the private option, the Medicaid expansion providing health insurance to the poor. But the Republican lawmaker from North Little Rock saw an opportunity and took it, and what began as an old-fashioned political horse trade — you get my vote, I get something for my constituents — appears likely to evolve into a governor-backed legislative package that next year will seek to transform workforce training in Arkansas.
Former state Sen. Randy Laverty has been named the commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. Laverty served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 and in the Senate from 2003 until this year.