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CAPES Falls Short of Signature Requirement to Put Arkansas LEARNS Act on the Ballot

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The group behind a petition to put the Arkansas LEARNS Act on the ballot fell short of the number of signatures required, according to a news release the group sent Friday.

Citizens for Arkansas Public Education and Students needed 55,422 signatures to submit the referendum to the Secretary of State’s office. They were short by 978 signatures. However, the group says that they plan to continue their efforts to prevent the LEARNS Act from being implemented.

Steve Grappe, executive director, told 40/29 News earlier this week that he believed the group had turned in more signatures than were needed.

Friday’s news release put blame on the attorney general for not providing assistance until after he had rejected the group’s ballot title twice, saying the move cost signature gatherers 33 days.

It also stated the Act 236, which changed the number of counties required to gather signatures from from 15 to 50, also made it more difficult to allocate resources.


The Arkansas General Assembly passed the LEARNS Act during its session earlier this year.

Among other things, the LEARNS Act raises the minimum teacher salary to $50,000, bans the teaching of “critical race theory,” bans teaching about gender identity until a certain age, and has a program to fund private and religious schools. The law does not define critical race theory. Critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism.

Advocates for the LEARNS Act have said it will improve Arkansas schools, protect children, and help parents afford private and religious schools.

Opponents have said those private and religious tuitions will be paid for by taxpayer dollars that are going to public schools now. They also worry the act will hurt children with disabilities.

Soruce : 4029TV