The Arkansas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report following a series of public meetings and a collection of public testimony on IDEA compliance and implementation in Arkansas schools. The report examines civil rights concerns regarding educational opportunity and access for students with disabilities in Arkansas. Additionally, the Committee sought to examine the extent to which the provision of services to students with disabilities in Arkansas has resulted in disparities in both access and effectiveness based on race, color, sex, national origin, or religion.
Primary areas of concern identified in the report include: ensuring sufficient resources available to schools in meeting their obligations to identify students with disabilities and follow through with appropriate services; securing core instruction time for students who receive support services; sufficiency of access to behavioral supports for students with disabilities; availability of accountability and grievance procedures to families with concerns about the educational provisions afforded to their children; and addressing potential disparities in disciplinary measures for students with disabilities across different demographics. The report concludes with a series of recommendations regarding actions that can be taken to understand and address the identified civil rights issues moving forward.
Committee Chair, Robert Steinbuch said, "I am very proud the hard work of the Committee. We are a diverse group of academics and practitioners, with varied outlooks and experiences. We were able to work collaboratively to produce a report focusing on the educational needs of Arkansas children. I look forward to the various stakeholders’ opportunity to interact with our report to improve education in Arkansas.”