State of Education in Arkansas

Our founding in 2015 was the direct result of a study that examined Arkansas’s educational system. Through this work, our founders identified opportunities to improve student outcomes. And in their effort to find middle ground and spur innovation and change, they created Forward Arkansas.

After seven years, and in the wake of COVID-19, it’s time we again evaluate where we are as a state to understand the progress we’ve made and to gain clarity on our collective direction moving forward.

To do this, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, we have launched the “State of Education in Arkansas,” a statewide study and engagement process to:

  • Elevate progress we’ve made in communities, schools and as a State.
  • Establish a shared understanding of where we are currently.
  • Layout priorities to accelerate progress in Arkansas education for the future.

With the support of EY-Parthenon, the largest global strategy consulting organization, we will host various opportunities for stakeholders at all levels throughout the state to provide input and feedback.

Stakeholder Engagement Opportunities Include:

  1. 1:1 Conversations with individuals deeply rooted in Arkansas’s education system and policies.
  2. Role-Specific Focus Groups with teachers, principals, district leaders, parents and other members of the education system.
  3. Community Focus Groups with parents, families, and other community members in every part of the state.
  4. Virtual Town Halls open to all.
  5. Survey of thousands of Arkansans.

That’s where you come in. We need your feedback to ensure our information is complete and to develop a solid direction for the future. If you would like to participate in this process, please scroll down to see the engagement opportunities by category. Let your voice be heard by contributing to the State of Education in Arkansas.


State of Education in Arkansas Survey

Click here to take the survey. Your feedback and responses to this survey will help to establish clarity on the educational landscape in Arkansas, inform investments, and set priorities for Arkansas education for the next 3 to 5 years. The survey is open to all Arkansans.


Virtual Town Halls

Forward is hosting virtual town halls during which initial trends and findings for the project will be presented. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. The town halls are open to all Arkansans.

  • Tuesday, October 11, 4:00 PM (Register)

Upcoming In-Person Focus Groups

  • September 22 in Marion
  • September 27 in Texarkana
  • September 27 in Summit
  • September 27 in Springdale
  • September 28 in Marianna
  • September 28 in Fayetteville
  • September 29 in Dermott
  • September 30 in DeQueen
  • October 5 in Rogers
  • October 6 in Batesville
  • October 7 in Little Rock
  • Other upcoming focus group locations include: El Dorado, Monticello, Fordyce, Hope, Arkadelphia, Ashdown, Clinton, Russellville, and Springdale

Prior Opportunities

  • July 11-12: Six focus groups conducted at the ADE Summit
  • August 3: Teachers Virtual Focus Group
  • August 4: Parents/Students Virtual Focus Group
  • August 10: Higher Education Virtual Focus Group
  • August 10: Superintendents Virtual Focus Group
  • August 12: Superintendents Virtual Focus Group
  • August 12: Business Leaders Virtual Focus Group
  • August 12: Principals Virtual Focus Group
  • August 17: Principals Virtual Focus Group
  • August 23: In-Person Focus Group in Helena-West Helena
  • August 23: In-Person Focus Group in Pine Bluff
  • August 24: In-Person Focus Group in Forrest City
  • August 24: In-Person Focus Group in Conway
  • August 25: In-Person Focus Group in Harrisburg
  • August 30: In-Person Focus Group in Little Rock
  • August 31: In-Person Focus Group in Little Rock
  • September 6: In-Person Focus Group in Hot Springs
  • September 7: In-Person Focus Group in Camden
  • September 10: In-Person Focus Group in Fort Smith
  • September 13: In-Person Focus Group in Little Rock
  • September 14: In-Person Focus Group in Little Rock
  • September 15: Virtual Town Hall
  • September 18: In-Person Focus Group in North Little Rock
  • September 19: In-Person Focus Group in Jonesboro
  • September 20: In-Person Focus Group in Searcy
  • September 20: In-Person Focus Group in Fort Smith
  • September 20: In-Person Focus Group in Clarksville
  • By September 22, completed 1-1 interviews with 55+ key influencers
  • By September 22, 5,300+ survey responses collected