Former teachers in Lincoln Parish react to latest Arkansas education proposal

Lincoln Parish Retired Educators Feb. 9, 2023 meeting
Lincoln Parish Retired Educators Feb. 9, 2023 meeting(KNOE)
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 7:26 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2023 at 4:07 PM CST
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RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - The Lincoln Parish Retired Educators, a division of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association, held a town hall meeting Thursday afternoon.

The meeting took place on Feb. 9, 2023, at the Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, where elected officials, retired teachers and leaders in education listened to LA State Senator Jay Morris’s outlook for the upcoming legislative session.

During the LPRE meeting, KNOE reached out to a couple of former teachers to get their reactions on the newly proposed education plan in Arkansas.

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders released her education plan on Wednesday, called Arkansas LEARNS: Literacy, Empowerment, Accountability, Readiness, Networking and Safety. Part of Sanders’s new education plan is to recruit and retain good teachers by raising the current minimum base salary from $36,000 to $50,000.

RELATED CONTENT: Arkansas Gov. Huckabee Sanders calls for higher teacher salary within state

One former teacher, who received his education in Arkansas, says he chose to move back to Louisiana to begin his teaching career because the salary was too low at the time.

“Well, I think what the governor is doing is in line with what national policy is telling us - is that teachers deserve to be paid more,” says former teacher Rashid Young, who’s now an attorney in Homer. “I’m still in contact with a lot of people from Arkansas through my undergraduate institution. And so, for some of them that are looking to go into the teaching profession - I think if this plan goes forward, this would be a great time to do that.”

Dr. Liz White, who taught school for 34 years before retiring, says ‘now’ is always the time to consider pay increases for teachers.

“They have been behind and low on the totem pole for many years and teachers are great resources in our community,” White says. “And I’m very excited that Arkansas is taking a lead role in doing this. That’s going to put some other states on their toes.”

Arkansas Governor Sanders is working with the legislature to pass this bill.