Report Fails Arkansas' Teacher Minimum Salary Schedule

June 27, 2007 - Posted at 9:05 p.m. CDT

WYNNE, AR -- A report released today by the National Council on Teacher Quality says Arkansas is "weak but progressing" when it comes to the state's teachers.

The report gives the state a failing grade in minimum salary schedule but passes Arkansas for having more than one way for teacher certification.

The report grades Arkansas as a "D" when it comes to the state's minimum salary schedule...stating that it prevents schools from rewarding teachers based on standards that correlate with student achievement.

"I'm sure that some of what they said is probably correct, I'm sure there is room for improvement to promote teacher quality in Arkansas.  I don't deny that but I'm not sure that we deserve a "D" in that grade. I don't quite understand how they got there," said former president of the National School Board Association Carol Brown.

While Brown believes studies like this one are important for charting Arkansas educational growth, she says there are usually two sides to a story.

"Education Week ranked Arkansas number four in the nation in terms of policy promoting teacher policy, so that says something very different from what this says," reported Brown.

Arkansas has nearly 600 nationally board certified teachers in the classrooms and teachers are required to get 60 hours of professional development every year.

"Another area they seemed to criticize us on is that we didn't have enough mentoring programs, which I'm not sure they understand right. Because all of our beginning teachers are assigned mentors for three years, so I think we do have that," said Brown.

Just last year, the U.S. Department of Education recognized Arkansas as being at the forefront in implementing rigorous learning standards for students.