Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed EO-23-16 on February 9, 2023, to create the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet and the position of Chief Workforce Officer. The EO requires the Secretary of the Department of Education (or designee) to serve as a cabinet member.
Secretary Jacob Oliva will serve as a cabinet member and leverage the resources of the Department of Education to support the creation of a single entity to coordinate and assist in career and technical education, which in turn, will ensure that young adults who are entering the workforce are prepared for high-wage, high-growth careers.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed EO-23-11 on January 24, 2023, to require a coordinated effort to protect the people and the infrastructure of Arkansas and to respond to man-made or natural disasters that may occur in this state.
The Department of Education will support the work of this EO through improved Emergency Support Functions as outlined in the EO and identified a crisis response coordinator to respond to natural disaster impacts on education in Arkansas.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed EO-23-14 on January 24, 2023, to repeal Executive Order 21-08 establishing the Arkansas American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Steering Committee and Executive Order 21-19 establishing the Governor’s Infrastructure Planning Advisory Committee.
Secretary of Education Jacob Oliva and members of the executive leadership team are working with the advisory committee to review priorities, opportunities, and partnerships to maximize federal infrastructure funding for the benefit of Arkansans. The committee first met on March 31, 2023. ADE will serve as both a leader and contributor for infrastructure support.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed EO-23-10 on January 19, 2023, to limit government overreach, reduce red tape, and improve education.
The Department of Education is currently reviewing and identifying out-of-date, unnecessary, and burdensome state laws, regulations, reporting requirements, and processes. Recommendations will be made to the Governor and/or State Board of Education.
The department will develop a process for school districts to report overburdensome and redundant state laws, regulations, reporting requirements, and processes to the department. The department also will develop a unified application that will be available for the 2024-2025 budget cycle.
Executive Order Report
March 3, 2023
Executive Order Overview
On January 10th, 2023, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders published an Executive Order to Respect the Latino Community by Eliminating Culturally Insensitive Words from Official Use in Government. The executive order requires:
- That all state offices,departments, and agencies,unless granted an exemption by the Governor, shall review official documents of their respective entities regarding the use of the term “Latinx,” “latinx,” “Latinxs,” or “latinxs” in official state documents
- That all state offices,departments, and agencie sshall submit a written report to the Governor detailing the findings of their review regarding the current use of the terms “Latinx,” “latinx,” “Latinxs,” or “latinxs.”
- That within sixty (60) days of this Order, all state offices, departments, and agencies shall revise all existing written materials by replacing the terms “Latinx,” “latinx,” “Latinxs,” or “latinxs” with “Hispanic,” “Hispanics,” “Latino,” “Latinos,” “Latina,” or “Latinas.” If the changes to the revised documents require promulgation under Arkansas law, then the requisite state office, department or agency shall promulgate the revised document in accordance with Arkansas law.
This report documents the processes undertaken by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to review official documents. It also presents initial findings and actions taken to address usage of the specified terms, where available.
Arkansas Department of Education Review Process
Each office within the Department reviewed their internal- and external-facing documents for the term “Latinx” and variations of the term.
Internal material searches included the following locations as applicable for each office: OneDrive, Google Drive, internal databases, shared drives, personal computers, and internal emails. External material searches included each office’s website, sites and resources linked on office websites, published ADE resources, and vendor websites and resources.
The following ADE offices have completed their reviews:
- Division of Career and Technical Education
- Division of Learning Services
- Division of Public School Accountability
- Internet Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools(IDEAS)
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission
- Office of Educator Effectiveness and Licensure
- Office of Facilities and Transportation
- Office of Special Education
- School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
- School for the Deaf
Many ADE offices found no instances of the term “Latinx” or variants in their internal- or external-facing materials.
Fourteen offices identified at least one use of the term “Latinx” or variants in internal and/or external materials. When offices did find instances of the term, it was most commonly used in survey questions and responses, vendor links and resources, draft documents, and/or training materials.
Wherever possible, ADE office staff replaced all instances of “Latinx” and variants with one of the alternates identified in the Executive Order. Staff also verified that all published materials containing the term were replaced with updated versions. If it was not possible for staff to update a particular resource to replace the term (for example, in materials owned by an external vendor or organization), that resource was removed from ADE’s materials.
- Executive Order Overview
On January 10, 2023, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued EO 23-06, an Executive Order to Protect State Information and Communications Technology From the Influence of Adversarial Foreign Governments. The Arkansas Department of Education responded by issuing two Commissioner Memos and an Inter-Agency memo to the Department of Transformation and Shared Services. The memo details are included below:
DATE: Monday, February 6, 2023
FROM: Cabinet Secretary Jacob Oliva | Department of Education
TO: Cabinet Secretary Joseph K. Wood | Department of Transformation and Shared Services
The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE): Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has issued two specific follow-up Commissioner’s Memos on January 11, 2023 and February 6, 2023 (details as listed below) in the form of guidance to School Districts with regards to the Governor’s Executive Order, EO 23-06 dated January 10, 2023 regarding the prohibition of the installation of, connection to, or use of TikTok on any state network or state-issued information or communications technology device, including all desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
January 11, 2023
The ADE Commissioner’s Memo system was used to send out the initial notification regarding the release of the Governor’s Executive Order, EO 23-06: Executive Order to Protect State Information and Communications Technology from the Influence of the Adversarial Foreign Governments.
February 7, 2023
A follow-up Commissioner’s Memo was sent out with additional guidance for the School District Technology Directors/Co-ordinators mentioning the turned off access for Tik Tok at the State Intrusion Prevention System, IPS, level with the recommendation of blocking TikTok at various levels: secure Internet gateway/content filters, wireless solution, unified end-point management, mobile device management tool and hot-spot vendors. Lastly, few of the best practices regarding cyber security based on the State’s Cyber Security Awareness Programs were included in the memo as well.
On January 10, 2023, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a proclamation issuing an executive order to prohibit indoctrination and critical race theory in schools. “Teachers and school administrators should teach students how to think, not what to think.”
“Prohibited indoctrination” means communication by a public school employee, public school representative, or guest speaker that compels a person to adopt, affirm, or profess an idea in violation of Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pub. L., No. 88-352, including that:
- People of one color, creed, race, ethnicity, sex, age, marital status, familial status, disability status, religion,national origin, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law are inherently superior or inferior to people of another color, creed, race, ethnicity, sex, age, marital status, familial status, disability status, religion, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law; or
- An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s color, creed, race, ethnicity, sex, age, marital status, familial status, disability status, religion, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law.
Summary of Review Process and Findings
The agency has conducted a review of the Arkansas Department of Education’s rules, regulations, policies, materials, and communications to identify any items that may, purposely or otherwise, promote teaching that would indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as CRT, that conflict with the principle of equal protection under the law or encourage students to discriminate against someone based on the individual’s color, creed, race, ethnicity, sex, age, marital status, familial status, disability, religion, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law.
Each division of ADE submitted an assurance of their review of rules, regulations, policies, materials, and communications to identify any items that may, purposely or otherwise, promote teaching that would indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as CRT, that would violate the executive order.
If items were found to conflict with the executive order, the division lead and/or review committee made suggestions to amend, annul, or alter those rules, regulations, policies, materials, or communications to remove the prohibited indoctrination.
- A website review based on key terms was conducted.
- The results of the website review were submitted to a committee for an analysis of the context. At the conclusion of the analysis, any items still in question were submitted to the division lead.
- All division leads received communication with guidance for review of rules, regulations, policies, materials (including PDFs, videos, and links from the website), and communications within their assigned division.
- All division leads received an assurance document to note the findings in question and suggested recommendations based on the findings.
□ Continue collecting documentation from divisions within ADE;
☒ Communication and assurance documents for School Districts and Ed. Prep Programs;
☒ Complete review of competencies in Ed. Prep Programs and licensure exams;
☒ Update language in the employee leave workflow for supervisors to approve and ensure training does not violate the Executive Order;
☒ Create a process for stakeholders to submit a request to review concerns regarding CRT or indoctrination; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
☒ Ensure all contracts contain language to prohibit indoctrination;
☒ Release communication and assurance documents for Educator Prep Programs;
☒ Add an assurance document in Grant Approval System (GMS) to ensure all outside entities receiving funding from ADE abide by EO 23-05. (Example: Co-ops receiving funds and other organizations.)
On January 13, 2023, the ADE Human Resources director sent the email below to the ADE leadership team, including division directors who are involved in the hiring process.
As you are aware, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, signed an executive order on January 10, 2023 which instituted a moratorium on hiring and promotion for all state government workers. Below is a summary of the executive order and attached is a copy for your review.
Hiring Freeze: All hiring and promotions for state positions are immediately put on hold. If the hiring process is already underway it must be stopped unless a formal offer has been made. State entities cannot fill vacant positions when someone quits or is fired without permission from the governor.
(a) That state entities shall terminate all ongoing hiring processes that have not yet resulted in a formal offer of employment being extended to a candidate.
(b) That state entities may only conclude hiring processes that have resulted in a formal offer of employment extended to a candidate, if the candidate has previously accepted the offer, has a start date within thirty days of the date of this Order, and the Secretary of the Department, or head of the state entity if there is no Secretary, approves.
(4) That all state entities shall refrain from filling vacant positions—including replacement positions and newly budgeted positions—unless it is determined that a legitimate business need requires the position to be filled.
At this time, please discontinue your hiring process until further notice, unless your process falls within the yellow highlighted section of “b” above.
More information will be provided as it is provided to our office.
Teletha Leonard, MA, PHR, SHRM-CP
Human Resources Director
Office of the Secretary
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall, Room 104-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed EO-23-02 on January 10, 2023, to reduce government rules and regulations.
The Department of Education is working closely with the Governor’s Office regarding the rule-making process and will comply with this executive order.