Whether you are a parent who has enrolled in the new LEARNS Education Freedom Account (EFA) program or are interested in enrolling in the future, The Reform Alliance invites you to join us at 7 pm Tuesday, Oct. 24, for a virtual webinar and town hall. All parents are invited! Questions welcome during the event, but can also be submitted beforehand.
We will feature panelists Dr. Darrell Smith of the Arkansas Department of Education and Dr. Patrick Wolf of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Smith, who administers the EFA program, will talk about the current status of the program and how EFAs can be used, and Dr. Wolf, who studies educational freedom nationally, will talk about the growth and successful implementation of such programs elsewhere and what we might be able to expect in the future.

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/1216975693102/WN_IRrx2wkKT9CbMBil10JHag

Submit questions beforehand: https://forms.gle/qqCnHh4dqoqyujFH7


More on the event:

The Reform Alliance, a nonprofit organization working to improve education for Arkansas students, will be hosting another event for families looking for educational resources, a virtual town hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Panelists at the webinar-style town hall include Darrell Smith, assistant commissioner in the Office of School Choice and Parental Empowerment in the Arkansas Department of Education, and Patrick Wolf, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and the 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions.

“We have and will continue to focus on literacy, the first element of all the LEARNS initiatives,” said Emmy Henley, managing director of The Reform Alliance. “But there’s a lot to LEARNS, and that includes empowerment as well, so we want to share information on the state’s new Educational Freedom Account, or EFA, program for families already participating or considering participating in the future.”

The EFA program creates flexible spending accounts that allow families to direct funding toward required educational expenses. The program was launched this fall by the Arkansas Department of Education and includes around 5,000 participating students and nearly 100 schools.

“There is a misconception among some that the EFA is a voucher program, but that is incorrect,” said Henley. “EFAs are more flexible, and it’s important for families to realize that, particularly as the allowed expenses for EFAs expand next school year. EFA funds can be spent on more than tuition.”

Currently, only tuition, fees, uniforms, testing and other required school expenses at private schools are allowed in the EFA program under the LEARNS Act. But, beginning in the fall of 2024, those allowed expenses also include curriculum, tutoring, instructional material, educational devices and more, subject to approval by the Department of Education.

“Naturally, parents have questions. And while we don’t yet have final administrative rules for specifics, our guests will share what they can based on the legislative language in the LEARNS Act and make it as clear as possible for interested families,” said Henley.

EFA Q&A October 24