Faces of Freedom - Fischer

Faces of Freedom - Fischer

“Fischer is the happiest, sweetest, most laid back child ever. We discovered at an early age, he was going to struggle to hit milestones. He was delayed but not severely. He had no diagnosis besides developmental delay. He attended a developmental preschool and received a ton of therapy. He has gained so much ground but is still not where his peers are. His pre-k teachers told me he was ready for mainstream kindergarten but would definitely benefit from a smaller class size. Unfortunately, that is not an option in our local public schools. The Succeed Scholarship was the answer to our prayers! He is now almost a semester into kindergarten at Christ the King. He is in a class of 14 children with a phenomenal teacher who has been able to work with him and his continued needs. He still has a long way to go, but I am confident he is in the right place to reach his full potential.”

– Susan, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


State Rep. David Ray:

State Rep. David Ray: Fight for the Kids

State Rep. David Ray:

David Ray represents District 40, which includes portions of Pulaski and Faulkner counties, in the Arkansas House of Representatives. For the 93rd General Assembly, Rep. Ray serves on the Joint Performance Review Committee, the House Public Transportation Committee, and the House Insurance and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Ray is a consultant and communications strategist. He previously served as Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin from 2017-2020 as well as U.S. Senator Tom Cotton’s Communications Director on his 2014 campaign. Rep. Ray is the former State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Arkansas.

He graduated from the University of the Ozarks with a B.S. in Communication and Political Science.

Rep. Ray lives in Maumelle with his wife Jessica and their two children, Charlotte and William.

State Rep. David Ray: Fight for the Kids

Published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Nov. 26, 2021

Much has been written about education being the defining issue in this month’s Virginia gubernatorial election between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin.Youngkin, a businessman with no prior political experience, pulled off an upset that few saw coming in a state that has trended strongly toward the Democrats in recent years. He did so in large part by appealing to parents who are dissatisfied over the current state of public education.

Parents were upset by many factors, including the prolonged school closings, even as most of society has returned to some measure of pre-pandemic normal. They were upset that teachers’ unions resisted a return to in-person instruction, even though students had experienced tremendous learning loss throughout the pandemic.

On top of that, many parents were disturbed by the injection of left-wing politics into their kids’ education. The reported teaching of critical race theory and a letter from the National School Boards Association to President Biden essentially accusing concerned parents of being potential domestic terrorists only added fuel to the fire.

Virginia’s recent elections are a strong reminder that states need to give parents more choices in education. In addition to their local traditional public schools, parents and children need the ability to choose an environment that meets their individual needs for a whole host of reasons (academic, values, bullying, learning disabilities, etc.).

In Arkansas, we’ve recently taken some small steps in the right direction. My colleagues and I recently passed a tax credit scholarship program to benefit low-income students whose parents can’t afford the same educational options that wealthy families enjoy. Unfortunately, due to political opposition, this program was limited to about 200 students out of a statewide K-12 population of over 400,000.

For those 200 students, this program has life-changing potential. But what about the tens of thousands that may want to participate but won’t be able to?

I also was the lead sponsor of Act 689, which makes the children of military families eligible for the Succeed Scholarship Program. This is a big win for our military families who face an altogether separate set of educational challenges, but this program is in need of additional funding as well. It is currently capped at just over 600 students, and demand for the program far outstrips the available scholarships.

As you can see, much more work remains.

Arkansas needs strong public schools. There’s no doubt about that. But assigning children to a school based on their ZIP code is an antiquated model. It’s time to move past the old way of doing things and embrace new ideas. Education isn’t a one-size-fits-all model, and we need options that are as unique and varied as our children’s needs.

For those who prefer a different model, it’s important to have a myriad of options like public charters, homeschooling and private school choice. For example, Florida is one of the highest-performing states in the country for K-12 education, and they’ve had robust choice programs for over two decades now. We can have both strong public schools and give parents more options–it’s not an either/or choice.

States around the country are waking up to the idea that parents, not the government, should be in charge of their children’s education. Our Legislature needs to take notice of what’s happening around the country. It’s time to stop fighting over kids and start fighting for kids.


Faces of Freedom - Mary-Ashten

Faces of Freedom - Mary-Ashten

Faces of Freedom - Mary-Ashten

“My daughter would not have been able to attend the only school in the nation that could teach her adequately and that was affordable to me if it wasn’t for the Succeed Scholarship! My daughter was on a third grade math level and a second grade reading level until she began at Access Academy. She has absolutely flourished in every aspect of her life! She was 16 years old on a kindergarten level and about to have to face the world being illiterate, and there was absolutely nothing else I could do for her.

As a parent, I have relocated eight times for my daughters education, and no school — public nor private — could help her reach passed a kindergarten level until I found Access Academy. The first year we moved to Arkansas, her tuition was over $1,000 a month. After Succeed Scholarship, it is now $300. My entire family and friends helped my daughter for a year, and it was financially exhausting. She wouldn’t have been able to attend another year without the scholarship! Especially since I’m a single parent, on disability and attending graduate school college. There was no possible way to keep affording her education.

This scholarship allowed my child another chance at life! Also, it helped her gain confidence in herself she never had since she began third grade. Her self esteem from failing and being in special education classes kept her frustrated and made her feel she couldn’t learn, no matter how much she kept trying. As a parent seeing this for so long led me full of anxiety for my child’s future.

We both had given up, especially since she was over 15 years old and just knew there was no school that could help her catch up since she was so far behind. But, that one last ray of hope made all the difference in her life! I gave it my last shot and told myself as a parent, I am prepared to go anywhere in the United States where God led me for her! Arkansas had one of the best schools just for her and with children with the same learning aspects she had! She didn’t have to feel ostracized!

Thank you Succeed for giving my child a future. Without it, she’d struggle for the rest of her life without a real education for her noted disability of a written and oral expression.

You literally saved her life from struggle and defeat!!!”

– Missy, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Mills

Faces of Freedom - Mills

Faces of Freedom - Mills

My son is eighth generation of Jacksons in the small community of Berryville — the first one with autism. He attended public school like his sisters before him but struggled with behaviors and keeping up. The school did what they could to accommodate, but as he got older we knew that is was difficult for him and the school. His speech at the time was very little and in phrases he had memorized. We started at the Grace School in May of 2020, which was a huge drain on our family the drive each day and $18,000 tuition. However, immediately we saw huge changes in Mills. He made friends; his behaviors improved; and the school worked with us to improve them at home too. We had a community of parents just like us!!! It has been over a year now, and Mills and I can have complete conversations. He is sounding out words and typing them. He loves to “work out” on the treadmill at school. In fall of 2021 we got our first Succeed Scholarship, and what a huge help that has been! We have a daughter in college, and my work times are restricted due to Mills care and school, so this made our lives much better. Thank you Reform Alliance for helping Mills be all he can be.

– Missy, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!