Governor Sanders Pledges to Enhance Educational Opportunities for the Blind and Deaf

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Standing alongside Secretary of Education Jacob Oliva and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared on Wednesday that Arkansas would construct a state-of-the-art facility to deliver high-quality education to students who are blind, deaf, or visually impaired.

During her announcement at the state capitol, Sanders emphasized, “They deserve a quality education as much as any other student.”

Highlighting the urgent need for improvement, Sanders noted that the Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Arkansas School for the Deaf, situated on West Markham Street in Little Rock, have long awaited renovations. She described deteriorating exteriors and drafty interiors that sharply contrast with the dedication of the schools’ educators. Additionally, Sanders pointed out significant concerns regarding health, safety, and security.

Sanders expressed her astonishment following a tour of the schools, stating, “To say I was speechless would be an understatement.”

She emphasized that the two schools were initially “built as a promise” to deaf, blind, and visually impaired Arkansans, asserting that they deserved a quality education on par with any other student. Sanders lamented the state’s failure to uphold this promise, stating, “Sadly, for far too long, our state has failed to keep its word. We are changing that.”

Sanders announced plans for the state to construct a new state-of-the-art facility on the existing campus. She outlined the results of a survey conducted within the school community, which identified three main priorities: maintaining the campus at its current location, offering additional resources for deaf and blind students beyond the Little Rock campus, and addressing critical safety concerns affecting students presently.

Sanders assured that the “historic nature of the campuses will be preserved.” Additionally, the governor mentioned that there would be ongoing discussions regarding funding, construction, and other related matters. “Arkansas is committed to fulfilling its promise, and we will address the issues plaguing these schools,” Sanders affirmed.

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