Historically, families in Arkadelphia achieved meaningful livelihoods that did not require a high level of education. Youth could choose to complete a minimal education or even drop out of school, develop a skill in timber or manufacturing and be assured of work that would provide a good living. For many generations in Arkadelphia, higher education attainment was rarely a necessity, concern or expectation.

Today’s economy is driven by a very different set of expectations—a globally oriented, knowledge-driven economy that requires a highly skilled, technologically savvy, and educated work force. For this community, with a large percentage of residents who possess less than a high school education, the Arkadelphia Promise offers an incentive to participate in a national shift that is, in many communities, already well underway. Creating a culture of learning and supporting the completion of an advanced diploma for every student in our Arkadelphia schools will provide the most important foundation for personal economic success in the new global economy.

Arkansas ranks 50th in the nation in both per capita income and the percentage of adults 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees. On average, only 62% of Clark County high school graduates attempt a post secondary education. Additionally, enrollment in Clark County public schools has steadily been in decline, losing over 104 students in 19 years. For these reasons, a major investment in one generation of students is needed to turn around these historically low economic indicators.

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