There are two purposes for Comments in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Comments can either add information to aid in the understanding of the entry or add information that provides an alternate interpretation of the historical record.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Comment is entirely responsible for its content.

A large number of art teachers were hired for the 1986–87 (or 87–88) school year, which especially impacted smaller, rural schools. To graduate, high school students needed a half credit of a fine art (art, band, choir). The new law included 40 minutes a week of art and music for elementary students. This new law was created with a lot of input  and support from Hillary Clinton, at that time the governor's wife. These teachers were hired along with a large number of other new teachers who taught music and foreign language, as well as school nurses, librarians, and counselors. (Note: The last two I believe cannot serve over 500 students, unlike art and music where no legal upper limit of students has been set.) Until the new law went into effect, only larger and better-financed schools in Arkansas had art programs. Most smaller schools could only offer basics, with little or no music and art classes.
Many elementary schools implemented  art, along with music, in the mid-80s to complement the new regulations that elementary teachers legally had to have 40 minutes of prep time a day. One reason this fact is important is because many teachers who were hired at that time are just now ready for teacher retirement, having reached twenty-eight to thirty years of service. This somewhat large exodus of longtime art teachers, some of whom were the trailblazing first art teacher in their school or district, means new, qualified, exciting art teachers will be stepping in to carry the banner for the arts for the next generation.

Gina Booth
Marble Falls, AR