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Arkansas Citizens for Public Education and Students

The mission:

The Citizens for Arkansas Public Education and Students (CAPES) is a nonpartisan movement of teachers, parents, students, former students, and concerned citizens interested in preserving public education in Arkansas. We believe that Arkansas public schools are an integral part of our communities that should be nurtured and adequately funded. The LEARNS Act would prioritize spending at least $350 million per year over the first three years and billions of dollars over decades to startup education businesses in the form of charter and private schools that have:


  1. A higher failure rate, greater turnover, and fewer requirements than public school districts.

  2. Lower bars for teacher qualification.

  3. Less spending per child on nutrition, transportation, extracurriculars or advanced placement, special needs, and a litany of other services that makes public schools a bedrock of support for hardworking Arkansas families. 

  4. No accountability during the first four years of their existence while under initial accreditation.


The funding for the LEARNS Act comes directly from the budgets of public school districts into the pockets of private educational companies through the school voucher program. 


Our Vision

CAPES believes that the education of our children is best suited in environments where their unique skills and gifts are cultivated and they are mentored to be the leaders of tomorrow. We also believe that the quality of that education should not be reduced to a commodity to be traded in vouchers to educational entrepreneurs. 


Our Mission

CAPES is committed to building a statewide volunteer base to educate and engage everyday Arkansans about the damages that the LEARNS Act will do to rural economies, public school districts, and state budgets. Our goal is to mobilize citizen volunteers to overturn or veto the LEARNS Act before public school closures and consolidations become the norm. 


Call to Action

CAPES calls out to fellow teachers, parents, students, former students, and concerned citizens to join us in building a grassroots movement to save Arkansas public schools and ensure a brighter future for our children and future generations. 

Our officers

Executive Director
Steve Grappe

Steve Grappe is the Chair of the Rural Caucus of Arkansas. Steve is a Father, Husband, Veteran, Farmer, Community Organizer and Activist.  He graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas and attended UofA Fayetteville and Henderson State.  His background is in engineering, sales, business management and he ran a photography studio for 10 years.  He is passionate about the fight for equity, liberty and opportunity for EVERY citizen. Steve believes in fairness and justice for all and he will fight with all of the energy that he has until the last breath leaves his body to make this world a better place for everyone.  

Chair Veronica McClane

Veronica is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with a wide array of experience and a love for finding ways to speak out and show up for a better Arkansas for all. 


Veronica earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 2008. She then earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2011, and finally a Master of Science with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2015. She enjoys spending time with her husband, her two children, and her two dogs. She works as a mental health therapist, and in her free time works to educate others and keep our communities informed of all things public education.

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