That Rep. Steve Faris is one cagey operator. Check out his bill to prohibit public schools from setting up cosmetology programs in competition with for-profit cosmetology schools.
I'll let the Arkansas School Boards Association explain what's wrong with this little bit of protectionism.
By: Senator Faris
By: Representative Dunn
ASBA is opposed to SB 107 which is an act to prohibit approval of certain cosmetological schools in public educational institutions; and for other purposes.
Currently, public school cosmetology programs are saving students and families an estimated $3 million a year in tuition alone.
SB 107 would create “do not approve” zones and prevent establishment of new cosmetology training programs in any public educational institution.
Article 14, Section 1 of Arkansas Constitution mandates, “…the State shall ever maintain a general, suitable and efficient system of free public schools and shall adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.”
Any public K-12 school, public career and technical school, two-year college or four-year college seeking to establish an independent vocational cosmetology program would be denied program approval if the program site would be within 50 miles of any existing private school of cosmetology.
Any public cosmetology program within the “do not approve zone” would be forced to contract with an existing private school of cosmetology in order to provide a program to students.
To be licensed as a cosmetologist, 1500 hours of instruction are required, and a rigorous exam must be passed. A high school student can complete between 500 and 750 hours of documented instruction in a high school program.
Arkansas public school districts and public-supported two-year schools offer a variety of technical programs besides cosmetology, including nursing and health-related occupations, culinary school, welding and information technology, which have direct competition from for-profit, private career and technical schools.
The developmental and instructional needs of 16-, 17- and 18-year-old students are different from those of older, private cosmetology school students. The students who are being served in the 15 existing programs as part of a high school program would not be enrolled in a private cosmetology school if the free, public school program were not available.
This bill presents a very slippery slope. Cosmetology is no different from any other career/technical program (such as auto body, welding, information technology, etc.) If this bill becomes law, other for-profit, private career and technical schools could seek similar protection, limiting competition and suppressing education opportunities for Arkansans.