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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The end of school districts

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:15 AM

THE END OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS: Johnny Key envisions it.
  • THE END OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS: Johnny Key envisions it.
Sen. Johnny Key, who's sponsor of legislation to effectively remove any barriers to student transfers among school districts, posted this Twitter this morning. Wittingly, or unwittingly, it zings right to the heart of the matter:

Kids should not be bound to attend a school b/c of arbitrary, imaginary lines that create a "district"

This is the one-school-district theory of education. It is defensible in the Arkansas Constitution, which makes the state ultimately responsible for a sufficient and equal education for all students in Arkansas. It IS the logical conclusion of a system in which a parent can claim an educational advantage to moving a white kid from El Dorado to Parkers Chapel or Norphlet and both the losing and gaining district have little constructive means — except arbitrariness — to stop it.

Even many of the school administrators fighting such a sweeping change in the law in the interest of preserving local district autonomy know that Arkansas still has way too many school districts. We shouldn't have many more than one per county — perhaps a few additional in areas with big populations.

But the billionaires Johnny Key is speaking for ultimately favor total portability of public money. They want a parent to be able to take it wherever they wish, preferably to a school unburdened by state regulation and without a union workforce, even a private church school.

Appealing as this might sound to some, it would have profound consequences and hasten the demise of many small school districts that patrons love for their insular community feel, regardless of course offerings, achievement or management. It would also be the death knell of uniform and equal education for all.

Radical stuff.

I touched on this huge subject in a column this week.

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