Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Let the eagle soar

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The Friday night line is open. Finishing up:

* PRAYING FOR CONWAY SCHOOLS: Having had some cutesy responses to past FOI requests for the Conway School District, all now funneled first (improperly I believe) through a Texas religious organization, I expanded a request for all possible forms of communication on the subject of campus visits by church groups, apparently a longstanding practice in Conway that a church-state separation group has questioned. The request produced 200 pages of emails, texts, notes and more on the subject.

Let me say this in Conway's defense: If some of the communications are correct in practice as well as in stated policy, the visits are defensible. The rules — which apply to a number of church groups — say that visitors may only visit students on an approved list, only in the lunchroom, only when an administrative supervisor is present and, most important, "not witnessing."

K.K. Bradshaw, director of administrative services, indicated in outlining the church visitors at various middle and high schools that K-Life, an evangelical organization, in visiting the Carl Stuart Middle School, had apparently caused concerns. She reported that a school administrator there had had "a very frank discussion with K-Life about respecting boundaries because they could be asked not to return." K-Life has insisted to me it does not proselytize. The Freedom from Religion Foundation had targeted Carl Stuart as the location of impermissible religious activities, although it mentioned an unrelated church with a similar name that doesn't visit Carl Stuart, which it may have confused with K-Life.

I've said from the start that, if the school district allows lunch visitors from a broad spectrum of groups, they can't exclude churches. And if they prevent proselytizing and religious recruitment, I don't think the schools have ventured into constitutional problem areas. There's obviously a recruitment effect from any visitation of students by any type of visitor. And anyone is free to argue about the educational value of outside visitors generally, church or otherwise. But the question in controversy is religious establishment. Given the evangelical bent of several of the visiting groups, it's not unfair to fear they might take liberties.

* ARKANSAS IN ANOTHER TOP TEN (SIGH): Gallup samples political winds and finds the country split 38-36-23, conservative/moderate/liberal. I'd point out to Republicans that this means 59 percent of the people are moderate to liberal. Liberals are a whole lot more likely to agree with a moderate position than a conservative would agree wth a moderate, if you're talking about majority consensus on most hot button issues. But they'd undoubtedly respond, yeah, but what about Arkansas? And there we are, tied for 10th as the most conservative state. Bro. Rapert is working hard to take us to No. 1, currently held by Alabama. Spread 'em, ladies.

* CHARTER SCHOOL WATCH: THE BILLIONAIRES NEVER QUIT: At last count, the House Education Committee had a solid majority opposed to the Billionaire Boys Clubproposed takeover of school regulation in Arkansas. Their bill not only would take over approval and oversight of charter schools with legislatively appointed (and suitably pliant) appointees, but give that board broad power on conversions of real public schools. The Waltons/Hussmans/Stephenses/Murphys/Dillards didn't spend all that money to buy the legislature and to promote their cause to lose this signature pet issue. Multiple reports say Walton six-figure lobbyist Luke Gordy has been hotboxing Education Director Tom Kimbrell about ways to make the legislation acceptable to the Beebe administration. Given the rich guys' clout, Beebe might be willing to cut some sort of deal. School advocates say this is not a group to make a deal with. Let that rich camel's nose in the tent and couple of humps will soon follow.

* OH, NEVER MIND: I wrote earlier that the great Medicaid audit would not be released today. After slavering for early release before a roomful of Republicans primed to hear good spin earlier in the week, the august Republican co-chairs of the committee, Bryan King and Kim Hammer, now declaim in a statement that the report won't be released today because the Audit staff is still reviewing the draft and Audit believes DHS "responses deserve careful review and evaluation." Mighty nice of them. Earlier, in rush to a fast-track headline, they didn't give a rat's patoot about DHS' responses.

* ASA! DUCKS!: GOP gubernatorial candidate was asked about expanding Medicaid today. Doug Thompson of the Stephens newspapers in Northwest Arkansas reports his bob-and-weave:

"I'm going to leave that to the legislature and governor to work out. I have a lot of confidence in Michael Lamoureux and Davy Carter," the Republican Senate president and Speaker of the House, Hutchinson said. He was speaking at a meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Political Animals Club in Fayetteville.

Tags: , , , , ,

Speaking of...

Comments (21)

Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Consequences for violating the Freedom of Information Act

    I was happy to read in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today that Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley intends to file a charge of violation of the Freedom of Information Act against Rodney Forte, director of the Metroopolitan Housing Agency of Little Rock. Prosecution might be the only cure for arrogant and stupid public officials, who aren't limited to the housing agency.
    • Oct 30, 2014
  • The Democratic push for black voter turnout unsettles white Republicans

    Democratic groups are using racially charged images to turn out the black votes, nationally and in Arkansas, and Republicans aren't happy about it. Truth hurts.
    • Oct 30, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Koch mailer: We know who you are, we know if you vote

    Still more complaints rolling in — including from Republicans — about the mail campaign of the Koch-brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity to scare people into voting.
  • Pat Hays' NRA membership riles Republicans

    Democratic 2nd District Congress candidate Pat Hays is causing conniption fits among Republicans because a new TV ad shows him with his guns and mentions his long-time membership in the National Rifle Association.
  • Talk is cheap; state government isn't: Preparing for the new GOP order

    The state looks at rising prison and school costs in a world where the theme of Republican political campaigns is reducing government and cutting taxes. Does anybody in that party know arithmetic?
  • Live Review: Nahko and Medicine for the People at Rev Room

    Thursday night, Portland, Oregon’s Nahko and Medicine for the People brought their “musical medicine” to Little Rock’s Revolution Music Room, a fitting venue for the socially-conscious music collective. Their uplifting medley of folk, urban and world music, as well as hypnotizing videos featuring their music have enchanted activist-minded music fans across the world in the relatively short time they have been creating music together.
  • What about the Arkansas ballot issues?

    To give the legislature more power, the people less, a wetter state, longer term limits and a bump in the minimum wage.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation