Thursday, June 9, 2016

Little Rock School District report; good news marks Kurrus' farewell

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 10:56 AM

click to enlarge LOOKING UP: Test scores rising in Little Rock School District.
  • LOOKING UP: Test scores rising in Little Rock School District.

click to enlarge BAKER KURRUS: In a sometimes emotional appearance, Kurrus talked about achievements in the district during his year as superintendent.
  • BAKER KURRUS: In a sometimes emotional appearance, Kurrus talked about achievements in the district during his year as superintendent.
Outgoing Superintendent Baker Kurrus reported to the state Board of Education on the Little Rock School District this morning.

He had good news on performance in the district, taken over by the state a year agop for low scores in six of 48 schools. Kurrus was fired by Education Commissioner Johnny Key because of his objections to the continued expansion of charter schools that drain higher income and already achieving students from the Little Rock District, which has a far higher percentage of black and poor students, plus more special ed and non-English students.

Kurrus said test scores were "uncommonly good." He spoke at length about many topics — from a new middle school in western Little Rock to the achievements notched at several elementary schools, including Bale and Rockefeller. He became emotional at teams for the spirit that was being developed from students to staff. Sen. Joyce Elliott spoke afterward and commended the district and urged the board to return control of the district to voters.

Key has hired a new superintendent from Bentonville, nominally because Kurrus' skills were organizational and not academic. The results presented today indicated results in the academic arena, too.

Kurrus supporters have felt all along that, in addition to charter expansion opposition, Kurrus was doing entirely too well in leading the district, and thus presenting a disincentive for people to flee to charter schools and an obstacle to the Walton Family Foundation's desire to see the district taken over by private management corporations to become a lab for all their school theories. Kurrus has shown what can be done with old-fashioned technique and teamwork. He was asked, too, about absenteeism by teachers — a hobby horse of the Little Rock School District haters. Kurrus gave a remarkable talk that concluded that, while the situation had improved, he didn't have all the answers. But he said teachers took days off in part for mental health reasons — a pressure cooker of tough classrooms, high expectations and, often, lack of broad support. It was that kind of empathy that made him a successful and popular. Reward: He was fired for ideological reasons.

AND SPEAKING OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL AGENDA: The state Board voted today to review the departmental staff denial of a charter school expansion to Haas Hall Academy, the targeted-at-upper-tier students charter school in Northwest Arkansas. With Asa Hutchinson appointees now in control of the board and Republicans in NWA whining about the Haas Hall denial, I like the chances of future affirmation, despite the schools' lack of diversity,past funny business with admissions and the complains I've heard from parents about barriers (expensive lunch and uniforms, difficult access to computers) to low-income students.

Tags: , ,


Speaking of Little Rock School District, Baker Kurrus

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Question raised on Dallas Cowboy gift to NLR cops

    Blogger Russ Racop raises an interesting question, as he sometimes does, about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' gift of free tickets for North Little Rock cops to attend a Dallas Cowboy football game.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Backers of struck marijuana act urge vote for surviving amendment

    Backers of Issue 7, the medial marijuana initiated act that the Arkansas Supreme Court today ruled hadn't qualified for the ballot, have issued a statement urging backers to vote for the surviving medical marijuana amendment, Issue 6.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Group calls for independent review of police shooting

    Arkansas Stop the Violence, a grassroots group focused on stemming violence, particularly in black neighborhoods, issued a statement today calling for an "independent" investigation of the police fatal shooting Tuesday night of Roy Lee Richards.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Foster family disputes key statements from Justin Harris

    Craig and Cheryl Hart were the foster parents of the two sisters who were adopted by Rep. Justin Harris and his wife Marsha and later "rehomed." The Harts say that the adoption was allowed to proceed over the objections of the foster parents and local DHS staff due to pressure exerted by Cecile Blucker, head of the Division of Children and Family Services, on behalf of Justin Harris.
    • Mar 7, 2015
  • Four little words for equality: Civil rights bill filed for sexual orientation, gender identity

    Today, Rep. Greg Leding filed HB 1959, which adds four words to the state civil rights law to prohibit discrimination in employment, public accommodations, property transactions, credit or the political process on grounds of "sexual orientation, gender identity." The law already protects in cases of race, religion, national origin or disabilities.
    • Mar 9, 2015
  • Not everyone is in Tom Cotton fan club

    Conservative New York newspaper labels Tom Cotton and others "traitors" for injecting themselves into presidential diplomacy with Iran.
    • Mar 10, 2015

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation