Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Johnny Key's message to City Board ominous

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 6:55 AM

click to enlarge OMINOUS: Johnny Key at City Board.
  • OMINOUS: Johnny Key at City Board.
I had a conflict and couldn't watch Education Commissioner Johnny Key's appearance before the Little Rock City Board of Directors but two TV accounts and a comment or two from others weren't encouraging to those who hope for a return of a democratically controlled universal system of public education in Little Rock.

KATV reported that Key emphasized that even adequate scores at five schools (of 48) on academic distress wouldn't necessarily release the Little Rock School District from state control this fall because the rules say a distress status can be cured only by a three-year rolling average. (Unless you are a charter school, of course, in which case continuing failure means nothing to Key or his handlers at the Walton Family Foundation.)

Channel 7 News asked Key if it was realistic for the public to expect new LRSD Superintendent Michael Poore to get the district out of state control if there is a three year average.

"I think we can expect that he is going to do everything he can to make that happen. So much is dependent on those test results that you can't predict." Key said.
KTHV was even more disheartening:

Many faces in the crowd winced when Mayor Mark Stodola asked Key, how LRSD will reach goals set by his department, when they're facing financial constraints, and are expected to lose another $37 million in desegregation funding.

Key's response: charter schools will ease that burden.

THV11 wanted to make sure we understood Key correctly, so we asked him to clarify.

"What the waivers do is allow opportunities for cost-savings. So that, on top of the cost savings that have already been implemented. We're not out of the woods, on the financial future of the district, but I think we've made a lot of progress towards fixing that, and as charter schools expand and students leave, you might lose kids, but you're getting kids from other districts.”

[City Director Kathy] Webb disagrees, saying that expanding charter schools is not the way to establish financial stability at LRSD.
Webb was too polite. She should have responded that what Key had just said was utter horse bleep. Draining kids from wealthier families with already-proficient test scores is going to help the Little Rock School District?

One Twitter report said Key advocated "conversion charters" as a solution to the problem. This is particularly ominous. In 2015, Key and the Walton Family Foundation and other Republicans and members of the Billionaire Boys Club favored legislation that would have allowed turning the entire district over to private charter school management companies. Sounds like that idea isn't dead.

Michael Poore, the new superintendent hired by Key after he fired Baker Kurrus for objecting to continued charter expansion, dutifully Tweeted a photo of Key at the meeting in front of a sign that said the state was going to emphasize "student-focused education." This is essentially a libel of the tens of thousands of people who've devoted their lives to focusing on students. But it fits the Walton theme that schools are run by uncaring slackers interested only in their own paychecks.

Key said he supported a strong public education system. What he didn't say was what that means. Does it mean a democratically elected school board in Little Rock? Or does it mean a crazy quilt of have- and have-not charter schools — hidden from full accountability — experimenting on our children with the latest scheme out of the Walton-financed propaganda mill at the University of Walton? City Director Kathy Webb had a response for Key on Twitter: "Let's pause charter expansion & keep qualified teachers."

SPEAKING Of SCHOOL PERFORMANCE: The Little Rock School District has compiled the latest 1st and 2nd grade test scores broken down in a way to compare schools with low percentages of poor children and those with high percentages of poor children. Scores at charter schools are added into the mix.

To put it simply: High poverty is a predictor generally of low scores. And vice versa. The poorest Little Rock schools are made up of almost 100 percent student bodies that qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Kurrus has devised a ranking that takes into account poverty rate and test scores to rank how well the schools perform against their expectations based on poverty percentages. In short, the highly touted charter schools don't do so hot.

You can check it out at this link.

I don't think it matters much. Kurrus' last day is June 30. The Waltons at that point will be thoroughly in control. I don't think they intend to let go until they've achieved their aim of a New Orleans-style takeover of the Little Rock School District. Don't confuse the Hutchinson administration with anyone who gives a fig about the wishes of people in the Little Rock School District for self-determination. Perhaps we should all pray, as Key used to have charges do at his state-financed pre-school in Mountain Home.


Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (20)

Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-20 of 20

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Facing closure, Wilson Elementary families deliver angry message to school leaders

    "Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation