Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Baker Kurrus for ????

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 8:08 PM

SPIDERMEN: Baker Kurrus talked about one of his favorite kids. With great power comes great responsibility, he said.
  • SPIDERMEN: Baker Kurrus talked about one of his favorite kids. With great power comes great responsibility, he said.

Baker Kurrus,
encouraged by an old friend, gave what may have been his first public speech tonight since ending his time as Little Rock School District superintendent. It was part of a monthly program at the little Presbyterian Church I attend once and again.

He preached from Matthew, about the least among us. He talked of what he'd tried to achieve. He, and nearly everyone there, were moved near tears by accounts of the kids he tried to reach as superintendent.

He talked of the threat charter schools present to the Little Rock School District and spoke knowingly of how a new state school voucher program — limited in scope and seemingly aimed at needy children — may be but another way to divide and segregate rather than unite school populations. Will it take only lightly disabled, not the profoundly challenged students public school districts must find a way to help? He noted a newspaper article that said a private school hoped to score some of this money, but one child presented too many problems for the school to handle. Guess who gets those kids? Guess who get the kids with minor speech impediments? How does that rejected kid feel?

The least among us were high on Kurrus' list of talking points. He came with photos of his time visiting schools — such as Spiderman (seen above), whom he wrote memorably about. And the kids at Washington,who rubbed the head of the bald man for good luck

We lost a good man as school leader. And the crowd rose in a prolonged ovation as testament. I wish I'd recorded the talk. He said he's not mad at anybody (but make no mistake: he was fired for speaking out against the damaging influence of charter schools). He simply recited facts: Of the broken promises of charter operators to serve the needy; of the numbers that don't reflect true diversity in charter enrollment; of the determinative destiny of economics in education and how charter schools don't better the Little Rock schools despite the advantages. A school teacher chimed in: She's a  teacher in a poor neighborhood (all students qualify for free meals). Her school has high test scores but is decimated by transfers to eStem, soon to build a nearby school in an area with, already, five schools within a mile radius. This is efficiency in education? This is meeting an unmet need?

Most devastating stats: The 80% proficient and advanced performance rate on students that eStem and LISA take from Little Rock public schools. (Were they trapped? The numbers say they weren't.) The 6,600 seats soon to be occupied in parallel school districts, including eStem, one of the 20 largest in Arkansas, within the boundaries of the district. The resulting concentration of poor and disadvantaged children. 

But let me not belabor all this.

Baker's friend asked the question on all our minds. So, what next?

"I want to serve," said Kurrus.

More specifically? He did not say. But he did say elections matter. He did say local officials should stand up and be counted on whether they endorse the resegregation of Little Rock schools by race and class and the potential harm to the city if it happens.  This begins with the Little Rock City Board and rises to the very top of state government. So we shall see.

There's more to come in this story. I think the reaction in this crowd of aging white liberals indicates he could get some votes.

His invocation of John Wesley reminded me of my own Methodist upbringing:

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.
Even if I don't have the Walton millions to match their effort to tear down the Little Rock School District, I'm with Kurrus. Do all you can.

Tags: , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Dexter Suggs resigns as Little Rock school superintendent

    This just in from state Education Department: Today, Commissioner Johnny Key reached an agreement with Dr. Dexter Suggs that resulted in Dr. Suggs’ immediate resignation as superintendent of the Little Rock School District.
    • Apr 21, 2015
  • Deputy killed, police chief wounded in Sebastian County. Suspect in custody

    40/29 TV reports that two law officers were shot about 7 a.m. today near Hackett in Sebastian County and at mid-afternoon came word that one of them had died. Later in the day a suspect was taken into custody in the shooting.
    • Aug 10, 2016
  • More legal headaches for Dexter Suggs

    Dexter Suggs may have cleared out his office before the workday began today, but he still has lingering legal matters as defendant in lawsuits against him and the state.
    • Apr 21, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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