Friday, November 18, 2016

'Please don't close our school.' A message for the Waltons.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 10:53 AM


Cry the beloved Little Rock School District. Watch and weep at a video made by students at Carver Elementary in the East End, almost certainly to be closed by the state of Arkansas as part of cost-cutting. The school succeeds with a diverse populace, but that's not good enough.

Meanwhile, if you had a very tall ladder, you could look from Carver a few blocks to the west to the site of a new Walton Family Foundation-backed campus of the eStem charter school, which will leach hundreds more students from the Little Rock School District. If past practice at eStem continues (and despite the claim that a lottery system guarantees a fair admission practice) the student body will be much whiter and much higher income than the Little Rock School District. In the past, eStem test scores haven't always reflected the edge they enjoy from income demographics and motivated parents.

In theory, the final closure decisions have not been made. In practice, parents are being urged to plan on a different school next year. No matter what Superintendent Michael Poore says, the final call goes to Education Commissioner Johnny Key. That means, the final call goes to, effectively, the Walton network, which installed Key after using him for years to explode charter school and corporation-enriching home school populations in Arkansas. The ultimate takeover of the Little Rock District by private operators seems not a question any more of if, but when. Look for legislature to speed that day in 2017.

But thanks Carver kids for trying.

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