Interfering with education 

Interfering with education

I am certain you have heard from many teachers in the Pulaski County Special School District who are upset about the organized efforts to destroy both PACT and PASS, our school district's labor unions, and the negotiated contracts that protect workers' rights here. I am upset about these things, too, of course, but I am writing about a different problem.

I am also angry at the three people — Dr. Jerry Guess, Dr. Tom Kimbrell, and our "Democratic" governor, Mike Beebe — who are turning the PCSSD upside-down for an even more important reason. My students need to concentrate to learn chemistry and physical science. These are not easy subjects, and, in the current environment, the focus needed to learn anything at all is incredibly difficult for teen-agers to maintain.

Can you imagine what this must be like for, say, first graders, worried about their teacher? I cannot, I admit, and I am glad I do not have to face the questions, and the worries, of small, frightened children. However, I have friends in nearby schools who are working in exactly this situation, right now.

My students have asked me, perhaps 80 times, in class, if we're going on strike. I have been asked even more often if I am being fired. This does not happen because I bring up the issue, for I do my best to avoid discussing this labor/management conflict with my students. I even have a written message to them, on my board, which simply says that they can get information about what's going on from newspapers, TV news, or the Internet, but not from me, because I'm there to teach them science.

Some of my students will face college chemistry next year. I want them to be as well-prepared as possible. I don't want anyone interfering with my classroom instructional time.

These three men are interfering with the education of my students, in my classroom, and in every classroom in the PCSSD. Our students didn't do anything to deserve having the end of their school year turned into this horrible mess.

Why are my students being mistreated in this way?

Robert Austin High School teacher in the PCSSD Little Rock

Lesson from Thompson arrest

If nothing else, residents of Little Rock should have learned at least one lesson from Dr. Joe Thompson's recent encounter with the municipal police: If an officer knocks on your door and asks you to step outside, don't! If you do, you may be walking into a trap. Once outside, the cop may look for an excuse to throw you down and handcuff you rather than engage you in conversation.

Instead of complying with the officer's request to step outside, you should politely decline and invite the officer in, where different rules will apply.

A man's home is his castle. Or at least it should be.

Bill Shepherd

Little Rock

From The Web

From a post on the Arkansas Blog on Sen. Joyce Elliott's resignation as executive director of the Promise Neighborhood after the Democrat-Gazette called into question her employment, citing a state law that prohibits the hiring of legislators by state agencies.

Joyce Elliott is one of the most decent humans I have ever met 

She clearly dropped the ball on the $340 in taxes she owed. Wow, what an awful person she is. I am super proud of the Democrat-Gazette thinking that warrants a full-blown investigation on the front page of the statewide paper. 

And speaking of absurd, how 'bout this statute? Any strict application means an elected official who takes a new job as a public school teacher, professor at a state college, state park ranger, football coach, forestry service, game warden, state trooper, or another employee for a "state agency" would be in violation of the law.

As far as the Promise Neighborhood issue is concerned, Joyce is the only person who handled herself with class. UALR dropped the ball in not doing the proper homework from the beginning. And no I don't mean homework in that Joyce should not have been hired.

Joyce was and still is clearly the best person to head up the organization. Please name another person in the history of this state who has represented underprivileged neighborhoods in Little Rock and has 30 years of experience teaching and 10 years on the Education committees in the House and Senate. 

The freaking joke is that UALR did not set up a 501c3. Or do any due diligence after deciding to hire her. The school knew she was a state senator. Think it could, maybe, I don't know, talk to a lawyer?

But the real story is that whatever the hell Walter Hussman wants, he gets. No one involved — not the Central Arkansas Library System, not UALR, not our fearless City officials — thought to actually turn to a lawyer or at any point stand up and ask whether this law is applicable to this partnership.

Nor did anyone stand up and say publicly, "Wait, a second. The worst case scenario here is that a statute that the Democrat-Gazette dug up is being woefully misapplied to an organization that in no way, shape, form, intent or function resembles a state agency." 

Not to mention, this federal grant and program partnership had the potential to be one of the true game changers for the city of Little Rock and the state. We were incredibly lucky to win it in the first place and we should all do everything we cannot to jeopardize it by killing it in its infancy

But, of course, not one person had the courage to do anything like that. Why would you let what is best for the state or our kids or education dictate your actions?

Hattie Caraway

Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is arktimes@arktimes.com. Please include name and hometown.



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