Favorite

White flight charter 

Remember the Little Scholars of Arkansas Academy (LISA)? This is the charter school, approved by the state Board of Education over the objections of the Little Rock School Board. It is to open next fall. A pair of UALR profs set up the taxpayer-financed school for students interested in science, math and technology. Presumably, they'll draw salaries for the work they manage to squeeze in around their full-time jobs at UALR. I oppose diverting tens of thousands in tax dollars to LISA. Why? Because the Little Rock School District already meets the needs of high-achieving students. See last week's state science fair results, dominated by Little Rock students, as a sample of their work. Because the school will drain good students from the Little Rock School District and make it more difficult to desegregate an urban district with a dwindling student population. Because the founders offended me by saying all the "best families" in Little Rock already put their kids in private schools. My son and daughter, Little Rock school district graduates, are just poor white trash, I guess. This week came more reason to disbelieve LISA's purported interest in an underserved minority population. LISA got approval from the state Board of Education to move the school from a location near downtown in the old Union Station to the gateway of White Bread Land, a former medical clinic at Interstates 430 and 630. The vote was 5 to 2. Praise Board members MaryJane Rebick and Diane Tatum for opposing the move. School leader Serhan Dagtas said the school would be more accessible at the new location. But, Rebick asked, to whom? Rebick noted that LISA, in justifying its original application, had identified downtown and Southwest Little Rock as areas in need of its services. She said the school should stay in central Little Rock. Indeed, if LISA meant a word of its pitch, accessibility is vitally important because the school will offer no transportation. Rebick also said the school's ads "kind of got my ire up" by promising "free" college prep courses. Taxpayers foot the bill, big-time. The ads irked me, too, particularly the lengthy hard-sell commercials LISA has been running on KUAR. (Public radio: Now there's a perfect place to reach low-rent folks like me.) I inquired about the ads, because, typically, sponsors on public radio don't get to make direct commercial pitches. Station manager Ben Fry informs me that non-profits are not limited in their commercial message. They can pitch wares if they have them. So how's this for weird in a school district trying to get the state out of a half-century of desegregation litigation? A state-financed school - a school even more likely to encourage white flight with a location closer to white flight neighborhoods -is touting its "free" education on a state-subsidized public radio station. If I were a member of one of the city's "best families," maybe I would have the capacity to understand why the state Board of Education approved this mess. I'm thankful, at least, for the recent vigilance of Rebick and Tatum.
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015
  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Don't cry for Robert E. Lee

    Congratulations are in order for Governor Hutchinson. He decided this year to devote the weight of his office to end the state's embarrassing dual holiday for slavery defender Robert E. Lee and civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • City Board discovers LRSD

    An article in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reminded me of John Belushi in "Animal House" exhorting frat brothers to rally against a dean's effort to put them out of business. "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Supremely disappointing

    The Arkansas Supreme Court last week delivered a blow to civil rights in Arkansas. It was another results-oriented decision that gives a clue to how far the justices likely will go to appease the legislature.
    • Mar 2, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Worse than N.C.'s bathroom bill

    SB 774 extends birth certificate requirement to bathrooms in all public facilities, and that's an original birth certificate, too.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Don't cry for Robert E. Lee

    • The South hasn't quit fighting. No, but Robert E Lee did and he could have…

    • on March 23, 2017
 

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