LRSD reorganization: Not so hot | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

LRSD reorganization: Not so hot

Posted By on Tue, Feb 12, 2008 at 5:21 PM

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The Little Rock School Board has received a report from a group of academic experts on their evaluation of the 2005 administrative reorgnization undertaken during the tenure of former Supt. Roy Brooks (pictured).

I've linked the executive summary here. The full report is 114 pages, too long for my memory bank. The School Board will begin discussing it later this week.

Short takes: Some 100 jobs were eliminated or reclassified. But it appears the people at the top were a whole lot happier with the results than those down the food chain. The consultants cited many shortcomings.

The reorganization was widely hailed on the outside -- in the business community -- as a good thing. Staying busy, Corps of Engineers style, is viewed as a plus in these circles. Layoffs are cheered particularly.

However,  the consultants said the reforms appeared to "have little impact" beyond district leadership. Parents didn't notice improvement. Teachers saw no change in available resources. Principals found little improvement in coordination with other principals. The district did not improve evaluations for lower level staff members. Administrative services were not consolidated into one efficient facility. The lost positions most lamented were ombudsman; supervisors for special education and gifted and talented education; instructional center jobs to support literacy, math and science, and some clerical positions. Administrators didn't communicate effectively about the reorganization. Communication was lacking.

(I worked directly as a volunteer with a program in which the gifted coordinator participated. In a district desperate to hold a diverse student population, you wanted a strong gifted and talented department, including a coordinator who helped staff stay abreast of developments in the field. The ending of this job was a  loss that I witnessed first-hand.)

Some recommendations were made by the study group for effective reorganization.

But what could this Gang of Four so-called experts know? Roy Brooks was building the best urban school district in America. The Democrat-Gazette has told us so repeatedly.  It's not possible that his administration was longer on words than deeds, is it? Is it possible he really is the guy who wrote those funky ads for the eStem charter school and the grammar-challenged website text?



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