New school downtown UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 21, 2008

New school downtown UPDATE

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 8:43 AM

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-- Brian Chilson photos

UPDATE: School chief Roy Brooks greets arrivals at the new e-Stem charter school Monday morning. The old Gazette building, its home, hasn't been so busy since election night 1992, but traffic seemed to keep moving as we passed.

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Posted earlier:

The e-Stem charter schools in the old Gazette building open tomorrow -- 7:30 a.m. for elementary and 8 for middle and high schools. I expect first-day traffic, along with the new traffic patterns (two-way on Louisiana) might create a little confusion. Downtown workers, you've been notified.

The Downtown Partnership plans to have members standing on street corners welcoming the new students and staff to downtown. New life in the neighborhod and all.

A retired school teacher writes to ask if the Downtown Partnership ever stood on corners to welcome kids to Carver, King, Rockefeller, etc.

Speaking of schools: The NY Times magazine today has an interesting article on how Louisville is coping with the Supreme Court decision ending the use of race as a sole determinant of school assignments. That city is combining race along with economics of families to draw assignment plans. Interesting information in the article about the one sure strategy for education achievement -- put kids in a school with a majority of middle income or better kids and all will advance, regardless of race or economics. The problem comes, of course, when a school district's enrollment doesn't provide enough middle class kids to spread around. Thus, when you see charter schools such as the LISA and A-Plus schools do well, it's not particularly surprising given their demographic makeup -- majority white, majority not poor. That's not the case at the KIPP schools, though they still enjoy the solid benefit of motivated parents who have self-selected a school with significant expectations for parents as well as students.

We don't know anything yet about the e-Stem enrollment demographics because -- despite significant expenditures of public money in the process that led to its approval for millions in state funding -- its leaders have stuck with the fiction that they are private insofar as their records are concerned until the first state check is cut. I'm interested, since the school has a waiting list in some grades, how choices were made on which students were enrolled and how many are students who were below grade level expectations at previous schools.


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