For education/LRSD wonks | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 16, 2009

For education/LRSD wonks

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 12:20 PM

As close readers know, I long ago made FOI requests for internal Little Rock School Board e-mail because it frequently provides insight on decisions, happenings, etc. in the district.

Here's another good example.

Board member Baker Kurrus posed a number of questions recently about a federal grant the district has sought to help teachers of American history. The questions boiled down to probing about benefits for students.

Superintendent Linda Watson provided this response, which includes the questions Kurrus posed.  Kurrus' response to her answer is on the jump. In short, he thinks the district would do better to focus sharply on core functions before embarking on "grant chasing" for "amorphous" training programs.

As I say, it's for the wonks. But interesting.

BAKER KURRUS TO OTHER SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS AND SUPT.

Thanks for this.  It is interesting.  The information does provide me with some insight with regard to this grant, and this sort of thing in general.  My primary criticism is that the money is spent on amorphous "training" that seems to supplant basic curriculum, benchmarks, standards, and instruction that should be systemic as a matter of practice.  The grant certainly implies that our regular program is inadequate or not properly implemented.  I would prefer that we implement a strong instructional program with motivated instructors as a routine matter.  This would streamline a lot of what we are doing, and get us back to a manageable operation.  If the grant is designed to enhance our program of instruction, then I guess I would argue that we need to get the basic building blocks in place, across the board, before we divert our attention to this sort of thing.  This particular grant may not be the best example, but in many cases we have been distracted from our principal mission by grant-chasing.
 
As I have said so many times even I am sick of myself saying it, effective instructional methods and best practices need to be systematically incorporated into our routine instruction for all teachers and all students.  The programatic approach has not yielded satisfactory results for all students over the long term.
 
A couple of final things:  How many teachers annually attend the training sessions, and what is the total annual amount of the grant?  (I want to see the annual cost per trainee.)  Is attendance mandatory for all history teachers?  If not, isn't it true that most of the teachers who really embrace non-mandatory professional development are the highly-motivated teachers who need it the least? 
 
I know I am a voice in the wilderness on all of this, and I don't want anyone to think I don't appreciate the hard work that goes in to making LRSD the best it can be.  I do appreciate all that is done for our kids, but I also think we would be better off today if we simplified our district, drew a tighter focus, and worked more directly on the major problems that are swamping us.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Hutchinson's former chief of staff Lamoureux hits revolving door to state lobby firm

    DBH Management Consultants, the consulting/lobbying firm headed by former legislator Bruce Hawkins, has announced that it has hired Michael Lamoureux, a former senator and former chief of staff to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
    • Sep 20, 2017
  • The cost of the health bill: Arkansas is a loser

    Another analysis says Arkansas, contrary to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's assertions yesterday, would be a big loser under the pending legislation to kill Obamacare.
    • Sep 20, 2017
  • Jimmy Kimmel: Health bill flunks 'Kimmel test'

    Jimmy Kimmel gave an extended rip of the Graham-Cassidy health bill last night saying Cassidy had lied to him when he said he wouldn't back health legislation that didn't pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test." That is, no family should be denied emergency health care if they couldn't afford it.
    • Sep 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • The long shadow of Paula Jones looms over Donald Trump

    The Daily Beast reports that the precedent set in allowing Paula Jones to sue then-President Bill Clinton now holds peril for Donald Trump.
  • Rapert challenger faults his reference to her

    Sen. Jason Rapert, the Faulkner County Republican, spoke to an NAACP session in Conway yesterday and encountered a question from his announced Democratic opponent, Maureen Skinner.Her campaign took offense
  • Legislature itches for more control over 'independent' agencies

    Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning on growing tension over the legislature's effort to exert more control over the state's constitutionally independent agencies. The immediae target is the Game and Fish Commission, but it's a sprawling dispute over balance of powers.
  • A 4th inmate death this month referred to State Police

    Another inmate death has been referred to State Police for investigation after James Walker, a prisoner at the Cummins Unit, died of a head injury at a local hospital. It is unclear if the injury was a result of an assault or a fall.
  • Jimmy Kimmel: Health bill flunks 'Kimmel test'

    Jimmy Kimmel gave an extended rip of the Graham-Cassidy health bill last night saying Cassidy had lied to him when he said he wouldn't back health legislation that didn't pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test." That is, no family should be denied emergency health care if they couldn't afford it.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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