LRSD Board member: Go after state | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, July 25, 2009

LRSD Board member: Go after state

Posted By on Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 6:17 AM

Little Rock School Board member Micheal Daugherty has distributed an impassioned note to other Board members urging them to press action against the state for steadily increasing open enrollment charter school seats in Pulaski County without considering the impact on desegregaton.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
I piggybacked Ms. Hoffman’s e-mail to say to you all one again how important I believe it is to follow our attorney’s advice by challenging the State and its method of awarding charters and increases in available seats to organizations without regard to the law and Judge Wilson’s directives.

I have always been under the impression we all ran for and were elected to these board positions to represent the children of Little Rock and support public education. I thought we would do this in spite of our differences of opinion and ourselves. But lately I have begun to worry that some of us have forgotten why we are here. We make comments that are derogatory to staff and their efforts. We say charters are here to stay and we must adjust to deal with the competition. And we refuse to challenge the efforts of a state entity that seems to be carving our district up like a roast and slowly re-segregating it.

It took this district almost two decades to convince the courts we were worthy of governing ourselves and overseeing this district both financially and academically. We told the courts we wanted local control of our school district and would offer an equitable education at the highest level to all students who entered our doors seeking one. Now we are being told that all we have worked for, accomplished, and seek to accomplish has been in vain. We have decided to be the purveyors of children and education while following the edicts of the throne. We dare not place any additional value on them least they be unjustly taken from us and placed in the care of another; any other and without regard to their ability to educate them or their willingness to do so. We have decided to simply give away our responsibility to anyone with a building to house them and a fist full of dollars. And please help me to understand how this district will continue to exist when you dismantle all the programs that have gotten us to this point? Haven’t we been led to believe everything we have done, thus far, was good enough to get us to unitary status? So, now that we are unitary why’s it necessary to get rid of all the programs and processes that were responsible for getting us there? And finally, where will we be in another 5 or 10 years except back in federal court?

I think it is time for us to take a stand and fight for the realistic education of our children. All of our children without regard to their race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. We need to demand the existing charter schools adhere to the language of their charters and future schools follow the requirements outlined by Judge Wilson before they are granted a charter. I think its time to act and we must act now since we have negotiated in good faith for more than two years to no avail. I think it’s time we called Attorney Heller and encourage him to proceed with his/our challenge!
Robert M. Daugherty

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