Blogging deseg talks | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blogging deseg talks

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Rep. Mark Martin is posting a blow-by-blow of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's presentation this morning to the legislative committee overseeing efforts to end the state's spending on Pulaski County school desegregation. It's very informative, though you'll get a little Martin opinionating now and then.

McDaniel thinks he's made a wonderful settlement offer. Legislators from outside Pulaski County agree. Legislators from within Pulaski County -- thank you Sens. Salmon and Steele -- remind the others that rank discrimination of the most evil sort got the state in this pickle in the first place.

McDaniel is not giving an inch on the lingering question of charter schools. No surprise. He's a current political candidate with gubernatorial aspirations. Nobody outside Pulaski County (and few enough in it) give a damn about what happens to the public school districts here. It's unreasonable to expect the state to say it will slow the millionaires' push to skim all the motivated families out of Pulaski public schools and leave the homeless, dysfunctional and troubled in the remnant regular school districts. Even if that means the state will promote the inefficiency of duplicate administrative structures times a dozen or more little free-standing school districts.

But it is NOT too much to ask that the state follow the law. Why is it so hard for McDaniel, as the state's chief legal officer, to promise 1) The state will approve charter schools in Pulaski County only when they've demonstrated, as the law requires, solid plans to provide education to serve unmet needs and 2) that the state consider, as the federal court has obligated it to do, the impact on segregation in its decisions about school districts in this county.

When McDaniel says there's no "nexus" between charter schools and desegregation he is closing his eyes to the obvious. When the state allows majority white schools ito be created in majority white parts of town though they offer nothing not available in the existing school districts, it contributes to segregation.

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