Will LRSD drop the bomb? | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Will LRSD drop the bomb?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Big school news brewing. Chris Heller, attorney for the Little Rock School District, has written a letter to the Little Rock School Board that asserts that the state of Arkansas has violated its 1989 agreement to end the Pulaski desegregation case, particularly by how it has encouraged open-enrollment charter schools that promote segregated schools in Pulaski County.

Here's Heller's letter. He'd turn down nearly a half-billion in a state settlement offer (over seven years) to fight the state's unwillingness to address damaging state actions against Little Rock and other public school districts/

Here's his proposed legal filing against the state for refusing to negotiate any sort of settlement that provides some protection against continued creation of white-flight, advantaged-student flight from the LRSD.

He's right of course. But the law may have left him behind. The Republican court and the business community of Arkansas favor creating multiple, inefficient, expensive charter school districts that skim the cream of students from conventional public schools, particularly in districts with strong teacher unions. They don't really care what happens to the remnants.

But forget my bias. Read Heller's argument. This could prove a landmark case about charter schools, which provide a way around deseg orders, a way around minimum school size, a way around state limits on school efficiency, a way around voucher antipathy, etc. If the Board decides to follow him and fight what the state has done, this could be a precedent-setting case. It's hard to predict where the School Board stands.

Why won't the proponents of education reform work harder to improve the general public education system, America's great achievement? Why do they favor an elite/havenots result? It's worth thinking about.


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