State arguing both ways on school choice | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 16, 2012

State arguing both ways on school choice

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Anybody else notice this paradox?

A federal lawsuit arising in Malvern challenges the state's decision to deny student transfers to another district based on potential adverse racial impact. The state attorney general, in defending a state statute, argues the state is bound to guard against de facto segregation of Arkansas schools.

At the very same time, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is arguing that the state has no obligation to consider the segregative effects of open enrollment charter schools in Pulaski County, several of which have leached off white students from the already majority black Little Rock and North Little Rock school districts, particularly at the middle school level.

If the families trying to get out of Malvern had the Walton-Stephens-Hussman-Murphy combine on their side, McDaniel might be singing a different tune.

I should have added originally that the state has made an explicit promise in federal litigation NOT to contribute to segregation in Pulaski County, as part of making amends for years of discriminatory behavior in Little Rock. Charter schools, though publicly funded, don't count in the state's current view. It's a now 55-year continuum — no politician ever hurt himself beating up on the Little Rock School District. McDaniel joins a long and inglorious line.

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