Outcome-based education legislation, Republican style | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 5, 2012

Outcome-based education legislation, Republican style

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 10:30 AM

We go to press this week before the election so I was working on a column about how some things will remain the same in Arkansas regardless of how the election turns out. Might as well share the gist of it now.

For example: Education. The Billionaire Boys Club bought significant legislative control in 2010 and the result was a loosening of the charter school law in 2011, with a floating cap that automatically increases each time a cap is hit. But that still wasn't enough for the Walton-Stephens-Murphy-Hussman combine that seeks to wreck universal public education with a crazy quilt of "choice" programs that will create some winners and a lot of losers, particularly in urban areas like Little Rock.

The Walton money is in play again this election season, primarily in behalf of a Republican majority because Republican Party dogma has always supported private school vouchers, tax money for home schoolers and more charter schools where favored economic classes can flee people not like them. But there are Democrats on board this train already, too. And the completion of the Walton agenda is in the offing.

A plan is underway to loosen still further charter school restrictions. In a Walton-perfected world, there'd be no cap on charter school establishment. Fly-by-night profiteers with no track record and scant financial backing would be allowed to freely enter the education field here with tax money. Someday, in the great by and by, if they fail, they'd be shut down. The children schooled in these failed institutions would just be collateral damage.

Sen. Michael Lamoureux, who'll lead the Senate if Republicans have a majority and who'll be part of a charter school majority vote no matter which party is in power, was quoted in the Democrat-Gazette over the weekend as saying charter-school supporters don’t believe that the current process for considering proposed charter schools is “very fair,” but he doesn’t know what “the exact solution would be.”

I asked him what was unfair about the current system. We have perhaps the most diverse, most diligent state Board of Education of my 40 years in Arkansas. Its membership includes black people, white people, a Latina activist, former legislators and a pillar of the Little Rock charter school movement. It has rigorously reviewed both charter school applications and the performance of existing charter schools. It has been generally supportive of charters (and tough on failing conventional public schools), but it has rejected some charter expansions and some new applications, always for cogently expressed reasons. What's not to like? We could wish that the Game and Fish Commission, to name one, had such a healthy representation of viewpoints and dealt so fully, openly and earnestly with competing philosophies on the field it regulates.

Lamoureux's response:

"I guess by unfair I mean, we are not getting the desired result."

Wow. That's an honest answer.

Republicans don't want facts. They don't want fairness. They don't want due diligence. They want "results." Meaning, they want their way. Or the way of the fatcats who bankroll them.

I asked Luke Gordy, the well-paid Walton lobbyist who oversees multiple efforts to enforce the Walton way on Arkansas public schools (including an outfit that expropriates the good name of a non-ideological school organization), for an outline of the new charter school enabling legislation. No dice. The Walton idea of transparency does not include that, apparently, except with friendly legislators.

I pressed Lamoureux on whether he thought the state Board of Education review was somehow flawed or unnecessary. He responded to my specific question that there should be a review on finances, track record and the like.

Yes, those issues should be considered.

I think proponents feel the process is not yielding desired results.

I do not know all the details.

Who needs details? It's enough to know the Waltons are unhappy with results so far.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum ā€” removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them ā€” see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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