The resegregation of American schools; some Little Rock examples | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The resegregation of American schools; some Little Rock examples

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 7:59 AM

click to enlarge QUEST CHARTER: It would locate in this office building in Rahling Road in Chenal Valley.
  • QUEST CHARTER: It would locate in this office building in Rahling Road in Chenal Valley.

The state Board of Education meets Friday and the agenda includes a couple of issues that bear on nothing less than further erosion of Brown v. Board of Education and the end of the public education system as we once knew it.

I've written a column for the Times this week on the board's review of the performance of the 12-year-old Academics Plus charter school in Maumelle and the proposal for a new Quest charter middle school in Chenal Valley.

A-Plus was a charter pioneer, founded with the intention of reaching out to a diverse racial population and committed, they said, to reaching the minority children on the wrong side of the achievement gap in Pulaski County public schools. It's seeking continued approval of its charter (and probably will get it), but the board is at least going to ask some probing questions. Many are presented by its own report.  It remains a white-flight haven for predominantly white, middle-class Maumelle. Its enrollment of black and poor children remains small. But, what's worse, the neighboring Maumelle schools — with much higher enrollments of poor and mionrity students — do a better job, particularly in the problematic middle school years. Where's the innovation and performance that charter schools were supposed to deliver? After a dozen years, does accountability ever kick in?

Then there's Quest, to be run by a Texas private organization faulted in a national study by a charter school-friendly research outfit at Stanford for its poor performance with lower-end students. Not that those kind of students are really anticipated in western Little Rock. There'll be a lottery for admission if demand exceeds seats, but with a pittance budget for transportation it will be a miracle if it doesn't reflect the higher incomes and lower black percentages of the neighborhood elementaries potential Quest parents now attend. They don't want to go to majority black/poor nearby middle schools with lagging test scores. Some are improving, Forest Heights, particularly, and there are plans to make it an academic magnet, but it's a risk the parents are reluctant to take. Too bad, because it's project-oriented model sounds truly innovative.

Innovation? Look at Quest's application. It's full of meaningless education-speak gobbledygook. It promises to "feel like a private school," but be free. I think you and I both know what "feels like a private school" means. The application also says bluntly that, since the Little Rock deseg case is over, neither they nor the state need worry one bit about whether the kids they draw from the Little Rock school district  will add to segregation there or create a segregated publicly financed school surrounded by the dregs of truly public education.

Education reformer Diane Ravitch, a lonely voice against the Walton billions backing Quest and other charter schools to bust up the Little Rock School District, says it right. By intent or not, charter schools segregate by race, class and social status. The parents (black and white) don't seem to mind, not even when resulting performance follows routinely along the same old depressing lines — schools with students from more advantaged backgrounds "succeed"; those with poor students often do not.. Separate and unequal public schools, 60 years after Brown, is now a marketing tool for the billionaires' charter projects. In post-racial America, only the occasional sorehead like me objects.

I'll change no minds. But before you set off on another tear about education-speak (educanto is the word often employed by the Walton's press enablers at the DOG to deride real public schools), read Quest's application for a textbook example.  

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (30)

Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-30 of 30

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Who you gonna trust? Not GOP politicans on health care

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson keeps insisting that the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal will be great for Arkansas. Evidence keeps mounting that it will strike the state (meaning Arkansas human beings) a devasting blow.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Death reported of Robert Johnston, former legislator and homeless advocate

    In a cruel coincidence, a new development in the city's ongoing struggle with how to deal with the homeless came the day of news of the unexpected death of Robert Johnston,  a tireless advocate for the homeless in a long career of public service.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Alternate homeless feeding plan falls apart

    A plan to establish a volunteer effort to feed homeless in the far southeastern corner of the city, well removed from downtown, has fallen apart as was inevitable.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016
  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

People who saved…

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 Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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