State Education Department sidesteps complaint about creationism | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 10, 2014

State Education Department sidesteps complaint about creationism

Posted By on Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 10:52 AM

click to enlarge NON-RESPONSE RESPONSE: To complaint about school manager's biology instruction.
  • NON-RESPONSE RESPONSE: To complaint about school manager's biology instruction.
The state Education Department won't act on a complaint of teaching of religion by a charter school operator with schools in Arkansas. Department Director Tom Kimbrell referred the complainant to the operator of the schools.

The department today released its formal response to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, which had complained about the teaching of religion (creationism) in biology materials used by Responsive Education Solutions. The private Texas-based management company operates state-financed schools in Little Rock, Bentonville and Pine Bluff and just won approval to operate a fourth, the Quest middle school in western Little Rock. It was the subject of an investigative piece in Slate about the strong influence of religious instruction in biology and character education and some questionable history instruction as well. The management company originally defended its biology materials as compliant with Texas law, but later said it would provide different material to resolve any potential complaints.

In a letter you can read below, Kimbrell said Arkansas does not choose instruction materials, it only sets curriculum standards. Though, on the one hand, Kimbrell said the state monitors curriculum standards, his letter gives no indication it plans to do so in the case of Responsive Ed. Rather, he said, decisions about curriculum are made at the local level. "For these reasons," his letter said, "you should direct your specific concerns to the leadership of Responsive Education Solutions." My own experience is that Responsive Ed is not responsive to questions from outside. It has provided legally required documents under FOI requests but has otherwise refused to talk to me about curriculum or admission policies at its new Little Rock charter school or its failure to tell the state Board of Education it was considering an alternate site when the board approved the location it had submitted.

Kimbrell included a copy of biology standards and a letter from Responsive Ed about its change in materials.


UPDATE: Jacqueline Froelich reports on Responsive Ed's controversy here for KUAF. They wouldn't talk to her directly either. A Walton-financed member of the UA faculty provides the usual defense for charter schools and state review of their applications.

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…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Free Zinn book for Arkansas teachers

    Arkansas teachers! Get your free Howard Zinn book here! Whether Kim Hendren likes it or not.
    • Mar 3, 2017
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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