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


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…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

    KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappingsfor Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.
    • May 27, 2016
  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



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