El Dorado Promise a winner for city schools; no charters needed | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

El Dorado Promise a winner for city schools; no charters needed

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 2:17 PM

click to enlarge BRIGHT FUTURES: El Dorado Superintendent Bob Watson celebrates a high school gym full of college scholarship winners. - W.I. BELL
  • W.I. Bell
  • BRIGHT FUTURES: El Dorado Superintendent Bob Watson celebrates a high school gym full of college scholarship winners.

El Dorado
had "signing day" Monday for some 300 El Dorado High graduates who'll be heading to college in the fall with scholarships thanks to the El Dorado Promise scholarship underwritten by Murphy Oil for all district graduates. A new study from the University of Arkansas confirms the positive impact the program has had on the district and students. I think it illustrates the antidote to school reformers' single-minded pursuit of charter schools and vouchers.

I was encouraged to mention the Office of Education Policy report by a UA faculty member with whom I've jousted over the years about the UA's Walton-funded effort to push their benefactors' vision of education reform into Arkansas — and national — law and practice. I'm happy to do so because El Dorado refutes the notion that you must start over with charters or private schools to solve school problems. You can also fix what you've got. Throwing money at schools — that catch phrase derisively uttered so often by school "reformers" — indeed can work if thrown smartly. In El Dorado, they threw Murphy Oil money at scholarships (the cost of an Arkansas college annual tuition, now up to about $7,800, to every graduate and renewable); at specialists in math and other subjects; at summer camps for minority students; at cash rewards for good test scores. They threw money from a tax increase at a glorious new high school. They should throw a big retirement gift at Bob Watson, retiring this summer after a remarkable and effective 29 years as superintendent.

Results: Flight from El Dorado to whiter neighboring districts has been reversed. Test scores beat those of peers, particularly among black and poorer students. Three cheers for El Dorado. Three cheers for OEP for data on the success. 

Imagine: What if the Waltons, rather than underwriting yet another charter school to siphon better-situated students from the Little Rock School District to charter schools, threw some money at a Little Rock Promise?

That's how I concluded a column I wrote for this week about this scholarship program. It can, by the way, be added to other scholarships to cover added costs. Henderson University, for one, matches all Promise scholarships. 116 members of this year's class also received Arkansas Challenge scholarships.
  

Tags: , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Also on the legislative agenda: Implanted microchips

    Also in the bill hopper today, legislation by Rep. Stephen Meeks to prohibit employers from implanting microchips in employees without their written consent and prohibiting making implantation of a chip a condition of employment.
    • Jan 16, 2019
  • The legislative shop of horrors: Kim Hammer's campus speech bill

    The latest in the parade of horrors in legislative bill filing is a proposal by Sen. Kim Hammer that purports to protect free speech on campus. Its point is to usurp control of campuses as a reaction to the widespread, but not particularly well-supported belief that liberal political correctness is running rampant on campus.
    • Jan 16, 2019
  • Wednesday: Headlines and the open line

    A legislative outrage leads the daily video roundup. Here's the open line.
    • Jan 16, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Is Arkansas in or out on Kobach voter data effort?

    The Washington Post has published a map that counts Arkansas as among states that will "partially comply" with a sweeping request for voter data by the so-called election integrity commission set up by Donald Trump in an effort to cast doubt on Hillary Clinton's 3 million-vote popular defeat of him in 2016.
    • Jul 2, 2017
  • Greenbrier's paddling of student protester goes worldwide

    The paddling of Greenbrier High School students who joined in te national school walkout Wednesday has produced headlines worldwide.
    • Mar 17, 2018
  • Rep. Mary Bentley's website now supports gay rights

    Somebody has cybersquatted on Republican Rep. Mary Bentley's website, replacing her messaging with a call for equal rights for LGBTQ people.
    • Jul 18, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation