The line is open. Two days to go. Also: A plea for another vote on LRSD | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The line is open. Two days to go. Also: A plea for another vote on LRSD

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 4:19 PM

An open line and news headlines. Also:

* REVOTE: For the record note that Anika Whitfield, a podiatrist and community activist recently appointed to the citizens advisory committee for the Little Rock School District has written a letter ask the state Board of Education to take another vote on taking over the district and abolishing the school board. Whitfield was chosen by legislators to be one of 33 people on an advisory group that will meet periodically on progress of the district in place of an elected board. It has no official power. She said questions raised since the vote merit reconsideration. Her letter follows on the jump:

Open Letter To the Members of the Board of the ADE:

It is the hope of most (if not all) Public school supporters that the ADE would rescind the vote to take over the LRSD.

There has been a lot of light shed in the weeks that led to the decision by the BOD to take over the LRSD based on the "distress" of six out of 48 schools in the district and the weeks that have followed this decision that the ADE were likely motivated private interest groups who have a vested interest in privatizing public schools.

The citizens of Little Rock have spoken loudly against privatization of public education and are equally vocally and visibly adamant against the state takeover of our public school system.

We are for educational reforms that are based on evidentiary progress that enhances and improves the quality of public education for all students without the threat or imposition of privatization.

The ADE has taken over school districts in the past primarily when there has been either fiscal or fiscal and academic distress. And, in most of those take overs have not had the best track record in improving academic acheivement for students and schools in academic "distress."

A member of ADE has indicated to me that when any schools are identified by the ADE as distressed, it is a part of the ADE's policy to provide assistance to those schools along with other agencies to address the challenges that have led to academic decline and assist the schools in overcoming these challenges.

Was this the case in the six schools in the LRSD? If so, what were the outcomes? Did the ADE succeed in assisting the schools to overcome their academic deficiencies? Did the ADE provide these schools with the necessary assistance/interventions to prevent the continual decline in academic achievement of their students based on the measuring tools that the ADE uses to assess student and school achievement?

We believe that if you, the Board of Directors of the ADE, would sincerely and openly review and answer these questions as well as reconsider the January decision to take over the LRSD, there will be little to no doubt that an ADE take over was not in the best interest of our students, schools, nor is it acceptable to the citizens of Little Rock who support public education.

I/we welcome your response and hope that you will take a stance to reconvene to rescind your vote to take over all of our schools in the LRSD, reinstate our elected board of directors, and commit to assisting us in equalizing the quality of educational opportunities, assistance, and environments in and around all of our schools in the LRSD.

We thank you in advance for your consideration.

Peace and Blessings,

Dr. Anika T. Whitfield
On behalf of the Concerned Citizen's of the LRSD

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