Monday night's open line; plus waiting on charter school waiting list answers | Arkansas Blog

Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday night's open line; plus waiting on charter school waiting list answers

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2016 at 3:08 PM

Here's the open line and today's video. Check back later, Benji Hardy might have something from a session scheduled by Sen. Joyce Elliott to question Education Commissioner Johnny Key about the recent upheaval in the Little Rock School District.

Key fired Baker Kurrus because Kurrus spoke out against charter school expansions in Little Rock. Key, while admitting he disagreed with Kurrus on charter schools, insisted that this had nothing to do with his firing six days after Kurrus spoke before the state Board. The firing was revealed the same day as Key's hiring of a replacement from Bentonville. Key has offered no other believable explanation for the abrupt change.

Elliott has suggested on Twitter she might delve into the suspect claim of 6,000- to 8,000-student waiting lists for Little Rock charter schools. Charter leaders have claimed the lists were accurate, but the practical work required in annual checking of a list that size raises doubts. Were 6,000 letters with postage mailed and answered? Were 6,000 phone calls made and answered? Or do the schools take the absence of a response to a website or other general notice to mean it was proper to keep a name on the list? Elliott's Facebook page has comments from parents who are skeptical about the waiting lists. Examples:

* "....  every year we're notified than my daughter didn't get in — she's a Junior & we gave up on that years ago."

* "We've been on that list since my son was in 4th grade. He's now a sophomore. They never remove you."

*" I did by phone and email [ask to be removed]. Point is they want to continue to say he's "waiting" to go to school there. He was admitted that year but we chose another school. He's not waiting—we made other decisions, but he's still on their list, now for the high school."

* "The "waiting list" is that 8k people have signed the "waiting list" since eSTEM & LISA started, not that there is currently 8k students waiting to get into eSTEM & LISA this fall."

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