Michael Poore wears a couple of hats at state Board of Education meeting | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 13, 2016

Michael Poore wears a couple of hats at state Board of Education meeting

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 1:27 PM

click to enlarge MICHAEL POORE
Bentonville School Superintendent Michael Poore, the incoming Little Rock School District superintendent, appeared before the state Board of Education today wearing both districts' hats.

As Bentonville superintendent, he was required by terms of a grant from the Walton Family Foundation to talk about "career centers" the Foundation has funded in Bentonville. He's talked about bringing that concept to Little Rock, as Benji Hardy mentioned in a report on our earlier talk with Poore.

The timing could have been more propitious. A series of speakers pounded the Walton Family Foundation yesterday for being the puppet master of charter school expansion in Little Rock, through the offices of their former legislative ally, Johnny Key, now the education commissioner. Most charter schools in Little Rock enjoy Walton support — direct or indirect — and a recent charter school expansion of an underperforming charter school that wants to move into western Little Rock near Little Rock district schools turning out achieving black students has particularly irked Little Rock district supporters. That move is to a building bought by a Walton-related entity. A grassroots movement wants return of the Little Rock district from state control and has been fighting the Walton-backed effort to transfer more and more students into privately operated charter schools that use public money. The Walton Foundation pushed legislation in 2015 that could have turned the entire district over to private operation.

Poore seems unlikely to directly challenge charter school expansion, as outgoing Baker Kurrus did a few days before Key fired him. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Poore had said today — as he'd said to us earlier — that he would be willing to stand up to Key on disagreements about charter schools. The bigger question is whether he would ever disagree. I took this statement as evidence that this would be unlikely.
Poore called the expansion of charter schools in Little Rock "a reality" and said his work would focus on marketing district schools to be more attractive to parents.
I read this as accepting continuing charter expansion as an inevitability. It certainly will be if he doesn't push back. Then, an increasing percentage of poor and minority students in Little Rock will inevitably make the schools less attractive to parents, as Kurrus said pointedly before he was fired. Kurrus has also said the Little Rock schools ARE competitive and often superior to charter schools. But that hasn't stopped Key, who's Poore's boss, from aggressively pressing for more of them.

Kurrus repeated yesterday that he sees no sense in encouraging establishment of parallel school districts in Little Rock that offer no meaningful difference from the existing school district. Poore has said nothing of this kind.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Johnny Key moves to weaken or end agreement with Little Rock teachers union

    Citing low scores on many Little Rock School Distrrict schools' standardized test, State Education Commissioner Johnny Key, who acts as district school board under state control, has rejected a new negotiating agreement with the Little Rock Education Association without a change that appears to allow an end to fair dismissal protection for. teachers at schools with D and F grades.
    • Oct 22, 2018
  • Another prison death reported

    Another prison death, this one at Tucker Max.
    • Oct 22, 2018
  • Our pal, Saudi royalty

    How do you feel about this? The Saudis seem happy to tout our treasury secretary chit-chatting with the Crown Prince.
    • Oct 22, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • 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
  • French Hill votes against disaster aid to Puerto Rico

    Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill alone among Arkansas's House delegation voted last week against a measure that provided $36.5 billion in disaster aid, a portion  for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as well as money for wildfire response and to support the flood insurance program.
    • Oct 14, 2017
  • The two cities of Little Rock: East/west, black/white

    The Little Rock City Board illustrated this week a community divided over public schools, another blow to the Little Rock School District and another illustration of the need for ward elections to the board.
    • Mar 23, 2017


  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation