The Little Rock school closure rumble | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Little Rock school closure rumble

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 12:38 PM

click to enlarge SCHOTT FOUNDATION
  • Schott Foundation
Parents at Little Rock schools mentioned as closure targets by Superintendent Michael Poore have raised questions about letters encouraging them to sign up for different schools in the early enrollment period. That raises the question to them (though the letters say no decisions are final and public hearings are in progress), if the decisions have already been made.

Carver Magnet and Franklin and Wilson elementaries were listed as potential school closures, along with a pre-K center at Woodruff and relocation of Hamilton Academy.

I put the question to Pamela Smith of the Little Rock School District. Her response:

While no decision has been made to close a specific school, parents with children attending the potentially impacted sites were sent letters to apprise them of school choices, should their campus be repurposed.

The letters specifically stated that should a specific school be closed, parents of that school would be given preference, but they would still need to indicate their preference during the upcoming Open Enrollment process. This will assist with planning, should a closure/repurpose of building occur.
  • Facebook
Such assurances haven't assuaged some in the district, including several who think the closures aren't necessary, such as Dr. Anika Whitfield, a district activist of long standing. She's distributed a letter that includes the graphic shown above, produced by the Schott Foundation, which supports high quality public schools.

She notes that the state took over the district, not for financial reasons, but for academic deficiencies at six of 48 schools. She questions whether closures save money, after relocation costs, renovation of alternative schools, transportation and potential capture of old school buildings at bargain prices by still more charter schools that leach students from the district.

Elementary schools in the LRSD are being threatened to be closed even though they have characteristics of what most "successful schools" embody: small class sizes, low Teacher:Student ratios, community involvement, increase in parental participation and community support, age specific recreational areas for physical acitivites, and environments were children feel loved and supported.

Why even suggest school closures?

What would come of a school like Franklin if you closed it? Would it get sold to one of the private charter schools or church in our city? Would you dare attempt to take away public dollars and children from public schools and place them in the hands of private companies/entities?
MARION HUMPHREY: School takeover a "set-up."
  • MARION HUMPHREY: School takeover a "set-up."
The letter Whitfield circulated has drawn a hearty "amen" from Marion Humphrey, the Presbyterian pastor, lawyer and retired circuit judge who's part of the legal challenge of the district takeover. He sent a letter to the people Whitfield had written that said in part:

The whole takeover was a set-up. The takeover was designed to remove the duly-elected majority-black school board and replace it with some kind of structure that would be favorable to having the Waltons and other well-to-do persons seize the public money and put a chunk of it in their greedy—-yes, greedy—- pockets. According to the Daily Kos, the Walton heirs joined with representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in March of 2015 in an effort to assist hedge funds—-yes, hedge funds—-figure out how to seize public tax money for private use and gain in the expansion of charter schools. " The event was called 'Bonds and Blackboards: Investing in Charter Schools."

The children and patrons of the Little Rock School District are pawns in the scheme that the Waltons are promoting. Most of the members of the State Board of Education are simply doing the dirty work for the Waltons.

The Waltons buy up public policies in the form of legislative acts and executive decisions that allow these investors to carry out their schemes.

These people could care less what the patrons of this school district think about what they are doing. They are arrogant, and they are used to getting—-and taking—- what they want.
Humphrey and Whitfield are minority voices in multiple senses of the word in Arkansas today. But they are not alone. And when the Walton Foundation plan to upend conventional public school districts is understood to be about more than Little Rock, they might have still more company. Particularly when you consider how little positive in education innovation and attainment can be shown by charter schools and voucher recipients against conventional public schools.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Former Arkansas Baptist professor 'exploring' run for Little Rock Ward 7 city director

    Edmond "Ed" Davis, a former professor at Arkansas Baptist College and the executive director of a school applying for a charter in Southwest Little Rock, will announce the formation of an exploratory committee for a campaign for the Little Rock city director Ward 7 position. Brenda "B.J." Wyrick has held the position since 1994.
    • Apr 3, 2018
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017


Most Viewed

  • Marijuana makes Harding University grad a billionaire

    Meet a new Arkansas-native billionaire — Michael Blue, who grew up in Searcy and graduated from Harding University. He owes his wealth to marijuana.
  • French Hill carefully vetting crowd for Mike Pence visit

    Mike Pence will appear at a campaign rally for Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill today in Little Rock and the campaign is monitoring carefully who'll be allowed to attend or cover the event. Hill is running a hide-and-seek campaign, making himself available only in safe settings. Maybe 1,200 of the right sort of people will atternd.
  • Are the Razorbacks out of their league?

    Ouch. The Southeastern Conference football schedule hasn't yet begun and the New York Times offers an article suggesting the Arkansas Razorbacks aren't up to playing in the league.
  • Demonstrators, small crowd greet Mike Pence at French Hill rally

    Demonstrators have been allowed near the front door of the Statehouse Convention Center where carefully screened guests, not many, will be enjoying Mike Pence's endorsement of Republican Rep. French Hill. Plenty of security and I think it might be more fun outside.
  • Six Supreme Court justices found to have violated ethics code

    The Arkansas Judicial and Disability Commission has announced the filing of formal charges of ethics violations against six members of the Arkansas Supreme Court for their handling of a case involving Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Most Recent Comments


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