Affirmative action 

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has a smarter student body these days. Merit-only scholarships have done a marvelous job of attracting bright Arkansas students who once sought elite colleges out of state. They also pull in out-of-state students, an influx responsible for the tiny gain in entering UA freshman enrollment this year.

But there’s a downside to putting all your money in this meritorious basket.

A new report from the Education Trust says the UA, along with a handful of other major universities, is failing low-income and minority students. The land grant university is becoming “whiter and richer” than the state it serves.

This is the final tragic result of richly documented research that says low-income children (who are disproportionately black) start with a disadvantage at birth that grows with each passing day, in part because of things so simple as less effective communication by parents. It’s unfashionable now to suggest affirmative action to help the poor and minority enter the doors of the state’s elite university. Is a scholarship-influenced bias toward white children of comfortable means affirmative action? Maybe not. But nor is it fair.

The market giveth …

We’re among the admirers of the mayor-council government in North Little Rock and its can-do Mayor Pat Hays. But recent events remind us that he’s enjoyed an advantage not available to most other cities.

For years, North Little Rock has been able to pay for worthwhile “frills” with the hidden tax on residents in the form of the hefty profit produced by city electricity sales ($13 million this year). The last city wholesale power contract, negotiated during a national glut of generating capacity, was particularly advantageous. North Little Rock enjoyed lower rates than Little Rock and they still produced millions for city government use.

The market has adjusted to the glut, as it will. Now it’s a power sellers’ market and the new contract requires a doubling of the city’s wholesale rates. Somebody has to pay.

Hays has proposed a 38 percent retail electric rate increase for city residents, effective Jan. 1. But that’s not all. New taxes will raise the rates on other utilities in the city by 5 to 7 percent. The city also plans to reduce the amount it devotes to capital costs, transferring millions to operating revenue. Some day, this deferred maintenance will come due. Police positions will go unfilled. City business taxes are likely to rise. The amount transferred annually from electric receipts to the general fund will plunge by $8 million.

Frills are likely to be in short supply in the years ahead. When Hays’ term expires in two years, he might decide the job of mayor just isn’t as much fun as it used to be.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Pay attention

    • I have attended community meetings about the recent spike in violence in LR, and police…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • Adawson's comments attribute the plight of black people in the United States to the War…

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • Heather Wilson, blacks have NOT been prevented from pursuing the skilled trades as a result…

    • on July 22, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation