Favorite

One master's report 

If only I'd been named a "master" to propound officially on whether the state legislature was up to court-ordered snuff in the public school reform it adopted over the last two contentious months. This would be my report to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Dear Your Honors: I'm sure the seven of you could have done better. Two or three of you, anyway. But here you had 135 garden-variety men and women, all of them possessed of their own ideas, most of them raw rookies in the legislative game thanks to this nonsense of term limits, nearly all of them products of the very education system the seven of you had the temerity to call illegally substandard. You seven don't always get together on things. How would you like it if there were 135 of you? How would you like it if your meetings were in public? It's easier to appear civil and dignified when you do your real work in private and wear robes in public. These raw rookies descended on Little Rock staring down hard at this deadline you supposedly gave them, but which you didn't seem to enforce. You know what I'm talking about. You surrendered the official control of the case. But then you presumed to take it back by changing the rules. Might I suggest that you made the very kind of mistake you apparently don't want to let slide if I find that the legislature has made it? Sometimes people talk about courts like they transcend human frailty. But you and I know better. You ought to get a load of Clarence Thomas. Gov. Mike Huckabee played his little brinksmanship game to try to hamstring the legislators' options by refusing to convene them until the 11th hour. And all they had to do by your audacious command was design a better and equitable education system from Dermott to Bella Vista. That is an intergalactic trip. You don't need legislators. You need Captain Kirk. The governor made the debate all about consolidation, which was nowhere in your order. And when he didn't get his way, he went AWOL. So, let's review the scene: You guys in the Supreme Court were breathing down their necks. The governor had bailed. And they were a bunch of legislative rookies with home folks to consider. Justice Brown: You know about legislative rookies. You once worked for one, name of Jim Guy Tucker. I remember what Jim Guy told me when I interviewed him during his run for Congress in 1976. (I was but a child.) He said, "I have no illusions about what a freshman congressman can do." Justice Corbin: You know about tending more to the folks back home than the state in general. That's pretty much the kind of state representative you were back in the '70s, wasn't it? And Justice Thornton: No one knows better than you about pressure on legislators. Remember that episode in Congress in 1993 when you wimped out at the last minute and didn't vote for Bill Clinton's deficit reduction plan? Anyway, here's my report: The legislature did all right. This distribution formula is much better - progressive, in fact. The pre-kindergarten program will help. This limited consolidation, while not an issue in the case, is a step in the right direction, especially when you combine it with that Omnibus Education Act that authorizes the state to close schools. The accountability measure will allow us to track a kid year to year. They're going to take an inventory of all school buildings, which would seem wise before they start trying to fix them. The only possible failing is that they didn't raise $800 million, but $400 million. So, if y'all want to tell them to come back and raise another $400 million, then by all means be my guest. Enjoin the treasury if you wish. The courts get paid anyway. I assume that also goes for their "masters." Right? Right?
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 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

Most Viewed

  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Storm president

    It's undeniable that President Trump's public approval has improved since the moment Hurricane Harvey came ashore in Texas the last week of August; polls showed his popularity up by approximately 2 points.
  • Can't afford to gut ACA

    The Affordable Care Act was passed into law with the promise that it would make insurance affordable. Because of bipartisan leadership in Arkansas, we continue to strive to achieve that goal. While rhetoric abounds, it is important to understand the Arkansas experience.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Bad health care bill, again

    • Its hard to tell what the GOP in Arkansas care about beyond making life worse…

    • on September 20, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • I am very glad to see a lot of women running for government positions in…

    • on September 19, 2017
 

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