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Quakser Fortune 
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  • Dexter Suggs resigns as Little Rock school superintendent

    This just in from state Education Department: Today, Commissioner Johnny Key reached an agreement with Dr. Dexter Suggs that resulted in Dr. Suggs’ immediate resignation as superintendent of the Little Rock School District.
    • Apr 21, 2015
  • More legal headaches for Dexter Suggs

    Dexter Suggs may have cleared out his office before the workday began today, but he still has lingering legal matters as defendant in lawsuits against him and the state.
    • Apr 21, 2015
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Recent Comments

Re: “Marijuana commission split on geographic distribution of cultivation licenses

Former head of the DEA appoints obstructionist jackass to state's first medical marijuana commission. Go figure...

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Quakser Fortune on 12/29/2016 at 12:03 AM

Re: “Charter schools are bleeding public schools

Yes they are and this equals more money for privatizers. That's why the Republicans and Third Way Dems love them despite the data that shows the damage they are doing to public education.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Quakser Fortune on 05/31/2016 at 1:34 PM

Re: “LISA says recruiting mailer that omitted black neighborhoods was an error. Also, those areas targeted in other ads

"To date, the ZIP Code producing the highest number of applications to LISA Academy for the 2016-2017 school year is 72204 [central Little Rock south of Interstate 630]. The third highest is 72209 [Southwest Little Rock]."

That's good. So I guess one can assume that the highest number of new students will come from 72204.

Posted by Quakser Fortune on 05/14/2016 at 7:46 AM

Re: “LISA Academy recruiting mail omits heavily minority neighborhoods

School choice? This sounds more like school's choice to me.
It would be nice to know what percentage of their current students reside in the areas that they chose not to target.

30 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Quakser Fortune on 05/10/2016 at 3:48 PM

Re: “Rally for Little Rock schools and Baker Kurrus


Disingenuous bluster...

Posted by Quakser Fortune on 04/24/2016 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Can grassroots slow the Walton agenda in Little Rock?



From the Democrat-Gazette - EDITORIAL - The best choice. Let’s get busy improving schools.

The future hasn't looked this bright for Little Rock's schools since . . . the last superintendent was hired.

Some of us thought Dr. Dexter Suggs was going to be the superintendent and guiding light who would turn around the state's largest school district. He told things with the bark off. Too many administrative jobs at central offices, he said. Principals couldn't fire teachers for poor performance, he said. The kids need to be better educated, he said. The district needed change, change, change and not just for the sake of change, but change that would make educating the kids a priority--the priority--for the district at long last. Unfortunately for Dr. Suggs, he didn't last long after questions came up about his college work. These things happen.

But then, when all was not lost but maybe just confused, the Arkansas Board of Education and the state's education commissioner, Johnny Key, surprised everybody. They hired a man named Baker Kurrus to fill the superintendent's job. (The NFL draft was held over the weekend. The hiring of Baker Kurrus was akin to an All-Pro quarterback falling to your team in the sixth round. High fives!)

Where to start? How about here: The board and commission picked somebody local to lead Little Rock's schools. Now, local isn't always better, but in this case it is. Baker Kurrus served on Little Rock's school board for 12 years. And sent his kids to its schools. The man led the local Boy Scout chapter. And is involved in enough local projects and businesses that space prevents listing them all here.

There was no need to conduct a National Search for a new superintendent when a Baker Kurrus was available, and already here.

When business leaders, educators (see the guest column on Thursday's Voice page), the governor, pointy-head editorial writers and representatives for teachers' unions all agree on what a good choice this is, something must be right. For example, Cathy Koehler, president of Little Rock's teacher union, said Baker Kurrus "has consistently demonstrated his commitment to all students in the district" and "brings a wealth of knowledge about the district and its successes and challenges." That's high praise coming from a union rep. For criticism of this choice, you have to go looking for former school board members who were disbanded by the state after they proved they couldn't handle the job. Everybody else seems to have high hopes.

Of course, the educantists we'll always have with us. And over the years they've managed to require that superintendents--all superintendents--were one of them. Which is why the Board of Education had to waive license, education and experience requirements before Johnny Key could appoint Baker Kurrus. Why, don't you know that Baker Kurrus doesn't even have a "Dr." before his name? All he did was go to Harvard Law and become an attorney and successful businessman.

Good thing the law says that if a district has failing schools, and Little Rock's does, then the state Board of Education can appoint a new superintendent. And the law specifically gives the board the authority to waive such requirements for that new superintendent. Which is good news for Little Rock's schools, teachers, businesses and families.

Experience? Licensure? Education requirements? It seems that Little Rock's school have had 20-some-odd leaders with the "right" credentials for two decades now. And the district is considered a failing one. It's time, past time, to try something different.

So what does Baker Kurrus do now? His assignment isn't just to fix the six failing schools in Little Rock. The man must change the culture in the school district. A few months back, Dr. Suggs raised some eyebrows when he noted that exactly one (1) teacher had been fired for incompetence in the district over the last few decades. Principals need the power to make changes in their schools when they see that a teacher isn't doing the job. And then those principals must be held accountable for their schools themselves.

Baker Kurrus says the morale in the district is at a 25-year low. That happens when a district is taken over by the state because of what the state calls Academic Distress. Now it's up to a new administration to somehow make these failing schools succeed.

And when that happens, watch morale improve dramatically. Some of us can't wait.

Editorial on 05/08/201

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Quakser Fortune on 04/24/2016 at 10:29 AM

Re: “Rally for Little Rock schools and Baker Kurrus

...After he wasted everyone's time proving his long-windedness, Riggs then stood for the remainder behind the podium clapping disingenuously with a smirk on his face. All he needed was a cigar and a martini.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Quakser Fortune on 04/23/2016 at 5:45 PM

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