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  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016
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Recent Comments

Re: “Flash: LR Prep pulls back expansion request

Mrs. Zook, did they inform everyone on the State Board or just you? If the staff informed everyone, then why did you take it upon yourself to announce the changes rather then allow Toyce Newton, as chair, to do it?

Do you have a response to the comments made by Charles Zook yesterday?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by readandlearn on 05/13/2016 at 10:40 AM

Re: “UPDATE: Joint Budget holds Education Department budget because Key won't talk to LR senators

Has Michael Poore entered Fair, Hall, and McClellan High Schools or Metropolitan Career-Technical Center (Metro)? Has he met with students, parents, community members, or educators currently at those sites to ask what they envision for their schools? What is the potential impact to the plans for the Southwest High School which would replace Fair and McClellan High Schools? What is the potential impact to the programs at Metro?

At what point will new LRSD superintendents learn to step back so they can look, listen, and learn from those impacted by their decisions? The smartest thing Michael Poore can do is to not say another word about any plans he might be considering until he arrives on July 1st and instead spend his time setting a series of community meetings across LRSD for at least three - four months to hear from those impacted most by his decisions. He seems oblivious to the fact that patrons across LRSD are highly suspect of him and the marching orders he has been given. Michael Poore needs to realize that on July 1, he will not gain instantaneous respect nor trust. Sadly, it appears he is poised to follow the mistakes of others rather than learn from them.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by readandlearn on 05/04/2016 at 10:59 AM

Re: “Topsy turvy Tuesday open line

He's the poster boy on the Waltons website.i think that's more than enough proof.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by readandlearn on 04/19/2016 at 9:25 PM

Re: “Draft contract calls for $225,000 salary, car and phone for Poore as LR superintendent

Baker offered to do the job for nothing but was told he had to draw a salary, so he has been paid $150,000.00, He hasn't taken a single "benefit" such as a car allowance.

To think that employees who live in Little Rock, sent their children & other family members to LRSD schools, and have worked for LRSD for not much more than a living wage such as custodians are having their contracts cut while Poore plans to arrive with a kingly contract is obscene. The reduction in contract days impacts the city of Little Rock because employees who are making less will be spending less in the city who in turn will receive less in tax revenue.

If this isn't an indication further of Poore decision making, nothing is.

27 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by readandlearn on 04/19/2016 at 4:18 PM

Re: “UPDATED: Johnny Key dumps Baker Kurrus as Little Rock school superintendent; to replace with Bentonville's Poore

20/20, you are badly misinformed. There have been NO administrative raises, and as a matter of fact, there have been and will be major cuts. 12 month custodians only lost 2 days, just like everyone else. There will be a RIF, and the Union President was upfront about that. I personally think Cathy Koehler has done an excellent job given what she's had to deal with and work through. She's been walking a tightrope for a year, while dealing with negative people like you who are calling her a sellout. Wake up! The Union wouldn't have survived as long as it has if not for her and Kurrus working together.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by readandlearn on 04/19/2016 at 8:34 AM

Re: “More on the state Board of Education's problems with FOI

Lies, damned lies!

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by readandlearn on 03/20/2016 at 1:10 PM

Re: “Throwing around numbers on charter schools

The following comes directly from eSTEM's website with comments in parenthesis.

The Five-Point Difference from Traditional Public Schools

The eStem public charter schools use challenging instruction in a safe and structured school environment to focus on individual student academic growth.

Achievement Student learning and achievement is our core business. Teachers are focused on individual student academic growth. An ongoing assessment program enables teachers to evaluate a student’s progress. (eSTEM purports this to be a 'difference.' There is not one thing in this statement that differs from what is currently occurring in any public school in Arkansas. From AP & GT students to SPED students and every child in-between,teachers are addressing & meeding the needs of individual students.)

Discipline The best learning takes place in a safe and orderly school environment. eStem students adhere to a dress code and are required to sign a learning compact in which they agree to behave in a manner conducive to learning. (Traditional public schools do not have the option to toss out students with behavioral problems. If the State Board wants to address the perceived educational problems in Little Rock, then they should insist that eSTEM retain all students, regardless of behavior as LRSD is mandated to do. That would go a long way in the perceived safety issue.)

Efficiency The eStem CMO and its staff provide all of the back office services for the eStem schools. The schools enjoy strong academic leadership focused on student achievement without the burden of a large, expensive bureaucracy. (That is why eSTEM teachers are on Donors Choose begging the public for money for book shelves and books since they don't have a library. According to Mr. Bacon, they out-source many special ed services. Some "savings" have a direct impact on students and their learning environment.)

Professionalism Every eStem teacher teaching a core curriculum subject is certified by the state of Arkansas to teach that subject. Seven percent of eStem’s full-time teachers have received certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a rigorous measure of teaching skills. In addition, nearly half of eStem’s full-time teachers hold a master’s degree. (See eSTEM's state waiver that allows them to forgo informing parents that their child's teacher is not certified. LRSD has 190 National Board Certified teachers which equates to 9.25% of the teaching staff.)

Service eStem public charter schools are schools of choice. Unhappy customers will choose to take their business elsewhere. eStem is operated like every successful business – satisfied customers mean growth. Success means competition which makes organizations better. (Note that this is business wording - customers instead of parents. Who is their perceived competition? Unless something has been missed, I do not recall where the charter authorizing law said anything about competition. It speaks of being innovative and sharing with traditional school districts, not competing.)

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by readandlearn on 03/15/2016 at 4:22 PM

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