Favorite

Waltons attack Little Rock School District 

The latest Walton fortune-funded attack on the Little Rock School District would create a neighborhood charter middle school in majority-white upscale West Little Rock.

The Little Rock School District recognizes the need for a school there and has land under contract for a new middle school.

But the application for a charter school, if approved this fall by the state Board of Education (whose newest member, Diane Zook, has been a financial supporter of the group pushing the charter school), could be up and running first.

This charter school — quasi-private (no school board, private management) — would be publicly financed and free to all comers. With a location far from the inner city, it's likely, however, to have whiter and more prosperous students than most Little Rock schools.

Which is, of course, the idea.

Many of the parents to be served by this proposed middle school could easily reach Henderson Middle School at John Barrow and I-630 and J.A. Fair High School (a charter high school is also planned eventually). They aren't interested. Parents from better economic backgrounds aren't willing to commit their kids to try to make those majority-black schools work. Easier to start their own neighborhood school with public money.

Enter the Walton Foundation millions, ever ready to further cripple a school district with a teachers union.

In time, the Waltons envision a crazy quilt of dozens of small school districts in Little Rock, separate and almost certainly unequal.

A young law student named John Walker predicted this in 1964. He wrote: "The composition of the schools in the 'new South' will reflect the ethnic, economic and educational composition of particular neighborhoods. The result will be more 'segregated' schools, some located in ghettoes, some in exclusive suburbs. This result has come to bother many educators and citizens who believe that it is important to the progress of this country that students of all races and backgrounds learn and grow together."

The Quest Middle School application for Little Rock illustrates that money, not equity, now rules. An organizational meeting was hosted by the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, supported by Walton Foundation money. The driving organizer in Little Rock has been Gary Newton, a former Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce officer and longtime critic of the Little Rock School District, whose formation of the private Arkansas Learns was funded by the Walton Foundation. He was recently hired to head Arkansans for Education Reform, a charter school lobby funded by the Walton Foundation and other wealthy Arkansans. They use the work of the Walton-funded education reform school at the University of Arkansas to support their agenda.

The Quest Charter School will use Texas-based Responsive Education Solutions as its manager. The Walton Foundation has already paid it to plan charter schools in Pine Bluff and Little Rock.

Newton would tell you it's all about quality education. The implication is that Little Rock schools uniformly suck and charter schools are uniformly good. That's not true.

There are successful Little Rock schools. And "charter school" is not synonymous with success.

In New York, where the tough Common Core testing is now used, conventional public schools outperformed charter schools, including the much-lauded KIPP schools.

A national study by a research center at Stanford University found Arkansas was one of a handful of states where charter school were outperformed by conventional schools in reading and math.

That same study took special note of Responsive Education Solutions. In comparing its results with comparable conventional public schools, the report said, "the overall effects on growth for students attending Responsive Ed schools are negative."

The Little Rock School District will fight this school as another case of state-financed segregation. In a world declared post-racial by the U.S. Supreme Court and controlled by big money, I don't like the district's odds of success.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of...

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Something else for Little Rock to live down

    Think Progress expects John Bush, a Little Rock native who practices law in Lousiville, to be confirmed as a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge in a party line 51-48 vote this afternoon. Sad!
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • Homicide victim a Little Rock newcomer

    Little Rock police have identified the latest city homicide victim as Samuel "Chris" Gilmore, 19. His body was found late Monday night in the 4800 block of W. 14th. Police said he had just moved to Little Rock from Texas.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • French Hill gets a prominent mention in Russian intrigue

    The lede of a Politico article on Russian intrigue is perhaps not an ideal place for Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock to find himself:
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

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 Max Brantley

  • 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.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • We're No. 1! in vote suppression

    It's not often that Arkansas can claim national leadership, so give Secretary of State Mark Martin credit for something.

    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Bangin' in LR

    About 2:30 a.m. Saturday, with the Power Ultra Lounge downtown jammed for a rap show by Finese2Tymes (Ricky Hampton of Memphis), gunfire broke out. Before it was over, 25 people had been wounded by gunfire and three others injured in the rush for safety.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

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 31  

Most Viewed

  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.
  • 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.
  • Turn to baseball

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

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Pay attention

    • Bravo brother.

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • As always, a lot of what happens in the name of Jesus has nothing to…

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote, "It makes complete sense that a God who favors a man who…

    • on July 19, 2017
 

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