Gunner DeLay says the Paron school case is not about adequate education, but an attack on the rural way of life. His complete hooey on the jump. Among other deficiencies, he doesn't understand that standardized test scores are not the only measure of an equal and adequate education.
DeLay's opponent, Dustin McDaniel, voted for legislation that would have guaranteed more efficent education in Arkansas and against legislation that would have saved the Paron district even if it didn't offer its students sufficient education opportunities. DeLay somehow thinks that's a mark against McDaniel.
UPDATE: Also on the jump is the McDaniel response.
Gunner DeLay news release
Fort Smith – Today, attorney general candidate Gunner DeLay reacted to the latest decision in the Paron school case, which was rendered late Friday afternoon. DeLay attended a portion of the hearing and heard testimony from several parents about the devastating effect that closing the Paron High School would have, not only on their children, but also on their way of life.
“DeLay stated, “ It became crystal clear during the hearing was not about educational adequacy, but was instead an attack on the rural way of life that many Arkansans choose for their family. I think it is a disgrace that the Department of Education and the attorney general’s office are acting as predators pursuing rural schools when they should be acting as partners ”
DeLay said as attorney general he would work with educational leaders, the legislature, and rural school districts to craft a bill that would insure all children in Arkansas have access to educational opportunities regardless of their location. DeLay said, “when we talk about adequate education what we all mean is that every child in Arkansas should have the opportunity to access any curriculum they choose. If it takes distance learning to achieve that goal then so be it.”
DeLay noted that there was a misconception that the Paron case has something to do with the Lakeview decision. Lakeview, he pointed out is about adequate funding. Paron is about whether these rural school children are being provided an adequate education. He said the test scores speak for themselves. “These school is not failing, in fact the opposite is true. They are achieving the results that we would hope for. However, if this school and others like it are closed, the children affected will be put through tremendous hardships that will substantially lessen the likelihood for their success.”
DeLay criticized his opponent, Dustin McDaniel, for what he called a record of hostility towards rural schools. DeLay pointed to a vote-smart.org survey that his opponent filled out in 2004 that showed he supported consolidation of schools districts that had up to 500 students. DeLay also noted that McDaniel failed to vote for HB1014, which would have saved the Paron School District. “McDaniel took a walk on the rural people of this state. Now he needs to explain himself.”
DeLay said that in addition to supporting HB 1014, he also favored the idea that a high school that is consolidated into another district can not be closed for a period of five years. He explained it did not make sense for districts to be given incentive money to accept smaller schools into their district then a year later close them.
Dustin McDaniel statement
In response to his opponent’s daily distortion of Rep. Dustin McDaniel’s record, Dustin had this to say:
“It is vital to Arkansas’s future that our children be well-educated so that they can compete in a global economy. I am absolutely not hostile to rural schools, and Mr. DeLay once again has engaged his mouth without the benefit of checking his facts.
DeLay knows I have strong support in rural Arkansas. He knows that I enjoy this support because of the work I have done to improve rural schools, rural law enforcement and rural health care.
Like DeLay, I also believe that long bus rides are not good for our kids nor should the quality of an education be based on a district’s size. Where we differ on this issue is that I believe that the state’s objective standards, including the thirty-eight required courses of Smart Core as well as the required Advanced Placement courses, must be met in order to best serve all of the children of Arkansas.
My daughter Emma Grace begins kindergarten in the Jonesboro Public School system this week. She will get a great education in that school district, and I believe that every child in Arkansas should have similar opportunities, regardless of where they live.”