by Max Brantley
Special Masters David Newbern and Bradley Jesson, appointed to report to the Arkansas Supreme Court, have filed a final report summarizing the work of the legislature in complying with the Lake View decision ordering equal and adequte education in the state.
To greatly simplify a 34-page report, they found much progress, improvements in reporting as the years have progressed and what appears to be an understanding by the legislature that there's a continuing commitment, as opposed to a one-time fix.
The report comes in a form I can't link, but here's a conclusion:
Individual legislators, governors and other state and local officials responsible for the constitutional adequacy of our public schools come and go. Our hope is that the "awakening" to the vicissitudes inherent in support for public education will assure the state's continued vigilance. The framework for a much improved Arkansas public education system is now in place. The funds to support it are now at hand. We have no doubt that a successful future for Arkansas's public schools will depend, in large measure, upon the continuous financial and standards review that the General Assembly has undertaken at this point. Meeting the challenge of using the support which is in place, and that which will ensue, to give adequate education to Arkansas's children now passes to the local school districts. They should have the means to meet the challenge if the state remains committed to the all-important practice of funding education first.