by Max Brantley
The fix is in on charter schools in Arkansas. Most of the Huckabee Board of Education will vote to approve them where no specific need is demonstrated and, as yesterday, approve a continuation of one in Benton County though its students' test scores aren't improving and don't compare particularly favorably to the neighboring Rogers School District even though it has virtually no minority students.
Side note: When is somebody going to ask state Education Board member Naccaman Williams of Bentonville to stop voting on charter school applications? He's a senior program officer for the billion-dollar Walton Family Foundation, which pours millions into charter schools and other projects, such as merit pay in Little Rock, meant to tear apart the traditional public school. Has he ever met a charter project he didn't like? Isn't this a blatant conflict of interest?
Clearly, the charterophiles are going to vote for these things regardless of sketchy potential or, as in Benton County, an uninspiring record. These are voucher programs by another name, period.