by Max Brantley
Dropped by Dr. Katherine Mitchell's Political Animals Club appearance at the library. A good crowd. And a very diverse crowd, with parents and community folks from both sides of the Little Rock School District divide. She read the statement I posted here last night about her response to recent reporting in the Democrat-Gazette. She explained how her differences with Superintendent Roy Brooks began over the speed at which he began a district reorganization, which she contended had not produced increased resources in the classroom and which had disproportionately affected black staff members. She said she was motivated by concern for children and would continue her path, no matter how strong the criticism in the "Arkansas Democrat." Publisher Walter Hussman was in the crowd, including for a denunciation of the newspaper by a retired teacher in the audience during the question session.
News? Maybe that the School Board will discuss an interim superintendent tomorrow night. Does that mean merely discuss the process for choosing one, or might a candidate already be in hand? In response to a question, Mitchell said she'd talked to no one about the job.
Action is needed soon. Brooks will be gone by the end of August at the latest. It makes sense to invite him to stop coming in as soon as an interim is in place to take over his duties. It is too close to the start of another school year to consider hiring a replacement superintendent now, Mitchell said.
The Arkansawyer blog live-blogged the event.
PS -- In response to a question, Mitchell indicated she didn't believe the district was "unitary," or fully desegregated, though a court has ruled otherwise.