by Max Brantley
The Little Rock School District has compiled a report on where students who left the district went to school. (They learn this when students request records for transfer.) The e-Stem and LISA Academy charter schools led the way, with a number going to unspecified private schools.
What's interesting in the list is how many students left schools that have good academic records. Actually, we generally knew that. E-Stem officials told us earlier this year that most of the Little Rock district students they enrolled were meeting academic sufficiency standards, as measured by test scores. In other words, many students who left the districts departed schools that are not "failing" and neither were they. I know some favor choice for any reason and at any cost to the public schools, including by vouchers to private church schools. But when the Arkansas legisalture passed the charter school law, it was intended specifically to provide meet unfulfilled needs, not merely to provide a setting more pleasing to parents for other reasons. (Yes, I am sure some students left failing schools with failing grades for offerings that parents believe were not available in the regular public school districts. What we know so far from the stats is that such students are in the minority of the transfers.)