by Max Brantley
On the jump you'll find a note from Micheal Daugherty of the Little Rock School Board responding to Board member Jody Carreiro's note about the simmering issue of whether the district should wage a court battle over the state's charter school policy in Pulaski County. Chris Heller, the Board's attorney, has drafted a court motion to argue that the state has violated the desegregation settlement by approving open enrollment charter schools.
Heller's argument is sound. The charter schools created here have furthered resegregation of the Little Rock district, contrary to the state's solemn promise to do otherwise. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's extortionate response (argue with us and we'll take your money) is beneath contempt. But that doesn't mean that Carreiro might not have a point. Costs, both in money and public angst in new litigation, are worth considering. Also, there have been glimmers of hope from new state Education Department leadership and some state Board of Education members about more carefully assessing charter applications. Previously, just about anything proposed for Pulaski County was warmly received, even many clearly lacking in merit. Some expressions of good faith from the state and its chief legal officer might be a start toward a better resolution.
FROM MICHEAL DAUGHERTY
I read the local daily newspaper Wednesday and was surprised to read the nonchalant attitudes shown regarding Attorney Heller’s recommendation. The idea that this has nothing to do with student achievement couldn’t be farther from the truth. Unfortunately this is the same attitude that resulted in Brown vs Board of Education, the crisis at Central High in 1957, and the current litigation with the Joshua and Knight Interveners. When we become so complacent that we feel there is nothing to do so long as things are working well for us and a few of our constituents it becomes difficult for us to see past our own noses, then we are doomed for failure. But some of us have learned there are times when all we have left is a remedy under the law. And unfortunately now is one of those times.
Mr. Carreiro talks of our Strategic Plan but what good is a plan when all of its variables are so dynamic that outcomes are impossible to predict. Numerous items in the Plan are sensitive to the student population, student achievement, and our financial stability. Each of these is tied to one another in such an intricate manner that if one of these starts to unravel, the tapestry which is the Little Rock School District it loses its shape and form then becomes a paradox.
A strategic plan becomes redundant when its objectives and projected outcomes begin to fluctuate, are difficult to predict, or are just impossible to measure. We need revenue in order to provide the tools necessary for our students to get a quality education and we need the maximum number of students to get the desired revenue. How do we achieve either when we are being carved up like a roast with the choice pieces being used to feed the ravenous privately controlled, publically supported charter schools.
At this point litigation has become a foregone conclusion. It’s time to act!
Robert M. Daugherty
FROM JODY CARREIRO ABOUT SPECIAL MEETING NEXT WEEK
I am schedule to be at a (work related) meeting with the city board of directors which begins at 4 p.m. I will try to see where my part is on the agenda. Evidently, that is not far away and I couple be there in a few minutes after my part of the presentation.
I would also want time to review some type of cost benefit analysis before we discussed any type of pursuit of a political problem using legal means. Our strategic plan that I hope we will pass at that meeting makes student achievement our laset point of focus. I would hope to see some analysis and proof that any proposed action would improve student achievement, period