If it's not a city government squabble occupying time and energy in Helena-West Helena, it's a school debate. And when contention in Helena arises, there's often a racial aspect. Notes from a local observer:
* There was news last week in the Helena Daily World of formation of an advisory committee to help form a strategic plan for the school district. The school district is majority black. The photograph of the new advisory committee indicates it is all white.
* Over at Andrew Bagley's Inside Scoop blog there's commentary on the school superintendent's decision to let the local KIPP charter school use the Helena Central stadium for its soccer program.
There is no doubt that KIPP is here to stay. Even though hindsight shows us that this community would have been better off with just Central and no private schools, KIPP and [the private] Desoto [School] will remain in place. Just like Desoto, KIPP has become institutionalized into the local culture. Just like Desoto, they are run by a private, nonprofit corporation. (They may receive state per-pupil funding but they are a private organization just like Desoto.) Just like Desoto, KIPP is a competitor in the marketplace for students in the area. Just like Desoto, KIPP should have to build its own facilities if it wants to have an athletic program. If they can't afford it, then they shouldn't have athletics. To those who say "what about the kids?" I say the kids can play ball if they come to Miller and Central. Enrolling at KIPP is a choice.