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Easy on the charters



The Little Rock School District made its plea to the state Education Department last week to hold off on approving more open enrollment charter schools in Pulaski County until it can consider the impact on local school desegregation. It's not just that charter schools drain white children from public schools, the LRSD told the state in a letter from board president Dianne Curry. They also create loss of other sorts of diversity.

The poorest children find them hard to attend, because of a lack of transportation, the district said. The letter continued, “Second, students who choose to attend open enrollment charter schools, like students who choose magnet schools, tend to outperform their peers on standardized tests. Even if these students qualify for free or reduced price meals, their parents are, on average, more educated, they have higher aspirations for their children, and they are more likely to help their children at home and to volunteer at school than parents of students who qualify for free and reduced price meals. Traditional public schools suffer from the loss of these parents who are educated and involved and can be a potent force for change. Moreover, the loss of these relatively higher performing children will make it more difficult for their former schools to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind, further stigmatizing these schools and making it more difficult for them to attract middle-class students.”

Separate schools aren't equal, in other words, when this cultural segregation takes root. Such thinking doesn't hold much favor in courts or the white community these days, however.


Show Obama the love

Like to host Hillary Clinton at a ritzy Little Rock address and show your support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama too?

Here's how. Kick in $10,000 of your own or line up $10,000 worth of contributors to the Obama Victory Fund and you, too, can join the host committee for an Oct. 10 fund-raiser at the Edgehill home of Kaki Hockersmith and Max Mehlburger. Other notables on the invite include Gov. Mike Beebe, former Sen. David Pryor, U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, all the Democratic congressmen, Gen. Wesley Clark, Donna and Mack McLarty, state Rep. Kathy Webb and many more.

You need not be a host. You can attend for a mere $1,000. But the $10,000 gets you into the host reception. More details from

 Less than perfect

The six members of the Arkansas congressional delegation were 100 percent wrong in voting for free trade for Peru, 100 percent right in requiring lobbyists to disclose who they're getting money from and how much, and mostly right — Rep. John Boozman being the exception — in voting for energy independence and for a windfall profits tax on Big Oil.

That's according to Public Citizen, a liberal consumer group that evaluates lawmakers. All six Arkansans voted for a free trade agreement with Peru that Public Citizen says will cause loss of quality jobs, increased farm bankruptcies, more hunger abroad and more illegal immigration to the U.S. All six voted for lobbyist disclosure, which Public Citizen supports. Only Boozman, the delegation's lone Republican, voted against the windfall profits tax and against “energy independence” legislation. 

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