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Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:47 p.m.

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Report urges shift in course of public, charter schools in Pulaski County

Tackle public-charter split, it says

By Cynthia Howell

This article was published August 1, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

A committee that was directed last year to find ways to end animosity between Pulaski County's traditional and charter schools said Monday that the absence of a long-term, data-driven strategic plan for public education will make collaboration among schools "far more difficult" and lead to "serious inefficiencies" in spending public funds.

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Print Headline: Report urges shift in schools' course

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Comments on: Report urges shift in course of public, charter schools in Pulaski County

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JakeTidmore says... August 1, 2017 at 6:37 a.m.

If only the ADG editorial writers pay attention to this report and stop pouring out more animosity toward the public education system. It is hard to get yappy lapdogs to shut up their incessant barking but maybe the owner can muzzle his beasts.

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RBear says... August 1, 2017 at 6:43 a.m.

Looking forward to reading the report to understand what proposals they are recommending. Education in central Arkansas needs some fresh new looks. The longer this keeps festering, the harder it will be to move the schools in the right direction. There has to be synergy. Charter schools are here to stay. Public schools will always be around. A mix that doesn't allow one to bleed the other is necessary.

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RaylanGivens says... August 1, 2017 at 7:30 a.m.

The LR school system is terrible, anyone not wearing blinders can see it especially when you get to see schools outside of Arkansas firsthand. Of course teachers/former teachers will lie and say it isn't but it's only because they can't handle truth.

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JakeTidmore says... August 1, 2017 at 9:02 a.m.

The vitriolic poison against LRSD continues to be put out by the misinformed. It is this disinformation pollution that has been making serious discussion of the issue quite difficult. So often, the level of hatred for LRSD accompanying negative comments is inversely proportionate to the level of facts supporting it.
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Which is why one must approach such alternative facts proclaimed as "the Truth" with the sturdy long-handled tongs needed to handle dangerously radioactive material.
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RBear says it best: A mix that doesn't allow one to bleed the other is necessary. Educating our children should be a cooperative effort, not a vicious competition.
The knives need to be put away. They don't belong in school nor in discussions about school.

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drs01 says... August 1, 2017 at 9:42 a.m.

History will show that the LRSD has been fighting any form of competition to their monopoly on public education for years. The charter schools (and the growth of private schools) exist because of FAILURES of the LRSD and PCSSD to provide what caring, involved parents want for their children. The so-called leadership at both the city and state level have sat back and watched this crisis grow without doing one damn thing to intervene. I am concerned that this "report" will become just another words in a fancy binder. There must be an elimination of the conflicts between public and charter schools. It didn't take a committee to figure that out, especially one that tossed around a $350,000 consultant costs. Maybe the real answer to all this "talk" is to have a voucher system where PARENTS can choose and decide what is best for their children not the lawyers and special interest groups who have created this mess in the first place.

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DoubleBlind says... August 1, 2017 at 10:27 a.m.

The vitriol and misrepresentation won't stop as long as jack-booted, WMT-financed thugs like Johnny Key and Hutchinson not only CONDONE it, but consider it part of the strategy to destroy public ed and replace with charters.

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PopulistMom says... August 1, 2017 at 10:38 a.m.

Too much concern over consultants, committees, boundaries, lawyers, and the color of people's skin. Just do what the great school districts do. Make the kids read more and solve more math problems. Offer tutoring and summer programs. Fire the bad teachers. The kids are not working hard enough and the standards are low. Kids are being passed on when they need to repeat a grade. Instead of talking to local consultants, why don't yall just go visit one of the great school districts such as Montgomery County Maryland? The schools are basically all neighborhood; there is little busing. The schools in the minority areas get extra reading assistants, master teachers etc. Instead of spending on lawyers and busing, spend on quality teachers and longer school days and school years. The kids need guidance counselors as well...

Jake,

When test scores are bad, the schools are bad. You need to wake up and smell the coffee.

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JakeTidmore says... August 1, 2017 at 10:42 a.m.

Input from ARTimes:
As it stands, we have four large school districts south of the river — Little Rock, Pulaski County, eStem and LISA — and numerous other tiny school districts in the form of autonomous charter schools. These are parallel operations in the same geographic area and they have little to show by way of differentiation in what's offered academically. (The bigger charter schools are much whiter and higher income than Little Rock schools.) To the extent the charters wish to collaborate it will only be to gain further advantage. The study group noted that charter schools had long ago moved from their original intent — meeting specific unmet needs and serving unmet areas — to merely being an alternative to real public schools with comprehensive facilities and programs and open to all comers.
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Input from comment section ARTimes:
1) Unless charter schools are funded to provide the same support services as public schools (special education, full-time nurse, literacy coaches etc.), I'm not a fan of a blended approach. Thus far, all I see is tax payer dollars going to charters to fund facilities and a push a private school/segregation agenda using public dollars. If the State can figure out how to openly allocate money in the right places for charters, maybe I could get on board. If not, I say stop ripping existing public schools apart by funneling money to charters.

BTW, I have experienced a certain charter in Pulaski County. Opened too soon, ill-prepared and unequipped to serve the local population. It's rural Arkasnas, not WLR/Maumelle.
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2) Many afternoons I drive past LRCA and PA and witness row after row of expensive vehicles lined up and idling. These people have the luxury of "choice". How is a poor family living on West 65th or West 14th Street going to have "choice"? How are they going to afford driving to and from school every day? Or, will their "choice" be whatever charter school that is built on West 65th or West 14th Street? There is a Quest charter school on Rahling where the kids have recess in the parking lot.

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JakeTidmore says... August 1, 2017 at 11 a.m.

From 2016 story about Baker Kurrus:
Compared to the LRSD, eStem and LISA contain lower percentages of children who live in poverty, African-American and Hispanic students, English-language learners and special education students — all of which give the charters a strong demographic edge, statistically speaking. By drawing a cohort of students from disproportionately more affluent households away from traditional public schools, a growing charter school sector threatens to leave students in the LRSD in a worse situation, since a school's performance tracks largely with its concentration of poverty. A district with growing poverty percentages is a district with compounding problems — and, of course, those problems are inherited by its students.
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Kurrus amassed significant data illustrating that charter schools have tended to take higher income and white students from the LRSD and that expanded charter schools would likely continue this trend, further segregating education in Little Rock. He presented this information to the state Board of Education at its public hearing on the issue.
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Compare LRSD with charters (from 2015 reports - giving school, grade, numeric score):
LRSD Forest Hts STEM - B, 248
LRSD Pulaski Hts - C, 235
LRSD Mann - C, 232
CHARTER Quest - C, 228
LRSD Mabelvale Mid - C, 222
CHARTER LISA - C, 215
CHARTER eSTEM - C, 212
LRSD Henderson - C, 210
LRSD Cloverdale - D, 208
CHARTER LR Prep Acad - D, 208
LRSD Dunbar - D - 207
CHARTER Covenant Keepers - D, 182*

* - Despite years of failure, state continues to renew this school. ADG often tells folks that failing charters WILL BE CLOSED!

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EStem Middle School fell from a B the year before to a C in 2014-15. All the Little Rock schools but Dunbar rose in 2014-15, Henderson by two letter grades. Again, overreliance on scores can be wildly misleading — note that a mere point for Cloverdale, and for Little Rock Prep Academy, kept these schools out of the C grade ranking. However, the state's own numbers clearly contradict the narrative of thriving charter schools and failing public schools.

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NoUserName says... August 1, 2017 at 11:17 a.m.

"Many afternoons I drive past LRCA and PA and witness row after row of expensive vehicles lined up and idling. These people have the luxury of "choice". "
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How about a thank you? LRSD gets the money but doesn't have to spend it on those kids. You know, maybe if the school leaders didn't cost BILLIONS in wasted deseg money, or hire a super who couldn't keep a degree, some of those people would have CONFIDENCE in LRSD. Face it, the school district is a s**thole which is ridiculous given the money that has been dumped into it. Don't blame those people for getting out. Blame yourself for letting the school district get this way.

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