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Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

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ARKANSAS SCHOOL GRADES: Education chief sees scores as stimulus

State’s Key expects new grading system to factor into goal-setting by schools

By Cynthia Howell

This article was originally published April 15, 2018 at 4:30 a.m. Updated April 16, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

arkansas-education-commissioner-johnny-key-is-shown-in-this-file-photo

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key is shown in this file photo.

The index scores and A-to-F grades announced by the Arkansas Department of Education last week for the state's more than 1,000 public schools will drive future improvements in student achievement, state Education Commissioner Johnny Key said.

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RBear says... April 15, 2018 at 7:27 a.m.

Let's hope school districts and their boards truly dig into these scores. I would also hope community leaders do the same, including the current candidates for mayor of Little Rock. There are so many indicators where Little Rock is failing and that needs to change. The city has degraded so much under Mayor Mark Stodola there is no reason to give him another chance to fix the wrong. He is part of the problem along with the city manager. It's time for new leadership in the city.

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Razrbak says... April 15, 2018 at 8:03 a.m.

It's telling that the Little Rock School District, run by Key, had half of the high schools in LR with a 'F". If the state agency responsible can't meet the standards its time for a new director that actually has teaching credentials and experience.

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RBear says... April 15, 2018 at 8:04 a.m.

Very good point Razrbak. Thanks for bringing that up.

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PopMom says... April 15, 2018 at 8:40 a.m.

Setting standards is one thing. Achieving them is another. The teachers need training as to how to increase literacy. Every grade is important in terms of development. Instead of just working on remediation in high school, schools need to ensure that children make progress every year. The schools are not making the children work hard enough. They need to be reading much more than they are in some of these schools. The state needs to mimic the successful efforts of other schools with socioeconomically deprived children. Of course, the kids in Fayetteville can read; many of the parents teach at the University.

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Packman says... April 15, 2018 at 10:57 a.m.

Would be interesting to see per pupil expenditures to corresponding rank.
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Henry Woods and John Walker and their failed liberal social policies destroyed LR schools in the 1980's and the schools may never recover. It's just sad. Really, really sad.
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Hey Pop - Newton and Searcy Counties have some of the most socioeconomically deprived kids in the US yet those kids seem to do OK in school. And you can bet none of those kids' parents teach at the UofA. Might those be some schools to mimic?

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RBear says... April 15, 2018 at 11:20 a.m.

Bismarck was in the top tier of schools. It would be interesting to see what’s going on in that school district. Overall, the report provides information to help districts.

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NoUserName says... April 15, 2018 at 12:23 p.m.

Key has been on the job for about 3 years. What is the LRSD grade trend? And how fast do we expect him to turn the schools around?

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RBear says... April 15, 2018 at 1:26 p.m.

NUN we should have been seeing some positive numbers after 3 YEARS. In reality, the onus lies on Michael Poore who is actually engaged in the process. Now he hasn't had that much time so maybe we should give him a pass this year. But most companies don't give CEOs 3 YEARS to start to see a turnaround.

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Jfish says... April 15, 2018 at 1:29 p.m.

Rbear, I was thinking the same thing about Bismarck since I pass through their sometimes when going to Lake DeGray.

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drs01 says... April 15, 2018 at 2 p.m.

Charter schools, which the LRSD has fought for years,have A ratings. And schools districts in counties surrounding Little Rock seem to be doing okay as well. You can't fix a problem that is the LRSD in a short time when it has been a real cluster for years.
A change in the mayor position won't resolve the problems any faster. It's the ENTIRE city government. the local Chamber, the LR convention people who are to blame. They tend to focus on tourists and downtown revitalization instead of giving a damn about the school district problems. And you might include those Pulaski county legislatures as well. They have done everything possible to DRIVE citizens out of this city, and to block those who have stayed from getting into Charter Schools. Yes, the private schools for the Haves continue to flourish.
The LRSD is BEYOND recovery regardless of who is mayor. I've read a lot of chatter here that one candidate for mayor is the SALVATION. That is pure BS. The mayor is a figurehead with very little real power to effect change.

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