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School standards' successor sought

The Arkansas Department of Education is in the early stages of replacing the state's 1984 standards for public school accreditation.

Deborah Coffman, the Education Department's assistant commissioner for accountability, told state Board of Education members last week that the standards have become patched like an old tire and that the time has come to start over.

"We are giving it the grand old try," she said of what she called a "messy draft" that will eventually go out to the public for review. "We want it to be tools that are useful and not just new tools."

The 1984 standards, a milestone in the state's history of public education, established for all schools and districts the parameters for operating.

Graduation requirements, high school courses and limits on the numbers of students per class are just some of the topics included in the standards, which were created by a 15-member committee appointed by then-Gov. Bill Clinton and chaired by then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. In collecting information for writing the standards document, the members of the committee held a public hearing in each of the state's 75 counties.

State Education Board member Ouida Newton of Poyen, a retired teacher, on Thursday agreed with Coffman that it is time for new standards.

"Our standards are not keeping up with where our kids need to be," Newton said, noting that nearly 100 districts have sought and received waivers from state laws and accreditation standards.

"As long as we are holding on to old standards, it is going to be really difficult for districts to let go of old ways," Newton said.

Work boots given to nonprofit in LR

Bright Futures Little Rock, a nonprofit organization that uses social media to generate resources for Little Rock School District students, scored a win this month with the donation of nine pairs of steel-toed work boots for students in the district's new Excel career education construction program.

The boots are required safety gear in the construction program in which students are to work alongside crews building a new high school. Students also assist district maintenance department employees in designing and building projects that range from bookshelves to storage sheds to commercial buildings.

Bright Futures, formed earlier this year, posted the need for the work boots on its Facebook page, which resulted in the donations, Little Rock district officials said.

Applications open at Spa City school

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, a publicly financed residential school for high school juniors and seniors in Hot Springs, is now recruiting students for what will be its graduating Class of 2020.

Eligible students must be Arkansas residents and current 10th-graders who have received ACT composite and subscores of 19 or higher, and who have earned a minimum unweighted grade-point average of 3.25.

Students must submit their completed online application, test scores, and letters of recommendation no later than March 1, 2018.

Finalist candidates for admission will be invited to attend Interview Weekends in April.

More information about the application process, as well as opportunities to visit and learn more about the school, are available on the school's website:

Metro on 10/15/2017

Print Headline: School standards' successor sought Work boots given to nonprofit in LR Applications open at Spa City school

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