Republicans were once the party that advocated for local control of schools. No longer. Now they support state takeovers. This is the Big Bad Wolf technique.  State Control makes it easier to privatize public schools. No need to listen to parents or communities. No raucous school board meetings. No democracy. State control of schools is autocracy in action.

In Arkansas, a state that is almost wholly owned by one wealthy family, the Little Rock School District wastaken over by the state because six of its 48 schools had low test scores. A Democrat proposedto End State Control after five years. That bill failed. A Republican state legislator has proposed to extend state control to nine years.

The Republican legislator puts the onus on the district for failing to improve while it is under state control. This is whacky. If the district hasn’t improved under state control, it’s the state that has failed, not the district. Why punish the district for the state’s failure? Why not hold the state accountable?

This report was published by the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, without a link.

 

“BY CATHY FRYE
“LITTLE ROCK –  Senator Kim Hammer, R-District 33, on Monday filed a bill that would allow the Arkansas Department of Education and State Board of Education to retain control of public school districts for up to nine years.
”SB668 accomplishes this by letting the State Board grant two 24-month extensions if a district that has been under state control for five years still isn’t meeting expectations.
“The bill appears to be a response to Senator Will Bond’s failed legislation that would have required ADE and the State Board to return school districts to local control within five years of a takeover.
“Bond, D-District 32, testified last week in the Senate Education Committee that the bill would apply to any and all school districts taken over by the state.
“Current law states: “If the public school district has not demonstrated to the State Board and the Department of Education that the public school district meets the criteria to exit Level 5-Intensive Support within five years of the assumption of authority shall annex, consolidate or reconstitute the public school district…”
“Bond’s bill, SB553, proposed another option – returning a district to local control as long as it met certain criteria.
“At that committee meeting, ADE Commissioner Johnny Key contended that approval of the legislation would create an uncertain situation where “we’re back to not knowing,” adding that in the case of the Little Rock School District, which is approaching the 5th anniversary of its takeover, “the exit criteria was recently communicated.”
“Per Bond’s bill, the State Board would be able to return a school district to local control if the following criteria were met:
  • “The public school district has adopted a plan to correct the issue or issues that caused the classification of the public school district as being in need of Level 5-Intensive support; and
  • “All public schools within the public school district that is classified as being in need of Level 5 – Intensive support are making demonstrable progress towards the removal of the Level 5-Intensive support classification; or
  • “The number of public schools that are classified as in need of Level 5 – Intensive support within a public school district has increased while under the authority of the state board.”
“The bill further states: “The state board may promulgate rules to establish regarding the criteria by which a public school district may exit Level 5-Intensive support as established under subdivision (c)(2) of this section.”
“In closing for his bill, Bond asked committee members to think about how their school districts would feel about remaining under state control for more than five years. This isn’t just about Little Rock, he said.
“In the end, the bill failed.
“Hammer’s bill has been referred to the Senate Education Committee and could run as soon as Wednesday. The committee meets at 10 a.m. in Room 207. An agenda has not yet been posted.
“Hammer’s bill still offers the State Board the options of annexation, consolidation or reconstitution of school districts. At the end of five years, the State Board could consider those choices or extend the state takeover by another 24 months. When the two-year extension ends, the bill states, the board would then be allowed to grant a second two-year extension.”
Senator Kim Hammer hates democracy and local control. 
From Wikipedia:

Kim David Hammer is a Missionary Baptist pastor and hospice chaplain in Benton, Arkansas, who is a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives for District 28 in Saline County near the capital city of Little Rock.

Bentonville is the home base of the Waltons, where most of them attended and graduated from the local PUBLIC schools. The Waltons, having benefitted from their good public education, are now using their multi billion dollar ($150 billion) to destroy public schools across the nation. Ingrates.