Grassroots Arkansas reports that the teachers of Little Rock will strike this Thursday. It will be a one-day strike. The State Board of Education (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Walton family) stripped the local union of its collective bargaining rights and is trying to destroy and privatize public education in that city. For the billionaire Waltons, Little Rock is the petri dish that is near at hand. They have so many petri dishes, all of which have failed. Why don’t they leave this small but historic district alone? (Answer: Because the Waltons want everything; having $150 billions has made them willful and arrogant.) The state took control of the district in 2015 and has agreed to return limited control, with a powerless board still controlled by the state.

Little Rock educators have announced a strike this Thursday, November 14, to demand that the state stop its re-segregation plan, return democracy through full local control of the LRSD, and recognize the union’s bargaining rights. Our educators and students need all of us to stand up for them before unlicensed subs and private companies complete the destruction and further segregation of our public education system.

There are several ways that you can support students and teachers. If you are a caregiver, please do whatever you can to keep your students home on Thursday, or send them to one of the childcare sites to be announced soon. The money follows the students, and the only power we have is if the students stay home. If they go to school, they will be babysat by unlicensed subs. Other ways you can support include:

  • Donate and share the Bread for Ed campaign to feed kids while the schools are shut down.

  • Tuesday and Wednesday: Pass out flyers at schools during drop-off and pickup times. Go by the AEA building at 1500 W 4th Street or call them at (501)375-4611 to see which schools most need coverage.

  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 4:00-7:00 Sign making at the AEA building. 1500 W 4th St by the Capitol.

  • Thursday: Picketing at schools from 7-9:30. Picket the State Board of Education meeting at 11:00. Sign up here.

Together, we can reclaim democracy and a world-class education for ALL students!

STRIKE DATE SET IN ARKANSAS: The Little Rock Education Association is calling for one locally elected city school board with full decision-making authority following the state’s takeover of the district in January 2015. The union planned the strike for the day of the next state board of education meeting, when the district is on the agenda.

— The state board last month voted to stop recognizing the union as a bargaining agent for its members. The state board also voted to return control of Little Rock schools to a locally elected school board by 2020, but limited its authority.

— “They specifically stated that the school board, once elected, would not be able to reinstate our recognition, nor would they be able to hire or fire a superintendent and that the commissioner of education would still have veto power over any decisions that the state or that the school board makes,” Knapp Gordon said.

— The announcement said the union is working with #OneLRSD to stop Gov. Asa Hutchinson and his appointed state board from “segregating the city’s public schools.” The board last month backed away from a plan to divide the district under separate governing systems amid complaints that it would segregate the district. But Knapp Gordon said “by retaining control over the district, they still get to make those decisions that will lead to the resegregation of our school district.”