Archives for category: Arkansas

In Arkansas, the governor and the legislature does not want the citizens of Little Rock to have democratic control of their public schools. They took over the schools five years ago and were supposed to return it to the people but passed a hoax of a bill.

Now activists have filed a lawsuit to expose the hoax and demand a real return to democratic control of their schools.

Max Brantley, veteran journalist in Little Rock, explains how the state intends to clamp down on a new local board and hang on to the reins of power.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of three plaintiffs by Matthew Campbell, challenges the state Board’s order that prevents the School Board from filing lawsuits; from negotiating with the teachers union on a contract, and from firing the school superintendent.

The plaintiffs are a parent of a child in the district, Heather Speyer-Rainbolt; Jim Ross, a member of the School Board disbanded by the state five years ago on account of low standardized tests scores in a handful of the district’s almost four dozen schools, and Marshall Sladyen, a teacher at Hall High School.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s ability to control the district ended by law at the five-year trusteeship period in January. Then, the state had to consolidate, annex or reconstitute the district. The state contended that it had reconstituted the district by allowing the election of a new board at the end of this year. But it put three key limits on its powers. It has since acted in other ways to assert control — including in the naming of a school and designation of a principal and asserting that it could act in any way it found necessary to oversee practices in the district.

So, the hoax is exposed. The new locally elected board is not allow to file lawsuits; it is not allowed to restore the teachers’ union; it is not allowed to fire the superintendent hired by the state. The state board can do whatever it wants to intervene in the district and the local board is powerless to stop it. The state board, the state superintendent, the governor, and the legislature are determined to crush democracy in Little Rock, without regard to the law.

Behind the hoax are the Waltons, who treat the state as their private plantation. I asked a local parent about who was pulling the strings and she replied:

The Waltons are behind the efforts to maintain indefinite state control beyond the five years allowed in state law. The State Board of Ed member (Chad Pekron) who proposed the limitations on returning LRSD local control (no collective bargaining, and no filing lawsuits) was appointed by our governor just a few months ago, when Jay Barth’s term ended. Chad Pekron stayed on the board only long enough to implement these “guard rails” before the Waltons called him home to the Walmart home office as Lead Counsel – Appellate. https://twitter.com/chadpekron/status/1233402726832316421?s=21

This is not democracy. This is colonialism.

NPE Action is pleased to endorse Joyce Elliott for U.S. House District 2 in Arkansas.

Joyce is an outstanding state senator and she will be an outstanding Member of Congress, representing the people of Little Rock and nearby areas.

She is running against a Trumpian Republican, who is outspending her by enormous margins. Joyce plans a grassroots campaign to overcome the big money against her.

This is from her Wikipedia page:

A member of the Democratic Party, she has served in the Arkansas Senate, representing the 31st District, which consists of a portion of Pulaski County, since 2009. She is the former majority leader and was previously a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2000 through 2006. She has continued to be active in her party at the local, state, and national levels. Elliot acted as the chairman of the Whole Child Community Program and was the vice chairman of both the Arkansas Legislative Council of Policy Making and the Joint Public Retirement and Social Security programs. Elliott has also served on numerous committees in the Arkansas 90th General Assembly.

This is how Joyce describes her own background:

We will win this race, but we won’t do it by running a conventional campaign catering to the conventional political class. We will win this race because of grassroots support and people like you passionately fighting for change. I need you to help show that we can create the future we want and are refusing to accept the one we’ve been prescribed.

For two decades, I have fought for the people of Arkansas and now I want to take that fight to Washington.

I am the mother of one son, Elliott, and the extremely proud grandmother to my granddaughter Athena. An outdoor enthusiast, I enjoy traveling, especially to our National Parks, hiking, dancing, canoeing, zip-lining, and whitewater rafting

Born and raised in rural Arkansas, I have been a pioneer for positive change since childhood. I grew up in the tiny community of Willisville, Arkansas, where I graduated from high school in a class of nine students. I was only the second person of color to graduate from the newly integrated school. My older sister, Carolyn, was the first. I earned an undergraduate degree in English and speech from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and a graduate degree in English from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

For thirty years, I taught high school juniors and seniors in our public schools. After my teaching career, I served as a State Representative from January 2001 through January 2007. I was elected to the Arkansas State Senate in November 2008, where I currently represent District 31.

I invite you to donate today and join our movement to create the future we want and refusing to accept the one we’ve been prescribed.

If you live in her district, please volunteer to ring doorbells for Joyce. If you don’t, please consider a contribution so that the district represents the people, not the special interests who buy their way to power.

Joyce Elliott would be a dynamic addition to the Arkansas delegation in the House of Representatives and a great spokesperson for education and for children.

Rev./Dr. Anika Whitfield of Grassroots Arkansas issued this stern complaint against school board member Chad Pekron:

In case any of you reading this post for one minute thinks/thought that Gov. @AsaHutchinson is not working the plan of the billionaire Walton family, the Stephens, Hussman and other millionaires to profit off the backs of African American/Black and Latinx American children and families by destroying the LRSD and public schools in Arkansas, think again.

Atty @ChadPekron was appointed to the AR State Board of Education in July 2019, the same time the State Board of Education should have been preparing the LRSD community for a November 2019 school board election.

***We still don’t have an elected school board five years after the state stole the LRSD from our community.***

What unfolded in his short time as a State Board of Education director/member was a planned distraction. Pekron appeared to be one of the few board members who realized that the LRSD community was being attacked unfairly. But, just when you thought he might have a heart for justice (considering he is an attorney), he was the one, in the end, who pulled out the dagger and bludgeoned the hope for local control to be restored to the LRSD and justice to be realized civilly.

Not sure how this parent of five children can rest any night knowing he has caused so much trauma and destruction in the lives of tens of thousands of children, their families, their educators, and their neighborhoods?

Atty #ChadPekron, would you ever stand for any attorney, Governor or billionaires denying your children, family and community their human rights, Democracy and justice as you participated in so ruthlessly doing to innocent children and families in Little Rock?

Shame on you. SHAME on you!

Local activists who fight to return democratic control refuse to bow to the powerful Walton family, who own the governor and the legislature.

Grassroots Arkansas is calling on friends of public education to wear black on January 28 to mark the death of democratic control—of, by, and for all the children of Little Rock, which has been under state control for five years.

***Call to Action***

• Wear black wherever you are and whatever you’re doing on January 28 – and tell people you meet why you’re wearing black today: “It’s the 5th anniversary of the State’s takeover of the Little Rock School District. It’s been 1,827 days since Little Rock had a democratically elected school board.” Tie a black ribbon around a tree, car, or mailbox.

• Post pics of yourself and others wearing black with the hashtag: #oneLRSD and #AsaFreeLRSD and voice your support online and in person on the 28th for a no-strings attached, democratically elected school board in Little Rock – now!

• Email Asa Hutchinson asa.hutchinson@governor.arkansas.gov with this subject line: “Asa Free LRSD”. In the body of the email simply sign your name and indicate any and all connections you have to the LRSD, e.g.: Jane Doe, LRSD student OR John Doe, LRSD parent OR Jane Doe, Little Rock business owner and taxpayer, etc.

It’s School Board Recognition month – and Little Rock still doesn’t have one. We believe that a school board election is possible in May 2020 as opposed to November 2020 when the State “says” it intends to allow an election. We believe for any elected school board to be legitimate it must come with no-strings attached, no limitations on the school board’s governing powers by the State

Hello from Arkansas! Thank you for your continued coverage of the Walton-funded takeover efforts in LIttle Rock School District, and public education in Arkansas. I’ve been blogging about education policy & politics here for a little over a year, and really appreciate the times you have shared my work and the work of Dr. Anika Whitfield. You have really helped get Arkansas into the national spotlight!
 
I’m writing to ask for help getting a fundraising project off the ground. Alex Handfinger (a member of Grassroots Arkansas alongside Dr. Whitfield) and I have incorporated a public-benefit corporation to fund legal action against state mismanagement of the Little Rock School District. Together, we are the Education Defense League of Arkansas (EDLA.)
EDLA has recruited three passionate attorneys, so far. Each of our attorneys is a recognizable name in Arkansas: Matt Campbell — an established “good government” bulldog, Chris Burks — the brother of one of our State Board of Education members, and Amelia LaFont — a civil rights attorney who worked as a public education activist in New Orleans, fighting the same battles down there that are currently being fought up here. Each of these attorneys has cases already filed that we can consolidate and build into class-action cases against state mismanagement in LRSD.
EDLA-affiliated attorney Amy LaFont has filed a case in federal court under the First Amendment, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, on behalf of two dedicated special education teachers, who advocated for students’ rights at Hamilton Alternative Learning Environment (ALE.)

“It is our understanding that there are many educators and employees who have experienced retaliation for advocating for students in LRSD. EDLA is joining LaFont, her clients, and her co-counselors, by providing financial and logistical support, to maximize the impact of this lawsuit.”

One step at a time, though. My job, right now, is to raise some money.
 
Since EDLA is a B-corp, we can offer donor anonymity — but we can’t offer tax writeoffs. Do you know anybody who would be interested in contributing on those terms? Here is a fundraising packet we’ve developed, explaining our strategies & needs in greater detail. https://www.eddefenseleague.org/strategies-and-needs.html Please consider sharing it with anybody you think might be able to contribute!
 
Thank you for your continued attention & support.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay
Blogger at www.orchestrating-change.com
Mission Coordinator at eddefenseleague.org

On November 26, the New York Times published an article that had this headline: ‘Minority Voters Chafe As Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools.’

The point of the article was that many black and Latino families are very disappointed that all the Democratic candidates have turned their backs on charter schools, excepting Cory Booker, currently polling around 1-2%. The article was especially critical of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have, as the article put it, “vowed to curb charter school growth.”

The article implied that the shift was due to the candidates’ pursuit of the support of the teachers’ unions, and charter schools are mostly non-union. Thus, if you want the union vote, you oppose non-union charters. (In my experience, neither the AFT nor the NEA is anti-charter, since they seek to organize charters to join their unions and have had some modest success; still, about 90% of charters are non-union.)

The article was prompted by an organized disruption of a speech in Atlanta by Elizabeth Warren, who was talking about a washerwomen’s strike in Atlanta in 1881, led by black women. The disruption was led by Howard Fuller, who, as the article notes, has received many millions from rightwing foundations, not only the Waltons but the Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, to sell vouchers and charters to black families.

Not until paragraph 25 does the article mention that the national NAACP, the nation’s largest organization representing black families, called for a charter moratorium in 2016. That fact alone should raise the question of how representative the protestors are.

I wrote this post about the article. The gist of my complaint was that the Times’ article gave the impression that black and Latino families are clamoring for more charters, when in reality there are many cities in which black and Hispanic families are protesting the destruction of their public schools and the loss of democratic control of their schools.

I questioned why the article relied on a five-year-old press release from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as evidence for its claim that the “wait list” for charter schools was in the “hundreds of thousands.” Actually, the 2014 press release from the charter advocacy group said the “wait list” topped one million students. My comment was that “wait lists” have never been audited or verified and that a claim by a lobbying group is not evidence.

I added to my post a commentary by Robert Kuttner, the editor of the American Prospect,  who was also critical of the article.

Both Kuttner and I heard from a reporter from the New York Times. In the response posted below, he acknowledges he made an error in citing poll data in the article, without reading the underlying poll.

I heard from one of the writers of the Times article. She said my post had many inaccuracies. I invited her to write a response and promised I would post it in full. I pleaded with her to identify any inaccuracies in my post and said I would issue a correction. She did not send a response that I could post nor a list of my “inaccuracies.”

The Times posted an article last July about the growing backlash against charter schools. But I do not think the Times has exhausted the question of why the charter “movement” is in decline.  It would surely be interesting if the Times wrote a story about why the NAACP took a strong stand against charter expansion, despite the funding behind charters. Or why Black Lives Matter opposes privatization and supports democratic control of schools. Or why black families in Little Rock, Chicago, Houston, and other cities are fighting charter expansion. None of those families are funded by the Waltons, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Charles Koch, or Michael Bloomberg, so they don’t organize buses to take hundreds or thousands of people to demonstrations.

The Times should take note of the fact that white Southern Republicans have made the charter issue their own, and they are using it to recreate segregated schools. Indeed, the Republican party has made charter schools and vouchers the centerpiece of their education agenda, and Democrats in most state legislatures have resisted that agenda and support public schools. There is also the fact that DeVos and Trump are pushing charters and school choice even as they dismantle civil rights protections.

I wish the Times had noticed a court decision in Mississippi a few months ago that upheld the right of the state to take tax money away from the predominantly black public schools of Jackson, Mississippi (which are 96-97% black), and give it to charter schools authorized by the state, not the district. They might note that the sole black justice on the Mississippi Supreme Court, Justice Leslie King, dissented from that decision. The district, under black leadership, fought that decision and lost. The black parents of Jackson, Mississippi, are fighting for adequate funding of their public schools, while the white Republicans in state government are imposing charter schools.

In Justice Leslie King’s dissenting opinion, which Justice James Kitchens joined, he wrote “This Court should not be a rubber stamp for Legislative policies it agrees with when those policies are unconstitutional.”

Public school districts in Mississippi receive local funding from ad valorem tax receipts. When a student enrolls in a charter school, which is a free public school, money that would have gone to the district follows the student to the charter school instead.

My view is that we need a great public school in every neighborhood, with experienced teachers, a full curriculum, a vibrant arts program, a nurse, and all the resources they need for the students they enroll. I think that charter schools should be authorized by districts to meet their needs and supervised by district officials to be sure that there is full transparency and accountability for the academic program, the discipline policies, and the finances. Charter schools should complement public schools, not compete with them or supplant them.

Here is Robert Kuttner’s second commentary on the article:

americanprospect

 

DECEMBER 2, 2019

Kuttner on TAP

Charter Schools and the Times: a Correction and Further Reflections. I made an error in my On Tap post last week on the New York Times feature piece on black public opinion and charter schools.

My post criticized the Times for publishing a page-one story with an exaggerated headline, “Minority Voters Feel Betrayed Over Schools.”

The Times piece cited a poll showing black support for charter schools at 47 percent. My mistake was to infer from this figure that black support and opposition were about equally divided. As one of the story’s authors pointed out in an email, the actual poll showed support at 47 percent, opposition at 29 percent, and no opinion or similar for the rest.

That 29 percent opposed figure was not mentioned in the Times piece. Nonetheless, I should have pursued the underlying poll and reported it, and not just made assumptions. I regret the error.

That said, polling results vary widely depending on the wording and framing of the question, the sponsor of the poll, and the context. For instance, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, in a state that has more charters than any other, reverses the finding of the Education Next poll cited by the Times. In California, blacks, with just 36 percent support, were far less likely to support charters than whites.

One of the two polls that the Times linked to used the phrase “public charter schools.” Most charter schools are public only in their taxpayer funding; their actual accountability to public systems varies widely. Many are for-profit, or nominally nonprofit but managed by for-profit management companies.

Another poll, which my post cited, by Peter Hart Associates (for the American Federation of Teachers), finds that black parents are strongly opposed to the idea of reducing funds for public schools and redirecting them to charters, which is often the practical impact of increased spending on charters. As this study shows, the practical effect of charters, in a climate of fiscal scarcity, is often precisely to divert funds from public schools.

I owe our readers a much deeper look at the charter school controversy, as well as error-free reading of polls. Both will be forthcoming. ~ ROBERT KUTTNER

Robert Kuttners new book is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy.

Follow Robert Kuttner on Twitter

LilSis (also known as the Public Accountability Project) pays careful attention to the networks and money behind nefarious efforts to destroy the public sector.

In this report, LilSis describes the corporate backers of school privatization against whom Little Rock teachers went on strike. The money behind this network of interlinking organizations and individuals is the Walton family, whose wealth clocked in at $163 Billion (that’s Billion with a B) in 2018.

LilSis writes:

A major backer of the anti-union, pro-charter agenda in Arkansas is the Walton family, whose foundation is a huge funder of the school privatization infrastructure that exists across the state. In addition to the Waltons, corporate elites from Murphy Oil, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Democrat Gazetteand others are backers of the school privatization efforts. These corporate interests are close to Governor Hutchinson, who supports their agenda, and they have close ties to the state Board of Education. In addition, they are also interlocked with a host of lobbyists and academics that push their agenda…

The Waltons are major advocate of charter schools nationally, and they carry out their school privatization agenda through their Walton Family Foundation, which showers hundreds of millions on pro-charter groups and schools. The foundation claims it has invested a whopping $407 million into pushing charter schools since 1997.According to a recent report put out by the Arkansas Education Association, the Waltons pump millions into propping up the state’s school privatization infrastructure – or what the report calls the “Arkansas’s School Privatization Empire.” 

It’s not just that the Waltons give big money to a few groups – it’s also that these groups then distribute that money to other organizations, lobbyists, consultants, and academics, creating a vast network of billionaire-funded activity to attack unionized teachers and push charter schools. 

For example, the Walton family Foundation gave $350,000 to the Arkansans for Education Reform Foundation (AERF) in 2017 – around 80% of all the contributions the organization took in that year. 

The AERF board includes other powerful funders and advocates of school privatization in the state, such as Claiborne Deming, the former CEO of Murphy Oil, a big backer of charter schools in Arkansas; William Dillard III, part of the Dilliard family that owns the Dilliard’s department stores; and Walter Hussman, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s flagship newspaper. Jim Walton is also on the board.

In addition to the $350,000 that the Walton donated to the AERF in 2017, Deming gave $60,000 and Dilliard III gave $10,000, while the National Christian Foundation gave $15,000, according the the group’s 2017 990 form.

AERF has in turn used the money it receives from the Walton billionaire fortune and other Arkansas elites to fund other school privatization efforts. For example, it gave $115,000 to Arkansas Learns, which describesitself as “the Voice of Business for excellent education options – including industry-relevant career pathways…” The CEO of Arkansas Learns, Gary Newton, is also the Executive Director of the AERF (for which he earned $189,639 in compensation in 2017). 

In turn, Arkansas Learns has the same board members as AERF, and Randy Zook, the CEO of the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, whose wife Dianne Zook is on the state Board of Education that decided to end recognition of the Little Rock teachers’ union, is also a board member. Dianne Zook is also the aunt of Gary Newton.

What a cozy and mutually beneficial arrangement: The Waltons have a lot of money to hand out to achieve their goal of privatizing public schools and breaking unions, and the recipients take the money and carry out the Waltons’ wishes.

Any time you see a group called “XXXXXXX for Education Reform,” you can be sure it is committed to charter schools, union-busting, and privatization, and the odds are high that there is Walton money behind it.

The Waltons have claimed credit for subsidizing one of every four charter schools in the nation.

LilSis creates wonderful graphical depictions of networks.

Here is the LilSis graphic of the Little Rock school privatization network. 

If you want to understand what is happening in the Little Rock school District today, read Eric Blanc’s article. 

Eric Blanc has covered every one of the teachers’ strikes since the West Virginia strike in the spring of 2018. Now he is in Little Rock, where he interviewed teachers who went on strike yesterday to protest the State Board of Education’s heavy-handed control of the district and its decision to strip school employees of collective bargaining rights.

Teachers are outraged that the State Board of Education, which took control of the district in 2015, utterly failed to improve student outcomes, yet refuses to relinquish control to a democratically elected board. Teachers believe that the state wants to resegregate the district.

Blanc writes:

Little Rock teachers today are not demanding raises for themselves, but an end to the state’s push to resegregate schools, its takeover of their district, its decertification of their union, and its disrespect for school support staff. As second grade teacher Jenni White explains, “this is literally about standing up for our kids and not dividing our community…

The immediate roots of this week’s action go back to January 2015 when the Arkansas State Board of Education announced that it was taking over Little Rock’s schools due to low standardized test scores. By all accounts, the ensuing state takeover failed to accomplish its nominal goal of improving stability and educational opportunities for the town’s low-performing schools. Yet rather than return Little Rock School District to local control in 2020 as promised, the state board instead proposed in September of this year that it would continue to oversee so-called “F”-rated schools, those with the lowest test scores.

Since all but one of the “F” schools were in black and brown neighborhoods south of I-630, teachers and parents saw this an attempt to create a two-tier school system. “The plan was blatantly racist, it separated the haves and the have notes,” Jenni White told me.

In a dramatic protest on the evening of October 9, thousands of teachers, support staff, students, and community members congregated on the steps of Central High, where the Little Rock Nine had famously confronted the National Guard decades earlier. Teresa Knapp Gordon, president of the Little Rock Education Association (LREA), closed the rally with the following declaration: “Either we accept segregation, or we stand and fight.”

This public outpouring forced the state board to change tactics. At the next evening’s contentious Arkansas Board of Education meeting, it dropped the proposal to split Little Rock’s school district. But surprisingly, the board then immediately proceeded to cease recognition of the LREA as the educators’ representative, thereby scrapping the last remaining collective bargaining agreement for school workers in Arkansas. The decision was blatant retaliation against not only teachers but also Little Rock’s school support staff, who were in the midst of negotiating a pay raise.

Next, the board issued a draft “Memorandum of Understanding” explaining that instead of returning full local control to the school board set to be elected in November 2020, the state would appoint a parallel “advisory board” that could veto local decisions. The Memorandum also insists on closing up to eleven neighborhood schools — which would thereby accelerate privatization, since state law gives charters first access to any vacant school. Stacey McAdoo, a teacher at Central High, told Labor Notes, “they are trying to charterize the [district] like what happened in New Orleans and disenfranchise people and make a separate school system out of the areas that are primarily Black and Latino.”

As in so many other states across the country, this offensive against the labor movement, public education, and working-class communities of color is being directly funded by billionaires. And it’s not just any billionaires: Little Rock teachers and students are up against the Arkansas-based Waltons, founders of Walmart and the richest familyin America.

The Walton family: the Death Star of Public Education. The ingrates who graduated from Arkansas public schools but now want to destroy them and public schools everywhere. Rich and shameless.

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.”

Supporters of Students,
Join our students as they stay home for a “sick-out” in solidarity with our educators tomorrow, Wednesday, October 30th. If you are a caregiver of a student, you can call their absence in, and no matter who you are, you can join them at 12:45pm outside the Governor’s Office in the State Capitol, wearing red, holding supportive signs, and supporting them in their demands to meet with the Governor about an immediate return to democratically-elected, local control and return of recognition of the LREA Little Rock Teachers’ Union.
If you are a caregiver of a student or a student yourself, please fill out this pledge to show Asa, Key, and the State Board of Education how many students intend to follow educators in the event of a work action and encourage them to come to the table.
You can also support them by donating to the Bread for Ed fund here to provide meals for students who would be out of school during a shutdown and to cover associated costs. Over 70% of Little Rock students rely on free or reduced lunch, and your support will make it possible for them to stand in solidarity with teachers and educators.
You can support the LREA Member Care fund here to provide support for members in the case of a collective job action. Funds will be provided to members based on demonstrated need.
Lastly, save the date for Monday, November 4th, 5-7pm, for an LREA fundraiser at South on Main.
Together, we will win!
GRASSROOTS ARKANSAS