Parents, citizens and teachers considering solidarity with the teachers’ union in opposing waiver of “Teacher Fair Dismissal” for Little Rock School District D and F schools should ask themselves one question:
If you had a choice, would you send your child to these schools?
|School||Grade||2017-18 Score||2016-17 Score||Gain/Loss||State Rank (of 1,034 Arkansas public schools)||Minority Percentage|
|Western Hills Elem.||D||64.05||64.79||-0.74||821st||94.90%|
It’s not just one year of aberrant scores. It’s continued decline of 21 of 22 schools. Of all D and F schools, only Chicot Elementary improved between 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Now look at each school’s minority percentage. For over three decades under federal and local control, the most historically significant school district in America – one associated with equal educational opportunity for all – has systemically denied equitable educational opportunity for its most vulnerable students. Even worse, through gerrymandered attendance zones and preferential magnet admissions, it has Balkanized its students between two C high schools – Central and Parkview – and three F high schools – Fair, Hall and McClellan.
The State of Arkansas, which is constitutionally responsible for public education, seeks to finally prioritize the best interests of students over the self interests of adults. But to do that, it must have the flexibility to remove and replace ineffective staff, teachers, principals and central administrators.
For this community and school district to survive and thrive, solidarity must be with long denied students, not with the adults who failed them.
The teachers’ union, its apologists, and lazy media are perpetuating the talking point lie:
“6 Academic Distress Schools at Takeover; 22 Today.”
Here’s the truth. The year of the State’s intervention in the district (2015), there were:
- 6 Academic Distress Schools (Three-year average of less than 49.5% students proficient)
- 24 Priority or Focus Schools
- 8 Priority (Lowest 5% Academic Performing Schools in Arkansas)
- 16 Focus (Largest In-school Achievement Gaps in Arkansas)
- 22 D (14) and F (8) Schools
All defined by different statutes.
|School||Grade||Score (of 300)||State Rank (of 1,052 Arkansas public schools)||Academic Distress (3 Year Avg Proficient)||Priority School (Year First Identified)||Focus School (Year First Identified; Gap)|
|Bale Elem.||X (2012; 35.84)|
|Baseline Elem.||D||197||932nd (tie)||X (46.21%)||X (2012)|
|Booker Elem.||D||190||970th (tie)|
|Central||X (2012; 30.18)|
|Chicot Elem.||D||188||974th (tie)||X (2015; 35.70)|
|Cloverdale Middle||F||157||1,046th (tie)||X (41.36%)||X (2012)|
|Dunbar Middle||D||181||1,005th (tie)||X (2012; 25.51)|
|Forest Heights Middle||F||157||1,046th (tie)|
|Franklin Elem||X (2012; 32.37)|
|Geyer Springs Elem.||F||172||1,031st (tie)||X (2012)|
|Henderson Middle||F||158||1,044th (tie)||X (46.04%)||X (2012)|
|J.A. Fair High||F||173||1,028th (tie)||X (44.42%)||X (2012)|
|King Elem.||D||183||999th (tie)||X (2012; 25.13)|
|Hall High||F||173||1,025th (tie)||X (39.26%)||X (2012)|
|Mabelvale Middle||F||178||1,012th (tie)||X (2015)|
|Mann Middle||D||197||932nd (tie)|
|McDermott Elem.||D||197||932nd (tie)|
|McClellan High||210||834th (tie)||X (43.70)||X (2012)|
|Meadowcliff Elem.||D||197||932nd (tie)|
|Pulaski Heights Elem.||X (2015; 33.17)|
|Pulaski Heights Middle||D||205||888th (tie)||X (2012; 35.76)|
|Rockefeller Elem.||D||186||986th (tie)||X (2015; 36.53)|
|Romine Elem.||F||177||1,014th (tie)||X (2012; 37.88)|
|Stephens Elementary||D||200||918th (tie)||X (2012; 30.62)|
|Wakefield Elem.||X (2012; 25.10)|
|Washington Elem.||D||201||912th (tie)||X (2012; 35.22)|
|Watson Elem.||D||188||974th (tie)||X (2015; 35.70)|
|Western Hills Elem.||D||192||962nd (tie)||X (2015; 32.63)|
|Wilson Elem.||X (2015; 31.42)|
2015 Accountability (29 of 42 Schools):
- 3 of 5 High Schools D or F
- 6 of 6 Middle Schools D or F
- 13 of 30 Elementary Schools D or F
- 8 Priority Schools (Lowest 5% in Arkansas)
- 16 Focus Schools (Largest In-School Achievement Gaps in Arkansas)
2018 Accountability (22 of 40 Schools):
- 3 of 5 High Schools D or F
- 4 of 7 Middle/K-8 Schools D or F
- 15 of 27 Elementary Schools D or F
The pace of the district’s academic turnaround has been unacceptable, and the Commissioner’s recommended waiver of “Teacher Fair Dismissal” for D and F schools is three years late. But in 2015, 69% of the district’s schools were designated in some form of accountability, including 9 of 11 secondary schools. Today, it’s 55% and 7 of 12 secondary schools – nowhere near acceptable, but better than 2015 by every measure.
And if were going straight apples to apples: 22 D or F schools in 2015; 22 D or F schools in 2018.