Friday, January 30, 2015

The Real Story of LRSD and a glimpse of Public Education Collapsing

The largest school district in the state of Arkansas, the Little Rock School District [LRSD], got taken over by the state for academic distress a few days ago. In layman terms, the school district is unable to perform its duties in these days of dumbed down standardized testing. Two-thirds of the district's 30 elementary schools are scoring in the lowest 25% on math exams. The following schools were deemed to be in academic distress: Baseline Elementary School, Cloverdale Middle School, Henderson Middle School, Hall High School, J.A. Fair High School, McClellan High School. Here is a complete list of the schools within the district. The elementary school and McClellan high school are in the little Mexico area of the city, and most students come from a English as a second language home.

Three of the five LRSD High Schools are in distress [academic distress is when fewer than half of the students attending them scored at proficient levels on achievement tests]. Parkview High School is an Arts and Science Magnet School and attracts the district's best students, while Central High School has two distinct curriculum. The principal of Central High school refers to the non-AP students as "the general population". A term that I associate with prison. The Central High School does offer excellent AP classes, but its like stacking the baseball team with a few ringers to get to the playoffs.

I'll provide the back story for my readers. Pulaski County School District [PCSSD] offered LRSD a chance to combine districts in their early days, and LRSD declined because the tax base wasn't very good for PCSSD. Fast forward many years,and the suburban sprawl takes hold, making the tax base of PCSSD very attractive. The suburban sprawl attracted many affluent white families, ergo LRSD files a desegregation lawsuit in 1982 against the PCSSD and North Little Rock School District [NLRSD]. At this point, the state of Arkansas steps in and infuses huge amounts of money to "fix" the situation. Social engineering. This creates an even greater white flight from the capital city, due to busing, racial tension, and the end of neighborhood schools. The bedroom communities such as Conway, Cabot, Bryant, and Benton explode in growth as a result, and their educational system improves. This creates a positive loop that draws even more families capable of moving, thus leaving the LRSD with the lower socioeconomic classes, usually black. At this point, quality private schools begin to increase in number for the remaining affluent families that can afford to foot the bill for the their children's education. During this time the LRSD goes through numerous superintendents, many lasting only a year or two. I can't find the exact number but 20 in the 25 years seems about right. 

The state has throw money at the school system in an attempt to fix the racial inequality, and it hasn't worked. With desegregation funding running out, the district would soon need to cut $37 million to stay solvent. As Arkansas' Central High School was in the spotlight for segregation, we are again in the spotlight for America's educational system.

Keep Right On Prepping  - K


  1. Does Arkansas use the common core standards? The whole education system in this country is in the toilet. I know it is really early for the 2016 presidential race, but i do lay some blame with Jeb Bush. He is in the pocket of the Gates foundation and a spokesperson for common core..

  2. I too was wondering if this was "Common Core" at its best??

  3. JUGM and Rob- Yes, Arkansas is a Common Core State. Parent involvement is THE most important part of a child's education. Sweetheart and I are active in their education, and challenge them with opportunities to learn. We ask what they are learning, offer other views than what is just presented, and most importantly, are helping them develop critical thinking skills.

  4. I don't know if you saw this or not, but more states are going to be added to list that want this done.: