- Brian Chilson
- WALK IN THE PARK: The Bill Clark wetlands restoration project in front of the Clinton Library looks inviting on a crisp fall day. A new pedestrian river bridge crossing nearby opens Oct. 2.
The line is open. I’m closing shop. Close-outs:
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* NEW PULASKI CFO: William Goff will be the new chief financial officer of the Pulaski County Special School District. A CPA, he’s been assistant commissioner of fiscal and administrative services for the Arkansas Department of Education since 2008. The department took over the district earlier this year because of a raft of problems. Jerry Guess, who’d led the Camden Fairview District, was named as superintendent.
* CHARTER SCHOOL RAGE: Luke Gordy, who’s paid by the Waltons, Stephenses, Murphys and other jillionaires to tear down the Little Rock School District has gone simply nutso over the Little Rock School District’s decision to ask a federal court to enforce the desegregation agreement with the state of Arkansas. Little Rock contends charter school approvals in Pulaski County have promoted segregation and damaged court-ordered efforts — magnet and interdistrict transfer programs particularly — aimed at desegregation.
Little Rock hasn’t called for an end to charter schools, though Gordy wants you to think that. Gordy also promotes the theme propagated with the help of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce that the Little Rock schools are worthless and any choice would be better (forget the plunderers and incompetents who’ve already turned up in Arkansas charter school operations).
Here’s his full screed, in an email from Speak Up for Schools, one of the various conventional public school hate groups established to get out the gospel according to the Billionaire Boys Club.
What’s really funny is Gordy’s plea for money for a legal defense fund to fight the evil Little Rock School District. As if the Waltons, who are pouring tens of millions into charter schools, think tanks to support their ideology and targeted attacks on urban school districts with teacher unions, are short of cash. But, hey, Luke, here’s my pledge: I’ll send $1,000 the day the Billionaire Boys Club agrees to take over one of those failing Little Rock schools with “underserved” kids (a sneaky, presumptive label that puts all the blame on the teachers and none on families, economics, kids or other relevant factors). You need not hire any of those criminal, skanky union teachers. But you must operate the school with the kids who show up from the neighborhood. No outcounseling is allowed or dismissal because parents are no-shows. Tally the results and then let’s talk about the underserved. “Increasingly dysfunctional Little Rock schools?” Facts, Luke? Got any? “Stop the Madness?” Yeah, good idea.
* BOYS CLUB SUCCESS: Happier talk here, from columnist Jonathan Alter, who writes of five Boys and Girls Club success stories, one of them from North Little Rock.
Deshawn, the son of a drug dealer, lived in a housing project in North Little Rock, Arkansas, where they had to run extension cords from apartment to apartment because there was so little power. When he first showed up at the club, he says, “I hated it with a passion. It was too strict.” But it soon became what he calls “my secret hiding place, my home away from home.” Now he’s a freshman at Morehouse College, focusing on science, and determined to run a company or cure a disease.
PS FOR MR. GORDY: Deshawn graduated from North Little Rock High. That school district has joined with Little Rock and Pulaski County in trying to preserve the transfer and magnet programs the Billionaires Boys Club is trying — most recently with your agitated e-mail — to kill. “Stop the Madness,” indeed.