Blue Hog Report has mined another interesting report out of public record. He’s found a copy of the doctoral dissertation of Dexter Suggs, interim superintendent of the Little Rock School District, and compared it with another writer’s work and found many almost verbatim similarities.
Blue Hog says the earlier work, apparently repeated word for word without credit in Suggs’ paper, is not credited by Suggs.
Read it and judge for yourself. I need not belabor the point if what Blue Hog is found doesn’t have a good explanation. NOTE: Blue Hog has another post with more apparent copying from other work.
I’ve sent Suggs an e-mail asking for comment.
Some context. John Walker, the civil rights lawyer who’s jousted with Suggs over his operation of the school district, has long been suspicious of his credential. In a deposition he took in a lawsuit over a personnel matter, Suggs reluctantly or evasively answered a number of questions Walker posed about his personal background. He did finally admit he made an ACT score between 13 and 15 and couldn’t qualify to play football his freshman year in college because of low scores. I commented at the time that Suggs perhaps was a good example of why it was a bad idea for the legislature to make it so hard to get a lottery scholarship. Raising the qualifying score is sure to harm poor and minority students and I said Suggs was an example of rising above low scores to achieve a doctorate and a leadership role in a school district.
In the waning days of the session, Walker introduced a symbolic bill to bar hiring of school superintendents who didn’t have a 16 ACT score when they applied for college (it will take a 19 now to get a first-year lottery scholarship).
More context: Suggs picked on the wrong teachers when he went after a group of hard-working teachers at Jefferson School who’ve operated a sanctioned enrichment program — literacy, computers — in the summer. This has been practice at many schools for years. Suggs targeted these teachers, they believe, because a union officer among them had complained about abuse of leave time by an administrator friendly with Suggs. There’s been an outcry and Suggs has unapologetically dropped the probe. Campbell is representing the teachers in FOI actions and at least one lawsuit over the matter, for which Suggs has yet to issue an apology.
The school district ignored FOI requests as if there was no law. It tried to discipline the teachers as if there were no constitution or employment contract. They messed with the wrong teachers. Campbell is now providing some payback, with nothing more than good old-fashioned academic research.
State Education Commissioner Johnny Key, who got off to a bad start with supporters of the Little Rock School District by smearing the entire endeavor and supporting Hutchinson administration efforts to take over the district, kill the teachers union and deliver its $300 million in tax money into private operators’ hands, has in the last few days apparently encouraged Suggs to stop being such a butt.
Suggs backed of the Jefferson witch hunt. He backed off plans to shut down a historic early childhood program at Rockefeller School. After months of refusing to talk to parents about anything, he’s scheduled chatty lunch meetings.
Key clearly wants a stooge in charge in Little Rock. Is an intriguing allegation of plagiarism enough to get him to reconsider?
We shall see.
I have sent questions to Johnny Key. First, will he investigate? Second, will he tolerate a plagiarist at the head of the LRSD if an investigate supports the allegation? I’ve also asked him if he played a role in Suggs’ recent efforts to make nice.
AND SPEAKING OF DEXTER SUGGS: He apparently set off another firestorm with an idea to close the pre-K program at Forest Park Elementary, the A-rated elementary in the Heights and a popular place for the influential well-to-do families that still stay with the Little Rock School District. It’s been a political power base for School Board members like Melanie Fox and Leslie Fisken. It was a political hot potato in a legislative race this year, with a lieutenant of Suggs and Fisken with fingerprints on a Stacy Hurst campaign smear of state House winner Clarke Tucker who tried but failed to get his child in Forest Park.
Word got around. That prompted this memo today that elimination of the program has not been decided Read on:
Pre-K at Forest Park
Meeting to be held next week
Principal Theresa Ketcher advises parents: Please disregard the letter sent today regarding Pre-K and Kindergarten placement for next year.
A decision has NOT been made to eliminate the Pre-K program at Forest Park. Superintendent Dr. Dexter Suggs would like input from parents on how to handle demand for Pre-K slots at the school. Options would include (but are not limited to) adding kindergarten classes, which would require the possible elimination of our Pre-K program. The meeting with Forest Park parents will be held next week. Dr. Suggs will make a decision that the Forest Park parents support.
The PTA will provide information regarding the meeting time and location as it becomes available.
If you have any questions you’d like to pass along, please send an e-mail to Principal Theresa Ketcher at Theresa.Ketcher@lrsd.org.