I’ve written repeatedly how much I admire the thorough work of Cynthia Howell, for more than 30 years the dependable, prize-winning education reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I say that to preface an observation about the direction of her reporting this morning on the Little Rock School District.
Under this headline, “Parents’ input helping shape campus plans” came this lead paragraph:
Little Rock School District interim Superintendent Dexter Suggs has shown this week that his proposals for alterations at some schools next school year are at this point subject to change in discussion with parents.
I might have suggested a different approach and included mention of a couple of stories that haven’t yet been mentioned in the Democrat-Gazette.
Headline: Suggs backs off plans for Rockefeller, Forest Park in face of outcry
Parent outcries have forced Interim Superintendent Dexter Suggs to back away from reorganization plans at two district elementary schools — Rockefeller and Forest Park.
This follows his abrupt termination of an investigation of popular teachers at another district elementary, Jefferson, following parental outcry and legal pushback from staffers who say they were being punished for reporting sick leave abuse by a member of Suggs’ administrative team.
These developments also came amid news reports alleging Suggs plagiarized his doctoral dissertation. Education Commissioner Johnny Key has indicated he intends to look into those reports.
Suggs’ missteps have raised questions about his ability to remain in his position. He was kept in place when the state Board of Education took over the district and abolished the school board. Suggs was retained primarily for lack of a suitable candidate immediately at hand to take over. Friend and foe of the district alike questioned a decision to keep the operational leader of a purportedly failed school district.
Dexter Suggs stepped in it repeatedly this week. He’s madly trying to make amends.
But that’s just me.