The question lingers from Thursday’s state Board of Education meeting at which the Board ignored federal court desegregation orders and allowed students to transfer out of Jacksonville and El Dorado school districts over objections of the districts.
Both Jacksonville and El Dorado are covered by federal court desegregation cases, still active, and both asked for exemption from school choice as allowed for such districtsunder state law. With charter school/choice advocate Diane Zook in the forefront — and aided by Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointees — a majority of the board essentially told the courts to go to hell and allowed the transfers, though it took two votes. A lunch break allowed some new Hutchinson appointees, particularly Fitz Hill, to get cleared up on how they were supposed to vote after earlier denying the El Dorado transfer to a white flight nearby district.
Allen Roberts, attorney for El Dorado and the Pulaski County Special School District, which struck the no-transfer agreement with Jacksonville, called the Board action radically segregationist.
He was en route to a funeral this morning and had only a second to talk, but he said he and other lawyers would be conferring with others and court action was possible in light of the state Board’s defiance of prevailing court rulings. I haven’t been able to get in touch so far with civil rights lawyer John Walker, who represents parties in both the El Dorado and Jacksonville cases. But note that he has a lawsuit pending against the state for racial motives in the takeover of the Little Rock School District. Yesterday’s actions add more circumstantial evidence to the theme.
The state Board voted to defy federal courts on the very day three members of the Little Rock Nine were talking a few blocks away — in front of three former world leaders — about their desegregation of Central High School, over the wishes of state government,
49 59 years ago. The more things change ….
You really wonder why they bother to go through the motions at the state Board any more. All charter schools will be approved and allowed to operate indefinitely, no matter how deficient. There are no bars to school district transfer, even for racial reasons. Why waste time in sham theater?