Ho-hum. The state Education Department charter school authorizing panel signed off this morning on a 500-student Haas Hall charter school for Rogers, to add to existing campuses in Fayetteville and Bentonville and a recently approved campus in Springdale.
There was some review in advance about possible impact on desegregation. Haas Hall campuses have few black and Latino students. They don’t offer subsidized lunch programs, so it’s impossible to measure their percentage of low-income students, but parents tell me anecdotally that the number appears small. Its test scores are high.
The Education Department analysis found no deseg concerns. No school district in Northwest Arkansas is under a court order to desegregate. A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision that pretty well brought an end to school desegregation efforts nationally says you must show “intent” to segregate to prove an ill effect, not merely enrollment patterns that happen to demonstrate segregation by race. Haas Hall proclaims it is open to all. It’s not its fault that few minorities have enrolled.
Perhaps Rogers and Springdale will be different. The Springdale school district, which opposed the Haas expansion, is 46 percent Hispanic and 36 percent white, according to most recent stats. The Rogers school district is 45 percent Hispanic and 48 percent white. Each is about 2 percent black. Both Rogers and Springdale have reputations as solid school districts with particularly noteworthy efforts reaching their large immigrant populations.
Haas Hall demographics?
Fayetteville: White, 78 percent; Hispanic, 7.4; black, 1.7
Bentonville: White, 71.9 percent; Hispanic, 8.9; black, 1.4
The authorizing panel also will hear from the KIPP charter school in Helena-West Helena about expansion plans and from the Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers to grow that charter school from 825 to 1,225 students.It is currently 75 percent white, 14 percent Hispanic and 1 percent black.
Today’s agenda also includes a charter school for adult education in Little Rock.
UPDATE: The panel approved everything in keeping with the charter express agenda pushed by Education Commissioner Johnny Key.