Sen. Joyce Elliott has used Twitter to make a series of objections about the pending recommendation to move Arkansas Governor’s School from Hendrix College, its home for 38 years, to Arkansas Tech University. In the process, she notes the problems created by establishing a charter high school on the UA-Little Rock campus.
Elliott focuses on Hendrix’s lack of college students during the summer, which won’t be the case at Tech.
She also says her concern about the move, not yet well-explained to her by the hand-picked committee of Education Commissioner Johnny Key, is about curriculum. Tech’s proposal is to change the focus to a tech-based program. That so happens to coincide with gubernatorial preference. Concludes Elliott:
My thoughts here are where I stand. Keeping AGS in the center of this state, on a campus where it has been a success practically beyond measure. AGS is a point of pride in our state. We have urgent problems in Arkansas to which we should give our concentrated attention. AGS is not one of them. Please, email the the members of the State Board of Education and urge them keep AGS where it is. Here is a link to their names and email addresses:
Elliott’s mention of the eStem charter school placed on the Little Rock college campus, straining library, dining
We might look no further than what’s happening at UA Little Rock with high school students on the campus. I am sure those who decided to have a high school on the campus with college and high school students sharing the same space thought it would not be problematic. Turns out sharing the same space has been not worked out well. Sure that’s an understatement.
Also, almost 1,000 people have signed a petition begun by alumni of AGS against the change.
In a decision that raises more questions than it does answers, the Site Selection Committee gave Hendrix College its highest cumulative score but recommended Arkansas Tech as the site location for the next three-year cycle. This recommendation appears to violate the site selection committee’s own rules. On the final scoring sheet, it clearly states that “the institution with the highest cumulative score will be recommended as the site for the 2019-2021 Arkansas Governor’s School.” The sheet then goes on to state, “in the event of a tie, the institution with the highest number of first-place votes will be recommended as the site for the 2019-2021 Arkansas Governor’s School.” Cost is not an issue since both bids predict the same cost for operations. As one AGS Alum put it recently, “this looks bad.” We do not have a satisfactory explanation for this decision. We request that the Arkansas Board of Education not follow the Site Selection Committee’s recommendation and pick the site that had the highest cumulative score, Hendrix College, pursuant to its own rules.