FACEBOOK PHOTO: Illustrates call for demonstration.

Supporters of Little Rock School District teachers will take their protest of Education Commissioner’s attack on state personnel law to the Governor’s Mansion today.

Key at the last minute rejected an agreement on a new teacher contract insisting that the teacher fair dismissal law be waived for teachers working at 22 Little Rock schools graded D and F on a state scale driven primarily by test scores. The schools are populated almost entirely by poor, minority children.  The contract expired yesterday, but Key has allowed negotiations to continue for two weeks, though he’s given no indiction he intends to compromise on his desire to waive the law and also be given power to end the contract at any point he chooses.

There are some 200 schools with D and F grades in Arkansas, but Key is able to seek a waiver from the firing law in Little Rock — and only Little Rock — thanks to a law passed in 2017 that applies to districts in state takeover for academic reasons. Only Little Rock meets that description. When it was taken over four years ago, it was on account of low scores in six of 46 schools. Key, now the school board, has decided significant progress hasn’t been made in 22 schools under his leadership so he wants the ability to summarily fire teachers in them. He’s been unable to demonstrate how the law prevented any firings the last four years.

Several grassroots groups and Gwen Combs, a teacher and former congressional candidate, are organizing today’s teacher support demonstration. It’s scheduled from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m

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