The Little Rock Education Association is counting on Education Commissioner Johnny Key keeping his word that a waiver of the Teacher Fair Dismissal wouldn’t go into effect until next school year and that it would only cover schools that earned a “D” or “F” under the state’s new accountability scoring, LREA president Teresa Knapp Gordon said in a statement Monday night after the Times broke the news that State Board of Education member Diane Zook plans to seek a waiver of the fair dismissal law for ALL LRSD employees.

Key had previously declined to approve a contract between the LREA, which represents Little Rock teachers in negotiations, and the district unless the teachers agreed to support a waiver of the fair dismissal law in 22 “D” and “F” schools. After extended negotiations, the LREA and the district agreed to terms that don’t limit the district (or the state) from petitioning for waivers, including of the fair dismissal law, but do add some other due process protections. The new agreement doesn’t stipulate any timeline on potential waivers or how many schools to which they could apply.

Gordon’s full statement: 

The Little Rock Education Association Members have an expectation that Commissioner Key will honor his word, which he gave to the press via multiple statements that “the waiver would not go into effect until the next school year, that it would only be applied for use in the D and F schools, and that it would be used as a scalpel, not a chainsaw.”

His words were communicated to the LREA members via the press and through Superintendent Poore. While the LREA does not believe that there should be any waivers of the state laws and standards for accreditation that were put in place to ensure that our children receive a quality public education in Arkansas, the Little Rock Education Association stands by its commitments and we expect the Commissioner to do the same.