OPPOSES VOUCHER PLAN: Sen. Joyce Elliott Brian Chilson

Sen. Joyce Elliott, a public school champion, has responded on Facebook to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s plan to begin a school voucher program in Pulaski County only to pay for 500 children to attend private schools. Her statement is worth reading:

“Every student deserves the opportunity to reach his or her potential, and this bill will help them do just that.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson

A voucher, called a scholarship in the name of choice in no way comes close to doing what the Governor says every student deserves. Nor do the other bright, shiny objects we keep chasing rather than doing what works. If every student is to enjoy a world-class education, we must build SYSTEMS that work for all kids, not keep breaking off into little pieces. It takes work, focus, commitment and a belief we can do it.

How about address the reasons the Governor thinks some students need vouchers in the first place?

And don’t fall for the okey-doke that public schools are built on a model of one size fits all. Yeah, if we build them that way. But most public schools aren’t built that way, and world-class systems certainly are not.

And why target Pulaski County? Unfortunately, Arkansas is filled with low-income students, so this piece of social engineering could certainly target any other counties or cluster of counties in Arkansas. But the deal is to privatize and charterize areas where there is a concentration of Black, Brown, and/or low-income students. If you are still shocked or surprised, I am surprised you are.

Instead of our regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 25th at 11 a.m., the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus will hold a press conference followed by a mini town hall meeting. Location will be announced when confirmed. This press conference is for all legislators of both Parties who want to show support for our public schools, rather than vouchers. If you live in Pulaski County, you especially must call your Representatives and Senators and ask them to support our public schools, not experimental vouchers.

Here is a link to the bill. As you read it, don’t be hypnotized by the dangling, shiny objects designed to make you think small and inward rather that about all of our children. Don’t fall for the okey-doke.

She’s right. And it would serve every defender of real public schools in Arkansas to stand with Joyce Elliott. Because after they come for Pulaski County, they will come for you.