Education blogger Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay, who’s been sued by Henderson Middle School Principal Yaa Appiah-McNulty for critical blogging, jumps back into the situation at Henderson with a blog post on the resignation of Jeff Grimmett, who’d been a literacy specialist at Henderson, to take a lower-paying job in North Little Rock.
It’s a broad examination of, among others, the teacher fair dismissal law, management style, discipline practices and test score obsession. In short, it’s an illustration of how overly simplistic it is to decide schools are successes or failures based on test scores alone and how hard it is to help those most in need.
Lyon-Ballay draws a harsh conclusion — good teachers are leaving Little Rock, administrators are gaining ground and the state Education Department, nominally in control of the district, is “twiddling its thumbs.” That may be overbroad for a puzzle comprising hundreds, if not thousands, of individual pieces. But I share the belief that many are waiting for the district to fail completely — financial and academically — so that its parts can be turned over to the charter school industry. Absent organized public pushback from citizens and elected officials of every stripe, time is short for LRSD.