Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Here is a blast from the past. Anybody remember Ed Kelly? He ran Little Rock public schools when I arrived on the scene back in 1983. Well, old Ed is dead after falling in his Virginia home.

I remember Ed Kelly very well. At the time, he was among the most vilified and hated people in the public eye. The school board had this brilliant idea that they would force Pulaski County parents to send their kids to the increasingly black LRSD by court-ordered consolidation. The fruits of this failed policy are visible to anybody who happened to view any of the Holiday programs put on the local cable channel by the district. What is the current white student count in the Little Rock district? Under 10% Hell, it could be under 10.

My point is that, on every talk show I hosted on which Kelly was the guest, he was, for the most part, treated like human feces. It is significant to note that Kelly did not file the consolidation lawsuit and was always quick to point out that it happened before he arrived on the scene.

And what happened to Mr. Kelly when he moved back to the civilized world? In Prince William County, Virginia, he served for 19 years. Enrollment went from 38,000 to 66,000. The state legislature recognized his accomplishments as a distinguished educator. The district web site has an extensive tribute to the former superintendent.

This shows what can be done when the courts are not brought in to "fix" impossible messes and local folks cooperate and support public schools. Ed Kelly sure deserved better than he got from Little Rock, Arkansas and I am sure glad that SOMEBODY recognized and rewarded his talents.

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