Friday, June 01, 2007

Ending the Lake View era

The Lake View school funding case has gone on for over a decade, caused the demise of the Lake View district, and begun the ultimate reform of Arkansas’ public school system. As things stand today, only a deliberate act of state suicide will turn back the clock. Of course, in Arkansas all things are possible.

One outcome of this case and the ensuing legislative corrections, has been the dramatic increase of state spending for public schools as a proportion of personal income. Arkansas is now number one in the nation on that one. That represents a commitment to the next generation and ourselves.

There is another by-product of the long-standing litigation that was concluded just yesterday. Local control of public schools will become more and more a thing of the past. That’s a good thing. Local control has given us low test scores and full employment for every over-the-hill coach and close relative of every superintendent.

Small independent school districts can not provide the extras that are just not extra any more. The state is taking responsibility for funding, curricula, salaries, equipment, and buildings. The Department of Education is a bunch of Arkansans. Its’ not like a bunch of Klingons are calling the shots.

(Broadcast June 1, 2007)

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