John Brummett aims for some middle ground in the Billionaires Club’s nuclear attack on Little Rock public schools. He says the Walton/Hussman/Stephens/Murphy brigade should ratchet down the overblown rhetoric; the Little Rock School District shouldn’t petition federal court to object to mindless creation of unlimited open enrollment charter schools in Little Rock. (The court petition argues charter schools contribute to segregation in the remaining public schools and asks for relief to prevent them from diminishing the proven usefulness of interdistrict magnet schools.)
Randy Zook, the head of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, which is stirring up its troops to join the billionaires’ attack on Little Rock schools — all of them a wasted effort, the billionaires’ lobbyist Luke Gordy would have you believe — reveals that he just put his signature on the words of war circulated last week. Was it Gordy’s work? Don’t know. But the result was a mean-spirited and dishonest attack by a tool of people who’d never let their kids get within a mile of Little Rock schools. However pure their motives for a desire to create alternatives to real public schools, they simply don’t have the knowledge — and the record doesn’t contain it — to totally write off the Little Rock School District. It remains a patronizing insult to tens of thousands of people who’ve attended and supported the schools.
Worked up? Yes. It so happens I wrote an editorial on the subject for this week’s Times.