I’ve written earlier abut all-day focus groups planned in all Little Rock School District schools by the Boston Consulting Group, hired by the Walton Family Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation to assist in planning for a comprehensive pre-K-college education plan for Arkansas.

I’ve also received a note about a focus group sponsored by the Little Rock School District and the teachers union, the Little Rock Education Association. It will include 10 district teachers. They’ll meet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, to hear from the consultant.


Participants were provided a Q&A about the Walton/Rockefeller effort.


Here are a few items of interest on the Forward Arkansas notion:



Q: Who will facilitate the development of the P-16 strategic plan?

A: Our foundations will fund an external consultant to oversee the facilitation and development of the P-16 strategic plan. The consultant will be selected through a formal process that includes stakeholders from both foundations, the Arkansas Department of Education, the business community, and parent and educational advocacy organizations.

Does this mean the Boston Consulting Group work is only preliminary? Does it mean there will yet be a selection of a consultant for the broader plan? Will parents really have a role? Will the public have a role? Will the public be able to see documents generated by the foundations in selecting the consultants that might give an idea of the foundation thinking on the shape of the resulting work? Will the public be able to see all documents generated by this consulting work? 


Q: Do you support traditional public schools and public charter schools?

A: Both the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Walton Family Foundation share a common commitment to strengthening our state’s public education system and increasing educational attainment.

o The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation supports public education in Arkansas through support for research, systems change, advocacy, and resident engagement through the Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Campaign.

o The Walton Family Foundation supports Arkansas’s K-12 education system through strategic investment in traditional public schools and public charter schools.
We believe philanthropic collaboration and co-investment is critical to moving the needle for our children, schools, and communities.


Q: Do you support the Common Core Standards?

A: We strongly believe that the Common Core Standards have the potential to increase achievement for all students by ensuring all Arkansas students graduate with the skills and knowledge to be successful in the global marketplace. Our foundations continue to support the Arkansas Department of Education and advocacy organizations around strategic communications, parent and community outreach, and professional development as our state implements these standards.

The Boston Consulting Group has participated in a number of studies of schools around the country and produced plans to led to significant privatization of public school districts. This is not much of concern to several hundred Aransas school districts, not well-suited by small numbers to appeal to corporate school operators, both for-profit and non-profit. The Little Rock School District, with its 48 schools and 25,000 students is a rich target of opportunity, however.