Grassroots Arkansas is demonstrating outside the state Education Department this afternoon in support of the Little Rock School District and its teachers.

Said a news release:

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Under the state constitution, Arkansas’ students and their families are entitled to a quality public education, no matter their circumstances. Under the four years of control of current Education Commissioner Johnny Key, the LRSD has seen the number of failing schools increase by nearly 400%, during which time only four teachers have been removed under the current process. This counters Johnny Key’s argument that there is a crisis of bad teachers in the district and proves that the current system for removal already works. The state has only widened the gaps of racial inequities, academic disparities, and economic oppression at the hands of the wealthy to the detriment of innocent children. Our children are not for sale or for private gain.

We DEMAND that the LRSD be returned to local control through a democratically elected process. We stand united against attacks on LRSD students, teachers, educators, parents/guardians, public schools, and community. We stand united in support of world-class public school districts in every community in Arkansas. 

Key wants a waiver of the state teacher fair dismissal law to allow summary firing of teachers in 22 Little Rock schools. It’s part of a strategy to rid the Little Rock District of the teachers union.