Arkansas’ New School ‘Grades’ Cause Con­cerns Among Ed­u­ca­tors

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - May­lon Rice Po­lit­i­cally Lo­cal MAY­LON RICE IS A FOR­MER JOUR­NAL­IST WHO WORKED FOR SEV­ERAL NORTH­WEST ARKANSAS PUB­LI­CA­TIONS. HE CAN BE REACHED VIA EMAIL AT MAY­LON­TRICE@YA­HOO.COM. THE OPIN­IONS EX­PRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AU­THOR.

The new Arkansas In­dex Scores for Pub­lic Schools in the state re­leased last week of­fer a wide swath of con­cerns and crit­i­cism among ed­u­ca­tors.

And th­ese scores should, I re­peat, should cause an alarm for the tax-pay­ing and con­cerned pub­lic about the fu­ture of Arkansas’ kids.

Are our pub­lic schools in Arkansas mov­ing for­ward?

Now be­fore the de­bate be­gins, there are two big, re­ally big, things to move out of the way.

Yes, Haas Hall Academy (both fa­cil­i­ties in Washington and Ben­ton County) were given an “A” rat­ing — the top rat­ing in the state. Both are open-en­roll­ment char­ter schools that can draw stu­dents from across district bound­aries.

Sev­eral of the char­ter schools — even the ones in the pub­lic schools of the area in North­west Arkansas — did bet­ter than some of the non-char­ter schools. A real char­ter school and pri­vate acad­e­mies do not take all stu­dents. A pub­lic school char­ter may be se­lect in its test­ing scores and not test all its stu­dents for a grade in th­ese stand­ings. Pub­lic schools, how­ever, take on all stu­dents re­gard­less of their abil­ity to speak and un­der­stand English, those with phys­i­cal and men­tal dis­abil­i­ties, and stu­dents who do not have an abil­ity to pay. And all the grades of th­ese stu­dents are found in th­ese rank­ings of pub­lic schools.

Now with the big dis­tinc­tion of pri­vate acad­e­mies and char­ter schools out of the way, there is some con­cern for the rank­ing of schools in our area to dis­cuss.

The only school district in Arkansas with “straight A’s” for its ele­men­tary, mid­dle, ju­nior high and high school — was Green­brier School District in Faulkner County. How that district man­aged the four ele­men­tary schools, the mid­dle school, ju­nior high and high school to the “A” level is some­thing every school district in Ben­ton and Washington County (and the other 73 coun­ties in Arkansas) should be ask­ing them­selves.

Closer to home, the grades are mixed:

The Farm­ing­ton School District re­ceived a “B” for the pub­lic char­ter high school, called the Farm­ing­ton Ca­reer Acad­e­mies. Also a “B” grade for Ge­orge R. Led­bet­ter Ele­men­tary, Ran­dall G. Lynch Ele­men­tary and Jerry “Pop” Williams Ele­men­tary cam­puses. The “C” went to Bob Fol­som Ele­men­tary School and the Farm­ing­ton Fresh­man Academy.

In Elkins, the high school re­ceived a “B” while the other schools were all rated “C” lev­els.

At Lin­coln, the three schools, in­clud­ing the Lin­coln New Tech­ni­cal High School, all re­ceived “C’s”

Over in Prairie Grove, the high school and mid­dle schools both re­ceived a “B”; Prairie Grove Ele­men­tary Schools, a “C.”

In Green­land; the high school, mid­dle and ele­men­tary schools all re­ceived a “C.”

At the West Fork School District, the mid­dle school re­ceived a “B” while the ele­men­tary school and high schools rated a “C.”

In Ben­ton County: In Siloam Springs School District, only the Siloam Springs In­ter­me­di­ate School (grades 5-6) re­ceived a “B.” Every other school, in­clud­ing the Siloam Springs High School Con­ver­sion Cen­ter, re­ceived a “C.” The grad­ing scale showed the North­side Ele­men­tary School; South­side Ele­men­tary; Del­bert “Pete” and Pat Allen Ele­men­tary and the Siloam Springs Mid­dle School all re­ceived “C” grades.

In the Gen­try School District, there was one “C” from the Gen­try High School Con­ver­sion Cen­ter, the Gen­try Pri­mary, Mid­dle and In­ter­me­di­ate Schools all re­ceived a “B” grade rat­ing.

At Gravette, The Gravette Mid­dle School re­ceived an “A.” The rest of the District’s schools, the high school, up­per ele­men­tary and the Glenn Duffy Ele­men­tary, all re­ceived “C’s.”

In De­catur, the news was worse. The De­catur Mid­dle and De­catur High School were both rated with “D’s.” The De­catur Ele­men­tary, grades K-5, rated a “C.”

As pre­dicted, more schools south of In­ter­state 40 re­ceived lower let­ter grades. The state’s largest news­pa­per printed each of the more than 1,000 pub­lic school grades in a Sun­day edi­tion on April 15th.

The re­sults were dis­mal, dis­ap­point­ing and less than the tax-pay­ing Arkansan needs to re­ceive for their ar­dent sup­port of the state’s pub­lic school sys­tems.

So what can Gov. Asa Hutchin­son and the Leg­is­la­ture do to fix th­ese low grades?

All of Arkansas is watch­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.