posted by Debbie Pelley at Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Bisbee's Gift to Arkansas Dept. of Education Could Hire 700 Superintendents Bisbee has been a major player in increasing government control in all reforms. He was sole sponsor of Act 98, giving a $107 million (2003-2005 biennium) supplement to ADE to add up to 32 new government employees and other things." Do you recall all that hype by Senator Bisbee, Huckabee, and other likeminded folks about the money we could save by consolidating and cutting out the cost of all those superintendents. They are adding state government employees faster than they are doing away with superintendents - and paying them more. Superintendents worked closely with the students. These ADE employees are far removed from the students. That $107 million gift Bisbee gave to the ADE for a biennium would pay for 537 superintendents annually at a salary at $100,000 a year (I halfed the 107million because it was by biennium). The average salary for superintendents is more like $75,000 so that would be more like 700 superintendents for which this $107 million would pay. This money to the ADE was appropriated for the biennium 2003-2005, but it is not a one time appropriation since it involves permanent new employees, etc. It only covers a two year period because as the law says, "the Constitution of the State of Arkansas prohibits the appropriation of funds for more than a two (2) year period:" I guess they increased the Department of Education because they have such a record of success - two unbelievably, scathing independent studies/reports on their failures and unbelievable bombing of the NCLB Accountability Standards. According to an ADG article, Arkansas has some of the highest percentages in the nation of public schools categoriezed as academically troubled on the basis of student test result. In one category this last year Arkansas tied with California for the third-worst ranking in the nation and in another category tied Nevada as the fourth worst-performing state in the nation - and not one whimper from any journalist in the state of Arkansas after we have spent all the money we have. I only saw one report on it and no editorials. If I missed them, someone please le me know. We hear so much about accountability these days. Where is the accountability for this Department? The very people in the Arkansas Department of Education who created a system where Arkansas bombed the NCLB standards and made headlines twice with unbelievable bad reports are getting promotions and raises. I wonder how many other people are as frustrated with this as I am. And back to Senator Bisbee. Bisbee even gutted a proposal to pump a measly extra $4.7 million to isolated schools and caused the sponsor to withdraw it. The $4.7 million would help some of these isolated districts keep their school open and prevent students from having to ride the bus 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours a day on extremely dangerous roads to another school. Bisbee could sponsor an educational funding bill for 439 million, supplement the State Department of Education for $107 million, sponsor a law to add $22 million annually for more teacher staff development; but he could not allow $4.7 million to keep impoverished children, even pre-schoolers, from long bus rides. I think I heard Bisbee say several times this was all abut the children. What about those little children spending half the day on the bus every day? Is this equal and adequate education for all or is it child abuse? (Bisbee had been informed about the long bus rides.) Letter to Voices: Re the editorial, "Missed opportunity /GOP abandons its own," about Republican Dave Bisbee losing the vote for Senate president pro tempore: The truth is that the GOP didn’t abandon its own. Bisbee abandoned the Republicans. Sen. Jim Argue appointed Bisbee as assistant pro tempore, saying Bisbee is a longtime ally for him. Liberal journalists Steve Barnes, John Brummett and Brenda Blagg wrote columns praising Bisbee. Brummett included him among the five best legislators. Why would liberal journalists praise Bisbee if he isn’t doing the Democrats’ bidding? Bisbee walked in lockstep with Democratic Sens. Argue, Shane Broadway and Percy Malone in the last session. This alliance flaunted so much power that other senators rebelled and defeated Bisbee. American Family Association’s Web site lists 10 Senate bills on family issues from the 2005 session. Democrat Jack Critcher, who won the vote for Senate pro tem, agreed with AFA on nine votes. Bisbee agreed on six votes. Two other Democratic senators, Bobby Glover and Jerry Taylor, agreed on nine votes as well. Sen. Jim Holt agreed 100 percent, just one vote better than three other Democratic senators. All Republican senators but one agreed with AFA more often than did Bisbee. Bisbee talks much about accountability for teachers and schools. This time Republicans and conservative Democrats held him accountable. DEBBIE PELLEY Jonesboro Debbie Pelleydpelley@cox-internet.comcheck out this website: www.wpaag.org
And this surprises who? Bisbee is a moderate at best and gets rave reviews from Dems all the time...ask yourselves why?
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