Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Will Jim Argue Head Bebee's ADE? One Statewide School District?

Will Senator Jim Argue be Beebe's ADE Director?

We usually send out only information that can be documented. However, I feel the following rumor is worthy of introspection. A Democratic senator reported that Senator Jim Argue has a commitment from Mike Beebe to make Argue his Director of the State Department of Education if he becomes governor. Argue would be replacing Ken James.

We were wondering if Senator Argue has the legal qualifications for this position and if anyone could substantiate this rumor or could get Mike Beebe to deny it or confirm it. Of course we know the rules can be changed in 24 hours for the qualifications if the powerful elite decide to do so. We also know that denial of this rumor could also be useless, but it would be interesting to see if Mike Beebe will say "yea" or "nay" to this question.

If the past actions and decision by Senator Argue are not enough to give chills to the school districts and citizens of Arkansas, the excerpts included below from an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette should.
(click "Wednesday " below for rest of article)


Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

Asa Hutchinson has taken some strong stands for the schools recently, and Lt. Gov. frontrunner Jim Holt has the perhaps the strongest record in the senate for supporting local control of schools. In a recent press release Hutchinson is quoted as saying: "Hutchinson also urged the Dept. of Education to move forward on a study of isolated schools and the impact of excessive transportation times, which was mandated by the Arkansas Legislature over a year ago but has yet to be undertaken. Hutchinson said he was disappointed that the state was closing down rural schools despite the fact that the study had yet to be completed... closing rural schools and schools in African-American communities can be harmful to student performance....Hutchinson's call for state standards on bussing was part of his larger package of education reform". Hutchinson has also made a strong case on the campaign trail for the use of distance learning in order to preserve the best educational opportunity for students in rural schools.

Senator Holt, front runner for Republican Lt. Governor, voting most of the time in the minority, stood against all the bills that took control of the schools. Holt voted against the Omnibus bill that is aimed at consolidating small schools and taking over the administration even of large schools in 2003 session, the Facilities $10 million Study and Facilities Commission that took over all the school facilities in Arkansas, the $107 million to ADE for 32 new employees and other expenses. Under the Facilities Division some schools have actually been denied funds for facilities because they have less than 500 students. That way the small schools can be consolidated if their facilities are not up to standard or if they go into fiscal distress for lack of funds. This is just an example of how unfair and discriminatory state controlled facilities will be.

One of Holt's recent e-letters by his campaign manger included this paragraph: " It should also be pointed out that isolated rural schools were promised in the consolidation law, Act 60, that isolated campuses would not be closed. The very next session the legislature voted to rescind that protection.. Only one Senator voted against closing the isolated schools. Who was that one Senator? Jim Holt. If the others had voted like him, then Paron, and other schools as well, would not be in this mess. Senator Holt now suggests that we restore protection to isolated schools. Other states have guidelines about how long bus rides should be. Perhaps bus-ride time needs to be a factor in the consolidation question. How "efficient" can a school be when the students have to spend three hours a day on a kidney-jolting bus ride?"

Excerpts from Chilling Article Below. Link is given to full article.
Schools’ audit adds fuel to call for state takeover


The report by the Legislative Audit Division armed lawmakers with more information on where and how tax dollars are being spent in the state’s $ 4 billion-a-year public school system. Lawmakers say that information will guide future attempts to rein in the state’s 250 districts, which have 450, 000 students.

Some warned that the information would push lawmakers to support the state taking direct control of the schools.

“Wouldn’t all of these aggravating, alarming issues be completely eliminated if we, as a Legislature, would go back to the proposal we planned to adopt two years ago and plan to make superintendents state employees ?” Sen. Jim Argue, D Little Rock, the Senate president pro tempore, said to Sen. David Bisbee, R-Rogers.

Bisbee said the report will incline legislators to want to put the districts under the central control of the state, which would effectively eliminate school districts and local school boards. That would have one school district covering the entire state, which he called “Unified School District Number 1.”

“Every time somebody pulls one of these deals, they just push the Legislature a little closer to that Unified School District Number 1,” Bisbee said. The school districts “are going to get us there; and when they do it, they’re going to all be state employees.”

Currently, pay and benefits for superintendents and school staffs are largely determined by local school boards. But lawmakers are likely, during the 2007 legislative session that begins in January, to propose putting those employees under state control, said Tom Kimbrell, executive director of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators.

“We have a difference of opinion there,” said Kimbrell, who said his organization would oppose making superintendents state employees. “When you become a state employee, you become one of the bureaucrats and you become controlled by the political machine, instead of becoming advocates for kids.” End of excerpts

We say AMEN to this last statement by Kimbrell. And I think every Republican in the state of Arkansas should contact Dave Bisbee and tell him he is not representing the true Republicans in Arkansas.

Iris Stevens

8:50 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard that Sen. Argue is already recruiting somebody to run for his seat, just in case Mike Beebe wins the Governorship.

2:11 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One superintendent said Beebe would be committing political suicide if he put Argue in as ADE Director. Of course, it makes sense. How can Beebe run from the left who are the ones that put him in office.

9:14 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard that Beebe is trying to sell a bill of goods to many superintendents and make them think he is on their side, but as the writer above said, how will that be possible when people like Argue are the powerful elite on the left and are the ones that will be calling the shots. Beebe appointing Argue as ADE Director is about as chilling as the possibility that John Kerry would have appointed Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court if he had been elected.

9:18 PM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other name i hear mentioned for Beebe's director of ADE is Jody Mahoney. I don't know which one would be worse. Go Asa, Go

1:07 PM, May 18, 2006  
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