Monday, June 12, 2006

Other States Moving to Smaller Schools

Continuation of email on "McCord To Vote for Beebe Because Asa Supports Rural School".

Studies refute McCord’s Arguments for Consolidation

· McCord Supports ADE ' statement - “If they [the Paron parents] don’t like to ride the bus, move closer to the school.”

· Put computers on school buses and have school on bus McCord says

· Paron parents should car pool McCord says

(click MONDAY below and scroll down for article, or if sent straight here just scroll down)


Blogger Debbie Pelley said...

Mr. McCord and consolidation proponents refuse to look at all the studies on the benefits of small schools and the trends today where even large city schools are breaking into smaller schools.1 New York City just created 60 small schools with maximum enrollments of 500. "The creation of small schools is a centerpiece of the overhaul of the New York City school system...Small schools work better than big schools, and we're going in the direction of trying to have more small schools," the mayor said at a news conference at Park West High School in Manhattan, the future home of three new small schools.

The new New York high schools will take 100 ninth graders next year and will grow to no more than 500 students. The other schools will start with 75 sixth graders and grow to about 525. Mr. McCord should like this information. New York City should be big enough to impress him. 2

See link below for another 100 studies showing positive effects of small schools 3

Did you notice that figure at which small schools in New York start - 65 enrollment for middle schools and 100 for high school. That will probably break New York's budget according to Arkansas leaders who say Arkansas cannot afford small schools. And oh how backward and "pitiful" those New Yorkers are!!

Vermont found that "the actual point where smaller schools are more expensive to operate than the average Vermont elementary school" was 120 students. 4

"In 1997, Vermont adopted a new system of funding education.... Vermont chose to provide additional funding to cover the higher costs of the state's smallest school districts. An extra $1 million per year was allocated to districts with fewer than 100 students." (Vermont must have found they were mighty fine schools. At first they meant to consolidate them until they did their study on how well they were doing. Of course no study in Arkansas was ever done before they made their giant leap toward consolidation!

Vermont did not agree with McCord's assessment in his last article calling our rural schools, "pitiful little high schools in rural areas that finally Arkansas has had the nerve to close." In fact in their study they found, "Students in small Vermont schools do as well or better than students in larger schools even though the income and education levels in the communities with small schools are, for the most part lower. This assertion is based on an analysis of Vermont's Grade 4 New Standards reading/language arts and mathematics assessments." 5

Note the humongous savings Arizona predicted in January, 04 as a result of consolidation. "But after examining data from the Office of the Auditor General, Murray and Groen find that the likely fiscal savings from those plans would be between $17 and $35 dollars per student, or less than one percent of yearly per-pupil expenditures. And even those savings are unlikely to materialize, Murray says, because the plans are founded on unrealistic assumptions about the growth of administrative costs." 6

So just why does consolidation save so much more money in Arkansas than in other states? Could it be the goofy rules designed by the ADE bureaucracy (not the legislators), such as the rule that 38 subjects must be taught and have a student in every class (whether a student needs it or wants it or not) instead of offering and providing the course if there are students who want or need the class. Even the adequacy experts Arkansas hired said that in other states the schools were allowed to offer some of these courses once every two years. Of course, these subjects could be offered by distance learning in any of these schools with the cooperation of the ADE. It is obvious there is a plan to close the rural schools or as some are rightfully calling it a "war on rural schools" in Arkansas.

The fact is that the 5 largest schools in Arkansas combined spent approximately 58.8 million dollars above the state average per pupil in 2002. The 100 smallest schools in Arkansas combined spent approximately 13.5 million above state average. So the five largest schools spent well over four times the amount above state average than did the 100 smallest schools. The entire state and political process have been disrupted for $13.5 million dollars which was ½ of 1% of the $2.7 billion education budget. Nothing has been done to the larger schools that spent 58.8 million dollars above the state average. Discrimination perhaps? 7

And just what is wrong with distance learning? Why doesn't the ADE implement a plan so that distance learning can be provided for a few of those courses that so few students want, like physics, to the schools at the school's expense? If they did it cooperatively across the state, it could be a real cost saver for the state and for the rural schools and exciting for the students. Following is the report Asa Hutchinson gave about a student's comments when he asked him what he thought about distance learning. Ryan said, " I am in a distance learning class in Hector. And it is one of the best experiences I have had a small school but I have a professor connected, interactive ed video from University of Arkansas at Monticello, and I am in this class with students from Hector, from Eudora, from Batesville, from Pea Ridge and from different places in Arkansas and it is the best experience. And guess what I am getting college credit for it." How can you beat that?

1. To read McCord's full article go to this link:

2. New York Studies

3. See this link for another 100 studies showing positive effects of small schools.

4. Vermont found enrollment of under 120 students increases expense of small schools;

5. Vermont studies:

6. Arizona Study

7. The fact is that the 5 largest schools in Arkansas combined spent approximately 58.8 million dollars above the state average per pupil in 2002. The 100 smallest schools in Arkansas combined spent approximately 13.5 million above state average.

3:40 PM, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is all part of the plan by Jim Argue and Mike Beebe to eliminate local control of our schools and centralize it in Little Rock under their "Unified School District Number 1."

Everybody knows that Beebe will tap Jim Argue as his Education Czar, and they will push consolidation even further than Huckabee did.

Centralizing control of schools has been the one, consistent policy drive of the Senate Education Committee under its Chairman -- Jim Argue.

1:39 PM, June 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's annoying his how hypocrtical the liberals are on this issue. they are so prejudiced against rural communties as "backwards" that they are willing to hurt the educational opportunties of kids in rural towns and in african american communities, shutting down their schools, in order to force them to live by the little rock way of doing things.

7:32 PM, June 13, 2006  

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