Wednesday, August 16, 2006

63 Schools Put On Probation for Minor Infractions

63 Schools Put on Probation
For Minor Infractions That In No Way Negatively Affect Students

ADE Reigns Supreme as State Board Denies All School Appeals!

The State Board of Education (ADE) put 63 schools on probation August 14, at the request of the Arkansas Department of Education. Probationary status is indeed a grave matter. From the day a school or school district is placed on probation, the State Board has the authority to annex, consolidate, or reconstitute the school district. They can also require superintendents to relinquish authority or suspend or remove some or all of the current board of directors. [Omnibus Bill - Act 1467 Section 5, 6-15-207, and transcription of Ray Simon's presentation to the State Board in 2003.]

The Board is required to take action if the school or district remains on probation for a period of two years. If the school meets one requirement and fails in another the next year, that is considered two years of probation which requires the Board to act. Therefore if a school or district overlooks a minor detail one year and accidentally messes up on another minor detail the next, the school can be consolidated. [Ray Simon spelled this out in his presentation to the State Board in 2003]

The dreadful actions that led to many probations and appeals to the State Board included such things as the following: (Even the Board members admitted that the schools did not seem to purposely violate a rule)

(a) One teacher had a ten year certificate (a master's degree), but it was issued before background checks were required. She took the necessary actions to obtain the background check, but there were two delays with the FBI getting the information back on the fingerprints which resulted in a short period of time in which her license was not valid.
(b) One school was a few hours late on a required report because of problems in trying to send in the report the night before the report was due. The school presented computer log information, etc. to verify this to be the truth.

continued, click Wednesday below and scroll down for rest of article or if sent straight here just scroll down)


Blogger Iris Stevens said...

(C) One school in Little Rock  taught AP calculus, a more rigorous course that 16 students wanted so they could get college credit,  instead of the calculus class included in the 38 courses required to be taught every year by the ADE.  No students wanted the regular calculus class. That earned the school probationary status because the ADE stated that every student in Arkansas must receive an equal education. (However, no one pointed out that ADE does allow options in Language, Journalism and Music so those courses are not exactly alike or equal for all students.)

That statement about an equal education for all students was reiterated several times in the meeting – so many times I wonder how anyone could keep from being reminded of a certain fearful political philosophy.

Tell me we haven't lost our common sense when the state can consolidate or take over an entire school based on minor infractions like those above.  I am sure these infractions are denying our children an adequate education.

The ADE makes rule after rule and sends out memos continuously. The miracle is that every school in Arkansas has not been placed on probation. There are approximately 63 mandated complex reports with specific due dates that the superintendents have to make. That would be  63 times a school could mess up in just one area?

Ten probationary status appeals from schools across the state were on the agenda for the State School Board Monday, August 14.   In every appeal brought before the Board, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) executives reigned supreme, the State Board ruling in every case in favor of the ADE (in most instances unanimously) and against the school.

Of course, the ADE had two attorneys representing them and the schools had none. The ADE also had very experienced ADE executives to speak on behalf of the ADE who know the Board members very well and who the State Board sees as their authority. (The ADE recognized they had made a mistake on one school so this appeal was never presented.) The message of course is, if any superintendents haven't learned it by now, taking an appeal before the State Board is an exercise in futility.

I still admire these superintendents greatly for standing up to the Gestapo. We are fast losing our freedom in this country; but as long as people are still willing to confront and to fight, there is hope!   So superintendents please keep fighting!

When the parents at Paron  presented their case in court before an impartial judge and with a competent attorney, the case looked entirely different, and they received a favorable ruling after the Board had turned down their appeal. I can't help but believe the same thing would have happened in every one of these cases (the appeals to the State Board) had they been presented in a real court.

Iris Stevens

11:24 AM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see now...Governor Huckabee, his hand-picked Director, and his own appointed Board are doing this to our schools. We need a Real Republican to put a stop to this liberal bureaucratic nightmare. Asa would not tolerate such crap.

2:14 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...


Welcome. It is great to have you aboard as a contributor to Arkansas Watch.

2:41 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger DeathRowBodine said...

Tell me again why we don't elect the State Board? After all, the people we do elect... the local school board... has no authority over our children's education. If the state has taken over and made the ADE one gigantic school board, then we should have a right to vote for or against them.

If this wouldn't pass in the legislature, then it certainly well would as an initiated act. Even if the State Board wasn't rubber stamping the ADE, we should have elected representation within this process.

Am I way off the map on this, or is this something that we should be pushing for?

4:59 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Iris Stevens said...

I think we SHOULD be pushing for State Board elections as one element of the solution. Unfortunately, it won't be enough. For years I've seen local school board members elected on various platforms, only to be forced to conform to what the other board members believe. (I used to wonder if they were undergoing brain transplants during their board retreats.)
I think that we need a new governor who isn't using his supposed "educational miracles" as a platform to run for president, an elected Ed. Commissioner, and legislators who KNOW we expect them to use their legislative powers to mandate a return to common sense in education.

7:26 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are witnessing the results of the mandatory school board "training" where they sear into their mind that they are to obey the superintendent and not make any waves. Terrible things will happen if they question the super. That is what they are indoctrinated with. I think all of your suggestions are good and we should add reform of new board member training to the list.

5:40 AM, August 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

School board members don't need any training from the bureacracy. They are elected by the people for what they are now. Training will only change them for the worse becaude the only training out there is designed by the bureaucrats. We don't need any more of those. We need some ordinary people with common sense. That's who the communities try to elect to the Board.

I like the saying, Local control is the worst form of government there is -until you compare it to any other form of control. The state board and ADE are just those comparisons that make you understand that local control looks pretty good in comparison to government control.

3:14 PM, August 17, 2006  

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