Suggested School Framework Policy Elicits School Segregation Debates in Little Rock

Little Rock Residents Furious About State's Plan to Relinquish Only Partial Control of the City's Schools

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Little Rock residents say school segregation is set to resurface if a plan by the Arkansas State to relinquish only partial control of the city’s schools will succeed.

About five years ago, Arkansas took control of public schools in the city of Little Rock, and now, there are plans to shift partial control of some of them to a locally elected school board and others to the state or some other entity.

A plan that was approved last week by the governor-appointed State Board of Education allows the best schools in Little Rock; those concentrated in the north and west parts of the city and have the highest enrollment of white students – to be run by locally elected school boards. On the other hand, the schools located in the south and east parts of the city; whose highest enrollment is black and Latino students, to be run by the state or some other outside entity.

Residents of Little Rock claim if the proposal is implemented, it will create a two-class system where some parents, teachers, and community members will influence their schools while others won’t.

Residents fear that by establishing separate governing structures for majority of white schools and majority black schools, Little Rock will go back into an era of school segregation.

Joyce Elliot, a former state Senate Majority Leader and a resident of Little Rock, who also attended segregated schools there, says it beats logic to adopt the framework.

The debates arose as Wednesday marked the 62nd Anniversary of The Little Rock Nine.