Arkansas’s school systems are dysfunctional AND dominated by too many small school systems that do not offer strong curriculum. Our schools are dominated by a few large school districts in Central Arkansas, Fort Smith and NWA. The rest of the State is dominated by small school districts that limit academic and athletic options for students. The next kick in the crotch is the demise of LR and Pine Bluff schools. You have kids that are being bussed across town but many of their parents can’t take them to football or basketball practice. The kids lose interest if they can’t be involved in extra curricular activities, so they tend to not perform well in school.
Something has to be done about the schools for a selfish reason as a hog fan. There are tons of kids that are talented in many sports or extra curricular activities in LR or Pine Bluff yet they are not involved in sports and have terrible grades. They are not motivated by sports to get good grades so they can participate. Kids that are active in sports are less likely to get involved in crime too. We need to take action now in LR and PB schools.
I’m curious as to what you think a strong curriculum is any why you make a blanket statement that Arkansas schools don’t offer it and are dysfunctional? And how do you compare our school systems to other rural states. You want to see a dumpster fire? Go look at Mississippi schools. When you say the state is dominated by small school systems, what do you expect? The state is dominated by small towns too. You’re being critical about kids being bussed in Little Rock but if you consolidated many of the small school districts how far do you think those kids would be bussed?
You’re jumping into a pool that is much deeper than sports but I don’t really know what you expect. We’re in a small state. We’ll have mostly small towns and a few big towns. It’s not changing.
I think the OP exaggerates the problem, but he’s right about Arkansas schools having a problem. Your claim about all the small towns is correct, but that doesn’t mean we must have so many small school districts & tiny high schools. Many of them could consolidate or merge into larger school systems. That’s happened to some extent over the past 10-15 years, but not as much as it should. These tiny schools can’t begin to offer the opportunities bigger ones can offer. Too much money is spent on administration, not enough on teaching.
i am curious as to how the charter schools will now begin to affect high schools and the sports teams. I know that the KIPP schools over in the delta offer basketball but not football. therefore you see Blytheville, Helena, etc. losing potential players.
Little Rock schools are a true mess. Parkview can get 60 kids to try out for basketball but only 30 for the entire football team. Got to get these boys out of juvenile hall and onto the football field.
I also wish that our high school football teams would quit running the damned Wing-T, dead T or double wing option offenses. not getting anyone ready for todays game. Look at Warren, Nashville, PA NW Arkansas schools, etc.
whether you have a kid in LIttle rock schools or not we all need to hope and pray that district gets fixed otherwise the HOGS must continue to seek talent outside the border of our great state.
I think the OP exaggerates the problem, but he’s right about Arkansas schools having a problem. Your claim about all the small towns is correct, but that doesn’t mean we must have so many small school districts & tiny high schools. Many of them could consolidate or merge into larger school systems. That’s happened to some extent over the past 10-15 years, but not as much as it should. These tiny schools can’t begin to offer the opportunities bigger ones can offer. [size=150]Too much money is spent on administration, not enough on teaching.[/size]
While there can be some savings in consolidation, the OP was critical of the bussing in central Arkansas. If you consolidate, you’ll have many kids in the rural areas doing the exact same things. I grew up in a small town and had to get on the bus at 6:30 AM every morning, consolidation would have been 6 AM or earlier. Also, some of these small schools have excellent academics.
I’m often surprised at people who expect public schools to provide a wide variety of extracurricular activities. If you want those kinds of opportunities for your kids, move to where they have them. Make some personal sacrifice. Find another job. Do whatever. But it isn’t the state’s responsibility to provide extracurricular activities in small towns that are equal or as numerous as in bigger areas. It’s like prayer in school, am I for it? Absolutely! I don’t expect public schools to make sure that happens though so I made a personal choice/sacrifice to send my son to a private school where it is a part of their day.
There are definitely some opportunities to improve things in and around Little Rock as far as sports go. But that school district is so messed up with politics I really wonder if it’s about the kids anymore or someone’s agenda. Sad! Pulaski Robinson and McClellan prove you can do it though.
I am amazed at the number of people that don’t understand the issues of small schools and curriculum. I am also amazed at the number of people that are falsely educated about consolidation configurations. So many people think that their elementary and junior high kids are going to be bussed to another school district, but that is false in most consolidation configurations. Consolidation should utilize existing elementary and junior high facilities and funnel the kids into a consolidated High School. The kids are mostly driving age by the time they have a change in transportation. The communities gain by shared resources of ONE school district ADMINISTRATION and the extra curriculum that can be offered at a single larger High School. The communities still keep their identity through Junior High.
You’re right it isn’t the state’s responsibility to provide small schools with a big school district level of curriculum. It is the community’s responsibility to be RESPONSIBLE with their education system to make sure they can offer enough curriculum. It is their responsibility to make sure their students don’t have to take a lot remedial classes when they enter college. The tax base in most of America has dwindled by loss of industry to foreign countries and online retailing has removed sales tax dollars from local communities. The tax base is not capable of supporting a redundant administration and school district because of the identity crisis some have of losing their High School.
I do understand consolidation conceptually and I’ve seen it play out many different ways. I have family that was a superintendent, a headmaster, teacher, counselor, and in administration. It never plays out exactly the same because there are always physical plant considerations as well as just administration/curriculum changes. If area schools are in consolidation, how often do you see them consolidate and then go out and spend quite a bit on extracurricular activities? It just doesn’t happen. Rural Arkansas schools aren’t going to suddenly expand extracurricular activities, specifically football (that’s what the OP was really about), after consolidation.
And the argument about elementary kids/junior high kids not being bussed is inaccurate as well. They do get bussed. So then by the time they are in high school you say they can drive a car so the extra distance doesn’t matter. What about the additional gas costs for those kids? And we all know if a kid is going to play football and be pretty good, he’s playing in 10th grade too. So at that age, they aren’t old enough to drive. So I guess it’s fair to ask the parents to drive the extra distances before and after school to get them to practices while staying employed. All so Hog football can improve? :roll:
So explain something to me, if it is the community’s responsibility (and I don’t completely disagree) what do they do when factories and businesses close down because of the economy? And the tax base shrinks? And people start moving out? And the few jobs that are left there are in the school district?
To be clear, I am not talking about school district’s who are performing well academically. I am talking about extracurricular opportunity. Your OP was about school’s and providing more football so the Hogs can recruit better in state. You’ve since made this an academic performance/curriculum debate. Is it responsible to take a school district who is performing well academically and consolidate with another school district so they can save some money to provide more football opportunities? That’s the part of your OP that I have an issue with.
I love football and I wish more kids played it but it’s a lot bigger than small school systems and opportunity. If that’s all it was, you wouldn’t see declining numbers all over. The media’s focus on concussion has been a big deal and it’s not even completely accurate. Concussions from soccer are growing dramatically but you don’t see the media focus on that. Mommy is worried about lil Jimmy playing football in elementary so more and more he doesn’t get to play. You’ll see football participation numbers continue to decline thanks to the media attack on football. I’d like to see the same scrutiny applied to all sports. I digress here as well. There’s just a lot more to it than your original post. I have enjoyed the debate though. Thanks for keeping it civil.
So you’re experienced with family in the education system, but that also means you have bias as multiple people in your family benefit from the inefficient redundancies of multiple administrations/school districts. Are you going to tell me that towns that have boundaries that butt up next to each other shouldn’t consolidate?
I live in Jonesboro and we have at least 6 school districts that butt up next to each other - Jonesboro, Nettleton, Valley View, Westside, Bay, and Brookland. Hoxie and Walnut Ridge are right next to each other. Paragould and Greene County Tech are right next to each other. Prairie Grove, Lincoln and Farmington are all very close to each other.
First of all, I mentioned academics and curriculum multiple times in my OP. Did I make athletics an integral part of the discussion? Yes I did and this is a sports forum, but I have been very cognizant of the need for curriculum. There is a school district here in Jonesboro that is highly regarded while sadly being a true white flight refuge. The kids from said school district are having trouble when they go to college because of the weak curriculum offered.
Our school systems are supposed to educate children, not employ people in the community. Our communities are bleeding cash and will be for many years until the tax bases replace industry and online retail tax dollars. Our communities have a fiduciary responsibility to manage tax dollars to support infrastructure and schools, so yes it is responsible to take a school district who is performing well academically and consolidate with another school district so they can save some money AND provide better curriculum. Consolidation should usually utilize existing elementary and junior high facilities and funnel the kids into a consolidated High School. Yes the 10th grade kids are possibly going to ride a bus or catch a ride with friends, but everyone else in HS is driving age by the time they have a change in transportation.
I graduated from Prairie Grove in 1988. Consolidating those three would be hell on the kids. Their school districts are sprawling. I rode a bus for over an hour to get to school. If you consolidated those three, or even two of them you are talking 2 hour bus rides.
I guess you could ship some of Farmington to Fayetteville and some of Lincoln to Siloam Springs.
It gets crazy fast
It’s not always as easy as looking at 3 schools that are close on a map.
Guys like Darren McFadden and Bobby Portis could pull together leaders in Central Ark to help change the narrative in the schools for urban youth. We need the kids to be prideful and involved in school. We need them to stand for something and athletics can force them to study to meet participation grade requirements. Win win.
DMAC and Portis et al could help create visibility as well as get the youth to listen to them. We need kids in the books instead of getting booked…
Hey Gentry, you are right. I was trying to find some school districts outside of NEA and I knew these 3 were a stretch. Not a good call at all on my part. Sadly Fayettevile is too big now so it doesn’t need Farmington added. I am a FHS Purple Dog and can tell you that school is at maximum levels. Big schools are just as bad as small schools. There is a balance needed.
This is huge. We have to restore our inner cities to a vibrant and engaged social and economic center. Until we do that, large cities are going to have problems. it takes investment - money, time and people - to make it work.
Schools can be too large just as they can be too small. Distance can sometimes be a problem, but this isn’t 1930 or even 1970. It’d be hard to have a school more than 30 mins away from its most remote students. However, I’d accept a few rural schools where consolidation is less practical than in other places.
But think of schools like Cutter-Morning Star. It sits virtually inside the City of Hot Springs. It’s a very small school whose kids could so easily go to HS or Lakeside. Clarendon, Holly Grove & Brinkley could easily consolidate into one Monroe County High School–and it’d still be smaller than probably half the schools in the state. Earle could easily consolidate into Marion just as Parkin recently consolidated into Wynne. No reason Trumann & East Poinsett shouldn’t be one HS. Even Osceola & Rivercrest could easily be one HS. These places just that far apart. I can think of dozens of HS’s that should be consolidated. Elementary & even junior highs are different matters, but we’re shorting our kids by having so many tiny HS’s.
Granted they are the exception but look at how many I can come up with off the top of my head. There are massive inefficiencies and reduced curriculums. Consolidation won’t fix the LR and PB school districts, because that problem is deep but changes could be made. DMAC and Portis could help push the issue with the school district and more importantly get kids to choose sports instead of trouble or idle minds. We need them to stand for something and athletics can force them to study to meet participation grade requirements. Win win.