On January 13, 2014 a federal judge determined that decades of court supervised desegregation of public schools in Pulaski County can now end. As chair of the University Task Force on the Little Rock School District, ¬†Chancellor Anderson, then Provost, and a team of UALR faculty and staff commissioned a study in 1997 titled ¬†Plain Talk: The Future of Little Rock’s Public Schools. ¬†The study focused on the efforts to desegregate Pulaski County Schools, in particular those of the Little Rock School District. The study was released during the 40th anniversary of the Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis.
When asked if all children in Little Rock receive a high-quality education, he responded, “No.” ¬†He went on to say, “the opening statement of the report still stands: If the people fighting for equality in 1957 could look ahead to the current Little Rock School District, “they almost certainly would have said, ‘No, that is not what we are seeking.” Chancellor Anderson acknowledged that much progress has been made, but much work is still left to be done.
He said, “Let the superintendent, the principals and the teachers do their jobs with a minimum of oversight. Take away the excuses offered by all the micromanagement that has come from all levels ‚ÄĒ court, state, school board, and district central administration.¬†Little Rock’s school challenges are not so great,” he continued, “that the community cannot get its arms around them.”
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