Arkansas Education

David Monteith / KUAR

The embattled Little Rock School District ceremonially started work on a new high school in southwest Little Rock Monday.

Students from J.A. Fair High School and McClellan High School used shovels to break ground on what will become the first new high school for the district in more than a half century.

The two existing high schools, as well as four other schools in the district were identified as being under “academic distress” by the State Board of Education in 2014, which took control of the district the following year.

On their 60th anniversary return to Central High School last week, the  Little Rock Nine — the nine students who desegregated Central in 1957 — called for continued efforts toward integration in education.

Arkansas Public Media spoke with professor Erica Frankenberg of Penn State University about her study on the re-segregation of the South.

Bill Clinton Little Rock Nine
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public media

The surviving members of the Little Rock Nine and former President Bill Clinton marked the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School on Monday. The ceremony was replete with jabs at how far is left to go to achieve progress in the era of President Donald Trump and a state-controlled school district.

The anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock has brought national attention to Little Rock and renewed interest in the nine students who made history this month 60 years ago, even as a number of Little Rock residents talk of re-segregation of the school district and the ongoing state control of the city's public schools.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Little Rock Central High School is honoring the Little Rock Nine’s 60th anniversary this week, and teachers from around the country are coming to Little Rock to participate. They aim to use their experiences and first-hand accounts gathered this week to take back with them to their students.

Joe De Pasqua, an American history teacher from Hartford, Connecticut who has been teaching about Little Rock for the past twenty years, will be in town this week for the ceremonies.

Mortgage backers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have recently changed lending rules to give more leeway to borrowers like Kristen Griffin with high student loans.

Griffin is a librarian at Nemo Vista High School in Center Ridge. She and her husband Mark are window-shopping on Zillow while their 2-year-old son Fletcher sleeps nearby.

Students from the Clinton School Class of 2019 have compiled a list of books they recommend. More than half of the book recommendations from the Class of 2019 are nonfiction. Nearly a third were written by women.

The books range in date from Meno, written by Plato in the third century B.C., to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, released in November 2016.

Recommended Reading From The Class of 2019

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Salina Adolph

Leadership of the Little Rock School District is praising the settlement of a years-long lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in the district.

It has agreed to pay $100,000 in attorneys' fees, and to improve facilities and advanced learning opportunities in schools with majority black student populations.

It’s been 60 years since Central High School was forced to desegregate, but a federal lawsuit now claims the Little Rock School District is racially biased when it comes to investing in facilities and programs.

Proving that’s true in fact won’t be enough to win the case, though. The suit's authors will have to prove district officials set out to discriminate.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Visitors to Little Rock's Central High School will now have a way to explore the school’s historic past. An app developed by the Central High Civil Rights Memory Project in partnership with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, uses first-person accounts to narrate a walking tour of the school.

George West taught civics at Central High, and now serves as education outreach coordinator at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. He has seen firsthand the impact the project has had on students.

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