Daddy Warbucks

A disturbing study is out.

Boy, oh, boy, some 45 percent — almost one out of every two — of public schools in Arkansas have failed to meet the minimum standards of academic achievement.

Who set those minimum standards of academic achievement? Sadly, we Arkansans did.

Well, with 45 percent of the 1,071 public schools in Arkansas not meeting the standards, this can’t be close to Northwest Arkansas’ fine high schools, can it? Look again, gentle readers.

It’s right here too, not just in the Delta or “below Little Rock,” as lots of armchair academicians like to say.

But here are the facts.

Some 480 Arkansas public schools must take steps in the form of hiring tutors, making or allowing student transfers, or changing their facilities (what changes are not noted) — or hire an educational consultant to tell these districts what is wrong.

Sounds like an easy fix.

Schools have these employees called teachers or instructors, so why hire tutors? Does this mean more teachers or better programs for these students who have trouble in the classroom? If so, fine.

There are 35 of the 45 schools in Little Rock that need help, the study says. Twenty-six of the 36 schools in the Pulaski County Special School district that need help. Sixteen of the 19 schools in the North Little Rock School District need help. No wonder every church with a spare fellowship hall is getting in the private or charter school business in the Little Rock area.

There are 13 of the 26 schools in Fort Smith that need help; nine of the 25 schools in Springdale need help; and here come the rest: four schools in Fayetteville; six in Rogers; five in Jonesboro; seven in Pine Bluff and, get this, all seven schools in Blytheville.

Yikes. What are we gonna do?


Crystal Bridges has been at the “top of everyone’s must-write-about list” this past month. The newspaper covered the event well and made a cargo ship load of money in the ads covering the event. The event on the Bentonville square was quite a deal. The crowds could have been bigger, but it was just as nice as the decades ago Sam and Helen Days parade and ceremony to honor the icons of the Walton Family: Sam and Helen.

Congratulations to the Walton Family and especially to Alice Walton for this gift to Northwest Arkansas and America.


Mortgage rates have fallen back below 4 percent.

Good news, if you have the cash and the desire to buy a house these days. A short five years ago mortgage rates were 5 percent to6 percent and a decade ago the rates were in the 8 percent range.


Gasoline prices just won’t go down and stay down. Not with the holidays approaching.

Watch the news media suddenly realize how expensive it is going to be to fly to grandma’s for Thanksgiving.

And Christmas.

And New Year’s Eve.

And oh, yeah, Arkansas’ bowl game.


More than just doughnuts.

Arkansas Basketball Coach Mike Anderson displayed the class, PR skills and general concern for the basketball Hogs’ fan base by showing up last week at a student ticket outlet on the morning tickets were going to be sold.

He was there in person and passing out doughnuts to those who stood in the chilly Ozark morning to get ducats. He shook hands and was, as always, so accessible.

No wonder he is the right fit for the Razorbacks.




Categories: Features