University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

In the News

In OWL-OEP Weekly Links on March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

Good Wednesday to you all! We hope you enjoyed a relaxing spring break. We assume everyone is busy preparing for the spring benchmarks. We want to remind you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: our OEP Spring Conference on May 17, 2012. As you may have seen on our blog yesterday, our keynote speaker will be from Khan Academy. But that is not the limit to the conversation that will take place. We are anticipating a very substantial conversation about both the benefits and the challenges associated with increasing technology in Arkansas’ classrooms.

News from Around the Natural State

Arkansas Superintendent Wins National Award
At ASCD’s 67th Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Philadelphia, PA, Matt McClure, superintendent of Cross County Schools in Cherry Valley was announced as a winner of the association’s prestigious 2012 Outstanding Young Educator Award. According to the AP report, McClure is credited with improving student achievement in his rural district. McClure also has instituted daily physical fitness classes, student tutoring, and homework help. McClure will receive a $10,000 cash award and an ASCD institutional membership.

Let State out of School Case, Court is Urged
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Assistant Attorney General Scott Richardson submitted the motion for release from the 23-year old settlement agreement to U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr. According to the attorney general’s office, the state has substantially complied with its obligations under a 1989 Pulaski County school desegregation case settlement–including total payments of more than $1 billion in desegregation-related aid-and is now entitled to be released from those obligations. “In those two decades, the education system in Arkansas and Pulaski County has changed dramatically,” the state attorneys wrote.

County District to Pay Intervenor’s Fees

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on Monday ordered the Pulaski County Special School District to pay nearly $150,000 in legal fees and costs to the group of black students in Pulaski County known as the Joshua intervenors. In the same order, the appeals court panel directed Arkansas to pay $69,972.66 to the Little Rock School District in legal fees and costs.

News from Around the Nation

More States Retaining Struggling 3rd Graders

Several states have recently adopted reading policies that–with limited exceptions–call for 3rd graders to be held back if they flunk a state standardized test. Supporters of these policies say that retention is intended as a last resort, and that a key goal of the policies is to place a greater focus–and apply some extra pressure–to make sure schools intervene early with struggling readers. Without an adequate ability to read, they say, children are ill-equipped and may never catch up.

Cheating our Children

Reporters from the Atlanta Journal Constitution suggests that numerous across the US are involved in cheating scandals similar to what was recently exposed in the Atlanta school district. The reports have flagged districts, including a few in Arkansas, that have higher than expected growth in test scores for cohorts from year to year. According to the AJC, 196 of the nation’s largest school districts had enough suspect tests that the odds of the results occurring by chance alone were less than one in 1,000. For 33 of those districts, the odds were less than one in a million. The report has received both criticism and praise. The OEP is investigating the quality of this report.

Click here to check out these news stories and more on the OEP Blog!!!

Don’t forget, you can always keep up with more education news on the In the News section of our website.

Site Seeing

If you are interested in the state by state breakdowns of the No Child Left Behind Waivers, check out Ed Week’s interactive report: NCLB Waivers: A State by State Breakdown

Mark Your Calendar

March 27, 2012 & April 3, 2012: Dealing with Challenging Youth courses offered at the University of Arkansas

March 30 and March 31, 2012: Autism Symposium, Fayetteville, AR

April 9-10, 2012: Joint Commission on Education Committee Meetings, State Capitol, Room171

May 17, 2012: OEP Conference

Save the Date: May 17th, 2012

Annual OEP Conference

Using Technology to Increase Student Achievement

Clinton Presidential Center

Breakfast and Registration starting at 8:00 AM

Final Thought:

“If we are going to make important decisions based on test results — and we ought to be doing that — we have to make important decisions about how we are going to ensure their trustworthiness,” she said. “That means districts and states taking ownership of the test security issue in a way that they haven’t to date.”–Daria Hall, The Education Trust

 Thanks for reading!  See you next week!

The Office for Education Policy
University of Arkansas

Director:  Gary W. Ritter Ph.D.

Chief of Staff: Misty Newcomb

Research Associates:

Caleb P. Rose

James L. Woodworth

Alexandra M. Boyd

Gregory F. Michel

Charlene A. Reid

If you would like to be added or removed from this list, please send an e-mail to

%d bloggers like this: