Students are suddenly left without a school board, voice

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by Claire Thompson, Opinions Editor

After long hours of student, teachers, parents, and community members three minute testimonies totaling nearly 50 speeches recommending to the state board of education to keep the Little Rock School District (LRSD) and administration in tact and work together as a community to solve problems, the board made the decision to take over our well-loved district, with the tie-breaking vote cast by Board Chairman Sam Ledbetter.

The decision to takeover has left us speechless. Throughout the day, the board “listened to” over three hours of testimonies opposing a state takeover, in favor of saving the LRSD or allowing them to work together to solve problems, while this group listened to approximately nine minutes of people in favor of the takeover.

For hours at the beginning of the meeting we were given a false sense of hope. It seemed like everyone who had a voice was in favor of the takeover. But by the end, we realized that, in a sense, no one’s voice mattered.

As we saw hints of sympathy glimmer in state board members’ eyes and heard the last heartfelt student testimony, we were sure that there might be a sliver of humanity left in this corrupt dictatorial board, and that for sure they would hear our pleas and make the right decision.

We have never been more wrong.

Following the impassioned speeches, the board members passed each other typed copies of their proposal. Typed copies. This showed us that they had made their decision before they even arrived, and therefore, before they had even heard anyone’s opinions.

With this decision, came the realization to the students in attendance was that our voices don’t matter; that at the end of the day, money and power win. And, at the end of the day, we’re still just a bunch of numbers. We’re points on a graph.

The very point that people have tried so hard to stray from has been brought back. We aren’t more than a number. These numbers- test scores, racial makeup, per student expenditures, family income- DO define us.

Senior student body president Dean Patterson was among the several influential LRSD students to share his opinions at the board meeting.

“I’m concerned about a future where we strip down the teacher-student relationships because a board has never taught me a class and a business interest has never taken the ACTAAP,” Dean said.

This whole problem started because six LRSD schools are in “academic distress,” as fewer than half of the students at these school scored proficient on achievement tests. Six of forty-eight LRSD schools are at academically distressed. Meanwhile, the Pulaski County School District, which is currently under control of the state, has three schools in a state of academic distress.

If the state can take control of a district solely for the purpose of solving problems and getting all schools to a higher proficiency level, then we should see advancing achievement in all schools the board currently has control of before they take on more schools to help.

But it doesn’t even seem like they have a plan yet or any idea how to tackle the situations at hand, whereas the former LRSD superintendent and school board had several possibilities and even a proposed plan.

This whole situation is a bureaucratic nightmare.

Diane Zook, a board member helping make the decision, is the wife of Randy Zook who is head of the Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Gary Newton is her nephew. Gary Newton is former executive-vice president of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, an early supporter of Quest charter schools, assumes managing roles for the “Arkansans for Education Reform Foundation,” and is the first president and CEO of Arkansas Learns. The Walton family initially funded Arkansas Learns; so, the Zook family are also huge Walton supporters. The Walton Family Foundation is a supporter for privatizing public schools.

Diane Zook isn’t the only board member with possible ulterior motives. Vicki Saviers, the member who purposed the final motion, is also a board member on for the Arkansans for Education Reform, a pro-charter group, and a lobby that is supported by the Walton family.

At this point, is it even about our education anymore? If they really cared about making sure we improved our schools, they’d give the LRSD a chance and maybe look at things more than test scores.

The current LRSD board had only been in place for around 18 months. That’s not enough time to see any huge changes.

In an analogy used by a current Hall student, we wouldn’t expect a basketball team to get a new coach and automatically win every game and the Conference championships overnight, so why do we get a new board and expect our schools to be flawless overnight?

We need to give the people we elected time. We also need to listen to the people and keep a system in place with people we voted on.

In addition, we need to be measuring schools and students by more than just two test grades. The state takeover has convinced us now more than ever that we are just a number.

One of the tests used to determine a school’s achievement is a literacy test. This seems simple enough, but in schools like Hall, it is unfair to use a literacy test to determine progress. Hall has a huge Latino population. For many students, English is, at best, their second language. Hall has done so much for them, but it doesn’t show because we expect them to take a test in an unfamiliar language and expect them to do as well as students who have been speaking English their whole lives. This would be like us giving all of Central’s Spanish III students a literacy exam in full Spanish, and then claiming that we have a distressed school when half of them don’t score proficiently.

In addition, one of the changes students will begin to see is a tighter curriculum and more testing. Not only does this put pressure on teachers and students, but it also costs money. The testing industry has become a huge business and industry.

Although the results weren’t what we had hoped, the whole situation wasn’t a total let down. This is the first time in a long time that all students and teachers in the LRSD have come together for a common cause. A fire has been lit under our community that has created a passion like no other. Now more than ever, we have been inspired and motivated to work as one group to work towards a common goal: bettering the education and working towards a better education for our future.

In the words of Senator Joyce Eliot, the situation has “lit a fire under this community… and that’s a good thing, something we need to sustain.”

The Drowsy Chaperone demonstrates the musical talent of exiting seniors

Seniors Rohan Manjanatha (left) and Malik Marshall have performed together multiple times, including for the Armadillo Rodeo improve group. Photo by Ethan Dial

Seniors Rohan Manjanatha (left) and Malik Marshall have performed together multiple times, including for the Armadillo Rodeo improv group. Photo by Ethan Dial

by Ethan Dial, School News Editor and Taylor Smith, Staff Writer

“To live or to leave?”

This year’s spring production poses this question and inspires students to search for their own answer.

According to Maurer Production On Stage, an online play and musical synopsis database, “The Drowsy Chaperone” is guided by the “Man in Chair” (played by senior Latavian Johnson), a musical enthusiastic, who guides the audience through his favorite musical, The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Drowsy Chaperone is a 1928 musical that follows the wedding adventures of Janet Van De Graaff (Augusta Fitzgerald), a famous showgirl who is leaving her career to marry a successful oil tycoon, Robert Martin (Malik Marshall), during the time of prohibition in the 1920’s. Van De Graaff’s departure from the show leaves her broadway producer, Feldzieg (Chase Taggart), in trouble with the local gangsters, disguised as pastry chefs, who are some of his biggest investors. Through numerous shenanigans, the producer tries to break up the wedding to save the show. Spit takes, mistaken identities, dazzling costumes, and a picturesque backdrop make for an exciting show.

The musical combined both the band and many talented drama students voices to create a harmonious production. Voices that stood out included Augusta, Malik, Michael Hulsey, Anna Grace Estes, and Jada Gaspard. Compared to other shows, this musical stood out musically and was up to par with last year’s Seussical. Also pleasing was the choreography that perfectly aligned with musical cues.

Senior Grace Lytle played many roles in the show, including head choreographer and the title role of the “Drowsy Chaperone.” She was assisted with choreography by junior Casey Labbate, who also played Mrs. Tottendale, who housed the weddings in the play. These two created seamless choreography that included tap-dancing, whole cast musical numbers, and a tango.

As well as being pitch perfect, this musical also included great acting. Memorable performances included Latavian’s portrayal of the “Man in Chair,” Anna Grace’s performance as Kitty, a stardom hungry dimwit with a northern accent, and Michael’s hilarious portrayal of the stereotypical Latin lover, Aldopho. These actors made the show the sarcastic comedy it was meant to be.

“It was new for me, but I was very comfortable with the support of the cast and crew,” Michael said. Although he was new, and not even a drama student, Michael made the perfect transformation from a blonde band student into a brunette Latin lover.

This show submerged the audience into the Roaring Twenties with its costumes, hairstyles, and makeup.

“The best part about my role was getting to play a really ditzy character with the different kind of makeup for the 20’s,” Anna Grace said.

This junior made the perfect flapper girl of the twenties with her fringed dress, up do hairstyle, and old timey, Yankee accent.

All in all, the cast did an outstanding job, even though the snow cancelled many practices.

“They [the snow days] really threw us off schedule,” junior Eamon Lauster, who played the butler, Underling, said. “Rehearsals had to last until 10 p.m. instead of 8 p.m., which worked out all right in the end, but they really did throw us off.”

“I really liked seeing our whole cast working with each other towards the end,” Augusta said. “It’s cool showing our friends and the school what we’ve worked so much on!”

Black history month program captivates audience; Juniors make directional debut

Juniors Tahmaddiyya Dawson and Kristian Stephens receive applause from the audience after directing part of the black history month program.

Juniors Tahmaddiyya Dawson and Kristian Stephens receive applause from the audience after directing part of the black history month program.

By Cameron Thomas, Staff Writer and Taylor Smith, Staff  Writer

This year’s Black History Month Program was a huge success.

The theme of the production was “rediscovery”. The show was split into two parts. The first half documented the journey of a young boy, Chris, from childhood to his teenage years as he discovered his backgrounds of ancestry. Through the use of intimate talks with his uncle (Latavian Johnson) about the violence against innocent black males in America, and visits from important American figures, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglas, and Chris’ very own grandmother, Chris is able to move away from the bad crowd and get on the right track. Thanks to Central’s very own Greek-affiliated staff from different sororities and fraternities, Chris is able to see all of the possibilities that are available to teenagers heading down the right path.

Juniors Tahmadiyya Dawson and Kristian Stephens directed the second part of the show. Tahmadiyya described it as being “focused on the arts.” The goals of their portion of the show was to increase the student body’s knowledge of important African American history facts through the use of a games, poetry, and dancing. These activities, and performances by the renowned poetry group special guests, Foreign Tongues, were crowd favorites at last year’s show and did not disappoint this year. Students also performed pieces from acclaimed African American writers including the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou.

The program also included work written by both Tahmadiyya and Kristian. One highlight was a very powerful piece performed by Tahmadiyya and two dancers, Fred Cashaw and Bryson Laster, who also choreographed the number. In this performance, Tahmadiyya addressed many of the issues that plague black youth today, both within the US and internationally.

Tahmadiyya recounted the show as “kind of a process.” “You had to organize and choose the people to do this. It took three weeks,” she said.

Overall this year’s production was well put together and engaging. The group’s paid off, producing performances that were both thoughtful and thought provoking. This year’s show also demonstrated the little-known talent of Tahmadiyya and Kristian. They directed, produced, wrote, and starred in the show and really helped to make the program memorable.

 

Hammocking continues to provide laid-back environment, beautiful scenery

A hammocking trip on the brink of dusk provides special views of Merriweather Park's treetops along with a nice spot to lounge. Photo by Katie Kumpuris

A hammocking trip on the brink of dusk provides special views of Merriweather Park’s treetops along with a nice spot to lounge. Photo by Katie Kumpuris

By Katie Kumpuris, Staff Writer

Hammocks have always been a symbol of relaxation. However, these convenient cocoons have taken on a whole new persona, far beyond island getaways and sandy palm tree beaches. Thanks to manufacturers like Eno, hammocks are now enjoyed by rugged, outdoor adventurers and backyard bookworms alike.

Before they rose to popularity, hammocks were used mainly for special camping trips or island resorts. The normal Arkansan wasn’t expected to own one. Lately, however, they have become a staple to college students and adventurous high school-ers around the state. Some like to go hammocking (yes, it’s a verb) during the sunset and take pictures, while others cozy up in their nylon Eno with a classic novel. And snacks- can’t forget the snacks.

Picking the perfect spot depends on the intensity of your hammocking. If you’re in need of a good place to lay back and nap, look no further than your backyard. If you’re out for a spectacular view, check the many parks and scenic areas around Little Rock. Some great hammocking hotspots include Emerald Park in North Little Rock, Knoop and Allsop park in the Hillcrest Area, and Pinnacle Mountain State Park in West Little Rock. If you’re feeling spontaneous take a daytrip and go explore the Ouachita National Forest or any of the wonderful trails around the Ozark National Forrest in Northwest Arkansas.

To maximize the hammocking experience, friends are absolutely a plus. Let’s face it, you can never have enough hammocking buddies; especially if you’re not the best at setting up your spot. Setting up a hammock may seem like a daunting task. Gratefully, though, it is becoming a lot easier. Eno sells strap sets to attach to your hammock.

Conventional hammockers usually just pick two strong tree trunks. However, when trees are lacking, rock pillars and car hitches make convenient places to hang your hammock. You can set up a hammock anywhere that is safe and sturdy.

Hammocking has become a fun, fairly inexpensive hobby that immerses you in nature. There is no doubt; living in the Natural State gives hammockers a never-ending variety of ways to chill in the outdoors.

Hammocks are sold at a number of outdoor outfitters around Little Rock including Gearhead, Gene Lockwood, and Ozark Outdoors. Although prices vary based on color, size and company, sales associates can help you find one that’s functional and affordable to you.

So get yourself a hammock, grab all your favorite people, pick a spot with some sweet views, and let the chill times roll.

Creative writing classes look to reestablish literary magazine

Seniors Blair Bish and Hannah Lewis write stories nearly every day in their creative writing class, preparing each with hopes of it being in the literary magazine. Photo by Tom Coulter

Seniors Blair Bish and Hannah Lewis write stories nearly every day in their creative writing class, preparing each with hopes of it being in the literary magazine. Photo by Tom Coulter

by Jane Justus, Managing Editor and Tom Coulter, Online Editor

Decades ago, The Labyrinth literary magazine was one of the coolest things to be a part of on campus. However, in the past few years, the magazine’s popularity has severely declined. This year, the creative writing classes, led by English teachers Suzann Saltzman and Sharolyn Jones-Taylor, have started an effort to revitalize The Labyrinth.

The first place these changes can be noticed is throughout the hallways. After a collective advertising campaign between the classes, multiple creative methods of advertising to increase submissions were implemented, including the unique messages on the morning announcements, the eye-popping assortment of posters hanging throughout the school, and the flashy banner above the entrance to the north side of the third floor. Another way the classes have gotten the word out to students is by visiting English classes from every grade.

“We’ve really made an effort this year to make the magazine more visible,” senior creative writing student Malik Marshall said. “The problem in the past has been that a lot of students didn’t even know it existed.”

And if the posters, banners, announcements, and classroom visits weren’t enough, The Labyrinth has made an appearance in social media. These pages were created and run by the students involved in the magazine’s revival. Central students can find The Labyrinth on Twitter, Instagram, and on its website.

The massive ad campaign was aimed at doing two things: raising awareness and encouraging students to submit their own work into The Labyrinth. Although the magazine is aimed at literary works, visual artists can submit their artwork.

So far, The Labyrinth has received an impressive number of submissions, ranging from portraits to short stories to songs.

“I’ve been amazed by the number of submissions,” English teacher Suzann Saltzman said. “It’s really a sign of our school’s creative bravery, and we appreciate the efforts of the authors and artists.”

As the creative writing classes prepare to design and publish the magazine, they hope to establish a presence and longevity at the school for years to come.

“As a senior class, we hope to leave a good legacy,” senior Roshaneh Ali said. “Making The Labyrinth important again is something we know will do just that.”

2nd Presbyterian pleases audience with incredible play

Seniors Noah Adams and Baker Wells participate in yet another amazing Second Presbyterian show.

Seniors Noah Adams and Baker Wells participate in yet another amazing Second Presbyterian show.

By Anna Norman and Ethan Dial

Second Presbyterian Church’s Youth (SPY) produced another wonderful musical this year, continuing their 34-year long tradition of great shows. The play, Peter Pan, starred many Central students who amazed the audience with their incredible portrayals of the classic characters we all know and love.

The musical starred Central seniors Noah Adams as Captain Hook and Baker Wells as Peter Pan. Noah played Captain Hook sarcastically, with funny dance moves and a hysterical voice, while Baker sang his heart out “flying” around the stage.

The show also featured freshmen Dylan Fike and Skylar Whisnant, sophomores Annie Hagemeier and Alex Pickell, juniors Eric Meincke, George King, and Angela Wang, and senior Christina Honeycutt.

“The Second Presbyterian play is a great way for people to come together to create a single thing and learn about themselves and create a community,” Noah said.

From the acting to the singing, and even the dancing, the cast proved their ability to put on an incredible show.

“I love being able to sing and dance on stage with all of my friends,” Annie said.

Besides the young actors, the set also amazed the audience. The stage had great versatility. It was transformed from the Darlings’ house to the colorful Neverland and Captain Hooks ship.

“It was really cool how we missed five days of rehearsal because of the snow, and still made it a good show,” George said.

Both Baker and Noah have performed in seven SPY musicals, starting with “Godspell” when they were in the sixth grade.   In their last performance at Second Presbyterian, they both excelled in their leading roles and had great chemistry on stage.

“I didn’t really think about being the star of the show,” Baker said.

Highlights of the show included Peter Pan singing in an extremely high falsetto to trick Captain Hook (Noah) into thinking he was a beautiful woman, which is a feat for Baker, a bass two in choir. Captain Hook’s seemingly random dance numbers were also a favorite. Another great part of the show was the use of Heelys to simulate flying. Baker, as well as other cast mates, rolled around the stage, in their Heelys and reminded us of a thrilling part of our childhood.

Peter Pan, performed by the youth of Second Presbyterian, sets the bar high future church musicals.

Fantasy football proves to be more than just a game

Fantasy football has had a major impact on pop culture, inspiring TV shows such as “The League”. Photo courtesy of FX

 

 

By Ian Djurica, Staff Writer

Fantasy: the activity of imagining things. A game with the word fantasy in it can sound childlike, but it’s real. 33 million people around the world play Fantasy Football every year according to the FSTA. The majority of the players are ages 25-34. One particular statistic gives Fantasy Football a stigma: 89 percent of players are male. You always hear questions like: “What on earth is fantasy football?” or “Why are you so obsessed with a fake team?” That’s because if you don’t play, you probably don’t know how it works.

In a standard league of 10 people, each person has their team. You draft a number of players to your team to help accumulate points week by week. Each week, you play against a different person’s fantasy team. Whoever’s team has the most points by the end of the week, wins that matchup.

A team consists of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, a defense, and a kicker. These athletes still play for their real NFL team, just how well you do, depends on how they perform. For every 10 yards your players run in a game, you get one point. For every touchdown your player scores, you get six points. Some players score more than others and these are the more desirable players (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, etc).

Why is something that’s not real such a big deal? Because it is a way to get you involved in the game, and television companies know this. There is a lot of money to be made in the world of Fantasy Football. 5 billion dollars are raked in annually through charging for articles and statistics, ad revenue, and television shows. Fantasy Football is a lucrative business for the sports writers who supply the addicts the information they crave. Fantasy football gives normal people a chance to manage a football team and do what they want with it, a chance most will never get. This is why people come back to their fantasy leagues year after year, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Students experience school related stress around the world

Mar
16
12:00 pm
Comparative PISA results for the United States and Finland

Comparative PISA results for the United States and Finland

By Sophia Ordaz, Staff Writer

Semester exam week at Central. Dark circles encircle tired eyes, hands clench pencils and pens. Answer sheets cover each desk. Students fidget. Empty bubbles eyeball students, their hollow, vacant gaze unnerving even the most experienced test-taker. Minds race and pencils scratch. The clock ticks at a tiring, unvarying rhythm, its pulse becoming the students’ own life-force. But soon its beat accelerates. Half of the bubbles remain unfilled, half of the test lies ahead, but there is so little time, so little time to finish a test that determines twenty percent of a semester grade.

Semester exams are only one example of the stressors Central students commonly experience, and on a national level, American students face many of the same challenges. Today, college is seen as a surefire path to success, meaning that students in the U.S. end up juggling high school’s educational demands with extracurricular activities in order to attract colleges. The pressure for American students to achieve is high, but around the world students are succeeding by following vastly different education systems.

Around the mid-1900s, 78 percent of South Korea’s population was illiterate. During this time Korea was occupied by Japan, and only Japanese people were allowed access to secondary schools and higher education. Koreans were excluded from education. Today 98 percent of the country’s population is literate. When Koreans were finally in a stable enough place to build an strong education system, they drew on Confucian values, principles that honored hard work and reverence for education. They combined these standards with elements of egalitarianism, relying on merit-based tests that leave everyone on the same playing field.

Korea’s test-driven education system is producing incredible results. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is a worldwide study that tests the ability of 15-year-old students from around the world in reading, math, and science. Korea’s scores are significantly higher than the OECD average and those of the United States.

The amazing performance of Korean students is linked to a rigorous curriculum that focuses on math and science and intense studying. The typical high school student will have class from 8 AM to 10 PM, and many students stay up to all hours of the night studying at private cram schools called hagwons. “If you sleep for four hours a night, you’ll get into the college of your choice,” a student proverbs says. “If you sleep for five hours, you fail.”

The three best colleges in South Korea are Seoul National University (SNU), Korea University and Yonsei University, nicknamed SKY. As a SKY graduate, students secure a higher status, the best academic pedigree of the country, and even better marriage prospects. But to be accepted in a SKY college, students must score a near-perfect score on the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). Students spend their lives preparing for this all-or-nothing test.

There is a dark side to Korea’s effective education system. The number one cause of death for young people aged 15-24 is suicide, according to a 2011 report by Statistics Korea. Each year brings a new spate of student suicides, most occurring around the CSAT dates. Despite South Korea’s astoundingly high scores, students experience unhappiness and feelings of inadequacy. High school students dedicate their teenage years to studying and feel enveloped in the CSAT’s “deep play,” where the consequences of losing arguably outweigh the consequences of winning.

“[My student] said that when she finished her university entrance exam she started to uncontrollably cry because such a large mix of emotions, both positive and negative, hit her at the same time,” James Kobes, head instructor at SNU’s Foreign Language Center, says. “She said that after she cried she felt empty because she realized that she had dedicated the best years of her young life to the exam and that much of her identity as a person hinged on the exam. Upon completing the exam, the force that had given her life structure and purpose was suddenly gone.”

Finland has a completely different education system, yet ranks with South Korea and out-performs the United States. The Finnish model focuses on providing every child with the best possible education, relying on hands-on experiences and a close teacher-student relationship.

Before the 1970s, Finland’s education was less than remarkable. The economy was struggling with unemployment at near 20 percent. In 1972, the Finnish parliament began a series of reforms to transform education. Reforms included national curriculum guidelines and improved teacher training.

“Thirty years ago, Finland’s education system was a mess,” Linda Darling-Hammond, an education professor at Stanford, says. “It was quite mediocre, very inequitable. It had a lot of features [the American] system has: very top-down testing, extensive tracking, highly variable teachers, and they managed to reboot the whole system.”

Today Finland’s education is not test-driven and is geared towards cooperation rather than competition, unlike the Korean and American model. Only one standardized test exists, taken when students are sixteen. The list of differences goes on. Finnish students aren’t divided based on their strengths or weaknesses; all children are taught in the same classroom. New York City has as many teachers as Finland, but there are 600,000 students in Finland compared to New York City’s 1.1 million students. For the first six years of their education, students aren’t measured. The early years of education are for students to explore their interests and learn from hands-on experiences. Finnish students aren’t assigned homework until they are well into their teens, and even then, homework usually does not exceed an hour each night. While the average American child gets 27 minutes of recess, the Finnish child gets 75.

The secret to Finland’s success lies with its teachers. Being a teacher in Finland is similar to being a doctor or a lawyer. To work as a teacher, a master’s degree is necessary, and teachers are selected from the top 10 percent of graduates. Many teachers teach the same students year after year, making it easy to establish a close student-teacher bond. Because the Ministry of Education holds teachers in high regard, teachers also have a lot of freedom with lesson plans. They spend only 4 hours each day in the classroom, and they receive two hours a week for professional development.

“In Finland, we think that teachers are key for the future, and it’s a very important profession—and that’s why all of the young, talented people want to become teachers,” Henna Virkkunen, Finland’s Minister of Education, says. “Teachers in Finland can choose their own teaching methods and materials. They are experts of their own work, and they test their own pupils. I think this is also one of the reasons why teaching is such an attractive profession in Finland because teachers are working like academic experts with their own pupils in schools.”

The Finnish model does not come without its downfalls. Finnish schools aim to advance the lowest-performing students rather than getting the best out of some of the higher-performing students. This can potentially limit a student’s growth.

Both South Korea and Finland surpass the United States, in regards to education. Although, the two countries have different approaches to education, they have similar cultural aspects that allow education to be effective. Both cultures hold teachers in high regards. They are respected and trusted by both students and higher-ups. In both cultures, education is seen as necessary for a better future. Based on its results, the United States needs to change something about its education system, but it may not be possible to apply values from South Korea and Finland in the American system.

“An educational system has to serve the local community, and it’s very much tied to a country’s own history and society, so we can’t take one system from another country and put it somewhere else,” Virkkunen says. “I think that teachers are really the key for a better educational system.”

To improve the United States’ education, teachers need to have the freedom and inspiration of Finnish teachers, and American students need some of the discipline and hard work of Korean students. Students and teachers need to foster relationships of mutual respect and trust for the most effective learning to take place.

 

City Director speaks at GSA

Mar
16
12:00 pm
Kathy Webb expressed the need the for LGBTQ+ allies to vocalize their support during the GSA meeting on March 11, 2015. “It’s important that allies don’t remain silent,” Webb said. “Make sure you stand up and say, ‘That’s not right,’ because it’s a small thing but very important thing to do.” Photo by Melissa Joiner

Kathy Webb expressed the need the for LGBTQ+ allies to vocalize their support during the GSA meeting on March 11, 2015. “It’s important that allies don’t remain silent,” Webb said. “Make sure you stand up and say, ‘That’s not right,’ because it’s a small thing but very important thing to do.” Photo by Melissa Joiner

By Melissa Joiner, Feature Editor

Ward 3 City Director Kathy Webb recently visited Central’s Gay-Straight Alliance meeting. She spoke about her past, including her involvement in the women’s rights movement in Washington DC, her time as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and how being out as a lesbian has affected her life and political career.

“One of the great ironies in my life is that I can introduce ordinances [to promote equality] in Little Rock, but I can get fired from my job at the Hunger Alliance because I’m a lesbian,” Webb said.

Webb also talked to students about ways that can get involved in influencing their legislators to make laws that will better protect all Little Rock citizens.

“Instead of just making phone calls [to legislators], send emails because they can track emails. Make sure to say in them, ‘I live in your district,’” Webb said.

At the closing of the GSA meeting, Webb expressed the need for LGBTQ+ allies to vocalize their support, and call out those who try to downplay the need for LGBTQ+ rights.

“It’s important that allies don’t remain silent,” Webb said. “Make sure you stand up and say, ‘That’s not right,’ because it is a small thing, but a very important thing to do.”