To the Citizens of the Little Rock Metropolitan Area:
We at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock understand that a metropolitan university must be a repository of human and technical resources from which to address the challenges facing our community. We understand that by addressing the most serious of local problems we are also addressing problems of national interest. By choosing to face these challenges with our community, we affirm not only that we accept the academic and scholarly obligations and responsibilities incumbent upon all excellent universities, but also that we intend to extend the expertise and energies of the university to the metropolitan region. The university best serves itself and society by assuming an active leadership role.
We present today to the citizens of this region a comprehensive, independent study of the Little Rock School District. We intend this report to illuminate how we got to our current position, what we are doing correctly, and where we need improvement. The report also presents some suggestions as to how we might move toward a better school system as we approach the turn of the century. Though the report addresses solely the Little Rock School District, the information has implications for other Arkansas school districts and, indeed, for school districts in metropolitan areas across the country.
We anticipate that many who read the report will feel some discomfort and find some areas of disagreement. However, we firmly believe that we cannot make needed progress without facing the reality of this situation--those aspects of the reality that make us comfortable and those aspects that make us uncomfortable. We can build a firm future only on reality.
This report is primarily the work of eight faculty members patiently led by Dr. Joel Anderson, Provost of the University. I believe that this effort could not have been led better, or even as effectively, by any person other than Dr. Anderson. The team undertook this massive effort without any relief from their normal duties and with no extra compensation. They put aside their normal scholarly activities for a year in order to focus their energies and training in their individual disciplines on this effort. This is their gift to us all. Whether individuals agree or disagree with certain aspects of the report, we all owe this team our gratitude.
We do not intend this report as a last effort to assist in the improvement of the schools in Little Rock. Understanding that the reality and image of our schools affect dramatically the future of our city and the university, we will remain diligent in our efforts to contribute to the betterment of these schools and the general well-being of our community.
Charles E. Hathaway