Hello from Arkansas! Thank you for your continued coverage of the Walton-funded takeover efforts in LIttle Rock School District, and public education in Arkansas. I’ve been blogging about education policy & politics here for a little over a year, and really appreciate the times you have shared my work and the work of Dr. Anika Whitfield. You have really helped get Arkansas into the national spotlight!

 

I’m writing to ask for help getting a fundraising project off the ground. Alex Handfinger (a member of Grassroots Arkansas alongside Dr. Whitfield) and I have incorporated a public-benefit corporation to fund legal action against state mismanagement of the Little Rock School District. Together, we are the Education Defense League of Arkansas (EDLA.)

EDLA has recruited three passionate attorneys, so far. Each of our attorneys is a recognizable name in Arkansas: Matt Campbell — an established “good government” bulldog, Chris Burks — the brother of one of our State Board of Education members, and Amelia LaFont — a civil rights attorney who worked as a public education activist in New Orleans, fighting the same battles down there that are currently being fought up here. Each of these attorneys has cases already filed that we can consolidate and build into class-action cases against state mismanagement in LRSD.

EDLA-affiliated attorney Amy LaFont has filed a case in federal court under the First Amendment, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, on behalf of two dedicated special education teachers, who advocated for students’ rights at Hamilton Alternative Learning Environment (ALE.)

“It is our understanding that there are many educators and employees who have experienced retaliation for advocating for students in LRSD. EDLA is joining LaFont, her clients, and her co-counselors, by providing financial and logistical support, to maximize the impact of this lawsuit.”

One step at a time, though. My job, right now, is to raise some money.

 

Since EDLA is a B-corp, we can offer donor anonymity — but we can’t offer tax writeoffs. Do you know anybody who would be interested in contributing on those terms? Here is a fundraising packet we’ve developed, explaining our strategies & needs in greater detail. https://www.eddefenseleague.org/strategies-and-needs.html Please consider sharing it with anybody you think might be able to contribute!

 

Thank you for your continued attention & support.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Lyon-Ballay