In Marvell-Elaine, the Governor and Oliva engage in state-sponsored scare tactics, hoping plaintiffs will drop case against the state.
The first thing Secretary Jacob Oliva did before Marvell-Elaine School District entered a contract with the Friendship Education Foundation? Fire everyone.
It’s one part of state leaders’ larger plan to control the narrative of LEARNS.
We see why the state is trying so hard to re-write the story; Marvell-Elaine schools aren’t really “saved” when the Department of Education swoops in and cleans house. Which is why plaintiffs filed a second motion in their lawsuit against the state ahead of the scheduled June 20th hearing.
The motion argues that the LEARNS Act has caused immediate, irreparable harm to Marvell-Elaine. Via the direction of Education Secretary Oliva, the “transformation contract” resulted in massive layoffs of Marvell-Elaine staff.
Oliva and his buddies at Friendship Charter seem intent on reshaping the district with new educators — a glaring contradiction to the state’s empty message that only LEARNS can save Marvell-Elaine from danger.
The staff firings were implemented alongside an aggressive, state-sponsored messaging campaign in Marvell-Elaine: LEARNS = good, right, holy. Lawsuit = silly, bad, dangerous.
Additionally, Arkansas’s leaders have coordinated efforts with LEARNS allies to pump out propaganda that the suit puts Marvell-Elaine at risk of future consolidation. It’s a lie meant to intimidate people out of opposing LEARNS and the Friendship contract.
The coordinated PR campaign around the lawsuit is all about power and control of the narrative. The suit contains specific language asking that no retaliatory measures be taken against the school district in response to the plaintiff’s complaint. Those suing the state knew they would be intimidated into withdrawing and had the wherewithal to write in language to protect their school district. But that has not stopped Oliva and others from pushing their false narrative about the suit.
In short, the state is hoping Marvell-Elaine residents will buy their story that LEARNS “saved” the district and that the lawsuit will harm the community. But the sleazy PR campaign the Governor is running in Marvell-Elaine says otherwise.