Why Senator Dave Bisbee Loses Senate Pro TemporeArkansas Republican Sen. Bisbee Loses Senate Pro Temp.



Senator Dave Bisbee(R) Loses Vote for Senate Pro Tempore

Missed Opportunity or Victory for Conservatives?


       ADG Paul Greenberg used the headline, "Missed opportunity - GOP abandons its own,"1 in his article about Dave Bisbee(R) losing the vote for Senate pro tempore.   The truth is the GOP didn't abandon its own; Senator Dave Bisbee abandoned the Republicans.    


Senator Argue appointed Bisbee as an assistant Senate president pro tempore, saying "Bisbee is a longtime ally for him."  Liberal journalists Brummett, Barnes, and Blagg all wrote articles praising Bisbee. Brummet listed him in the top five best legislators.2   Since when is  Democratic leader Senator Argue an ally of  true Republicans,  and why would the liberal journalists praise Bisbee if  he isn't  doing the Democrats' bidding? 


Bisbee  walked in lock step with Democratic Senators Argue,  Broadway, and Malone in the last sessions.   This alliance flaunted so  much power that the other senators rebelled and defeated Bisbee. 


            American Family Association's (AFA) website lists 10 bills on family issues from the 2005 session.  Democrat Jack Critcher,  who won the vote for  Senate Pro Temp, agreed with AFA on 9 votes; Bisbee agreed on 6 votes.  Two other Democratic Senators, Glover and Taylor, agreed on 9 votes as well. Senator Holt agreed 100% - just one vote better  than three other Democratic Senators.  All Republicans senators but one agreed with  AFA more often than did Senator Bisbee.  See this link for a list of  these bills and how all legislators voted on these issues.   http://www.afaar.org/Leg%2005%20Votes%20on%20Family%20Bills.htm.  Or go to www.wpaag.org and from home page and scroll down and  choose the first new item.


            Senator Bisbee was the primary sponsor of  SB 42 (Act 59) which increased funding for education by $441 million.3  resulting in an increase in the sales tax,  the largest ever Arkansas state tax increase.4 Even though advocates of  consolidation were proclaiming how much consolidation would save, "Bisbee  acknowledged during the meeting that consolidation wouldn't save money under SB42's per-student funding." 5

Evidently consolidation for savings was not Bisbee's objective in  SB 42 .


            Bisbee was  the sole sponsor of Act 98 that gave  supplemental money to the AR Department of  Education (ADE) in the amount of $107 million  to add up to 32 new employees and other things for the 2003-05 biennium.6    I don't think any paper in the state reported on this bill.  Since they were talking about saving so much money with consolidation by getting rid of  superintendents, they didn't want the public to know they were increasing the government employees as rapidly as they were supposedly decreasing administrators. Most of the appropriations were for positions, etc.  for more government control of  the local schools. Government control is very expensive,  requiring many more  positions, data bases, and other equipment. The media and the legislators never discussed that aspect of  accountability or consolidation.


            Before sponsoring this bill, Bisbee was sent the superintendent survey where 93% of them said,   "Any increase in the number of state department employees would not be a good investment of the state's money for quality education in Arkansas."  Fifty percent  (154)  of  the superintendents  responded to this survey.7   For copy of survey see: http://www.wpaag.org/Superintendent%20Survey%20Results.htm  


             Senator Bisbee  has supported and been a main player in increasing government control in all the educational reforms, reforms that 94% of  teachers and 95% of  superintendents  in Arkansas  surveys  said " have been a top down approach with educational bureaucrats and/or legislators making most or all of the significant decisions as opposed to teacher input."  The superintendent survey in 2003 had a 50% response (that was 154 supts.) and hundreds of  teachers were surveyed in schools of different sizes across Arkansas in 2000 and 2003.8


             At one time Bisbee  was noted for saying outcome based education  OBE as outlined in the Clintons' Act 236   was  dead in the water and supposedly opposed it in 1997 after it acquired such a bad reputation.   However, since then Bisbee  has helped implement every aspect of  OBE .  They have just implemented it under different  names so people don't recognize it.


             The last and present  national expert for the Arkansas Department of  Education for staff development, Richard Stiggins, admits our present educational standards driven reforms were originally called outcomes based education, saying . “[T] the concept of mastery learning has evolved through its various incarnations over the past decades, from behavioral objectives to minimum competencies to outcomes-based education and finally to standards-driven schools9  Senate Bill 42 (Act 59)  of  2003  sponsored by Bisbee and Broadway say professional development has to be "standards-based." 10


             Senator Bisbee and Broadway  sponsored SB42 (Act 59) in 2003, adding  five more days of  staff development (making it 10 days rather than 5) at a price of  $22 million more annually  for staff development where they train teachers in such nonsense as the following:11 "Grading can be detrimental to student willingness to learn and should be replaced with other ways to report progress.  In today's political climate, tests are inadequate and misleading as measures of achievement. Assessment tasks should be redesigned-indeed, are being redesigned."   The long tradition of grading students has a detrimental effect on many students."  (Taken from a teacher's math book used to train teachers in Arkansas)   Staff development also concentrates on multiculturalism and diversity (including acceptance of homosexuality.)


             Bisbee and Broadway  also included the requirement for a study of  knowledge and skills-based teacher pay system in SB42 (Act 59).12   In simple terms that means that teachers will get pay increases based on how well they incorporate the things they learn in staff development (like the above statement on grades)   rather than on experience or other criteria.  This is all spelled out in a booklet prepared by the adequacy study in 2003.  In fact part of  the title of  SB42  is "TO ESTABLISH A KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS-BASED PAY SYSTEM FOR TEACHERS."


             Ninety percent  of  the teachers in the survey mentioned above said, "The State Department of Education is placing too much emphasis on test scores and coercing teachers to teach to the test," and 85% said "staff development is of little value in improving student achievement and is an ineffective use of teachers' time." These surveys can be found on the educational page of  www.wpaag.org .13


            Bisbee also  helped bring so called experts here for staff development like Willard Daggett and Douglas Reeves who propagate such nonsense as the above. Willard Daggett's writings and research (he makes up his own research)  are so inflammatory that one large school in Arkansas refused to let him speak on their campus.14  


            In 1998 when I discussed with  Senator Bisbee my concerns my concerns about education and teacher staff development, he told me  that they were in the process of  hiring good professional people from NSCI in Arizona to do staff development for teachers.    Daggett and Reeves  were the so called good professional people that came  through NSCI -  hired in such a way through services from NSCI that the ADE did not have to inform anyone how much they were paid.  We tried over and over to get figures on what they were paid and were given the run around.   Daggett usually received 8,000 to 10,000 a day for a seminar, his organization told me personally,  and he was paid 7,000 by one co-op in Arkansas for a one day seminar.  


             To be fair, I don't think Senator Bisbee knew what these experts believed or how bad the staff development is, but he was told and was sent material over and over , including the teacher survey.  He  should have listened.  Perhaps he did not want to hear because this would put him out of  favor with the powerful senators and the media. (He could listen better if  he would do e-mail.  He is one of a small minority of  legislators that doesn't use e-mail - to the frustration of  the  many teachers who wanted to contact him about staff development.) 


             This session the teachers weighed in so heavily on staff development  that finally even the Director of  the Department of Education admitted that he was hearing the same negative things about staff development that  the legislators were hearing.     In this last session, Bisbee admitted all he had heard about staff development was negative.  Since  he had received information  many times on it before from teachers and copies of  the teacher surveys  -  why did he sponsor a bill for 22 million more dollars annually  to be spent on it and to require a study to base teachers' pay raises on how well they implement the staff development? 


             Bisbee supported and worked with Senator Broadway on all the facilities bills which would have cost billions  if  other legislators had not stopped it.  The facilities bill took the last vestige of  control over the local schools.  The state now basically owns all the school facilities in the state and will make all major decisions on what the district does with its buildings.


            Bisbee was a staunch supporter of  massive consolidation.  Consolidation increases government control.   Rural conservative legislators  had several opportunities to get a bill out of  the Senate Education Committee if  Bisbee had only cast his vote in the right direction. One bill in particular by Senator Paul Miller was around for sometime before it was trashed.  Bisbee's vote in the Senate Education Committee  would have allowed it to go to the Senate floor where most people thought it would pass.  The media called Miller's bill the "slowdown" or soft  consolidation bill. " Bisbee called Miller's bill the 'anticonsolidation bill. It's protecting the status quo.  It puts a lot of stuff in law that protects schools.'  Particularly upsetting to Bisbee was a section in Miller's bill that allows districts to exist as long as they keep at least the state average on a standardized test."  Bisbee further said Miller's bill did not have enough accountability requirements [government accountability] in it.15  


            In 2005 Senator Bisbee even gutted a proposal  to pump an extra $4.7 million to isolated schools and caused the sponsor to withdraw it.16  The $4.7 million would help some of  these isolated districts keep their school open and prevent students from having to  ride the bus  3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours a day to another school.  Bisbee could sponsor an educational funding bill for 439 million,  supplement the State Department of  Education for $107 million, and add  $22 million annually  for more teacher staff development;  but he  could not allow $4.7 million to keep impoverished children, even pre-schoolers,  from long the bus a half day.  (Bisbee had been informed about the long bus rides.)


            Senator Bisbee did do an excellent job, a very superb job of opposing HB 1525 for scholarships and instate tuition for illegal aliens in the Senate Ed Committee and on the floor of  the Senate - except in the last vote on HB1525 17 on  the Senate Floor he didn't vote - I presume out of  courtesy to his Democratic friends. However, he balanced that noble  action by sponsoring a resolution SCR9  which included these false  whereases.  WHEREAS, immigrants can stabilize shrinking populations, facilitate economic growth, revitalize neighborhoods, replenish work forces, and increase property values; and WHEREAS, immigration can be the key to a state's, city's, or town's growth and prosperity.18  (Illegal immigrants cost each household in California over $1,100 per year just  for their  education, incarceration, and medical benefits.19  Nationally, 33% of  incarceration at the state, local, and federal prisons combined  are illegal aliens.)20


            The resolution Bisbee sponsored then encourages congress and the president to create an expedited naturalization process for undocumented minors and to exempt the minors from prosecution when the minors come forward for naturalization.  Evidently Bisbee, being from the Northwest, felt a little heat and removed his name as sponsor of the above resolution, and the Senate Education Committee sponsored it, exemplifying  once more just how much of an ally Bisbee is to  Senator Argue, Chair of  the Committee.


            Senator Bisbee's record is certainly not one that I would expect or want from a Republican. Bisbee speaks often of the need to hold schools, teachers, and administrators accountable.  We are proud of  the Republican senators and conservative Democrats  for holding Republican Senator Bisbee accountable by denying him the Senate pro tempore postition. 


Debbie Pelley & Iris Stevens




1. "Missed opportunity -  GOP abandons its own," ADE Editorial, Tuesday, May 31, 2005

2, (a)  "
Anatomy of Senate Factions by John Brummett,"  Tuesday, Mar 15, 2005 

(b)"Best and Worst of  the Legislators," by John Brummett Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005  


(c)"Bisbee Keeps Perspective," by  Steve Barnes The Morning News, April 16, 05 http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2005/04/19/columns/steve_barnes/27opsbarnes.prt

(d) "Bisbee Deserves Leadership Position by Brenda Blagg," Morning News  April 19


3. . ADG article by Blomeley, Jan 16, 2004


4. ADG article by Rowett Feb 6, 04. 


5.  ADG article by  Blomeley Jan 16, 04.) 


6.  See Act 98 at this link: ftp://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/acts/2003s2/public/Act98.pdf


7.  See Supt. Survey at http://www.wpaag.org/Superintendent%20Survey%20Results.htm  


8.  See Teachers Survey:   http://www.wpaag.org/TeacherSurveySummary.htm   


9.  “The Unfulfilled Promise of  Classroom Assessment,”  by Richard Stiggins, p. 10



10.  See Act 59 ( at this link:  ftp://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/acts/2003s2/public/Act59.pdf


11.  See Act 59 at this link:  ftp://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/acts/2003s2/public/Act59.pdf


12.  See Act 59 at this link:  ftp://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/acts/2003s2/public/Act59.pdf


13.  See Teacher Surveys:  http://www.wpaag.org/TeacherSurveySummary.htm    http://www.wpaag.org/Teacher%20Survey%20Results%202003.html


14.  For a long article on staff development and a summary of the experts brought to Arkansas to oversee it, see  http://www.wpaag.org/Stiggins%20-%20Staff%20Development%20-%20No%20Grades.htm or go to www.wpaag.org and from home page under new article access this article: "ADE Sabotages Legislative Efforts -ADE Doesn't Like Grades or Tests that Compare to Other States" For articles on Daggett and Reeves, see http://www.wpaag.org/character_education%20(2).htm


15.  ADG article by Blomeley April 10, 03.


16. Arkansas News Bureau article by David Robinson,  3-17-05.)


17.  Copy of  HB1525 ftp://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/bills/2005/public/HB1525.pdf


18.  Copy of  Bisbee Resolution SCR9 at this link -Bisbee was sponsor until it was amended. ftp://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/bills/2005/public/SCR9.pdf


19. Illegals Cost California over $1100 per yearper household:



20. Former Justice Department official Kris Kobach  transcript (see 2nd paragraph on this link:  http://www.billoreilly.com/show?action=viewTVShow&showID=257#1







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