Develop both sides of students' brains: music AND math
[We must] prepare our children and grandchildren for the work world of the 21st century. That's why, as governor, I emphasized fundamentals, and set up back-to-basics programs in math and reading that improved test scores dramatically.
That's why, as
governor, I insisted that all students have art and music education to develop both sides of their brains so that they wouldn't just learn by rote but would become creative problem solvers.
That's why I believe in reducing the high school dropout rate,
now at 30% and approaching 50% for minority students, by eliminating the main cause for dropping out--boredom--and allowing students to pursue their passions and future career interests through personalized learning.
Each student, working with his parents, teachers, and community, will develop a plan that allows him to take responsibility for his learning.
Given the Internet, a student is no longer bound by the walls of a classroom--the world is his classroom.
Increased school taxes, by court order, and schools improved
Q: What about Mitt Romneyís claims on your tax policies?
A: He made claims about tax increases for education. But he failed to mention that they were [to comply with a court order], to improve education for the children of the state.
Q: Even if it
means raising taxes?
A: Now, when we raised taxes, it was to meet an educational demand--our schools were deemed by the courts to be unconstitutional. In Arkansas, weíve been down the road of a governor defying the courts and saying, ďIím not going
to follow the court order.ď Didnít turn out real well. I wasnít going to be the second Arkansas governor to do that. In fact, Iím proud of the fact that we raised teacher pay, proud of the fact that, in every year we tested kids, we saw vast improvements
in their test scores, things got better, not worse. Education is a key for every child. And I want to make sure that if weíre going to spend more money--and the court said we have to--then letís make sure we spend it wisely.
Theyíre in a 19th-century education system in a 21st-century world. If we really are serious, then we build a curriculum around their interests rather than just push them into something they donít care. Iím a passionate, ardent supporter of having music
& art in every school for every student at every grade level because itís not frivolous. If we donít develop the right side of the brain with the same level of attention as we do the left, the logical side, we end up with an unbalanced, bored student.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate
Dec 12, 2007
Focus on whatís good for students, not good for school
Q: How do you explain the decline of support to Republicans by Hispanics?
A: I think Hispanics want the same thing everybody wants. They want jobs. They want education. They want to know that theyíre going to be able to live with freedom.
As we look at issues like education weíll understand that while the dropout rate from high school is 30% among all populations, itís 50% among Hispanics.
Weíve got to change that by creating personalized education that focuses on perpetuating whatís good for students, not just making whatís good for the school
. Thereís also issues and disparities between diabetes and other issues of health. So I think, if our policies reflect lifting people up, weíll get the vote.
Weapons of Mass Instruction: more science AND more arts
Q: One out of three Hispanic students donít finish high school. What would you do to stop dropouts?
A: An education is empowerment. The lack of it leads us to incredible, just all kinds of obstacles in our path. And we always talk about we need more
math and science. But one of the reasons we have kids failing is not because theyíre dumb, itís theyíre bored. Theyíre bored with a curriculum that doesnít touch them. We have schools that are about perpetuating the schools, not helping the students.
I propose launching Weapons of Mass Instruction, making sure that we are launching not only the math and science, but music and art programs that touch the right side of the brain,
and not only educate the left side of the studentís brain. Because without a creative economy and a creative student, you have a bored student, and thatís one of the reasons we see so many of them dropping out.
Impeach judges for barring legislature prayers to Jesus
Q: Recently, a federal judge ordered the Indiana legislature to censor their prayers. Specifically, the federal judge ordered the Indiana legislature to never allow anyone to offer an invocation prayer in Jesusí name.
Will you as president consider impeachment a possible remedy for this judicial activism?
Equal funds for abstinence as contraceptive-based education
Q: Iím 18. One in four sexually-active teens has a sexually-transmitted disease. Meanwhile, 2.5 million American teens like me have taken public abstinence pledges, to save sex until marriage--the only 100%-proven effective solution and prevention for
STDs. Would you bring abstinence-education funding onto equal ground with contraceptive-based education?
Q: Iím 17, and Iím the product of school choice. In the public schools I repeated the 7th grade three times, because of my deficiency in math & English. My mother then sent me to New Generation, a Christian school. After one year, my math improved 5
grade levels, and my English improved 3. Will you support school choice for other students like me with similar tax-credit programs?
Iím running for president, not writing science curriculum
Q: At a previous debate, you indicated that you do not believe in evolution. What do you believe? Is it the story of creation as it is described in the Bible?
A: Itís interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president.
Iím not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. Iím asking for the opportunity to be president. But youíve raised the question, so let me answer it. ďIn the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.Ē
To me itís pretty simple, a person either believes that God created this process or believes that it was an accident and that it just happened all on its own.
Q: Do you believe literally it was done in six days and it occurred 6,000 years ago?
A: I believe there is a God who was active in the creation process. Now, how did he do it, and when did he do it, and how long did he take? I donít honestly know, and I donít think knowing that would make me a better or a worse president.
Ending school prayer was one step in societyís moral decay
How did we move in one generation from a society with a shared, confident sense of right to a society of relativism and moral decay? The first step to answering that question is to admit there isnít just one answer.
Iíve heard that it all started when we took prayer out of schools. Thatís a simplistic answer. It wasnít just prayer in schools; it wasnít just TV; it wasnít just Watergate; it wasnít just welfare.
If any force is going to overcome a free, prosperous country like America, it wonít happen all at once. Amreica has a solid foundation of liberty, personal dignity, and opportunity.
The only way to destroy something with that kind of foundation is
to chip away at it, one value at a time. Take away its heart and essence. Bring doubt to what used to be confidence, denial to what used to be faith, death to what was life. I think that is what has happened.
Q: Iím curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree, believe in evolution?
[TANCREDO, HUCKABEE, and
BROWNBACK raise their hands, indicating that they do not believe in evolution].
McCAIN: I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC
May 3, 2007
Incorporate character education into school curriculum
In my first few years in office we laid the foundation for many reforms related to genuine standards,
including incorporating character education into the school curriculum to teach good manners and basic elements of personal character and honor.
Source: From Hope to Higher Ground, by Mike Huckabee, p. 44-45
Jan 4, 2007
Authorize & advance more charter schools
[As governor, we laid the foundation for] the authorization and advancement of charter schools. I have long advocated that charter schools are wonderful laboratories for educational reform.
Critics often complain that many charter schools fail, but that is precisely the point of a charter school and its difference from a traditional one. In a charter school, if it doesnít succeed in meeting its agreed-upon goals, we simply close it.
Traditional public schools have failed for generations to adequately educate students, but they keep getting funded year after year.
Charter schools can bring innovative ideas to the marketplace with little long-term financial risk.
One of the most important pieces of legislation passed in Arkansas to achieve educational reform was the Omnibus Education Act of 2003. This bill empowered the state board of education to do more than issue warnings to under-performing schools; it gave
them the authority to step in and two consecutive years of fiscal or academic distress and, when appropriate, terminate the superintendent, fire and replace the entire school board, and assume all operations of the failing school.
While a drastic measure, it is inexcusable that schools which fail to efficiently, properly, or adequately spend taxpayer money continue to exist year after year. Those responsible for such mismanagement should be held accountable.
Only in public education have we typically allowed total failure to result in continued employment and automatic annual pay raises.
Support displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools
Indicate which principles you support regarding education.
Support displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools.
Support abstinence-only sexual education programs.
Source: 2002 AR Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test
Nov 1, 2002
SmartStart focuses on high standards and accountability
Arkansasí Smart Start program puts a major emphasis on high standards and accountability while focusing on reading, math, and character-based education in the early grades. The real value of Smart Start will not be evident by the next election.
It will take more than a year or two to see what happens when children grow up in a public education system where there are no excuses for failure, where standards are raised instead of lowered, where individual students & schools are held accountable.
Source: Living Beyond Your Lifetime, by Mike Huckabee, p. 99-100
Oct 1, 2000
Mike Huckabee on Arkansas Ed Reform
FactCheck: AR improved test scores, but still below-average
Governors Huckabee & Romney both claimed to have the most impressive record on education. Romney claimed, ďThe kids in our state scored number one in all four measures on the national exams, and they did that because of Republican principles.Ē
that Massachusetts school children scored first in the nation in the most recent NAEP tests, scoring a clean sweep among both 4th-graders and 8th-graders in math & reading. But MA also had ranked at or near the top before Romney took office, so heís
straining the facts to attribute the success entirely to ďRepublican principlesĒ and his leadership.
Arkansas consistently scored below the national average before Huckabee came along, and on most tests it still does. But on all four NAEP tests,
ARís scores moved closer to the average during Huckabeeís time in office. Coming from below average to not-so-much-below average is significant. Whether that constitutes the ďmost impressiveĒ record among GOP candidates, weíll leave others to judge.
Another initiative we promoted in Arkansas was the Smart Start program, which puts a major emphasis on high standards and accountability while focusing on reading, math, and character-based education in the early grades.
With Arkansas ranked near the bottom in educational achievement, creating and implementing a statewide initiative that refocuses public education is an important task.
The real value of Smart Start will not be most evident in the short-term.
It will take more than a single school year to see what happens when children grow up in a public education system where there are no excuses for failure,
where the standards are raised instead of lowered, and where individual students and schools are held accountable.
Sends his kids to public school; says other officials should
While many elected officials pontificate proudly about their deep interest in and commitment to public education, so many put their own children in private schools. If the public schools are so deserving of their (and our) support, why arenít they
deserving of the ultimate support--having confidence enough in them for their own children to be educated there?
My three children were the first children of any Arkansas governor in at least 50 years who spent their first through senior high
education entirely in the public schools of Arkansas. My wife and I are ourselves products of public schools. For us, there was no option as we grew up in families that could not have afforded a private school had one even existed in our hometown.
As governor, although the teachersí union in Arkansas never supported me (mainly because they have so long been controlled by the machinery of the Democratic Party), improving education in the public schools has understandably been a priority for me.
Reformed AR education with Smart Start & Next Step
In 1998 I announced an initiative we called Smart Start, the first of several major reform efforts in Arkansas that were to focus on not only increasing funding but, more important, improved results. Later the K-4 Smart Start Initiative would be joined b
Smart Step for grades 5-8. Ultimately we launched Next Step, which was the full implementation of a reform strategy that included grades 9-12.
It was a priority for me to develop more accessible and effective preschool programs and to make dramatic
changes in both access and affordability in higher education. We developed a seamless curriculum from pre-K through college so that there was coordination and continuity throughout the educational process. There are at least 5 elements essential to
Mark the standards--with challenging goals
Measure the progress--like with No Child Left Behind
Meet the expectations--there must be accountability
Protected the right of parents to home school their children
Initiated SmartStart, SmartStep, and Next Step education programs.
Passed legislation to increase education assessment and school
Signed into law legislation vastly improving an existing charter school law, resulting in the creation of Arkansasí first ever charter schools
Worked to grant school administrators more flexibility in firing bad teachers
Source: PAC website, HopeForAmericaPac.org, ďAboutĒ
Dec 1, 2006
Raise teacher salaries; hire more teachers
Indicate your principles regarding education.
Increase state funds for hiring additional teachers & increasing teacher salaries.
Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
Huckabee adds, ďOur NEXT STEP education program
will be a natural continuation of our SMART START and SMART STEP programs that have put an emphasize on reading and math. Nothing we can do is as important as continuing the effort to see that all children have equal access to quality education. Ē
Source: 2002 AR Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test
Nov 1, 2002
First priority: Raise teacher salaries
Our basic constitutional responsibility is to provide for free, equitable and adequate public education for students through the 12th grade. I would recommend that we set for ourselves the task of raising teacher salaries in this state by $3,000,
recognizing thatís not enough and itís not the finish line but itís a good starting point. If we donít raise those salaries at least by that kind of money, we are going to be further and further behind.
Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Arkansas legislature
Jan 9, 2001