Governor Huckabee's Quotes on Education -Then and Now
Governor Huckabee has not always celebrated the idea of massive school consolidation, higher taxes, and centralized control of schools. Contrast the following quotes from previous years by Governor Huckabee with his current educational philosophy. (Bold Print Emphasis is Added) (See end of article as well as throughout the document for sources of quotes.)
Quotes From Past Years
“Please know that I agree with you on getting Arkansas out of some of the restrictive mandates of Goals 200 and OBE ….Before you engage in any efforts to defeat Amendment1, I hope you will realize and carefully study the frightening consequences should the courts take over all 311 districts, force tax increases and force smaller rural districts to consolidate against their will” (Letter to a constituent, Sept 30, 1996)
“Huckabee also met with several school board members and administrators from Greene County’s four public school districts Wednesday morning to discuss a variety of education-related issues. He also met with Bill Fisher, who will soon be chairman of the state Board of Education…Huckabee said he wants to move away from state control by the Department of Education toward more local control of school districts. ‘Boards at the local level are going to act in the best interest of the kids in their community,’ said Huckabee.” (Jonesboro Sun June 19, 1997
“SB 57 was intended to repeal Goals 20 mandates for performance-based learner outcomes [The benchmark tests on which Huckabee has based his entire accountability system is performance-based outcomes]…In the months to come, I will continue to work for more local control of our schools and freedom from intrusive national mandates and regulations.”
I have been governor for one years. The amount of progress we have made in this short time has been significant. I fully intend to expand on this record of progress until parents, not the government, have as much control and authority over the education of their children as possible. I hope you will partner with me in this effort.
I want to make it clear, under this administration, Arkansas does not require vocational/workforce education; Arkansas does not require career tracking; and there is no prescribed curriculum at the state level. (Letter to several different constituents August 12, 1997)
“Dear friends, with the legislative session quickly approaching, I’d like to take this time to share with you six goals I would like to accomplish. My first goal is to reform our education system…I also will recommend returning more autonomy to local school districts as well as freeing parents who home-school their children from cumbersome regulations…
My second goal is to enact tax reform and provide some long-overdue relief to taxpayers.” (Letter to Supporters December 23, 1996)
“I want you to keep me informed on what is happening in your area because I think that it is quite important that parents at the local level challenge proposals to experiment with our children in unproven methods of so-called reforms.” (Letter to constituent May 19, 1995)
“Huckabee and Wilhoit also spoke of providing local boards with greater control over the schools.” (Jonesboro Sun newspaper article)
"On Nov. 21, 2002, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued its opinion in the long-debated Lake View school funding case"
"In essence, local control of public schools was eliminated when the Supreme Court issued its ruling in November."
" For the first time, the state rather than local school districts is being held directly responsible for all aspects of our children's education."
"Powers that traditionally were given to local superintendents will now be handled at the regional and state levels." (Huckabee alleges in his written plan Exact Quotes):
Then Huckabee makes a most astounding statement “We must make them [changes which includes consolidation not only because it’s the thing we’re required to do but also because it’s the right thing to do.” He further says, “ I’ll admit there are things here that we probably wouldn’t have had either the political courage or the political capital to address absent the Supreme Court ruling.”
We offer a plan today that changes the educational delivery system so we can meet the Supreme Court's mandate. The plan transforms a system of 310 school districts -- which have unaffordable and duplicated instructional, policy, administrative and support services costs -- into a system of 107-116 districts with those same services efficiently and effectively delivered. The result will be a more centralized administrative and governance network.
Prior to the implementation of the school reorganization plan, the state Department of Education will itself reorganize. It must maximize its role as an active senior partner with the schools rather than as an intruder or spectator.
“Changes in the larger society have driven a change in the very mission of public education. It has changed from compulsory attendance with optional learning to that of compulsory learning for all...Whenever the function of a system is changed, you must change the form to meet the new function.”
We’ll offer a plan that will change the form of the educational delivery system and meet the Arkansas Supreme Court’s mandates. We’ll also offer a plan that morphs the current system of school districts into a system in which instructional, policy, administrative and support services are efficiently and effectively delivered within a centralized network… This new structure, while initially preserving every existing elementary school, will require the closure of many secondary schools, primarily those serving students in grades 9-12 where the state finds the most operational and academic inefficiencies
Quotes Taken from Huckabee Written Educational Plan in booklet entitled “Governor Mike Huckabee’s Legislative Agenda” January 14, 2003
"It may take what appears on the surface to be a greater inequity to bring true equity," he said. "That's going to be one of the surprising conclusions as we implement the Lake View [Supreme Court] decision." (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Friday, December 13, 2002
Governor Huckabee's Recent Quotes above were taken from "Governor Mike Huckabee's Legislative Agenda, 84th General Assembly", Janaury 14, 2003 (given to legislators at opening of 2003 Legislative Session). There were four pages in the booklet and a six-page insert outlining Governor Huckabee's Plan..
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