Huckabee Wants Teacher Input from Milken Award Winners


·        Milken Awards Are Presented on the Basis of Innovation, Not On Test Scores or Academic Achievement

·        Teacher Performance Pay Will Be Based on Teacher Staff Development, Not On  Test Scores

·        Milken Awards Are Given to  Educators Who Incorporate Global UNNESCO Curriculum

·        Teachers Have Already Spoken Secretly Through Arkansas Surveys

·        Educational Reforms Will Bankrupt the State of Arkansas - citizens in Arkansas  pay a greater percent of their personal income in taxes than 42 other states. (See research below.)


Suddenly after several years into his educational reforms, Huckabee supposedly wants teachers’ input before he calls a special session.1 After announcing this only days ago, he has already finished his first meeting in secret with nine preselected award winning teachers. 2  Not ONLY did Huckabee restrict  input to just nine teachers out of  the entire state of Arkansas, but  he also laid out further restrictions; these teachers  must be teacher-of-the-year award winners or winners of the  Milken Award, meaning they have to be approved by the ADE. 3


 The Milken Foundation provides the money for the Milken awards, but the selection of the awards is made by the State Department of Education in each state. (Not many people are aware of that fact). 4 Evidently Huckbee confined his committee to teachers who will rubber stamp his and the ADE's  suggested reforms. (The Milken Educator Program Coordinator in Arkansas is Janinne Riggs, Assistant Director of  Professional Development 5.  


 In 1995 a $25,000 Milken  award was given to a principal of Ridgecrest High School in Paragould, Arkansas by then ADE Director Gene Wilhoit;  a blue ribbon panel appointed by the state department made the selection according to the newspaper. 6    This principal had  implemented so many innovative techniques encouraged by the Arkansas ADE that according to the local paper, “The high school’s standardized test scores have decreased since he became principal in 1990, becoming the lowest of  any school in the county.”   Tenth Grade Language Arts had dropped to 35%. 7       


These low scores  did not deter the ADE from bolstering their innovative programs  by presenting him with the $25,000 Milken award.  However, the paper  reported that the district  before the innovative changes  “had racked up the strongest scores on the exams given statewide to 4th, 7th,  and 10th  grades.” 8


The following year, in 1996,  one year after  receiving this Milken Award, this  principal and his superintendent left the school amid a great deal of controversy.   According to the paper, in 1997, board director "Dr. John Honeycutt noted that with the change in administration last year, the district has undergone a 'philosophical change of back to the basics.'" 9   


 There had been incredible excitement and a great many newspaper articles  in the Paragould area in 1993 when this school became one of the first  21 schools in the nation to become “Break the Mold” schools “ based upon a wide variety of criteria such as innovative programs already in place in the district,” the superintendent reported. 10 


 Many teachers warned that these programs would not work, but their counsel was ignored.  I was very familiar with this situation because parents had come to me for help in fighting this now discredited  Outcome Based Education (OBE)  program to which the principal publicly subscribed.  The local paper used the headline, "OBE draws praise form Shewmaker."   11  The name OBE  has been totally discredited because of its failure in so many places like Paragould, but the aspects of the program are still burgeoning in Arkansas and the nation.   They just keep changing the names so legislators and people don't recognize them.


The school had received so much attention that the superintendent of the school was privileged to travel to Washington to address the chief of staff for domestic policy under the Clinton administration.  This is the message the paper reported that the superintendent was going to tell them in Washington. “Schools can no longer wait until a child is five years old to begin the educational process.  The schools must be there for the EXPECTANT PARENTS to provide information and support, and must then provide a safe and healthy environment for the newborns and preschoolers to give all children an equal start in school.”  12


  The ADE considered these types of reforms worthy of a Milken Award, but the community had different ideas.  There were several volatile town meetings in their debate over these OBE  “innovative” ideas and low scores, and the superintendent and principal both left amid great controversy in 1996.  13


.  Huckabee just  announced that an innovative  teacher performance pay plan is an "absolute must." 14  Is anyone surprised that the Milken Foundation created a complementary initiative to the Milken Educator Awards known as Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) which is a performance-based compensation model (as well as some other surprising characteristics - see below - that citizens of  Arkansas should know.)  However, some will find it surprising that the primary achievement by which teachers will be compensated under teacher performance plan, according to Milken Foundation articles, is based on how well teachers  implement staff development and NOT  on student test scores. (Also see research and quotes on this below)  Staff development was the cornerstone of  OBE as well.  15


The teacher committee will allow Huckabee to claim, based on this input of  nine  Milken Award  teachers',  that the teachers in Arkansas support his teacher-performance pay  plan.  This is the way ADE has worked in Arkansas now for years – using hand-picked teachers for developing standards and pilot programs,  pretending they represent the teachers across the state. 


The Milken awards have also been given all over the nation to teachers and principals who incorporate another innovative program, the International Baccalaureate Program (also called IB, IBP, IBO and MYP - to be discussed later in this article)  into their curriculum, a program that the ADE just implemented just  this year, 2005.  That program is a UNNESCO  type of  Advanced Placement global curriculum created in Geneva, Switzerland.   16. 


I found that numerous Milken Award winners have been given awards for incorporating International Baccalaureate Program (IBP) into their curriculum, so many that I stopped counting.  For example, this description of Milken Award winner:  "Under Mr. Holguín's leadership, International Baccalaureate (IB) teaching methodologies have been incorporated into all classes, and new IB classes have been added. He has collaborated with the local middle school to develop an IB program for grades 6-10.   17


So what is IBP?   One critic describes the program this way:  "No longer are American children learning about the structure of a federal republic compared to a parliamentary democracy. No longer are children learning the difference between capitalism and socialism. No longer are children being taught why the United States became the most powerful economic engine the world has ever known.   Instead, they are being taught that with less than 5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. uses 25 percent of the world's resources and produces 25 percent of the world's pollution. They are being taught that the U.S. is the No. 1 terrorist nation. They are being taught that the rest of the world is mired in poverty because of the greedy capitalists in the United States."  18   This program will be discussed in more detail later in the article.


  In fact if you know the educational innovative jargon (which very few, even teachers, do), you could go through each Milken award winner in the state and the nation given on the Milken website and find just how many awards have been given to the teachers who jump on the ADE's bandwagon of innovative ideas.  19


It is also interesting to note that at  a  power-point presentation given to an Adequacy legislative committee in 2003 (also in booklet form)  this statement was made as part of their recommended plan:  "Gain control over the process of compensation, directing it towards the goals we have set for the process."  That seems to be exactly what Huckabee has set out to do with his plan to implement "state salary schedules for superintendents and coaches and a state-run payroll system for local schools.".  20    I am sure these Milken Award teachers will back Huckabee's plan.  See this link, p. 10  of   a  106 page power-point presentation designed for Arkansas by Adequacy experts,  Picus and Odden  21  (If this link doesn't work see endnotes for another way of accessing it.) And on what does the Milken Foundation base its Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) performance pay plan?  Not on test scores but professional development.  Following are their own words:   "We have learned that for a performance pay plan to succeed, certain conditions must exist: All teachers must understand both the standards by which they are being judged as well as the scoring rubrics used to measure those standards; every teacher must be evaluated multiple times by trained and certified evaluators (both master teachers and the principal); and most importantly, high-quality, ongoing professional development opportunities must be made available so that teachers are prepared to meet these rigorous professional standards.  22    


So what is the relationship between the IB Program, the Milken Awards,  the Milken Foundation teacher performance compensation model, and Governor Huckabee? And how does it affect education in Arkansas?  Governor Huckabee needs all the help he can get to sell the teacher performance pay to the public and to businesses.  He is using  Milken Award teachers or their prototypes to help him promote his programs.   However, after the public accepts the idea of performance pay for teachers, they are going to find that the greater proportion of  funds for  performance pay will be given NOT on the basis of test scores and achievements but  will be given instead based on how well the teachers incorporate the staff development  designed by the ADE.   (Keep in mind that staff development is basically brainwashing the teachers to accept the ADE's innovative ideas that have failed over and over.)  .


            In  The Arkansas  Joint Committee on Educational Adequacy adopted on August 19, 2003,  the Adequacy recommended a   type of merit pay for teachers called Differentiated Compensation for Teachers at a cost of  $283 million. ($277 million would give teachers a 15% raise according to Picus and Odden Adequacy power-points presentation, p. 8  and that  would go to teachers instead of to  experts and bureaucracy.) They also adopted recommendations for expanded staff development at a cost of $44 million ($100 per student). These recommendations would have to be voted on by entire legislature to become law.  These recommendations  have not become law YET 23 


   This is evidently what Huckabee is trying to get passed now.  They did add $22 million to staff development. They always implement these innovations by phases.   The adequacy experts, Odden and Picus  that recommended the $283 million plan,   have contracted again with the state of Arkansas for a $450,000 study.  Their power-point presentation (106 pages that was also presented in booklet form to legislators)  that was given to the committee in 2003  can be found at this link which will verify the information below. 24



            Instead of salary increases based on experience as in the past, increases will be based on performance.  But what kind of  performance? The plan outlines  levels of advancement which include Entry Level, Emerging Career, Career Level and Master Level and Arkansas Fellow Level.  Here is the catch, quoted from their own material at this link:  \.  25


“Salary advances are based on acquiring, using, and demonstrating knowledge and skills that increase instructional effectiveness leading to improved student learning”

 ( p. 17)     The context makes it clear that these skills are to be  learned in staff development.  26


Skill levels are much bigger than annual steps within levels (9.5% versus 2.0%.  9.5% increments associated with skill levels create a strong incentive for teachers to develop and use those skills that we  know lead to improved student performance.  P. 77  27


 “A teacher can ‘fast track’ by completing skill levels and by passing pay steps…Fast tracking creates a strong incentive for teachers to acquire and use the skills. P. 78.   (If this was test score performance, a teacher couldn't fast track through it.   There are several other quotes that emphasize advancement will be tied to skills and to staff development.) 28


            The Adequacy recommendation said, "The full development of a school based performance award program (SBPA) is beyond the scope of this study and would require an additional effort." P. 89  (I presume that recommendation beyond their scope in 2003 will be undertaken with the  $450,000 Arkansas has contracted with them this year after the court intervened again. 29


            And just what type of training or staff development will the teachers be receiving.  Since Milken awards teachers have piloted the International Baccalaureate Program (IB or IBP) and other innovative programs, we can make the presumption that is not the academic skills that legislators and the public think it will include.


United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provided the funding to create the IB  program. (IB also known as IB,  IBP MYP, ISM  - MYP is middles school program)  30


In one of its first efforts in 1949, the UNESCO textbook, titled "Toward World Understanding," used to teach teachers what to teach, said: "As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can produce only rather precarious results. As we have pointed out, it is frequently the family that infects the child with extreme nationalism."   31

              In the 1960s, Dr. Robert Muller, U.N. deputy secretary-general, prepared a "World Core Curriculum." Its first goal: "Assisting the child in becoming an integrated individual who can deal with personal experience while seeing himself as a part of 'the greater whole.' In other words, promote growth of the group idea, so that group good, group understanding, group interrelations and group goodwill replace all limited, self-centered objectives, leading to group consciousness."    Every totalitarian government has also promoted these "Ideals."  32


Jeanne Geiger, an outspoken critic of the program in Reston, Va., wrote to a local newspaper: "Administrators do not tell you that the current IB program for ages 3 through grade 12 promotes socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism and moral relativism, while attempting to undermine Christian religious values and national sovereignty."  33  


In addition to all the above concerns, PABBIS receives a greatly disproportionate number of complaints about books from parents of children in the IB program. Some parents have not entered or have withdrawn from the IB program just to avoid running the gauntlet of controversial IB program books that use extremely vulgar sexual themes. 34


 The IBO is now providing the curriculum for 33,000 teachers in nearly 1,500 schools around the world, 55 of which are middle schools in the Washington D.C. area.  The International Baccalaureate Program is being implemented in Arkansas at this time by the ADE.  It is mentioned at least 12  times in the ADE's  "Rules and Regulations Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Diploma Incentive Program,"  based on a law passed during the 2005 session, SB1054 sponsored by Senator Salmon and now Act 2152.  Link to Rules and Regs.  35   Not one legislator voted against the bill.  It was slipped through as a type of advanced placement program that would require the students to study harder.


If Governor Huckabee really wanted input from teachers, there are legitimate ways of doing that without meeting in secret with teachers.  Each school district has a personnel policy committee required by law and elected by the teachers.  In Missouri they used these personnel policy committees for feedback on educational reforms.  Huckabee could do the same if he really wanted teacher input. 


 Governor Huckabee could also do a scientific survey of Arkansas teachers and get legitimate input that is believable by the public.    See below for many concerns teachers have expressed in surveys already done in Arkansas.  These surveys were presented to the State Board of Education in 2003.  There was not one comment or question on the survey from the board members at the meeting or afterwards  – only icy silence and an immediate adjournment.


Teacher responses and superintendent responses on similar surveys were almost identical in many aspects. Eighty percent  of   all the 20 questions and 90% of the numerous comments by teachers on the survey  were answered with a negative view toward educational reforms.  Link to surveys   36


Here are a few of the findings in the Arkansas teacher surveys: 



If the teacher committee is about improving scores and education, then why weren't  the only two teachers who received the United States Department of Education award this year in 2004 for the greatest success in improving test scores  not included in the group of  9 teachers? 38. One teacher (in this case 2 because of special circumstances) from each state was chosen for this award, and a representative from the U.S. Department of Education in Washington came to Jonesboro and presented the award.  Yet neither of these teachers was included on the Governor's "secret"  committee of  nine teachers. 


 There is a good reason for this. One of those teachers, Iris Stevens, presented testimony to the joint education committee a few years ago about her concerns with the educational reforms.  And  she  gives no credit to the ADE's innovative programs for the improved scores. She, like many teachers in Arkansas, would be willing to speak openly; but the Governor doesn't want to hear from real teachers, just hand picked ones who agree with him. 


I hope Arkansans will keep in mind this question.  Is it really worth bankrupting the state of Arkansas to implement innovative ideas that have failed in the past and  in all probability will fail in the future?  Arkansas ranks 49th in median income.   Arkansans already pay a higher proportion of their income in  taxes than 42 other states in the nation (ranks eighth from the top).  Arkansas actually  ranks number ONE in the nation in the  amount of  state and local sales taxes allowed. At least one entity in Arkansas  is paying that  highest rate in the nation, 11.5%. 39  (2004 State Tax Revenue comparison and  Comparison of State and Local Retail  Sales Taxes, July 2004 compiled by Washington Department of Revenue.)


Even the experts selling these innovative ideas, including Arkansas  Picus and Odden adequacy experts , speak in terms of IF these reforms work.  In their final report in which  they give a cost price of 283 million for the KSBP program, the reports says "If  KSBP (Knowledge Skills Based Pay) works, we can document"  such and such successes.  40


 A detailed study was just released from the University of Arkansas indicating that Arkansas students score slightly above the national average on standardized tests. 41  On the national NAEP test,  numerous state scores clump together in a very small range because of the Bell curve factor.  To raise scores  significantly will be so costly that it will bankrupt the state, and  our children will need to move to other states for economic advantages.  


Debbie Pelley, Retired Teacher





1." Special-session ifs grow" by Seth Blomeley, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 31, 05.

2. "Huckabee meets with nine teachers, Arkansas News Bureau by Rob Moritz, January 11, 06

3. ." Special-session ifs grow" by Seth Blomeley, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 31, 05.

4.  Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards, Criteria for Selection, 1st paragraph

5. Milken Foundation National Educator Awards, Arkansas, since 1991

6.  Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, John Shewmaker, 1995

7. "Shewmaker will leave Ridgecrest at end of school year." Northeast Arkansas  Tribune, Feb 20, 1996

8. " County schools do well on tests" by Kenneth Salzmann Daily Press, Feburary 1996.

9. " Paragould still seeks improved scores on tests" by Stan Gray, Jonesboro Sun, Dec. 16, 1997

10.  "Ridgecrest has a unique status" by Stan Gray, Jonesboro Sun April 12, 1993 and Supporters cross fingers while education officials ponder school decision, Northeast Arkansas Tribune, March 19, 1993

11.  "OBE draws praise from Shewmaker" by Ellen D. Hosafros, Northeast Arkansas Tribune, May 25, 1995 

12. "White House mission slated" by Stan Gray, Jonesboro Sun August 1, 1995

13.  "Shewmaker will leave Ridgecrest at end of school year" by Christian S. Holland, Northeast Arkansas Tribune, February 10, 1996 and Vent to leave  school district by Chrisians S. Holland, Northeast Arkansas Tribune, May 21, 1996.

14 " Huckabee:  Merit pay for teachers is essential" by Seth Blomely, Arkansas Democrat Gazette,  January 11, 06

15.  The Four Elements of TAP

16. U. N. influence in U.S. schools by Henry Lamb, Posted January 24, 04

17. 1999 Honorees, Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award winners for 1999,  Laurence Holguin, principal San Jose High academy, San Jose, California  Other links of Milken Award Winners and IB: Thurman, 51, figured it could be any number of teachers at the state's only high school with the rigorous Geneva, Switzerland-based International Baccalaureate program.;;


18.  U. N. influence in U.S. schools by Henry Lamb, Posted January 24, 04

19.  Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards, Participating States  National winners – arrow down to the state on the menu. – list of Arkansas winners

20.  "Governor, head of school group meet on policy" by Seth Blomeley , Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Jan 5, 06.

21.  106 page power-point presentation designed for Arkansas by Adequacy experts  Picus and Odden  - Arkansas Joint Committee on Educational  Adequacy Final Report  August 29, 03  Knowledge and Skills Based Pay  Adequacy Presentation on Teacher Compensation in 2003  If this report won't come up in the pdf form,  try this one which is html.  go to Google and type in "KSBP and New Salary Schedule Benefits"  and choose the html version

22.  The Milken Family Foundation Responds

23.  See number 21 above and See number 20 above, p. 8, and "Panel Offers Plan for Adequate Education by David Robinson, Aug 20, 2003, Arkansas News Bureau" for the $283 million cost of the KSBP plan.

24.  Ibid.

25.  Ibid.

26.  Ibid.

27.  Ibid.

28.  Ibid.

29.  Ibid.

30. U. N. influence in U.S. schools by Henry Lamb, Posted January 24, 04

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid.

34. Ed Watch   International Baccalaureate Alert,  PABBIS  Press Release

35.  Arkansas Dept of Education Rules for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Diploma Incentive Program

36  Teacher Survey Summary;;

37.  Ibid.

38. USDOE Improve Student Performance American Stars of Teaching Teachers, Iris Stevens:

39.  2004 State Tax Revenue comparison and  Comparison of State and Local Retail  Sales Taxes, July 2004 compiled by Washington Department of Revenue.;

40. Also see # 23 above> KSBP and the New Salary Schedule Benefits Adequacy Presentation on Teacher Compensation in 2003  p. 81

41. School Performance Index in Arkansas by Department of Education Reform University of Arkansas, January 2006, Executive summary and links to rest of study.


Debbie Pelley, Retired Teacher

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