The Spectacle Blog

A Quality Arkansas Education

By on 1.8.08 | 9:29AM

At Inside Higher Ed, Andy Guess takes a peak at Mike Huckabee and his love for the college days:

His rise, some political analysts have observed, mirrors in more ways than one the trajectory of another "education governor" from Hope, Ark., who was catapaulted to the presidency: Bill Clinton.
How?
  • "...Under the governor, the Academic Challenge Scholarship - the target of criticism during the campaign because of the lack of an immigration test - expanded from 2,500 students in 1997 to 5,700 in 2000 thanks mostly to a concerted awareness campaign."
  • "...Eighty-eight percent of students from the state who scored 32 or above on the ACT attended Arkansas colleges in 2002, compared with 38 percent five years earlier. Huckabee added some $15 million of funding to cover that expansion as well as the Academic Challenge Scholarships."
  • "...Even when it wasn't possible, Huckabee sought [higher education funding] increases in his yearly budgets. In his last years in office, he sought funding increases of $54 million for fiscal year 2006 and $49 million for fiscal year 2007."
Isn't that fantastic? It's just peachy that Huck was such a fan of higher ed! Frugality be damned, especially considering that there was a "...court mandate that left Huckabee's administration searching for ways to funnel more money into public primary and secondary schools."

In other words, rather than spend what revenues were available on improving secondary schools, the Man From Hope, The Sequel just raised taxes. And rather than support vouchers as a way to ameliorate the problem, he just shoveled more money into a failing system. No wonder the NEA is so smitten.

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