The Issue of Education
To Mike Huckabee, education is a function and responsibility of state government, not the federal government. Recognizing the Department of Education has a role in providing states with tools to enhance educational opportunities for all students, Mike maintains there must be a clear distinction between the federal role of assisting and empowering states and in usurping the right of states to carry out the education programs for its students.
Mike Huckabee believes the federal No Child Left Behind Act is often misunderstood and unfairly maligned as a total federal intrusion. Mike has often said "so long as the states are allowed to develop their own benchmark exams, to determine the manner in which they create standards, and are aware of the consequences of failure to adhere to them, there is a value in having a national effort to improve education."
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee has a proven and consistent track record as ardent advocate of the right for home school options. He led efforts in Arkansas resulting in enactment of some of the most friendly home school laws in the nation and appointed the first ever home schooling parent to a position on the State Board of Education. Mike's comments regarding education policy, and his actions, are clear. According to Mike Huckabee, "I believe the most effective way to improve education is through creating competition within the system and then providing parents the right to choose the educational format they feel best suited to their own thoughts for their children. I believe this is a choice ultimately best left to parents and not to government."
Under Mike's leadership, Arkansans saw an expansion of charter schools and and watched as he pushed for and achieved tough education standards through measuring performance and significant accountability. He fought for and eventually signed into law language providing the state with authority to close completely failing public schools, a measure now implemented on several occasions. In those instances, this drastic step was undertaken in order to ensure students are not wasting their time and taxpayers are not wasting their money.
One big issue facing parents across our nation today is the subject of federally-funded sex education programs. Again, Mike is unambiguous in his core principles on this issue. He believes sex education programs should return to being the domain of the states and not the federal government. Even if the federal government chooses to assist in funding, the manner of curriculum must be left to the states. Under his decade of leadership as governor, Arkansas focused on abstinence-based education. As a direct result, teen pregnancy rates in Arkansas are down significantly from levels found during the Bill Clinton/Jocelyn Elders years when a “safe sex” approach was utilized.