Monday, February 25, 2008

Mike Huckabee

Where o' where is Mike Huckabee? He might have a better future as a comedian, given his performance on "Saturday Night Live," than as Secretary of Education. He has said numerous times since Super Tuesday that he is in the race until "someone" gets to the magic number of delegates needed for the Republican nomination. John McCain is only about 250 delegates short of that count. So, looking ahead, Michael J. Petrilli, writing for National Review, suggests The Huck might be a good choice for Secretary of Education, in the same vein that William Bennett serve President Reagan. Petrilli writes that Bennett had no aspirations to be an education president, in fact ... "education was barely on his to do list.

Same case might be made for Mike Huckabee ... engaging, personable, nearly charismatic but education doesn't rank among the Top 10 campaign issues on his Web site. Arkansas made huge gains in education reform under his gubernatorial watch but most Arkansans would agree that gains made to improve education were more a result of the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling requiring equitable and adequate funding for all as the driving force rather than Huckabee's leadership in education. It's amazing how quickly the executive and legislative branches responded when the state's highest court ruled the education system unconstitutional and threatened (albeit veiled) to use its power to allocate as much revenue as necessary to education at the expense of all other state functions.

By way of introduction ... My name is Rose Ann Pearce and I am the K-12 education reporter for The Morning News, Springdale, AR. My beat consists of the Springdale (the state's third largest school district), Fayetteville and six rural districts in Washington County, AR, as well as regional issues. (The Morning News has a 40K circulation, is owned by Stephens Media, and is in a head-to-head competition with the Northwest edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.) When Richard Whitmire asked me to take over monitoring Huckabee for this blog, I expected The Huck to talk more about education than he has. If you're waiting for pearls of education wisdom in his speeches and campaign appearances ... don't hold your breath.

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