Mike Huckabee was recently photographed and video taped playing with Def Leppard's Phil Collen. While the emphasis from reporters was on the fun Huckabee was having, Huckabee's message was on Arts in Education. Mike Huckabee has spent well over a decade working to improve education in the public school system. When he spoke to reporters at the NAMM event, Huckabee said that he has
"a passionate commitment that I have to see that we would put musical instruments into the hands of every kid in America. I have partnered with the NAMM Foundation and the Wanna Play Fund to try and raise money (privately) so that we can see that kids who wanted to play music would be able to have access to an instrument.
But I also recognize that there is a direct correlation to music and academic success and achievement. And a lot of school districts across America are doing the dumbest thing they could possibly do, that is they are cutting music and arts programs out of their budgets.Well that is foolish. We have 1 out of 3 kids drop out of school today in America. And they are not dropping out because they are dumb, they are dropping out because they are bored. A lot of these are the right brained dominant kids, the kids who are creative by the way they have been hard wired. Those are the ones where music and art are the very vehicles by which they are going to learn. The fact is that every student, even the ones who are right brained dominant, we know that if they are introduced to music at a young age, they are going to do better in math, better in language, their cognitive reasoning is going to be better. So there is an academic correlation, and that is reason enough. But I would also argue , that even if there was not an academic correlation, the value of music is intrinsic to the very soul of a country and a culture, from one generation to the next, from one person to the next. And perhaps now more than ever, we need the symbolizing influence of music. Music is very important to who we are as a civilization. I hope and pray, that every kid in America who wants to play a musical instrument will have access to one. That no one would somehow be deprived of participating in music because of the lack of resources to an instrument. That is why I have been working with the Wanna Play Fund and will continue to do so."
Mike Huckabee didn't just talk the talk when it came to education in the state of Arkansas. Shortly after being sworn in as governor in 1996, he took action by implementing reforms which in turned produced results and success for students in K-12. "We have made progress in improving education with programs like Smart Start, which places a heavy emphasis on reading and mathematics for students from kindergarten through the fourth grade, Smart Step, which has similar emphasis for students from the fifth through the eighth grades, and Next Step which does the same for grades nine through 12."
Improving education for children in the United States is important in order to compete in the global economy. The United States cannot be successful if their students are failing. Mike Huckabee lead his state in reforms and saw results as a governor:
* Twenty-three percent, or almost one in four, Algebra I test takers and 17 percent of geometry test-takers scored at the advanced level on the tests, up a whopping 7 to 9 percentage points from the previous year
* More than half the test-takers in each subject scored at advanced or proficient levels
* Sixty percent of algebra test takers scored at proficient or advanced levels, up 7 percentage points from the previous year
* Fifty-five percent of geometry test-takers scored at those levels, also up 7 percentage points from the year before
* Even more impressively, as the percentages of students scoring at the top two levels on the math exams improved, the percentages of students scoring at the basic and below-basic levels on the test have dropped
* A total of 79 percent of Algebra I test-takers scored at below basic and basic levels the first year the test was given in 2001. That has dropped to 40 percent
* A total of 82 percent of geometry test-takers fell below mastery level in 2001. That has dropped to 45 percent
*Arkansas Reports 108 Percent Increase In AP Exams- The Department of Education said that's the largest increase any state has seen in a single year in the College Board's 50-year history in the AP exam. The president of the College Board, which administers the exam, commended Arkansas for its efforts and Ken James, who is head of the state Education Department, said Arkansas students are on the right road because taking an AP exam is a predictor of later success. Mike Huckabee agreed stating, " it proves education reforms are working."
Let's play a different tune in 2012. Let's elect a leader with a proven track record. Huckabee has that record as a governor, but he also has that record as a private citizen who continues to advance education through his involvement in private funding for music education.
H/T Mike Huckabee President 2008
H/T Mike Huckabee President 2008