March 18, 2003
Posted at: 4:05 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Governor Huckabee said Tuesday he is displeased with efforts that legislators are making to improve education.
Huckabee says the optimism he had at the beginning of the session to meet the state Supreme Court mandate to improve schools has been chilled. He urged the Legislature to take a reality check, saying that some rural legislators are trying to pit rural and urban Arkansans against each other.
The governor said: ``I resent those who would divide Arkansas.''
Huckabee says nothing would make rural Arkansas more livable than offering a varied curriculum to students. Huckabee's education plan calls for consolidation of high schools in districts with less than 1500 students, unless they can prove they can meet education standards by a certain date.
Some rural legislators have balked at the idea of consolidation and are pushing a plan to keep their districts intact. The governor said if the Legislature doesn't change course, the state will have to go back to the court in January and say it didn't meet the court deadline to overhaul the state's education system.