Huckabee Meets with 9 Teachers on School Reform

JANUARY 11, 2006 - Posted at 8:15 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Huckabee has assembled a panel of nine prize-winning teachers from across Arkansas who he selected to secretly discuss ways to improve the state's embattled public schools.

Last month the state Supreme Court ruled that Arkansas students don't receive an adequate education as the state constitution requires.  Huckabee said he did not know how often he would visit with the group, who will meet in private.  Huckabee has said the group's records also will be kept from the public under his office's working papers exemption from the state Freedom of Information Act.

The governor said that the secret meetings would let the teachers discuss school reform more freely and that, eventually, the panel would release a set of recommendations.

The formation of the teacher panel was one of the goals Huckabee had set as a condition of deciding whether to call a special session to deal with the court ruling.

Only one Region 8 teacher is on the panel.  She is Pam England of Forrest City.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)