No Decision Yet from Governor in Dispute over State History Curriculum

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Beebe met with education officials and a group of historians yesterday to discuss a dispute over plans for new guidelines this fall for the teaching of Arkansas history in the public schools.

Beebe did not announce a decision after meeting at the Capitol with the officials behind closed doors for nearly an hour and a half.  Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample called the discussion, "candid and spirited."

A group of historians has been publicly criticizing the new rules, saying they will water down the teaching of state history.  The Arkansas History Education Coalition has called for a one-year moratorium on the guidelines.

Coalition president Tom Dillard said afterward that the meeting focused on whether to delay the new rules or to implement them and then review them a year later.  Dillard said he would object to putting the rules in place even on a trial basis.

The decision whether to move forward with the new standards ultimately lies with the state Board of Education.  DeCample says the governor will make a recommendation to the board at some point.  He says delaying the rules or implementing them for a year on a trial basis were two options being considered.

About 20 people attended the meeting.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)