Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Are You Researching the Candidates?

This is rather long, but please read it because there IS a point! For those of you that may not know this, my wife Tisha and I Home School, so education is a big issue for us (just like small business is too). As part of my job, I spend a lot of time researching blogs to keep my readers on my business blogs, Jim Sharp and Learning 2 Network, up to date on new ideas about growing their businesses and increasing their sales. But I also read a number of Home School blogs as well. One of my favorites is Spunky Home School! I've found her to be one of the most veracious diggers I've ever seen when it comes to researching information; so when she wrote a few posts about Huckabee, she got my attention.

If you take the time to read over some of her blog, you'll find that she has some concerns about Huckabee's support for Home Schoolers in Arkansas. Here is a quick excerpt:

"Mike Huckabee was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1996. In 1997, he helped ease restrictive homeschool laws in Arkansas. While governor, Huckabee also appointed the first homeschooler to the Arkansas state school board. As a homeschooler, I give Mike Huckabee credit for these achievement. It looked like he was off to a great start in Arkansas. That success, however, was short lived. Just two years later, in 1999, Mike Huckabee signed into law House Bill 1724 that undid many of those initial gains." Click here to read all of this post.

Well, as a Home Schooler I wanted to know more! So I asked around to see who I might be able to meet with to ask some questions. I live in South Carolina and Huckabee has been around town. This lead to the discovery that JoNell Caldwell (the Home Schooler appointed to the Arkansas state school board Spunky mentioned above) would be speaking to Home Schoolers at a restaurant down the street from my home. So off I went!

While at the meeting I asked Mrs. Caldwell about House Bill 1724. She explained that while this Bill WAS a compromise, Huckabee signed the law because the alternative was the greater of two evils. My understanding is that the legislature was trying to push for stricter testing, and if a Home Schooler could pass the test, they'd be forced back into Public School. Huckabee was very much against this testing and had beaten it back, but if he hadn't signed this Bill, he would be back to square one and would have had to fight the same battle again. There was some concern that he may not be able to defeat the stricter testing again. Understand also that even though he was elected as Governor at this time, he was still viewed by the legislature as the accidental Governor because of his assent to office after the resignation of Jim Guy Tucker. He was also on the wrong side of the party line.

I also asked about the IBO. See what Spunky had to say about this:

"With the approval of SB 1024 now Public Act 2152, Mike Huckabee officially brought the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to Arkansas high schools and gave control of the education of many Arkansas school children to an international entity based in Geneva, Switzerland." Click here to read all of this post.

Mrs. Caldwell didn't have an answer for this one, but asked for my e-mail and told me she'd look into it. I gave her my card, we spoke for a little while and said our good byes. A couple of days later she sent me an e-mail. This is what it said:

"I spoke with Dr. Terri Hardy, Governor Mike Huckabee's liaison to education concerning some of your concerns.

In Arkansas the local school districts choose the curriculum, not the state. Gov. Huckabee is a proponent of local control. A very large district, North Little Rock had chosen the IBO route instead of the AP route for high school. There was a law suit Gov. Huckabee inherited from the Clinton years that said the schools in AR were not equal in their course offering and the courts demanded equity and adequacy that brought about much change in our state. One of the outcomes of the lawsuit was that all schools had to offer AP courses. North Little Rock was already using the IBO, which was not approved at the time and the legislature passed the bill allowing IBO to be used in place of AP if a district so chose in order to accommodate North Little Rock."

She went on to suggest that if I comment on Spunky's Blog to encourage her and others to call Jerry Cox with the Arkansas Family Council in Little Rock, AR. He is not affiliated with the campaign and is the leading advocate for home schoolers in Arkansas.

I've learned two things from all of this. The first is that you have to read all blogs with your eyes open. Just like Spunky said in one of her posts about Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association:

"I didn't just accept what they [HSLDA] said as the truth [about Huckabee]. That's tempting, but it's too easy."

I couldn't just accept what she said either, I needed to learn more and I did. I don't like that there was a compromise on House Bill 1724, but life is full compromises. I understand why he did it. I also don't like the IBO being used in place of the AP in North Little Rock, but that was a local issue. Each decision had a reason good or bad. It's our job to find out the reason and then judge whether it was appropriate.

The other thing I learned is just how little interest we have in what we say we are passionate about! I was one of only five Home Schoolers at this meeting. FIVE!!!! Spunky, if you're reading this, doesn't that just boil your blood?!! If we want to make a difference, we need to be involved! If you're passionate about something and you have questions, go find some answers! Whether you're a business person like me, or a Home Schooler like Spunky, we have a responsibility to be as informed as we can!

So what should we do? Read blogs! Read mine and Spunky's! Read a lot of them! Read the news! Watch the news! Go hear the candidates! Talk with the candidates if you can! Don't be afraid to ask questions! Vote! I don't care if your Republican or Democrat. VOTE!! Regardless of what you hear some people saying, your voice still counts!

If you'd like to receive e-mail updates for Jim Sharp or Learning 2 Network, just drop me a note at Jim@wolffind.com and I'll put you on my list. Thanks for letting me rant! I'll go back to blogging about my family now. :)

Image: Wikipedia.com


  1. Jim, the IBO wasn't just a "local issue." Huckabee signed the law in 2005 that gave IBO parity with the AP. And while it is true that the local districts can choose the IB over AP, this bill gave them that option. Further, the 2005 law that Huckabee signed required the local district to submit their IB courses to the state for approval. Doesn't sound like completely local control to me!

    So while it is factually true that the local school districts could choose IB that was made possible in large part because of the IB/AP bill that Huckabee signed. I've got all the links and more information in the comments section of my blog where it's easier to edit and grab the links I need.

  2. Spunky...Like I said, you're a digger! Thanks for the information! I just want to make the most informed decision, and like many, I'm still undecided! I hate the thought of the UN making any headway into any of the schools in the US. Many DO NOT understand the implications of this and how it could affect all of our parental rights in the future! I hope you understand that my post here does not mean I'm in Huckabee's camp. It's just that 2008 has presented us with a very frustrating set of choices! It seems that even if I lumped all the candidates together, I still wouldn't get one good President.

    I suggest all my readers take a look at Spunky's response to me in her comment section in her latest post:
    The links she provided are excellent.

  3. Jim,

    I didn't assume you were in anyone's camp! I appreciated your research and appreciate that you took the iniitiative to talk to others about the issues I raised. I don't worry about being wrong, that's easily fixed, it's being right that actually worries me because of the implications this election brings especially in the area of education reform and global standards. Like "black mold" in a home the IBO is a lot harder to get out once it gets into the structure of the system.

  4. Sorry...I messed up my link! Just click on Spunky's name above and that will take you to her site! I forgot I have to write the link in code and all my cheat notes are in my other computer. I'm on Ian's right now.

  5. In Governor Huckabee's words:

    "In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em what to do with the pole, that's what we'd do," Huckabee said Thursday. (http://youdecide08.foxnews.com/2008/01/17/mike-huckabee-flying-conferedate-flag-should-be-south-carolinas-choice/)

    Do we really want a president who talks like this?

    Here are some other choice things Huckabee has had to say in the past.

    In 2001, when conservative Republican lawmakers opposed higher sales taxes and fees the governor supported, he began calling them "Shiite Republicans."

    The day after the Fox News debate in which Fred Thompson pointed out a number of important issues where Huckabee is at odds with most conservative Republicans, when asked about it, Huckabee said: "I think Fred needs some Metamucil, I think it would help a lot...He was in a bad mood last night."

    In 2006, he supported President Bush's immigration plan and claimed that opposition to Bush's proposal was driven by "racism or nativism."

    When Republican state senators in Arkansas proposed legislation modeled after Arizona's Proposition 200 [to require proof of citizenship for voting and public benefits], Huckabee described it as 'inflammatory ...
    race-baiting ... demagoguery.' He said the bill, which seeks to forbid public assistance and voting rights to illegal immigrants, 'inflames those who are racist and bigots..."

    After cracking the following joke about his own lack of foreign policy experience: "I may not be the expert that some people are on foreign policy, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night," Huckabee later went on to attack the Bush administration's foreign policy as "arrogant bunker

    Then after the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Governor Huckabee offered "our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan." He later stated that he actually intended to extend his deepest sympathies to the people of Pakistan when he used the word 'apologies.'

    It's significant to me that many of these derogatory comments made by Huckabee were directed at the those in the Republican party.


  6. Hi Jim, New here...referred from Spunky's site. I enjoyed this post very much. Thank you for the additional research. It IS so much work, huh?!!! I appreciate it very much AND from a non-biased viewpoint. There are many things that can be pointed out about each candidate...like having a chaste mouth. :) If only we had as much "hands on" (homeschooling legislation) experience to draw from each of the other candidates...hmm...guess we'll just have to "trust" their words more than their "actions", huh? Begs the question as to how they would have ruled under the same situation. But, that's not really the issue. I am looking at where each candidate stands on major issues (homeschooling is a big issue), what do I BELIEVE in, and prioritize them. For Ron Paul supporters, I ask, "Do you really believe in bringing ALL of our military back home?...really...ALL of them?...settling disputes with "words" over "action"...well...OK. If you BELIEVE in that, then you have YOUR candidate."

    Signed as a non-political guru, Leinani :)