To hear Huckabee tell it, expanding arts and music instruction is not only a cure-all for much that ails America’s schools, but also key to keeping the country competitive. The economy of the future, he says, will place a premium on creativity, and even scientists and engineers will need to be able to be inventive, in addition to knowing the periodic table of elements.
“I call it a weapon of mass instruction. It’s a critical part of education,” Huckabee said during a visit to Northern Virginia last weekend. “A lot of education today has become left-brain only. All we’re doing is . . . nothing more than data download: taking data from the teacher and downloading it to kids. And we wonder why 6,000 kids drop out of school every day and why so many millions more kids sleep through the day with their heads down on the desk, taking the most expensive nap in America. The reason they’re doing it is not that they’re dumb but that they’re bored.”
He added: “If you don’t stimulate both sides of a human’s brain, you’re simply generating half the capacity. This whole idea that music and art are great programs if you can afford them and have room for them — that’s utter nonsense. It’s the stupidest thing we’ve done to education in the last two generations.”
. . .
As governor, he pushed through a 2005 law requiring elementary schools to offer 40 minutes per week of music and art and requiring high school students to take at least a half-year of art, music or dance to graduate.
Now the tough questions: would President Huckabee do the same as Governor Huckabee and change the No Child Left Behind law to require more art and music? Would he increase funding for arts and music education? Apparently not, as Huckabee is a strong believer in leaving education most up to state and local governments.
However, he would not be the first President to change his tune on the role of the Federal government once inside the White House (the most famous being “small-government” advocate Thomas Jefferson’s extraordinary use of Presidential powers to buy the Louisiana Territory).
At least Mike Huckabee understands the importance of stimulating all forms of creativity in the I-Cubed Economy.