Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR)

Governors Arts Leadership

Mike Huckabee took office as Governor of Arkansas in 1996 and has since created opportunities for grade school children to participate in the arts across the state. Governor Huckabee passed a bill that requires every public elementary school in the state to provide at least 40 minutes of instruction in music or visual art every week. Beginning in June 2005, instruction will increase to one hour each week for elementary schools, and participating teachers must be certified to teach art and music. As recently appointed chair of the Education Commission of the States (ECS), he took a dramatic step by raising arts education to the forefront of his agenda and launched a first-ever national initiative, “The Arts: A Lifetime of Learning,” which will be the centerpiece of his two-year leadership term. An accomplished musician himself, the Governor formed a rock band with a few staff members that was asked to play at the 2004 Republican National Convention and at the Presidential Inaugural activities this year in Washington, DC.

Read the commentary Putting Arts Education Front and Center by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige as first appeared in Education Week January 26, 2005.