Education reform endorsements faltering?

(October 20, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- As the time to embrace some plan for overhauling Arkansas' school system draws near, some supporters of Governor Huckabee's original reform plan seem to be backing off their endorsements. The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Education Association endorsed the governor's proposal last winter. That called for consolidation of school districts of fewer than 15-hundred students if they can't meet state standards efficiently. Now, the governor is calling for consolidation of high schools with fewer than 425 students in grades Nine through 12. Last month, the A-E-A backed off its support for consolidation by the numbers, saying it favored school reorganization based on efficiency. Last week, Huckabee prodded business leaders to support his new proposal. But Chamber President Ron Russell says the organization won't get caught up again in the trap of consolidation by the numbers.