by Max Brantley
The state Education Department has some good news today. Its news release leads with still-higher scores by Arkansas students on the SAT college entrance test. This is good, even though a relatively small number of students take this test in Arkansas, mostly those headed for more competitive colleges. The results are less meaningful than those on the ACT, taken by a disproportionate number in Arkansas. Still, our top students are outpacing the national average (albeit composed of a broader cross-section of students) pn the SAT. That's good.
Truly hopeful news is in the rising participation and scores on Advanced Placement tests. As the news release notes, a rigorous and challenging curriculum is a predictor of college and future success, including simple participation in AP courses, which offer college-level instruction.
Note to the Republican gubernatorial candidate: The news release didn't say, but could have, that it's impossible to deliver a challenging curriculum at tiny high schools allowed the "flexibility" of "offering" but not "teaching" a full range of courses, as you propose. Gov. Mike Huckabee is absolutely right. Arkansas needs to stay the course with its tough new education standards. That means, in this election, electing a Democrat. (Or an independent or a Green.) Seems to us it's about time for Huck to endorse Beebe to insure that his work will be continued.