WASHINGTON – Former Arkansas Governor and Fox News talk show host Mike Huckabee on Friday charged parents to accept the responsibility of educating their children, and for the church to pitch in to help ensure minority students don't fall by the wayside at the NHCLC (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference) event on education.
"Students are not dry cleaning," Huckabee said at the event held at the National Press Club. "Parents can't drop them off in the morning then pick them up in the afternoon wrinkle and spot free. And what we have to do is remind parents that it is a biblical mandate for the parent to raise the children. It goes all the way back to the proverbs: Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Huckabee joined Dr. Carlos Campo, chair of the Hispanic Education Alliance at NHCLC, at the event to address the steps the organization was going to take in order to help minority students succeed in the classroom.
"I saw people looking at this scene and saying 'What's wrong with this picture'," Huckabee said as he took to the podium. "You've got two Hispanic leaders and a very obvious white guy standing in the middle. But why do I care? Because America is a better country when all of its children are well educated."
The U.S. Department of education predicts that this fall, for the first time in American history, there will be more minority students combined than white students in schools. But while Hispanic children make up a large portion of the minority students in the U.S., the problem lies in the fact that many of them don't graudate from high school – 1 in 4, or 25 percent.
Huckabee said he joined forces with the NHCLC because he felt the way to address this problem is to change the curriculum and standards for minority children through initiatives like the NHCLC's "Raise The Standard," which calls on Hispanic parents to be more involved in thier child's education and for pastors to also speak about education in the pulpit. The former presidential candidate believes parents and churches are the answer to helping minority students perform better in school, and not the government.
Campo outlined a few of the resources, events, and ideas of the Raise The Standard initiative: "FE Sunday" (Faith and Education) the first Sunday of September, where the 40,118 NHCLC churches will preach and teach on the importance of education and a biblically literate community; scholarships to students who attend a select group of Christian colleges and universities; and starting college funds for children at the time they are baptized in the church.
When asked about his thoughts on the Common Core (an initiative that 48 states have adopted for a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics), Huckabee said he stood by his earlier comments that it was toxic, explaining that opponents and supporters of common core are dividing themsleves politically over the program.
"I don't want to fight over the program. I want to fight for students. The fight is not about the program or what it's called," Huckabee said.
Notably, the NHCLC has publicly supported Common Core, and Huckabee had supported the program at an earlier time.
Website for the Raising The Standard initiative, faithandeducation.com.