Gov: lawmakers "find the bottom"

(January 21, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Governor Huckabee says legislators are falling short in efforts to make court-ordered changes to the public education system. The governor says the legislature seems "determined to find the bottom and anchor there rather than trying to take our state to the top." Huckabee made the remarks yesterday, when his plan to consolidate some smaller schools was rejected in the House. The state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments tomorrow for the state to show if, after nearly 14 months of debate, it has complied with the ccourt's November 2002 order to provide equal educational opportunities for all of Arkansas' school children. Huckabee says he has asked state attorneys to tell justices that the governor's office is prepared to carry out the court's mandate through the state Board of Education and the state Department of Education if so ordered.