|Updated: 2/05/2012 9:49 am
||Published: 2/04/2012 4:33 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Educators and legislators hope Former president Bill Clinton’s education message will change the direction of the Arkansas school system.
"The problem is too many of our kids drop out and too many don't learn enough," President Clinton says.
President Clinton is pushing the A+ program. It's a different way of teaching -- integrating the arts with the sciences in an attempt to make learning more exciting for students.
"In the middle of a very high unemployment period, the jobs are only being filled at half the rate we had filled jobs coming out of previous recessions,” he says. “Partially because there weren't enough people trained to do the jobs in the area."
The A+ program suggests swapping the text book for a more hands-on project to help students learn, much like what the organization 'first' does during its annual Lego competitions.
And A+ is already showing major change in schools where it's implemented throughout the state.
"I know principals may say I don't have time to do that I don't have time to do the extras or the arts but in reality you are actually weaving the arts into whatever concept of skill that you're taught," says Connie Reed, principal of Hugh Goodwin Elementary.
Since starting the program -- El Dorado’s Hugh Goodwin Elementary School has experienced higher student engagement and a decline in discipline referrals.
"It is up to us as educators to figure out how that child learns best, what connections he needs to make and what he is bringing to the lesson," Goodwin says.
And as far as the President is concerned, individualizing each student's lesson plan is the only way to bring America’s economy back.
"We don't all learn the same way and we can't sustain as a country having the level of drop outs we have and the level of learning we're achieving compare to our competitors,” he says. “We're paying a terrible price for it today, we will pay an even bigger price for it tomorrow."
Currently only eleven schools in Arkansas are implementing the A+ program Educators say the first step is getting every school in the state on board.
Proponents of the A+ program say that cost is not an issue. It’s more of an attitude. It really doesn't take any money to do - but it will take plenty of creativity. It can be as simple as turning a math problem into a song.