Arkansas Governor's School
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The Arkansas Governor's School (also known as Arkansas Governor's School for the Gifted and Talented) is a six-week residential program offered to rising seniors in the state of Arkansas. The school, which typically accepts around 400 students, takes place on the grounds of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Modeled after the North Carolina Governor's School, it was founded by governor Bill Clinton in 1979.
Twice each week is a required speaker. Speakers at Governor's School have ranged from Rudy Giuliani, Michael Shermer, and Phyllis Schlafly to Temple Grandin and James Loewen. During the beginning years, then-governor Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton gave speeches and held small meetings in order to improve the normal school experiences. Once each week is a required film, the first of which is usually Koyaanisqatsi.
The curriculum at the school is broken up into three areas:
- Area I, which is similar to a college major. Students choose from one of eight areas of study (English/Language Arts, Visual Arts, Choral Music, Instrumental Music, Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Science, and Drama).
- Area II, also known as conceptual development, which focuses on epistemology. Many Area II teachers are (or were) philosophy, history, and English majors.
- Area III, which is also known as personal and social development. One topic largely stressed in Area III classes is the division of wealth.
There are two other "areas," Area IV and Area V. Area IV consists of the residential staff (Resident Assistants, or "RAs," as well as the Head Residents of the various dormitories), whereas Area V consists of the office staff.
The Guiding Hand
Because of its link to Clinton, in the 1992 presidential election, a film entitled The Guiding Hand was created as anti-Clinton propaganda. The film accused the school of brainwashing, saying that one girl had to be "deprogrammed" for two years. Also in the film is an unidentified student (the only person not to be identified) who makes several false claims about the school, such as claiming that there is a required course called "Views of Man," which was actually a course at Hendrix. The film is studied by AGS students and analyzed for fallacies.
- Arkansas Governor's School website
- Transcript of The Guiding Hand by AGS Area II teacher Mark Elrod at the Wayback Machine (archived February 5, 2008)
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