by Max Brantley
A$a says he'd try to breathe life into his nephew's rural school protection act if he's elected governor. Full details here. Flexible standards means no standards.
The standards flexed to political whim during the Clinton years, the main reason some of his bold moves didn't deliver as much as hoped. In the final years of the Huckabee era, the standards have had meaning, backed by Huckabee's appointees on the state Board of Education. As a consquence, inadequate schools are disappearing. It's a shining achievement of the Huckabee administration. A$a wants to roll things back to the bad ol' days of Democratic leadership.
For more commentary on A$a's demagoguing on this issue, we refer you to Ernie Dumas' editorial in the Leader on the the court reversal in the Paron case.
Paron has become, in the most hackneyed phrase in our lexicon, a political football. Asa Hutchinson hopes to be elected governor on Paron, and Gunner DeLay thinks that it is his ticket to the attorney general’s office. By vowing to use their offices to keep tiny schools like Paron open the Republican candidates are appealing to rural voters who think their way of life is vanishing. The politicians undersell rural voters, but they follow the ancient conventional wisdom in Arkansas that rural people care little about what is taught in the schools but only that school be close and offer competitive athletics.