The Clinton veterinarian ha served with distinction on the State Board of Education since the Huckabee administration. Dr. Mays came on the Board with a solid reputation as a troublemaker. He was the right kind of troublemaker. Ben actually expected the numerous Arkansas school districts to at least give the appearance of attempting to provide a proper education in addition to world class sports facilities and coaching.
Ben Mays saw through the concealment and deliberate misrepresentations of Arkansas School Districts large and small. Yes, there was plenty to complain about right here in Pulaski County. He believed in values, and one of the bedrock elements of a good society is an educated populace. Pretty wild and radical, huh?
It is a darned shame that, in some places around here, education is seen as a hinderance. Educated people do tend to point out inconvenient facts and looming problems. This is why totalitarian governments get rid of the intellectuals in the early round-ups. A friend of mine who served for a while in Laos described how the Communist government arrested everybody who wore eyeglasses, based on the assumption that the only reason anybody would wear specs is to read, and that just leads to trouble. Dr. Mays would never stand for the exultation of ignorance.
Ben was fairly tough on charter schools. Who can be against accountability? Many charter schools function well and some do not. They are public schools and deserve some oversight. Ben was an equal opportunity scrutinizer.
This sounds a little like a eulogy, doesn’t it? Ben Mays is still kicking and one must believe that he will continue his habit of keeping after lies and liars. Doubtless, he will have the able assistance of his associate, Dr. Maxwell Sniffingwell.
Dr. Jay Barth, another smarty-pants who regularly exposes public malfeasance, is Gov. Beebe’s choice to replace Dr. Mays. The only bad thing to be said about Barth is that he is a failed politician. Right thinking Americans can forgive small defects in judgment, and Jay will do just fine.