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Bob Schaffer on education: power to the parents

By | February 20th, 2012

Former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaffer, currently chairman of the state Board of Education, has been a champion of education and federalism for years. He once again demonstrated his strong advocacy for both during testimony Feb. 16 in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-N.V.: ”As long as tax dollars are going to fund education, there needs to be some accountability standard at the federal level. In your opinion, what would be a federal accountability standard, a measurement standard, that would be appropriate?”

Schaffer: “Well, within the context of whether states should be trusted: Yes, states ought to be trusted completely on this. That’s kind of what the premise of the country is, I had always believed. And these are our kids. We operate an education system in our state predicated on the notion that - as parents, as community leaders, that those, in my case I was elected to serve on the state board, that - we’re held accountable to our communities and to our, the parents who vote for us. Those are the one who ought to be holding states most accountable.

“In my state, and I think in most states, they do. And my belief is that from our perspective in Colorado, I can’t speak for all, but that the expectation, the level of accountability and the immediacy of a response is far quicker and more precise and meaningful when we move authority actually away from Washington and back to the neighborhood. And so, in my opinion, the greatest way to achieve accountability is in that direction.

“The federal government obviously spends an awful lot of money, that’s a decision you’ve made, when you spend that kind of cash, if I were you - and I was - I would want to make sure that those dollars are spent effectively. But there’s some practical realities. I mean, you’re 2,000 miles away from where it’s being spent in many cases, you’re not going to get efficiency in those cases. The individuals, the only individuals who can guarantee that these dollars are being spent efficiently are the ones who are closest to the children who are affected. The further you get away from that, the more waste you’re going to have. It’s unavoidable.”

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