October 13, 2006
Candidate says education a national concern
by Erik Myers
Speaking before a small gathering of College Republicans, students and community members, Republican Bob Schaffer explained what education meant for him.
“It’s is the most important issue confronting the country,” Schaffer said. “It’s what really anchors our liberty and freedom, and what binds our republic and gives citizens the ability to be self-governing individuals, and that’s what separates us from the rest of the world.”
Perhaps this particular viewpoint on education explains why Schaffer is currently sitting upon the Colorado State Board of Education, and why he’s running for another six-year term this fall.
Schaffer came to the University of Northern Colorado Wednesday night in an event sponsored by the College Republicans to speak about his beliefs on Colorado’s education system and to ask for help for his current campaign.
Schaffer began his speech talking about the board itself. Schaffer discussed the purpose of the board, as it administers standardized testing, school finances and deals with the national rules and regulations, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. Having mentioned the work that the board did, Schaffer went on to express how it played a major role in Colorado politics.
“The fact of the matter is the state board of education is not particularly political. We do a lot of issues that have important outcomes, but we don’t make laws,” Schaffer said. “You’ve been taught that there are three branches of government. Well, in Colorado, there are actually four, the fourth being the state board of education.”
Schaffer was eager to speak about his own views on how education worked, and surprised some members of the audience when he spoke of his opinion of education in Colorado.
“I’m not satisfied with the quality of education in Colorado. It’s adequate. Adequate is OK for people who have minimal expectations,” Schaffer said. “I want the best schools in the world, right here. I don’t want to go somewhere else in the world to find it, I want to find it right here in Colorado. And there’s really no reason we can’t achieve that.”
Schaffer continued, explaining how schools needed more options available for students to choose from. The division of political parties was another issue Schaffer spoke about, mentioning the differing opinions between liberals and conservatives when it came to how schools operated.
“If you’re liberal, you believe the state is responsible for a child’s education. If you’re a conservative, then your viewpoint is that it’s the parent’s responsibility to raise their kids. And it is,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer finished his discussion talking about the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) testing that has become an issue facing education in Colorado.
“I’m not opposed at all to standardized testing here in Colorado; that’s one way to get higher accountability,” Schaffer said.
Lauren Peters, junior elementary education major and co-chair of the Republican Club, said Schaffer’s speech basically reflected her own beliefs.
“I would definitely agree with everything he had to say. Being an education major, it’s important to me,” Peters said.
Schaffer’s speech was compelling also to Brittany Madsen, senior political science major, who mentioned she was interested in Schaffer’s explanation of the board.
“I thought it was very informative, and being involved in politics for a long time, I didn’t realize how the state board worked,” she said.
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