While charter schools and state student testing grab the headlines occasionally for members of the Colorado State Board of Education, it is in the details of their other work that school policy is driven.
Most issues that come before the board deal with matters such as individual teacher licensing, school district accreditation and Colorado Department of Education budgeting. The board also works with teacher and administrator education programs in the stateís university system to ensure that qualified teachers and principals are employed at the stateís schools. These are areas where students and parents get to see the direct results of the boardís actions.
Representation on the board is divided among the seven congressional districts in the state, giving each region an opportunity to have a voice in the boardís affairs.
In the 2nd Congressional District, former teacher and longtime Parent-Teacher Association leader Evie Hudak is running unopposed. She has said she will use her second six-year term to help draft new rules relating to the Colorado Student Assessment Program.
In the 4th Congressional District this year, Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Tom Griggs are vying for the post. Schaffer, a former congressman, was appointed to fill the post vacated by Clair Orr of Kersey, who resigned from the board last year. Griggs is an assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado, in the teacher education department.
Because of his background in dealing with state and federal teacher education standards, Griggs is the better choice for the board of education.
Griggs understands that there are myriad problems and myriad possible solutions for the difficulties that school districts face as they struggle to comply with No Child Left Behindís demands for yearly progress. He also knows that the solutions that work in the larger, urban school districts may not be appropriate for the school districts that dot the landscape across the 4th District.
Schaffer has been an able public servant for the residents of northern Colorado, and his commitment should be commended. For almost 20 years, he has been present on the scene, making sure his viewpoint does not get lost in the din. He helped to bring charter schools into the mix at a time when that choice was needed; however, charter schools are not the answer to every ill in the public school system.
Because many other demands are made on the members of State Board of Education, Griggs is the better candidate and deserves election.