CASTLE ROCK, Colo. – There must be something in the mountain streams that inspires a love of freedom in Douglas County, Colorado.
A few years ago, the school board created a first-of-its-type county-wide school voucher program, giving students the freedom to attend private schools and allowing state dollars to follow the student. The local education monopoly voluntarily broke up its monopoly.
Then it created a rare opportunity for taxpayers by holding open contract negotiations with its teacher union. The move let taxpayers see what really happens behind the scenes.
Now, the school board has passed a resolution honoring the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died last week.
Carrie Mendoza, a Douglas County school board member, issued the following statement about the resolution:
“Here in Douglas County, Colorado our choice policy mirrors her work. Our comprehensive framework touches on a continuum of critical education reform issues including: charter school funding equalization, vouchers, traditional school autonomy, rewarding high performing teachers, and more.
“We believe the system we are creating will reward great teachers and provide parents the best school choices. We think the Iron Lady would be proud of how we are carrying forward her legacy.”
The Douglas County School Board paid tribute to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during their April 16 board meeting, upholding her as a role model for Douglas County students.
The board adopted a resolution commemorating her life and legacy that described her as “a relentless champion of freedom, who fought tirelessly for free enterprise, for the economic policies that foster individual opportunity and global prosperity, and for human liberty and dignity throughout the world.”
Thatcher, who died April 8, led the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990 and remained involved in British politics after her resignation. She was an influential, often controversial leader, and a friend and political ally of former President Ronald Reagan.
Through the Education Act of 1980, Thatcher enacted policies allowing parents to choose schools, and providing public money for children to attend private schools. Similarly, the Douglas County School Board’s Choice Scholarship Program, now likely headed to the Colorado Supreme Court for a verdict on its constitutionality, allowed parents to use state school funding toward tuition at private schools.
“I think she’s a tremendous role model for young people, particularly girls and women,” board president John Carson said. “I think she goes down in history as one of the greatest champions of freedom in the 20th century.
“It’s interesting some of the issues she talks about are the same ones we’re talking about in education today, 42 years later.”
We’re not sure what’s in the water in Douglas County, but it would be fine if they bottled it and shipped it around the country. American schools could greatly benefit from the mindset of the Douglas County school board.