Colorado Republicans like to posture as proponents of less government, local control, opposers of unfunded mandates ... so on and so forth.
In the state legislature, however, that rhetoric is empty. I haven't done a study (and I will gladly be corrected if I am wrong), but when it comes to public education, Republican legislators are enthusiastic micro-managers. As I recall, it was Bush-buddy Gov. Owens and a Republican legislature that institutionalized and expanded the most egregious centralization mandate ever on our schools: the CSAP regimen. I remember suburban Denver GOP legislators deciding that they knew best how every school in the state should teach American history and when to say the Pledge of Allegiance (you never know, there might be closet Communists lurking on school boards out on the eastern plains).
Now we have a Republican legislator from Grand Junction who believes he (and hopefully the state government) knows better than local school boards, principals and teachers when and how to conduct safety drills.
Frankly, I do not believe that local school boards and school principals in Colorado are purposefully neglecting "life-saving protocols". What then is the point of mandating the kind of legislation described in the Rocky Mountain News report today?
Measure Would Require Safety Drills for Schools | Rocky Mountain News - January 21, 2009
Educators, parents and emergency workers on Thursday will debate a bill requiring schools to conduct special safety drills - including lockdowns - nearly a decade after the Columbine High School shootings.
House Bill 1009, which will go before the House Education Committee, defines a range of drills to test how well schools respond to simulated intruders, gunmen, bomb threats, explosions, hazardous materials releases, severe weather and other life-threatening emergencies.
"Basically, what it does is it puts in place over the next two years life-saving protocols for Colorado's schools, from K-12 all the way through higher education," said Rep. Steve King, R- Grand Junction, the bill's sponsor.
Life-saving protocols include reverse evacuation drills, he said.
"If there's a threat outside, how do we get kids back inside?" King said.
King, a former police officer and investigator who owns American National Protective Services Inc., said the Columbine anniversary is only indirectly responsible for the bill's timing. ... MORE
It may be hard for legislators to resist passing "mandatory, life-saving procedures." In fact, this ia an example of Republican hypocrisy and a rather cheap political maneuver designed to show how much an elected official 'cares' about kids.
As a proponent of more local control of education, let's hope that this bit of unnecessary micro-management from the state assembly dies a quiet legislative death. If I am worried about the safety of my high school student, I'll call my principal or school board member and talk to them, okay?