Influential and controversial national conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks started the Tea Party movement last year and is endorsing conservative candidates across the country this year, including Colorado 4th District congressional candidate Cory Gardner. FreedomWorks chairman, former Texas congressman and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, articulates the group’s vision. He would privatize social security, for example, and eliminate federal involvement in education. On CNN, he recently said states should take on all funding of higher education. “The state of Texas has a great university system that’s not been made any better by federal government involvement. Let states furnish the education of their young people,” he said.
Gardner has yet to articulate his position on the future of federal funding for Colorado’s struggling universities.
It’s a matter of immediate relevance. As Colorado state revenues continue to crater, forcing universities here to hike tuition unprecedented levels this year, Armey’s plan to end Pell Grants and student loans, for example, would mean an enormous number of Coloradans could not afford to attend the state’s four-year colleges. The proposed 9.5 percent rate increase at the University of Colorado would hike undergraduate tuition by roughly $667, raising annual tuition to $7,685 for an Arts and Sciences degree.
The Gardner campaign didn’t immediately return messages and his website sends a mixed message on the issue. Gardner wants the federal government to “do a better job” on education but he is also in favor of increased “local control.” How that translates to higher education funding is hard to tell.
My goal on education is to achieve results, not talk. Just as we challenge our children to excel and better themselves, so too must the federal government challenge itself to do a better job for our children.
Colorado’s schools, to be successful, must have the resources they need to educate our children. In the competitive world economy of today and tomorrow, our children must be equipped with the tools to succeed.
I believe accountability, parental involvement and choice – with solid, measurable results – is the best way to ensure we live up to the promise of education.
I also believe in local control and that local school districts know what is best for their students.
Armey on CNN:
FreedomWorks is supporting Gardner with cash and in kind contributions that include direct mailings, yard sign distribution, volunteer phone banks and neighborhood literature drops.