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.”
Board Member Craig Richardson praised Thatcher for “strong, principled, morally clear and brilliant leadership.”
“I think so much of education has an implicit and imbedded question, ‘Who are your heroes?’” Richardson said. “Margaret Thatcher is a hero for me and many members of our board. I hope our students will find a champion, someone in whom they believe during the troubles and difficult times this life produces. That’s why I think it’s quite natural we express ourselves on this occasion.”
Board Member Kevin Larsen read the resolution aloud, which commended Thatcher for opposing communism throughout the world and being “a great friend of America.”
The resolution concluded by saying the board “commends (Thatcher) as a role model for the young people of the Douglas County School District as they strive to become future leaders in Colorado and our nation, and as they seek to make a positive and enduring difference in the course of human progress.”