U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore considers himself the new kid on the block.
But 90 days after he took office, Moore is holding education forums in each of the four counties he represents; Miami, Johnson, Wyandotte and Douglas.
"It's been a real education for me," the Kansas Democrat told participants in an educational forum held Wednesday at Central Junior High School.
Moore fielded questions from the audience on everything from class size to budgetary issues, and often passed questions on to a panel of Eudora, Baldwin and Lawrence parents, educators and administrators.
"The idea here tonight is to share what's good and what's not with our educational system," Moore said. "It's a fact-finding mission for what will improve education in Douglas County."
Moore said he believes that the federal government should play a part in local education, but should assume the role of a junior partner.
"Education is primarily a function of the local and state school board," he said. "The federal government can assist in some small way with grants for pilot programs. The government doesn't set curriculum."
Lawrence High School student Jose Espinosa said he came to learn more about educational roles and hear what Moore had to say.
"It's really good for students to get involved," he said. "A lot of people are ignorant about things like this and I won't be. I'm learning about it."
Moore is forming an advisory council with representatives from the four counties, a fact that Lawrence school board member Mary Loveland wants people to recognize.
"I want them to take away a renewed sense of the partnership necessary at all levels, for the education of children," she said.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Moore listens to Medicare concerns. Page 3B.