Director of Communications
Colorado Education Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2022
Colorado Education Association Applauds State Board of Education’s Vote to Implement Inclusive Standards
DENVER, CO. – The Colorado Education Association is encouraged by today’s Colorado State Board of Education vote on the state’s Social Studies standards. By a vote of 4-3, the board solidified Colorado’s place as one of the first states to fully incorporate marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ individuals, in its Social Studies standards.
This important decision follows state law as defined in the passage of HB 19-1192, but thanks to politicized arguments it has taken almost a year to implement. HB 19-1192, called the “Inclusion of American Minorities In Teaching Civil Government,” was sponsored by Reps. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Bri Buentello, and Senator Julie Gonzales, during the 2019 legislative session. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that students learn the full spectrum of our collective history, thereby creating welcoming schools where every student can thrive, and become successful, informed citizens in our diverse world.
However, as the State Board of Education began to debate the recommendations from the Social Studies review committee (a committee made up of educators, parents, and community stakeholders), they received pushback against the law’s implementation thanks to a national campaign by rightwing activists. These activists provided hundreds of “recommendations,” which effectively erased from the standards all references to LGBTQ+ people, people of color, immigrants and other groups; as well as references to “equity,” “marginalized groups”; and any themes that were thought to reflect negatively on the United States’ history.1
Though they purported to be fighting for the quality of students’ education, they ignored virtually all feedback from education experts and professionals, parents, and students.
Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the CEA, had this to say at today’s State Board of Ed meeting: “This fall I criss-crossed the state to speak with as many educators as I could. And one thing that I can say with certainty is that educators are keenly aware of the discussions happening with the SBOE regarding the Social Studies standards. There is palpable fear for their students based on some of the rhetoric that has been espoused during the Social Studies standards review process.”
She continued, “As educators, we are committed, first and foremost, to creating educational spaces that are inclusive and offer students an environment without fear or intimidation, where they can learn and grow.”
Colorado’s State Board of Education ultimately agreed with this view, and voted to fully implement the Social Studies standards dictated in HB 19-1192.
This will be welcome news to CEA’s members and Colorado parents generally, who, research has shown, are more concerned with the real issues facing students and public schools – like a lack of funding and safety – than they are about distracting culture wars orchestrated by outside political interest groups.
“The Colorado Education Association remains committed to our students, and to collaborating with our districts and communities to create the safe and inclusive schools that our students deserve. Educators will always put our students first no matter their race, background, sexuality, or gender expression,” said Baca-Oehlert.
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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA works collectively with all education stakeholders to ensure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.