You are here

News Release - State Board of Education reviews feedback on social studies standards

April 13, 2022

State Board of Education reviews feedback on social studies standards

DENVER -- The Colorado State Board of Education will begin considering final recommendations on revisions to the social studies academic standards at its May board meeting after receiving more than 17,000 online comments and nearly 1,000 emails in public comment on the matter. The board expects to continue its review of the standards throughout the fall, with final approval expected no later than December.

At its April monthly meeting held this week, the board heard a summary of public feedback on the draft revision recommendations for the social studies standards and initial responses from the committee on Tuesday and heard public comment on Wednesday. The most discussed topic was the standards review committee’s recommendation in its draft proposal to remove references to LGBTQ individuals for grades below fourth grade.

Statute requires standards to be reviewed and revised every six years. House Bill 19-1192 requires the board to consider changes to the state’s history and civics standards to incorporate the contributions of minorities, including but not limited to American Indians, Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and the contributions and persecution of religious minorities.

After proposed revised standards were presented to the board in November, significant public comment was received through February urging the committee to remove references of LGBTQ individuals in the social studies standards in early grades. The board is obligated to consider public comment before making its final decision. 

In addition to the social studies standards, the board voted to approve revisions to the Colorado Academic Standards for the arts, which includes dance, drama and theater arts, music, and visual arts. The visual arts committee revised its final recommendations based on feedback from the board at its February meeting. Changes align essential skills with grade level expectations and changing middle school standards in music and visual arts to performance rather than grade levels. School districts will have two years to transition local standards, curriculum and assessments to align to the revised standards, with implementation anticipated to begin in August 2024.

Innovation plan approved for Mitchell High School

The State Board of Education approved Colorado Springs School District 11’s proposal to implement an innovation plan for Mitchell High School, which has received four consecutive years of Priority Improvement ratings on the state’s School Performance Framework. Although statute requires the state board to direct action to improve outcomes for students after five years of low ratings, districts may request early action from the board before reaching their fifth year of low ratings. 

District 11 developed an innovation proposal for the school that was strongly supported by school staff and district leadership. The plan is designed to improve student outcomes and identifies specific waivers that enable Mitchell high school to adjust professional development, instruction, and other strategies to meet student and school needs. The state review panel, an independent group of Colorado educators that evaluated capacity at the school, recommended innovation status for the school based on actions of the district leadership, school leadership, and partnerships and initiatives that have started this year. Public comments about the innovation status for Mitchell High School also showed significant support for the plan. 

In other actions, the board:

Rulemaking Hearings

  • The board approved amended rules for the administration of the Exceptional Children’s Educational Act, 1 CCR-301-8. The amendments remove language referencing the previous authorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act known as No Child Left Behind, add language recognizing the authority of Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind to authorize charter schools, adjust language to clarify process when changing the building or campus to which a student is assigned, incorporates language to clarify admissions and enrollment procedures to protect the rights of students of disabilities in all choice contexts, deletes obsolete/unused language, and changes language to conform to the current Online Schools Act.