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News Release - State Board of Education begins process of reviewing academic standards in social studies and arts

Nov. 11, 2021

State Board of Education begins process of reviewing academic standards in social studies and arts    

The State Board of Education at its monthly two-day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday kicked off its review of the recommendations for revising the Colorado Academic Standards in social studies and arts as required by House Bill 20-1032. 

Committees made up of educators, business leaders, representatives from higher education and parents who have expertise in the respective fields began reviewing the standards in May. Co-chairs of each committee presented their initial standards revision recommendations to the state board on Wednesday.

Public feedback on these recommendations will open on Friday, Nov. 12, and stakeholders will have until Friday, Jan. 1, to provide comments through an online form. After feedback is collected, committees will consider suggestions and incorporate further revisions. Committees will then present revised recommendations for the board’s consideration in February. The board will receive final recommendations in April, at which time board members can discuss possible amendments before voting on adoption in May or June.

In addition to language additions and clarifications, the arts committees recommended reorganizing standards by performance level. For example, students would be expected to meet music standards at a novice level in sixth grade, intermediate in seventh grade and proficient level in eighth grade. 

Suggested revisions to the social studies standards would remove personal financial literacy from economics and create a separate content area. The social studies committee also recommended incorporating public feedback on Holocaust and genocide studies standards and including recommendations from the Media Literacy Advisory Committee report.

State board sets accountability hearing for Adams 14 School District’s Central Elementary School

The State Board of Education voted to schedule an accountability hearing on Central Elementary School in Adams 14 School District after CDE staff highlighted continued challenges at the district, including leadership turnover and lack of continuity on improvement efforts at the elementary school. The state board did not take formal action on Central Elementary School following the 2019 accountability hearing about the school’s chronic low performance and instead included the school in the full district management plan. Based on concerns that the district and its external manager have not improved student performance at the school, the state board will hold a hearing in February to consider taking additional action regarding the school. CDE will request public comment prior to the hearing to help inform the board’s actions. In addition, the district has the option to submit a proposed plan for the school for the board’s consideration. 

Both CDE staff and MGT, the district’s management partner, provided reports on the district’s progress since the state board’s 2018 order directing Adams 14 School District turn over full management authority to an external manager charged with dramatically improving student academic performance. MGT was chosen by the district in 2019. 

CDE staff pointed out some improvements at the district, including coordination of professional development for educators. However, persistent challenges remain with implementation of the plan for improving English language arts instruction, consistent communications with staff and overall support for staff. 

MGT’s report on progress included beginning of the year data on English language arts and math achievement at the elementary and secondary levels, as well as progress and challenges with filling key leadership positions. 

Proposed rules approved for educator licensing and workforce development 

The board approved revisions to educator licensing rules as well as the new workforce development rules. The revisions to the Rules for the Administration of the Educator Licensing Act align the rules with several changes to statute passed by the legislature in 2021. Among the changes, the statutes amended the identification required for an educator license, extended the term of an educators’ license from five to seven years, established alternative principal preparation programs, amended educator licensure enforcement and created educator recruitment and retention programs.

The board also approved new Rules for the Administration of Educator Recruitment and Retention, establishing the financial assistance components of the Educator Recruitment Grant Program created in 2021 to help members of the armed forces and others pursue careers as educators. Statute provides up to $10,000 in financial assistance for tuition at educator preparation programs for rural educators. 

Rule changes proposed for charter school applications

The board approved a notice of rulemaking hearing to consider changes to the standards for charter schools and charter school authorizers around the enrollment policies and practices for students with disabilities. A hearing and a possible vote will take place at the January board meeting. Proposed changes would align the board rules with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights guidance and update the process for enrolling students with disabilities in charter schools.

In other actions, the board:

Directed its representative at the Attorney General’s Office to file a petition asking the Colorado Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals decision in the John Dewey Institute v. State Board matter.