UPDATE March 2022: A curriculum transparency bill died in committee. (https://legiscan.com/CO/bill/HB1066/2022) A bill prohibiting discriminatory practices in public schools has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. (https://legiscan.com/CO/bill/HB1206/2022)
The State of Colorado has embraced CRT, in the form of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), at every level. Both the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education have created strategic plans focusing on CRT, as well as hiring leaders whose main focus is CRT.
From the website of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE):
CDE was notified by the United States Department of Education (USDE) in July, 2014, regarding the need to submit to the Department a new State Educator Equity Plan in accordance with the requirements of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). As required by ESEA, CDE, among other things, must describe the steps it will take to ensure that “poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers.” Click below to see the plan that was submitted to USDE on June 1, 2015. Appendices referenced in the plan are available upon request.
There are numerous equity resources and a strategic plan at the link: https://www.cde.state.co.us/fedprograms/stateequityplan
Equity infuses everything in the CDE website. They have gone so far as to embrace equity based mathematics (source: https://www.cde.state.co.us/comath/equitybasedmathteachingpractices)
In June 2020, the Commissioner of the CDE reaffirmed the department’s dedication to equity, racial justice, and access:
Commissioner Anthes shares her commitment to equity, racial justice and improving access to quality education
DENVER – At this week’s monthly State Board of Education meeting, Commissioner Katy Anthes shared her thoughts on the pain, sadness and tragic consequences of centuries of racial injustice and how ensuring access to equitable quality educational opportunities is a crucial part of the solution.
“CDE’s mission is to ensure equity and opportunity for every student, every step of the way,” Anthes said. “It has always been and continues to be the right work, but the truth is, the system is still falling short. The events of the last several weeks, and before, highlight how much work we have to do and how much learning we have yet to realize.
“We must do more to concentrate on equity as a foundational construct of our work at CDE; we must do better to empower schools and districts in their efforts to increase access and opportunity and ultimately change the systemic structures leading to inequities in student success.
“While we don’t have all the answers to break these long-held barriers, and it will certainly not be easy, we are committed to learning more and advocating for change to create a more equitable school system, where regardless of skin color, students have access to equal opportunities in their lives.”
You can read more of Commissioner Anthes’ thoughts on race and education here.
Individual board members took time at the end of the board meeting to share their thoughts and reflections about racism and equity issues. To hear their individual statements, watch the end of the June 11 meeting. (source: https://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/20200611sbemeeting)
In August 2021, The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) hired their first Chief Educational Equity Officer: “The position supports the Department’s equity, diversity, and inclusion (DEI) goals and promotes the vision of a Colorado higher education community that is inclusive and deliberate in erasing the persistent equity gaps in educational attainment across all student demographic categories. The chief educational equity officer serves as a catalyst and advocate for educational equity initiatives and systemic change at Colorado’s institutions of higher education to develop quick and sustaining results that support historically underrepresented and marginalized students.” (source: https://highered.colorado.gov/news-article/department-selects-dr-roberto-montoya-as-first-ever-chief-educational-equity-officer)