• December 5th, 2022
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LEC and LAC Thanks Colorado Department of Education Board


 

Milo Marquez

 

The Latino Education Coalition of Denver (LEC) and the Colorado Latino Action Council (LAC) at CLLARO wish to express our thanks and appreciation to the Colorado Department of Education for their vote last week, November 10, confirming the importance of Multicultural Studies in K-12 for Colorado’s schools in Social Studies. Importantly, we note Social Studies includes the content areas of History, Geography, Civics, and Economics.

 

In 2019, the Colorado State Legislature approved HB19-1192, known as the Inclusion of American Minorities in Teaching Civil Government Bill, signed by Governor Polis in May 2019. HB19-1192 mandated the creation of a Commission, appointed by Governor Polis, to study potential Multicultural Studies content and make recommendations concerning such content areas in K-12, with discreet proposals in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. Upon concluding their task, that Commission forwarded their recommendations to the CDE Board. LEC and LAC viewed them favorably. Surprisingly, and most unfortunately, the CDE Board forwarded these recommendations to a Committee for further review, which in early June announced the results of their review.

 

This positive vote by the CDE Board approving these revised Standards is eminently significant to the Latinx community.

 

The LEC and LAC viewed those results as a malicious gutting of almost any reference to the Multicultural Studies content. For example, while the HB19-1192 Commission indicated at least six areas in the high school curriculum where Social Studies content about Latinos would be added, the CDE Board’s Committee eliminated five of them, leaving only one meager reference, to receive a mere passing nod throughout a student’s entire high school career, in grades 9-12. The elementary and middle school curricula faced similar evisceration. Fortunately, on Sunday, the seven-member CDE Board, after serious reflection and considering input by many groups and individuals, including LEC and LAC, voted 4-3 to restore the original Commission recommendations, which we approved.

 

This positive vote by the CDE Board approving these revised Standards is eminently significant to the Latinx community and other racial and ethnic minorities and marginalized groups. The Preamble paragraph to HB19-1192 reads in part, “concerning the inclusion of matters relating to American minorities in the teaching of social contributions in civil government… to include the history, culture, and social contributions of American Indians, Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals within these minority groups,” and other marginalized groups. Members of LEC have worked on this Bill, and its predecessor, Title 22-1-104, for many years, including during previous iterations of the LEC. We wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to numerous members of LEC and LAC over the years, including in concerted written responses to the CDE Board, which helped make Sunday’s CDE Board vote on to approve possible.

 

We want to acknowledge the early leadership by former State Representative Joe Salazar. We also want to thank State Senator Julie Gonzales and State Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez for their leadership role in HB19-1192’s drafting and approval, and for their working with the CDE Board to reach this favorable conclusion on November 10.  We look forward to working in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education and its Board in moving this important academic area forward.

 

Milo Marquez serves as the Chair of the Latino Education Coalition and Director of the Latino Action Council.

 

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