DENVER — The Colorado State Board of Education has agreed to extend the deadline for public comment on highly controversial recommended revisions — which include teaching guidelines that align with Critical Race Theory (CRT) — to the state’s social studies standards.
As public awareness and controversy surrounding CRT has grown, it is now commonly referred to in many districts and by those in favor of it as social and emotional learning. It is a school of thought that believes racism is institutionalized and embedded in America’s history, and that history should be viewed primarily through the lens of racial oppression.
One example of how CRT is embedded in curriculum is the Anti-Defamation League-created program “No Place for Hate.”
While it is the responsibility of local school boards in Colorado to choose its curriculum and textbooks, it is the State Board of Education that sets the academic standards. All public schools in the state, including charter schools, must meet or exceed those standards.
These standards include grade level expectations and related outcomes. A few examples of the new proposed social studies standards that a student would need to meet or exceed are:
- A preschooler would need to begin to recall family or personal events as they happened in the past … especially as it pertains to diverse backgrounds and individual family traditions such as race. Currently this standard only requires a preschooler to need to recall personal events that happened and differentiate between past, present, and future.
- A kindergarten teacher could ask the following civics questions of the 5- and 6-year-olds:
- Why is it important to hear what friends from different backgrounds (cultures, races, languages, 30 religions, family composition, etc.) have to say?
- What is the difference between “fair,” “equal,” and “equitable?”
- A first grader would need to understand that people’s lived experiences impact their perspective on historical events through teaching multiple perspectives on things such as the first Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Juneteenth, and Cinco De Mayo.
- A second grader would need to analyze historical time periods and patterns of continuity and change, through multiple perspectives, within and among cultures and societies.
- For example: Analyze the interactions and contributions of various people and cultures that have lived in or migrated to neighborhoods and/or communities, such as: African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ, and religious minorities.
The standards also include changes to understanding climate change and how humans are responsible for it, understanding how nonprofits work and how they help people achieve their wants and needs among scarce resources, how to advocate for diverse community members and groups and to influence decisions in their community, how to determine what information in society is accurate and fair, and how to promote social change, among many other things.
Initially, anyone who wished to file comments on the proposed social studies standards had until Jan. 1, 2022. However, board member Joyce Rankin requested an extension of the deadline to Feb. 1 to take into consideration the holidays. The standards committee will consider revising the proposed standards after all public comment is heard. The State Board of Education will ultimately vote on the final standards.
More information can be found and comments can be left at the Colorado Academic Standards Review and Revision webpage: http://www.cde.state.co.us/standardsandinstruction/casreviewgroups.
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