DENVER — A ballot initiative filed by a Colorado legislator and the president of the Independence Institute*, a Denver-based think tank, would add curriculum and all other educational materials used in preschool through 12th grade as specific records required under Colorado’s open records laws, relieving any kind of ambiguity in the law.
The measure was filed by Jon Caldara and Rep. Tim Geitner, R-Falcon on March 4 with the Legislative Council staff, the first step to getting an initiative on the statewide November ballot. After the initial review and comment process, it will go before the Title Board, and then on to the secretary of state to approve petitions. About 125,000 signatures from registered voters will be needed to get it on the 2022 ballot.
Under the proposal, the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) would be expanded to include a “local education provider” be required to provide “all written materials and electronic resources that an educator for a local education provider uses in teaching in preschool … through 12th grade, including but not limited to textbooks, supplemental worksheets or texts, assigned or recommended reading materials, electronic or digital materials or other resources, and course syllabuses.”
Geitner, who was the prime sponsor on a bill that would have required schools to post the curriculum they use online, said in a news release that transparency in government is something people expect at all levels, schools should not be any different.
“Coloradans, as the investors that pay for every government expenditure, have a right to know what their government is doing — taxpayer funded schools are no exception,” Geitner said. “Transparency is necessary to inform parents and taxpayers on not just age-appropriate material, but on the rigor and focus of the next generation’s leaders of our great state.”
Geitner’s bill was killed in committee by majority Democrats in early March.
The initiative is a statutory change, meaning it needs 50 percent plus one of the vote to pass, and that lawmakers can later amend the measure if enacted, as with any other state law.
*Independence Institute is the publisher of Complete Colorado.
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