Letter to the Editor: Summit School district should be recognized for its positive contributions | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Summit School district should be recognized for its positive contributions

Bruce Menzel

Largely overlooked amid midterm elections was another recent event significant to Coloradans: revision of school social studies standards, a state core instructional program. As mandated by law, such standards periodically undergo review and revision. 

In 2020, a committee of Colorado social studies teachers, school administrators and content experts was tasked by the State Board of Education to prepare revision recommendations. In 2019 the state General Assembly had already weighed in with laws specifying that revisions should reflect the history, cultures and social contributions of American minority groups.

After the committee released its proposal last November, extensive public feedback produced largely favorable opinions. Then in May 2022, two Republicans and one Democratic State Board of Education members gave conflicting “advice” to the committee. The (confused?) committee responded in June with major changes to its recommendations, minimizing references to LGBTQ citizens and to ethnic minorities, substituting generic language in their place. The resulting stir prompted progressive state legislators to remind the State Board of Education of the 2019 legal requirements for the standards to adequately address histories of marginalized citizens. 

The drama extended into board meetings where members challenged each others’ ideologies. Eventually, impassioned public pleas, educational administrator “educating,” the State Board of Education debate, a flurry of amendments and the State Board of Education voting returned the revised standards to their near-original construction. At the Nov. 10 meeting, the final standards revision was formally adopted by 4-3 party-line vote. Yellowscene Magazine noted that “The decision moves Colorado in the opposite direction of states under Republican control that are passing laws to limit how teachers can talk about race, gender and sexuality and also to limit how they can support students.” 

Here, I recognize the Summit School District for its positive contributions to the successful revision process.

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