One Colorado Commends the State Board of Education for Reinstating Inclusive Social Studies Standards

Denver, CO – One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families, released the following statements in response to the State Board of Education’s 4-3 party-line decision in favor of honest and inclusive social studies standards for Colorado students as outlined in HB19-1192. Grades 1-12 will be required to teach the history and social contributions of LGBTQ+ and African American, Asian American, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian people.

“Today was a step forward for equality and a win for all Colorado students. We know that an inclusive environment supports better mental health outcomes among LGBTQ+ youth. At a time when our young people are facing the worst mental health crisis in history, we commend the State Board of Education for listening to the thousands of students, parents, teachers, and community members who spoke out in favor of honest and inclusive education. Together, we are taking steps to support the mental health and wellbeing of all students, especially the most vulnerable.” – Garrett Royer, (he/him), One Colorado Deputy Director

“What people who are opposed to this do not understand is that white, cisgender, and straight majorities are not going to be negatively impacted, but instead it will give all students the skill to relate to everyone and recognize the humanity of humans who don’t share your personal identities. We are not coming for them, we are coming to build everybody up.” – Gabe, student in the St. Vrain Valley School District

“We are content with the decisions the State Board of Education made today. And we also believe there is still much work to be done to ensure we have inclusive, comprehensive, and honest standards and curriciulum for all students in Colorado.” –  Valeria Contreras, (she/her/ella), Great Education Colorado

“As educators, we are committed, first and foremost, to creating educational spaces that are inclusive and offer students an environment without fear and intimidation where they can learn and grow. This fall I crisscrossed the state to speak with educators and one thing that I can say with certainty is that educators are keenly aware of the discussions that took place at the State Board of Education regarding the social studies standards revisions. There was palpable fear for their students based on some of the rhetoric that has been espoused during the revisions process. The passage of the social studies standards today solidified Colorado’s place as one of the first states to fully include marginalized groups and LGBTQ+ individuals in its social studies standards. We breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our students will have access to an honest and inclusive education in our public schools in Colorado.” – Amie Baca-Oehlert, (she/her), High School Counselor and President of the Colorado Education Association

In April of 2022, the Social Studies Standards Review Committee recommended the removal of all references to LGBTQ+ people below 4th grade and most references to African American, Asian American, Indigenous, Latin, and religious minority communities and their contributions throughout the standards.