Rankin: Parents weighing in while reading remains essential
The Colorado State Board of Education is responsible for setting statewide standards for K-12 students. Local school districts then align curricula to those standards.
As the Social Studies Standards revision committee is active, public comment continues to pour in. Last month the Department of Education received more than 17,000 emails from concerned citizens. When the state board convened in April, they discussed the new input. The Social Studies Standards revision committee recently withdrew references to LGBTQ in kindergarten through third grade. Parents and community members had expressed that the subject was inappropriate for young children. As soon as the revision was made public, commenters began requesting that the LGBTQ terminology be restored.
At our April board meeting, Chalkbeat, a news organization reporting on educational issues, wrote that three “Democrats on the State Board were adamant that LGBTQ references remain in K-3.” Currently, there are four Democrats and three Republican members on the board. They will vote at a date to be determined.
Another topic that I reported on last month and the acknowledged most crucial mission of K-12 education is reading proficiency. Only 40% of our third graders are proficient in reading. I’ve focused on reading since the READ Act passed into law in 2019. The bill requires that all teachers of reading in kindergarten-third grade must complete an evidence-based course aligned with the Science of Reading by August 1. Teachers must then upload their training certification to the Colorado Department of Education by August 15. Accordingly, when this is complete, the school will be eligible to receive READ Act funding.
I recently highlighted seven school districts in the 3rd Congressional District that have already completed the training. They are South Conejos and Sanford (Conejos County), La Veta (Huerfano County), Dolores (Montezuma County), Ouray (Ouray County), Moffat Schools (Saguache County), and Garfield 16 (Garfield County). Congratulations to our Reading Leaders in the Third Congressional District.
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In addition to the K-3 reading teachers in Garfield 16, Superintendent Brad Ray also included the art teacher, physical education teacher, fourth and fifth-grade teachers, and special education teachers. Garfield 16 exhibits strong leadership where reading is fundamental in all classroom instruction.
Other school districts continue to monitor teacher training to ensure that students have the best opportunity to succeed in life. I’m proud to serve and never cease to be amazed by the leadership and effort of teachers and superintendents in the Third Congressional District.
Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the 3rd Congressional District. She writes the monthly column Across the Street to share with constituents in the 29 counties she represents. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.