Review committee to present social studies curriculum data to Garfield Re-2 board in late October

Westley Crouch
For the Post Independent

The Garfield Re-2 School Board Social Studies Curriculum Adoption Action Plan (SSCAAP) concluded the last of its planned social studies standards community forums Tuesday at the Rifle Branch Library. 

Tuesday’s discussion was held in Spanish with English interpretation and was added as a direct result of feedback obtained during previous discussions to include all members of the community. 

The district currently looks to adopt one of three standards for its social studies curriculum: the 2022 Adopted Colorado State Standards, the 2022 Revised Colorado State Standards or the American Birthright Standard.

Before 2020, 13 content standards across Colorado were reviewed every six years. But in 2020, the state decided to revise the process, which now reviews one-third of these content standards every two years.

But the 2022 Adopted Colorado State Standards drew controversy when it called for highlighting diverse peoples and naming specific groups. This includes citing African Americans, Latino, American Indian, Asian Americans and LGBTQ+ communities.

This prompted Re-2 Board President Tony May to introduce into discussion the possibility of the district adopting the American Birthright Standard, a program created by Civics Alliance. This organization is being billed as a “nonpartisan” effort to teach American patriotism and liberty.

ABS was rejected by the Colorado Board of Education in October 2022.

Since May introduced ABS to the district board in spring 2023, parents and community members have spoken for and against the program, using school board meetings and the four community forums to voice concerns.

Many have called ABS too extreme and conservative. For instance, during the community forum in New Castle on Sept. 11, about 60 people spoke. Of which, the majority showed support for the district adopting the 2022 Standards.

Meanwhile, community members in favor of ABS have either questioned the history being taught by the 2022 Standards, as well as the teaching of sexual education and the LGBTQ+ community to younger students. Many people who spoke during the first two community meetings were ABS proponents.

Along with the community forums, the SSCAAP concluded its public survey. The survey was used to obtain public comment for the review process. 

According to Re-2 Director of Communications Theresa Hamilton, the survey was emailed to family members and included in district newsletters. It was also made accessible on the Re-2 school website, shared over social media and through a Post Independent article.

So far data from the survey will include voluntary information. This references who participated in the surveys and if the participants are only those who live in the Re-2 School District. Previous reporting on this stated that only an IP address would be collected through which the survey was submitted.

All data obtained from both the forums and survey will remain private at this time. All of the data obtained will now be reviewed by the SSSRC, which will present its findings and recommendations to the Re-2 School Board by the Oct. 25 board meeting. 

Although the Re-2 school board election is set for Nov. 7, it remains unclear when the board will vote for the adoption of a new social studies curriculum based on the recommendation presented by the review committee. During the August board meeting for the adoption of the SSCAAP, the board never got to the specific portion of when a vote would be held, despite going round and round on other topics presented in the SSCAAP.

The SSSRC is still being formed but will be composed of community members, parents and educators. Applications to join the committee closed on Monday.

The SSSRC will hold meetings Sept. 21, Sept. 28 and Oct. 8. These meetings are not open to the public or the press and are considered a “work product.” 

“This is not a meeting where public officials will be present,” Hamilton said. “No decisions will be made. It [SSSRC Meeting] will be for purely processing all of the information to form a recommendation to give to the board.”

The total cost to taxpayers for the SSCAAP could not be obtained at this time but this story remains part of the Post Independent’s ongoing coverage of this issue.

May did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. 

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