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Colorado Department of Education

Colorado Department of Education               

Colorado Department of Education is the state department responsible for ensuring effective education for all Colorado citizens. It is also responsible for the regulation of private schools in Colorado. The department was established by a Constitutional Amendment approved in Amendment Seventeen in Colorado. Its powers are derived from the Colorado Constitution and are authorized to control the management and operation of the boards of education of Colorado. All member agencies are subject to the control of a Supreme Court ruling.

The Colorado State Board of Education consists of five members: the governor, the majority leader, the speaker of the house, the treasurer, and a justice of the peace. All members have been certified by the American Association of School Principals (AASP). The board has the responsibility for approving or rejecting applications for public schools in Colorado. Colorados parents are advised to contact the Colorado Department of Education for all questions and/or concerns regarding the operation of their child's public school.

Colorado's General Education Regulations allows the State Board of Education to suspend, revoke, or restrict the activities of any duly authorized representative or officer of the State Board if the officer or representative fails to properly discharge his or her duties relating to the administration of public schools in Colorado. Violation of the provisions of this section of GER may result in the removal of an officer or the suspension of activities. All educational decisions must be made in accordance with the education rules and procedures required by Colorado Const., Art. XVI, sec. 13-A. All records relating to the action of the State Board of Education, including its meetings and official minutes, are public records. These records also provide a concise summary of proceedings at public meetings and include the opinion of members on each issue as regards its proper disposition.

The Colorado Department of Education retains the authority to suspend a public school or board of education member for not performing the functions assigned to him or her by the state board. However, in order for such actions to be legally binding, four elements of notice need to be met. First, the individual must have notice of the impending action. Second, he or she must have reasonable notice that the conduct is likely to occur; third, he or she must have notice of the conduct and reasonable notice of the effectiveness or duration of the planned action; fourth, the Board must have actually seen or heard of the contemnorngent's conduct.

Colorado does not permit a public official to participate in any activity, for any reason whatsoever, while he or she is engaged in any official duties for the state. These include participation in any student/teacher forum organized by the Colorado Department of Education or any other educational entity. If a Colorado educator or official refuses to comply with this requirement, he or she is guilty of discrimination and can be punished by losing his or her position, by fine, by returning his or her pay (to the state), or by any other action taken by the state board of education.

As Colorado is a "no tolerance" state, teachers who engage in the unacceptable practise of discrimination will, in most cases, be dismissed, fired, or subject to other severe penalties. It can be hard for some people to understand why the Colorado Department of Education goes so nuts when it comes to teacher religious discrimination. After all, isn't teaching, as a profession, a practice that opens people's eyes to other points of view? Apparently, not to Colorado's educators.

In addition to the firing and reprimand of public schools, the Colorado Department of Education has also been involved in the ouster of many superintendents and principals who refused to conform to the state's public school policy on religious discrimination. These officials were also guilty of insubordination. In one case, the State Board of Trustees had to cut ties with a superintendent because he refused to remove a Ten Commandments plaque from the public schools' gymnasium.


At the present time, the Colorado Department of Education has put in motion a plan which, if passed, will codify the rights of teachers in the classroom. One section of this plan calls for the removal of any reference to God, religion, or national origin in the classroom. The hope is that this measure will eliminate the problem of religious intolerance and violence that are sometimes seen in Colorado public schools. However, one has to ask, will this new state law affect the teaching of the Bible in public schools, which are funded by tax dollars? That's another story.

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