Reflecting Colorado Values in Our Classrooms
By Cristina Aguilar, Executive Director of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) on a hearing on the Multi Cultural Education in History and Civil Government:
“Latinas and our families are a critical part of the fabric of Colorado. Unfortunately, our stories and contributions have not always included in classroom discussions. That is why COLOR is leading the effort to pass the Multi Cultural Education in History and Civil Government Act, a bill that requires all public schools to ensure that that Colorado history and civil government classes include information about the cultures and contributions of the American Indians, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans. It also includes provisions to create public forums to engage students, teachers and parents in discussions on the curricula in their community.
Right now, students are not always taught about the vast array of ways that people of color have helped to build this country. This is a disservice to students of color and the educational community as a whole.
Schools play a critical role not only in developing students’ knowledge in different subject areas, but also in imparting the values that we want to advance as a community – values of fairness, inclusion and equal opportunity. By making a commitment to including a wider array of substantive information to ensure multicultural awareness, we help young people of color to feel that their history and the stories of their communities are embraced and respected. This will help to create unity and cultivate mutual understanding.
When we ensure that the history of people of color is not relegated to a one month lesson plan or a bulletin board, we show students of color that their lives and experiences matter and teach young people that leaders come from all walks of life. This enhances their educational experience and lays the groundwork for real culture change. This legislation is an important step in ensuring that our public school curricula reflects our Colorado value of fairness and equal opportunity. We urge support for this important legislation.”