Welcome to a Special Edition of Capitol Week in Review!   The First Session of the 74th General Assembly kicked off this week with mostly pomp and circumstance. Members were sworn in, leadership elections took place, committee assignments were made, and legislation started being introduced. Capital Week in Review is back to bring you news of bills we are tracking around our priorities of advancing educational equity and racial justice in Colorado and making our schools and communities safer and more supportive. This week we are sharing key information about leadership in the general assembly, updates from the State Board of Education and Governor’s office as well as a rundown on our priorities for this session.

Legislative update

HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, which supports student teachers toward the goal of diversifying the teacher workforce was introduced in the House.  

HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, which creates the sixth through twelfth grade mental health assessment program was introduced in the House.  

HB23-1042, Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements, which increases funding for interrogation training for law enforcement, as well as improves the general reliability of confessions by requiring all juvenile interrogations to be recorded was introduced in the House and assigned to the Judiciary Committee.  

SB23-029, Disproportionate Discipline In Public Schools, which requires each school district board of education, institute charter school board for a charter school authorized by the state charter school institute, or governing board of a board of cooperative services (BOCES) to adopt a policy to address disproportionate disciplinary practices in public schools was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Education Committee.  

SB23-043, Continue School Access For Emergency Response Grant Program, extends the SAFER grant program for 5 years, until July 1, 2029. The SAFER Grant Program provides funding to encourage and provide training for seamless communivations between schools and first responders.

Senate and House Leadership Elected

Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder)
Minority Leader Paul Lundeen (R-El Paso)
House of Representatives
Speaker of the House Julie McCluskie
(D-Summit) Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R-Larimer)

Education Committee Members NaMED

Senate Education Committee Members

Chair: Janet Buckner

Vice-Chair: Janice Marchman  

House Education Committee Members

Chair: Barbara McLachlan

Vice-Chair: Matthew Martinez

Governor Polis Sworn in for Second Term

Governor Jared Polis was sworn in for a second term on January 10, 2023 in front of the State Capitol in Denver. During his inaugural address he highlighted some of his accomplishments such as free full-day kindergarten. While education was not a centerpiece of his speech, he did mention implementation of universal preschool. He also called for unity as Coloradans and acceptance of differences throughout his remarks, “No matter what part of Colorado you call home, who you are, or who you love. No matter your race, or your gender, or how you worship, or how you vote. Colorado belongs to all of us and we will all help shape our future.”

Stand Government Affairs Director, Bri Buentello joins our partners at Healthier Colorado at inaugration this week. 

Members of State Board of Education Sworn In

This week, recently elected members Kathy Plomer, Steve Durham, Rebecca McClellan, and Rhonda Solis were sworn in to the State Board of Education. Rebecca McClellan was named chair and Lisa Escárcega was named vice-chair of the State Board. Read more about the roles and responsibilities of the State Board of Education.

Members of our team attended the swearing in ceremony for the new State Board of Education members.

Our Take: Priorities this Session

Stand advocates for educational equity and racial justice in Colorado through meaningful partnerships with families, educators, schools, and policymakers by prioritizing early literacy, high school success, and safe and supportive schools and communities. During legislative session this year our team will be advocating alongside our partners for a variety of policies aligned to our mission.

Our top priorities include:

  • Expanding funding for the Ninth Grade On- Track and Expelled and At-Risk Student Services (EARSS) grant programs.
  • Repealing deceptive interrogation tactics for juveniles, updating expulsion policies, eliminating cash bail, and raising the age for detention from 10 to 13.
  • Finalizing the updated school funding formula to include a new proxy for poverty, ensure a dedicated English Language Learner (ELL) weight, create a better balance for cost-of-living adjustment amounts, and fully fund special education services across districts.

Continuing work towards diversifying the teacher workforce. 

What We’re Reading

2023 Colorado General Assembly: The people’s guide to following education issues, Chalkbeat  

First day: Colorado lawmakers pledge ‘thoughtful’ school funding debate amid budget constraints, Chalkbeat    

CSU’s teacher preparation program wins state approval, gets kudos for science of reading shiftColorado voters may be asked to forgo their future, Chalkbeat  

TABOR refunds so the state can boost school funding, Colorado Sun

Stand for Children Colorado advances educational equity and racial justice in Colorado through meaningful partnerships with families, educators, schools, and policy makers. One of the ways we uphold this work is through our annual Advocacy Fellowship.   

Stand Advocacy Fellows are community leaders advocating for policy solutions towards racial justice and equity in education.  With the support of Stand staff, advocacy fellows will deep dive into issues affecting Colorado communities today, co-create solutions, democratize knowledge back to their communities, work to break down barriers to power and access decision makers, and, in the process, build long lasting relationships and invaluable skills. 

Colorado State Board of Education passes inclusive social studies standards 

Together with our supporters and other partners we raised our voices in favor of students learning accurate, fact-based accounts of history. Learn more here

Celebrating Election Results   

Volunteers sent 170,000 texts to Colorado voters to support education champions in this year’s election. In addition to the re-election of Governor Polis, and the election of Stand endorsed candidates in the State Legislature, we are incredibly excited about the election of Kathy Plomer and Rebecca McClelland to the State Board. View the full list of Stand Education Champions elected here.  

Stand Event: Engaging Through Challenges 

This October, we hosted the Center for High School Success, Teach Kindness, and Home Visit Partnerships in a free, webinar to introduce programs and strategies to support safe and supportive school environments that lead to effective student and family engagement and improved attendance.  

Lorelei, Stand Advocacy Fellow

“I am excited to continue this fellowship because Stand is dedicated to change-making for our students and communities. I am looking forward to making change through careful research, thoughtful advocacy, and strong partnerships in a state policy context. I loved working with families and the Stand for Children advocates in the past and am happy to continue that work.” 

Thank you for standing for Colorado’s students, families, and educators. Whether you’ve signed a petition, emailed your lawmaker, or shared information with your family and friends, your action matters, and so does your support. Will you donate to support our work in 2023?

Every dollar raised will go towards: 

  • Fighting to expand funding for the Ninth Grade On-Track and Expelled and At-Risk Student Services (EARSS) grant programs. 
  • Providing families with training and resources to support their students outside of the classroom through workshops and one on one support to parents/guardians in schools we partner with. 
  • Working to eliminate the, currently allowable, practice of lying to juveniles during interrogation. 
  • Continued progress on early literacy outcomes for students 

Efforts, fueled by misinformation, to omit teaching complete history and censure teachers will not happen in Colorado after the State Board of Education voted this week to approve social studies standards for students that include ” the experiences and contributions of diverse groups: Latino, Indigenous, African American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people.”  

Together with our supporters and other partners we raised our voices in favor of students learning accurate, fact-based accounts of history that describe the contributions and persecution of certain groups.

When students have the opportunity to learn an accurate, fact-based account of history, it enables them to avoid repeating mistakes of the past, succeed in diverse workplaces and communities, and work toward creating a better and just society.

After a busy election season, I woke up feeling so proud of the work our team and volunteers did to support Colorado’s education champions! Volunteers sent 170,000 texts to Coloradans in the past couple weeks and today, we’re celebrating big wins with them.

In addition to the re-election of Governor Polis, and the election of Stand endorsed candidates in the Senate and the House, we are incredibly excited about the election of Kathy Plomer and Rebecca McClelland to the State Board.

Our focus will continue to be on prioritizing ways to improve early literacy, making sure our students are prepared to graduate on time, and ensuring our schools and communities are safe and supportive spaces for students to thrive. We are excited to share with you our policy priorities and work with you to advance them next legislative session. 

Here’s your guide to voting for education champions for the State Board of Education this November in four easy steps!  

1.) Learn more about the State Board.  

2.) Decide what’s important to you in a candidate!  

  • Do you want to elect someone that has experience in education? Is it important that your candidate talks about mental health supports for students?

3.) Research the candidates! 

4. VOTE! Be sure to complete your ENTIRE ballot and vote all the way through, including the At-Large candidate for State Board of Education.

You’ve got this! Your ballot needs to be dropped off by 7pm Tuesday, November 8 but no need to wait – you can drop it in a secure ballot drop box as soon as you are done voting. 

Rear view of little boy and his classmates raising arms to answer teacher’s question during the lecture in the classroom.

I’ll be honest, before I worked at Stand I didn’t think much about the members of the State Board of Education and their impact on education in Colorado. Now that I’ve learned more, I know that the State Board plays a really important role guiding education in our state.  

For better or worse, decisions made by the elected directors of the State Board of Education will impact education for my kids. So, why am I writing you about the State Board of Education today? It’s because towards the very end of our very long general election ballot this year is your decision on who you want to represent you on the State Board. You will also vote for an At-Large (statewide) Director, a seat added after the most recent census.  


There are seven elected members of the State Board responsible for overseeing the Colorado Department of Education, appointing our commissioner, approving our education budget, accrediting school districts and the programs preparing our teachers, and distributing millions of federal dollars. 

Here are a few ways the State Board is impacting education in Colorado RIGHT NOW:  

Make sure that those elected to the State Board of Education reflect Colorado’s values and commitment to our students. While it may not get the most attention, these positions make impactful decisions about the direction of our education system. Ensure you complete your entire ballot – all the way through State Board of Education Directors— and vote for champions! 

Stand for Children Colorado announced today the endorsement of candidates running for the Colorado General Assembly, Governor and Colorado State Board of Education in the upcoming General Election Tuesday, November 8, 2022.


Jared Polis

Colorado House of Representatives

Julie McCluskie, District 13 

Lindsey Daugherty, District 24 

Ruby Dickson, District 37 

Mary Young, District 50 

Barbara McLachlan, District 59 

Colorado Senate

Dylan Roberts, District 8 

Tony Exum, District 11 

Lisa Cutter, District 20 

Tom Sullivan, District 27 

Colorado State Board of Education

Kathy Plomer, At-Large

Rebecca McClellan, District 6    

“A group of six highly involved community leaders choose their preferred candidates and they ended up being those who uphold and commit to fighting for education equity and racial justice,” said State Organizing Director, Ivana Bejaran Rib.

Candidates seeking Stand’s endorsement complete our Education Champion questionnaire.  An endorsement committee of parents and educators then use the completed questionnaires, public positions, and relevant voting records to check for alignment to our top priorities of early literacy, high school success and safe and support schools and communities.  Stand and the parents, educators, and community members we work with will now work to get out the vote in support of these candidates between now and election day.