State Board of Education

  • Colorado’s Constitution provides that the general supervision of the public schools shall be vested in the State Board of Education whose powers and duties are prescribed by law.
     
    The state board currently consists of seven elected members who serve without pay. The constitution provides that there shall be one state board member elected from each of the congressional districts. When the number of congressional 21 districts in the state is an even number, an additional state board member is elected at large. This ensures that there will always be an odd number of persons serving on the state board. 
     
    The state board is the governing board of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE ). Within the limits of its jurisdiction, the state board appoints the commissioner of education, makes rules and regulations that apply to school districts, accredits public school districts and regulates educator licensing, among other things. The state board exercises judicial authority with regard to appeals by charter schools. The state board appoints and receives recommendations from a variety of advisory commissions and committees in the process of carrying out its responsibilities.

    The state board has authority to release school districts from some state statutes and regulations. Districts can pursue this flexibility under the waiver statute or Innovation for Schools Act [C.R.S. § 22-32.5-108.] The process for seeking a waiver has been expedited for those school districts with fewer than 3,000 students. Most recent waiver requests to the state board involve conditions of teacher employment.


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Commissioner of Education

  • The Office of Commissioner of Education was made an appointive office by a 1948 amendment to the constitution. The commissioner serves as the executive officer of the state board and is the chief administrator of CDE.
     
    The commissioner advises the state board concerning educational matters, submits reports as required by law to the governor and the General Assembly and is responsible for personnel administration in the Department of Education. It is the commissioner’s duty to execute the policies and regulations adopted by the state board. The commissioner must maintain adequate statistical and financial records of the school districts and maintain a continuous research program to stimulate improvements in education.
     
    In addition, the commissioner has the authority to issue instructions to school officials concerning the governance of the public schools, to prescribe forms and items to be included in reports submitted to the department, to construe provisions of school law and to cause the preparation and distribution of printed materials that may be beneficial to school personnel and students.


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Colorado Department of Education

  • The Colorado Department of Education (CDE ) provides leadership, resources, support and accountability to the state’s 178 school districts to help them build capacity to meet the needs of the state’s approximately 860,000 public school students. CDE also provides services and support to boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES), early learning centers, state correctional schools, facility schools, the state’s libraries, adult/family literacy centers and General Education Development (GED) testing centers reaching learners of all ages.
     
    As the administrative arm of the State Board of Education, CDE is responsible for implementing state and federal education laws, disbursing state and federal funds, holding schools and districts accountable for performance, licensing all educators, and providing public transparency of performance and financial data. CDE serves students, parents and the general public by protecting the public trust through ensuring adherence to laws, strong stewardship of public funds and accountability for student performance.


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State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education

  • The State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE) is charged with establishing and maintaining a state system of community colleges. It also provides the state-level structure for the administration of occupational education programs in the public schools.
     
    This board also administers the laws relating to occupational education programs in public schools. It must review and approve postsecondary occupational education programs to be offered through boards of cooperative services. The board also supervises the allocation of all state and federal funds provided for occupational education programs and purposes, and establishes minimum qualifications for teachers of occupational subjects and other professional personnel who provide occupational education supervisory and counseling services in the schools.


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Colorado Commission on Higher Education

  • The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) is the state policy and coordinating board for Colorado’s higher education system. CCHE sets policies, in accordance with state law, that apply to all state-supported institutions of higher education. This includes all postsecondary institutions supported in whole or in part by state funds (including junior colleges and community colleges), extension programs of the state-supported universities and colleges, local district colleges and area vocational schools. CCHE’s policies also apply to the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado and the institutions it governs.
     
    The community colleges, as well as state colleges and universities, provide many services to school districts and to boards of education. Most of these institutions have personnel who are willing to assist districts by providing consultant services, conducting school building surveys, maintaining film libraries, providing speakers for various occasions and maintaining a close working relationship with secondary schools to better prepare students for entrance into college. State law directs CCHE to establish a network to connect the faculty of postsecondary institutions with the teachers in school districts for the purpose of exchanging information. Most of the institutions that provide teacher training also maintain a placement agency to assist school officials with the selection and screening of prospective employees.
     
    The law recognizes that the public system of elementary and secondary education must provide students with the skills and abilities necessary to make the transition to the postsecondary system. It is the prerogative of K–12 to establish the goals and standards necessary to provide these skills. At the same time, CCHE is authorized to set the standards for admission to the postsecondary system. When these standards are raised, it has a direct impact on K–12. Ideally, there should be continual dialogue between representatives of K–12 and higher education because of common goals, numerous challenges, opportunities and overlapping interests.


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