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May 23, 2024

McLachlan Bills to Extend Federal Indian Boarding School Research Program, Boost K-12 Science Performance Become Law

DENVER / ENGLEWOOD, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed two bills sponsored by Representative Barbara McLachlan into law. 

HB24-1444 will implement History Colorado recommendations to support healing generational trauma in tribal communities, capture oral histories and dive deeper into long standing inequities faced by tribal communities. 

“History Colorado’s research about the federal Indian boarding schools revealed the atrocities of the past; it left us with a choice on how to right these wrongs and better support our tribal communities today,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “This law extends this important research for another three years, acknowledging the abuse and forced assimilation and addressing some of the longstanding social, economic, and educational inequities still faced by our tribal communities.”

“We cannot erase the horrors of the past, but we must face them,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “This new law directs the state of Colorado to continue to expose the truth about the American Indian boarding schools.”

HB24-1444 in consultation with tribes, extends the federal Indian boarding school research program within History Colorado until 2027. Enacted in 2022 through HB22-1327, this research program was tasked with researching the victimization that occurred at American Indian boarding schools in Colorado. History Colorado released the findings from their report and recommendations in October of 2023, which revealed that nine institutions in the state attempted to assimilate American Indian students. 

HB24-1444 invests $1 million to continue the program and ensure consultation with different tribes, the steering committee, and the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs in putting forward recommendations to work toward social, educational and economic equity for tribal communities by November 8, 2025.

HB24-1446 is a bipartisan law that will make no-cost professional development programs available to science educators, with an emphasis on in-person and virtual programming that supports students who are below grade level, students living with disabilities, gifted students, and students who are English Language Learners.

“I’m also proud that my bipartisan bill to make professional development programs available to science educators at no cost became law today,” continued McLachlan. “The key to success in the classroom is a great educator, and this law makes it easier for our science teachers to continue honing their skills and meet the diverse needs of our students.”

HB24-1446 aims to improve K-12 science performance for Colorado students by giving teachers the tools and resources they need to foster success among the students who need the most support. With this law, teachers who participate in this professional development may earn credit towards license renewal. Rural school districts must be prioritized if demand for the training exceeds capacity. The program will be made available beginning in the 2025-26 school year.

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