Some Colorado Charter Schools Teaching Abstinence-Based Education

Charters, which won a major victory in securing equal funding as public schools last June, pride themselves on the freedom to find fresh, creative approaches to learning while claiming to meet or even exceed state education standards.

But with that legislative victory, Colorado’s 238 charter schools were also required to disclose to the State Board of Education which curriculum standards they choose not to adopt. Along with waivers from following the traditional school calendar, state teacher hiring requirements and procedures for firing teachers, four charter schools on the Front Range opted not to adopt Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education, and 21 were waived from the state’s Alcohol and Controlled Substance Education curriculum during the 2016-2017 school year.

These waivers are “non-automatic,” meaning that they have to be approved by the state board. In return, the charter schools are required to offer a “replacement plan” to their local school districts and the public, intended to provide assurance that state standards are being met, according to Bill Kottenstette, executive director of school choice at the Colorado Department of Education.

But many charter schools’ replacement plans provide little details on what students are taught about human sexuality, alcohol and controlled substances.

Addenbrooke Classical Academy, a preschool-12 charter school in Lakewood, simply writes in its replacement plan that the Jefferson County School Board granted the school authority to decide the curricula on these subjects, which will include “appropriate instruction on human anatomy, reproduction, and sexuality.”

Addenbrooke Classic Academy

Golden View Classical Academy (GVCA), a K-11 charter school in Golden, also received waivers for both comprehensive human sexuality and alcohol and controlled-substance education. In its replacement plan, GVCA also emphasizes “appropriate” instruction on the subjects.

Golden View Classical Academy

GVCA’s family handbook…

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