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All students graduate ready for college and careers, and prepared to be productive citizens of Colorado.


Ensuring equity and opportunity for every student, every step of the way.


As a dynamic service agency, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) provides leadership, resources, support, and accountability to the state’s 179 school districts, 1,927 schools, 55,197 teachers and 4,341 administrators to help them build capacity to meet the needs of the state’s 883,264 public school students. Colorado is a "local control" state. This means that many pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public education decisions - on issues such as curriculum, personnel, school calendars, graduation requirements, and classroom policy - are made by the school districts and their local school boards. However, the people of Colorado felt that some facets of education, such as educator licensing and district accreditation, required leadership at the state level. Therefore, the Colorado General Assembly established the existence of a State Board of Education to provide guidance on education issues, and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to administer education details for the Board. 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. 

In compliance with Colorado legislation and State Board guidance, the Colorado Department of Education is tasked with a variety of activities and responsibilities. Among them, CDE:     

  • supervises many aspects of school administration, including accreditation, teacher licensingschool transportationschool nutritionspecial education, and early childhood education;
  • administers and distributes funds for a number of federal and state educational programs, centering on issues such as student literacy, technology, school reform and the prevention of at-risk behavior;
  • administers the state's library system, as well as all adult education efforts that don't fall under the supervision of Colorado's higher education system;
  • oversees school finance and audits the distribution of education funds;
  • accumulates, evaluates, and makes public Colorado education data and information;
  • 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;
  • operates the Colorado Talking Book Library which provides supports for people who have vision, print, and reading disabilities; and
  • provides structural and administrative support to the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind and the Charter School Institute.

As a learning organization, CDE actively partners with districts, schools, educators, families, and community agencies to assess needs, foster innovation, identify promising practices, learn from each other, and disseminate successful strategies to increase student achievement and ensure college and career readiness.

As a change agent, CDE seeks to continually advance and improve the state’s education system to prepare all learners for success in a rapidly changing world.  CDE sets a clear vision for increasing student and overall system performance and holds itself and the state’s schools and districts accountable for results.  CDE must be mindful of the rapid pace of change and be constantly working to push the system in ways that it anticipates and prepares students for the world in which they will live.  As such, we’re helping envision and provide models of what learning needs to look like in order to prepare students for the future.

Performance Plans