Colorado Senate Bill 17-296, signed and effective June 2, 2017, requires all Colorado public school educators (teachers, special services providers, principals and administrators), except temporary teachers who are citizens of a foreign country, to take or sign the Colorado teacher’s oath of allegiance to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution.
It is not required of non-educators, such as transportation or custodial staff.
An individual only needs to take the oath once during the term or tenure of employment.
CRS 22-61-103 Teacher’s oath, affirmation, or pledge for public schools.
(1) A person now holding a license to teach in the public schools in Colorado or who shall hereafter be issued a license to teach in such public schools within Colorado, except a person employed to teach in a temporary capacity who is a citizen of a nation other than the United States, shall take or sign the following oath, affirmation, or written pledge:
“I solemnly (swear) (affirm) (pledge) that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Colorado, and I will faithfully perform the duties of the position upon which I am about to enter.”
(2) A person authorized to administer oaths in Colorado shall administer the oath or affirmation, or the teacher must sign the pledge.
CRS 22-61-104 Teacher’s oath, affirmation, or pledge for professors, instructors, and teachers in state institutions of higher education.
(1) Every person employed to teach in a state university, college, junior college, community college, or technical college in Colorado, before entering upon or continuing the discharge of his or her duties, shall take or sign the following oath, affirmation, or written pledge; except that a person employed to teach in a temporary capacity who is a citizen of a nation other than the United States is not required to take such oath or affirmation or sign the pledge:
(Same oath as above.)
(2) A person authorized to administer oaths in Colorado shall administer the oath or affirmation, or the professor, instructor, or teacher must sign the pledge.
Notary Public for Teacher’s Oath
A Colorado notary public can administer the oral or written oath or affirmation to an individual or to a group.
A written pledge must be signed by the teacher, but notarization is not required. It may be included in the annual teaching contract.
Sample Form, Teacher’s Oath or Affirmation
State of Colorado ) ss.
County of __________ )
I solemnly swear or affirm that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado, and I will faithfully perform the duties of the position upon which I am about to enter.
Printed Name Signature
Subscribed and sworn to before me this day of ____________________, 20_____.
Notary Signature (Seal)
Sample Form, Colorado Teacher’s Oath
History of the Colorado Teacher’s Oath
The current teacher’s oath originated in 1921, signed into law by Governor Shoup. It arose out of World War I support for Americanism and the real or perceived threat of anti-American, anarchist, and possibly Communist elements in society.
World War I fighting ended when the opposing countries agreed to an armistice on November 11, 1918. Originally known as Armistice Day, it was changed in 1954 to be known as Veterans Day, to honor American veterans of all wars for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
In 1919, the Fort Collins newspaper reported there were disloyal teachers, especially in Denver, who tried to undermine students belief in their country, its cause and its fundamental ideals of honest democracy.
The original teacher’s oath was longer, shortened in 1969 after several court challenges from University of Colorado professors, and read as follows:
I will support the constitution of the State of Colorado and of the United States of America and the laws of the State of Colorado and of the United States,
and will teach, by precept and example, respect for the flags of the United States and of the State of Colorado,
reverence for law and order and undivided allegiance to the government of one country, the United States of America.
To allow visiting exchange teachers to explain the viewpoints of their foreign countries, the law does not apply to temporary visiting teachers who are citizens of another country.
Historical Example of School Officer’s Oath
From Annotated School Laws of the State of Colorado, 1904.
Oath sworn before a notary public, justice of the peace or other duly authorized officer.
I, __________, do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully perform the duties of __________ of school district No _____, in the County of __________ to the best of my skill and ability;
and that I will carefully keep and preserve all records, books and other property of the said district that may come into my hands, and deliver the same to my lawful successor in office;
and further, that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State, and the laws of this State, made in pursuance hereof;
so help me God.
1. Simple Red Apple by sanja, Public Domain CC0 1.0 Universal, OpenClipArt.org
2. Stack of three books by gerhard-tinned, Public Domain CC0 1.0 Universal, OpenClipArt.org
3. World War I Armistice Day, 11/11/1918, New York Times, Public Domain, Wikimedia.org