Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act
S. 1948 and H.R. 4214 (identical)

To promote the academic achievement of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children with the establishment of a Native American language grant program.
 
Introduced: January 16, 2014
Reported: August 26, 2014 by Mr. Tester with amendment
Reported by Senate Indian Affairs Committee: July 30, 2014

Introduced by Mr. Tester (D-MT) and Co-Sponsored by Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in the Senate and Co-Chairs Tom Cole (R-OK) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) in the House (Mr. Schatz, Mr. Begich, Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, Ms. Murkowski, Ms. Heitkamp, Mr. Walsh, and Mr. Heinrich); read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs.

The Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education Act (ESEA Title VII) was created to determine the educational pathway of tribal nations. Since its inception, federal Native education policy has become outdated and although provides formula grants, discretionary programs and other activities, the current legislation has eliminated culture-based teaching models and diminishes tribal self –determination. By passing the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act, Congress has the opportunity to strengthen and protect Native education and language.


CALL TO ACTION:

• Review the bill’s with your community and/or leadership.
• Contact your delegate and voice the importance of supporting this legislation for Indian Country.
• Review National Indian Education Association (NIEA) Advocacy Action Guide.
• Contact delegates, your representatives and offer support to pass legislation.        
    Goals of S. 1948 and H.R. 4214:
• Create a grant program to support Native language usage as the primary method for instruction in curricula at schools and to improve overall student outcomes.
• With authority from the Secretary of Education, award grants to eligible, schools (public and private), tribal or nonprofit organizations for development/expansion/improvement of programs using Native languages as the primary language of instruction from grades prekindergarten to post-secondary programs and schools.
• Include federal policy for Native immersion schools as established in the Native American Languages Act (Public Law 101-477).

Supporting Entities:

• National Indian Education Association (NIEA), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, Alaska Federation of Natives, Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, United Tribes of North Dakota, and the National Alliance to Save Native Languages called for a grant program to support Native language immersion schools.
• Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Eight Northern Pueblos, Inc., Navajo Nation and ‘Aha Pūnana Leo Immersion non-profit organization, tribes and organizations have endorsed S. 1948.

Resources:

• NIEA Advocacy Guide
• S. 1948 and H.R. 4214 (identical)
• NIEA Testimony
• NIEA Modernize S. 1948 and H.R. 4214
• GovTrack.us – Tracking the United States Congress, track bills, committee meetings, get alerts