Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Improving Schools for Native Americans on Web Chat

How state and federal policy can hold up the teaching of Native American cultures and languages is clear to be one of the subjects in next week's live web chat on improving education for Native American students. The free chat is planned for Aug. 11, 3 p.m., Eastern time. It will be open for queries on that day and a transcription will be available afterward.

One of the guests is Keith O. Moore, who presently became the director of the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Education, the first person to be selected to that post as President Obama took office. Formerly, Moore was the director of the Indian education office for South Dakota. He took that career when South Dakota reopened the office in 2005, after it was blocked for about 15 years. I met Moore three years ago when he helped to bring together educators and scholars from a number of Western and Midwestern states to focal point on how to improve the academic achievement of Native American students. I wrote on that meeting and mobility issues among American Indians in a public school in Rapid City, S.D., for Education Week.

The second guest in the chat is Leslie Harper, the director of an Ojibwe language-immersion school in Minnesota. She has direct experience with how federal and state laws can hold up or delay the teaching of a Native American tongue at the school level. I wrote regarding her school when she came to Washington in recent times to ask for more flexibility in how the No Child Left Behind Act relates to immersion schools for original languages.


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