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Some States Include Native American History in the Curriculum

At least five Northwest states have academic standards that address Native American culture and history, and the subject is included in the school curriculum, according to a study released yesterday by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory of the Institute of Education Sciences.

The study is the most comprehensive so far to analyze Indian education policies in states, according to its authors.

Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington all have six policies in common related to Indian education, the study says. In addition to the two I noted at the beginning of this post, all five states involve Native Americans on advisory boards, permit them to learn their native language as part of a school program, promote teacher certification in Native American languages, and provide college scholarship and tuition assistance for Native Americans.

The researchers didn't try to evaluate the merits of the Indian education policies or how well they were implemented. In a story I wrote last year for Education Week, I delved into some of the challenges of carrying out such policies. For example, a lack of funding to support some that were on the books was a problem in some states.

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