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A Week Away: Web Chat on Improving Schools for Native Americans

How state and federal policy can support the teaching of Native American cultures and languages is bound to be one of the themes in next week's live web chat on improving education for Native American students. The free chat is scheduled for Aug. 11, 3 p.m., Eastern time. It will be open for questions on that day and a transcript will be available afterward.

One of the guests is Keith O. Moore, who just became the director of the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Education, the first person to be appointed to that post since President Obama took office. Previously, Moore was the director of the Indian education office for South Dakota. He took that job when South Dakota reopened the office in 2005, after it was closed 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 focus on how to boost the academic achievement of Native American students. I wrote about 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 firsthand experience with how federal and state laws can support or hinder the teaching of a Native American tongue at the school level. I wrote about her school when she came to Washington recently to ask for more flexibility in how the No Child Left Behind Act applies to immersion schools for indigenous languages.

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