Update: the Stranger followed up its story with another story about the 29 legislators who voted against this bill. Some of the names may surprise you.
end of update.
In the "what took so long" category, a great story from The Stranger on the signing of legislation by Governor Inslee that mandates the teaching of tribal histories of the state's 29 recognized tribes. The curriculum is called "Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum."
According to The Stranger, it goes in effect on July 24th which naturally means it needs to start by the beginning of the school year (or so you would hope).
From the article:
Washington is only the second state in the country to require teachings
about this country from its indigenous people; Montana was the first.
But unlike the $4.4 million the Montana legislature allocated for its
tribal curriculum, Washington's law didn't set aside any funding.
Whatever funding there is comes from the tribes themselves, private
organizations, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction's internal budget. Together, they've raised about $300,000.
Will you look at that? Apparently, it ISN'T just initiatives that come with no dollars attached to them.
Now (Shana) Brown and trainers like her are tasked with using that money to spread the curriculum to the state's 295 school districts.
"It's a big fucking deal," she says, momentarily breaking her teacher-trained poise.
Then there's the Native American achievement gap. In 2011, President
Obama signed an executive order declaring the "urgent need" to improve
educational outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native kids dropping
out of high school at disproportionate rates. In 2012, less than half
of the low-income American Indian and Alaskan Native kids enrolled in
Washington public schools met the state's fourth- and seventh-grade
reading, math, and writing standards, according to the Office of the
Superintendent of Public Instruction. American Indian kids are
consistently failing more often than their white, Asian, Asian-Pacific
Islander, black, and Hispanic peers.
Add in that most students probably do want to know the good, the bad and ugly about their state. It's likely to make them better citizens and better people.
"Middle-school kids, unlike any other brand of animal, have an intense,
fierce sense of fairness," Brown says. "I haven't in my classroom
experienced or witnessed the white guilt that some people have
experienced. But it is more along the lines of 'I can't believe that
that happened,' and 'What do we do now?'"
I don't recall being taught much from my own schooling and I grew up in Arizona where we have many tribes. It's really a pity to lose that much history.
It's a very good piece.