Washington D.C. –
U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, will chair a legislative hearing tomorrow on the Native Culture, Language and Access for Success in Schools (Native CLASS) Act (S. 1262).
The purpose of the hearing is to solicit input and recommendations on the Native CLASS Act, introduced by Senator Akaka. The Native CLASS Act is a comprehensive Native education bill that strengthens language and culture-based education, teacher training and development, and local access and control. It includes revisions to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, as well as other federal laws, and authorizes several new programs.
“In many regions of our country, Native students suffer from the lowest graduation rates and poorest academic performance,” said Chairman Akaka. “This comprehensive bill outlines a new vision of education built on Native priorities. As a former teacher, principal and administrator, I know the power that integrating culture and increasing access to opportunities can have in improving outcomes for our Native students. To build a successful future for our Native communities, we must start with success in our schools.”
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Tim Johnson (D-North Dakota) and Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii). Witnesses at the hearing will include officials from the U.S. Department of Education and Bureau of Indian Education, tribal leaders, Native educators and administrators, and representatives from national Native organizations.
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