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American Indian education

Published (3/7/2008)
By Thomas Hammell
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The House E-12 Education Committee approved a bill that would require teaching candidates and teachers renewing their licenses to receive instruction in the contributions made by Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities.

HF3263, sponsored by Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Mpls), was sent to the House Finance Committee March 4 with the suggestion that it move to the House K-12 Finance Division.

In addition to establishing representative American Indian advisory committees, the bill would appropriate $120,000 to the Department of Education to establish an American Indian liaison position to work with American Indian students and communities.

Clark said the passage of standards involving Native American instruction was a “wonderful accomplishment” for the Legislature, but said the provisions need to be strengthened.

Jackie Fraedrich, program director for student services at Robbinsdale Area Schools, said there was a position until last year, but there is currently “no American Indian voice at the education department.”

Rep. Sandra Peterson (DFL-New Hope) said there are questions about the test teachers would have to take that were unanswered in the bill.

“I’m a little bit protective about teachers,” she said, saying they’ve already got a lot of requirements thrown at them.

Assistant Education Commissioner Karen Klinzing said the only concern would be with the budget.

“We support a full-time position, but funding would have to accompany the position,” she said.

A companion bill, SF3079, sponsored by Sen. Mary Olson (DFL-Bemidji), was referred to the Senate Education Committee.

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