January 19, 2012

Native languages for class credit

Native American Languages Could Count For Class Credit

By Carol BerryGoodbye, French and German. Hello, Dine, Lakota and other Native American languages—with some qualifications.

Under a proposed new program in Colorado, European and Asian tongues would remain options for foreign language credit in high school, but Native languages from federally recognized tribes could also be offered for that purpose.

The plan is described in a bill filed January 13 for submission to the Colorado General Assembly by Sen. Suzanne Williams (D-Aurora), a member of the Comanche Nation, and co-sponsor Rep. J. Paul Brown (R-Ignacio).

Space is carved out in the proposal for teachers to obtain authorization for Native American language teaching without being required to complete a teacher preparation program or to have a baccalaureate degree, Williams said. The Colorado Board of Education would establish criteria for the authorization.

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