An excerpt:

Just as the feds have long predicted, the 50 million-plus students enrolled in the country’s public K-12 schools this fall are more racially diverse than ever. Students of color now outnumber their white peers, largely thanks to striking growth in America’s Latino and Asian youth populations. Times sure have changed: Fewer than one in five Americans ages 85 or older was a minority in 2013, versus half of children under 5.

Taken as a whole, these statistics suggest that it may be time to revisit the word “minorities” when talking about students who aren’t white. Then again, the statistics probably shouldn’t be taken as a whole.

A close analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s actual and projected demographic data suggests that the trends for students identified as “American Indian” or “Alaska Native” tend to deviate from the overall student body. These discrepancies are often so subtle that they seem negligible; the data is so tenuous that the subject seems moot. But these nuances are important to highlight—if only because America’s indigenous children are so often left out of conversations about closing the “achievement gap.”

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An excerpt:

Technology is everywhere in education: Public schools in the United States now provide at least one computer for every five students. They spend more than $3 billion per year on digital content. Led by the federal government, the country is in the midst of a massive effort to make affordable high-speed Internet and free online teaching resources available to even the most rural and remote schools. And in 2015-16, for the first time, more state standardized tests for the elementary and middle grades will be administered via technology than by paper and pencil.

To keep up with what’s changing (and what isn’t), observers must know where to look. There’s the booming ed-tech industry, with corporate titans and small startups alike vying for a slice of an $8 billion-plus yearly market for hardware and software. Much attention is also paid to the “early adopters”— those districts, schools, and teachers who are making the most ingenious and effective uses of the new tools.

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An excerpt:

Sitting on a plane on my way home from Seattle, I am sorting through reflections on the historical end of No Child Left Behind and the passing, at the end of last year, of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The turbulence makes it difficult to type but that simply adds to the symbolism of the journey our nation’s education has taken over the past two decades: bumpy and unnerving. Now, there is a new law and a plethora of provisions in it to applaud. I want to offer my accolades for a subtle but valuable win, the recognition of Native American education. I had just spent a weekend in Washington State to offer Common Core literacy training for tribal school educators. It was during this time that I realized how significant of a win the new legislation is for the 567 federally recognized tribes of Native Americans.

Around 20 of us — teachers and administrators –gathered at the Muckleshoot Tribal College in Washington State, a college on the Muckleshoot reservation, to practice blending a recently-mandated Native American curriculum into the college’s content classes using Common Core instructional practices. Despite the varied grades, content areas, and educational roles, our purpose for spending the weekend learning together was to ensure that native and non-native teachers could utilize culturally-responsive teaching practices and texts to ensure that native students had more equitable access to quality culture-based instruction. Several educators mentioned the literacy challenges their students face because of the lack of resources and support in the community. Native and non-native teachers discussed how important it is to embed the students’ culture into instructional practice but this would mean more communication between schools, tribes, and the community. There was a voice of determination for success despite the frustration.

Historically, there is a presence of a nearly silent voice, one that has been mistaken for being passive. Amidst the cacophony of political and social discourse, the Native American plight to affirm their sovereign rights and maintain a cultural identity has been a quiet under-recognized plight. Several hundred years of persevering through this plight has wreaked havoc on the native educational system as well as the academic performance and psychological well-being of Native American students. In the narrative of equity, other minority groups have taken center stage as native students fell further behind. In 2015, I traveled with the Native Indian Education Association (NIEA) across New Mexico, South Dakota, and Washington State to provide Common Core trainings like the one in Muckleshoot.

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The Department of Education announces their intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee prior to publishing proposed regulations to implement part A of title I, Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The negotiating committee will include representatives of constituencies that are significantly affected by the topics proposed for negotiations, including Federal, State, and local education administrators, tribal leadership, parents and students, including historically underrepresented students, teachers, principals, other school leaders (including charter school leaders), paraprofessionals, members of State and local boards of education, the civil rights community, including representatives of students with disabilities, English learners, and other historically under-served students, and the business community.

DATES: Must be received on or before February 25, 2016

Submit your nominations for negotiators to:
James Butler, U.S.
Department of Education, 400 Maryland
Avenue SW., Room 3W246,
Washington, DC 20202

Telephone (202) 260–9737
or by email:OESE.ESSA.nominations@ed.gov.

For more information, click here.

An excerpt:

Learning a new language can be hard, especially when the language is as scarce and complicated as the Navajo language.

Aresta La Russo, a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona, has taught Navajo since 2010. Over the years, La Russo said she has seen technology improve the way she teaches students and how their access to software and apps outside the classroom help them grasp the old language.

“I think with technology and the Navajo language, I think they go hand and hand pretty well,” La Russo said.

Alray Mariano, a junior at the University of Arizona, is taking La Russo’s class. He said he uses the Internet at home to improve his skills.

“The Diné College published a website dedicated to learning the Navajo language of how to structure sentences and how to use pictures to describe what is going on in a sentence,” Mariano said. “It’s very helpful in a way that when I go home, I can use the website (to) pronounce the words and learn how to structure the sentence.”

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An excerpt:

The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 is a big win for Indian country, according to the National Indian Education Association. Executive Director Ahniwake Rose, Cherokee/Creek, and Federal Policy Associate Dimple Patel explained why in a January 27 webinar, “Understanding the Every Student Succeeds Act.”

ESSA, signed into law by President Obama on December 10, reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, a piece of civil rights legislation meant to protect the nation’s most vulnerable children. ESSA replaces the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act and shifts much of the responsibility for elementary and secondary education from the federal government to the states.

Tribal Consultation

For the first time ever, states and local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to engage in meaningful consultation with tribes or tribal organizations in the development of state plans for Title I grants. Further, LEAs must consult with tribes before making any decision that affects opportunities for American Indian/Alaska Native students in programs, services or activities funded by ESSA.

“Consultation means better decisions will be made for our students…. We believe that this provision alone is going to change the way our students are perceived and worked with in our school systems,” said Rose.

The key, she said, will be to help schools and LEAs understand what meaningful consultation is. NIEA will be working with the Department of Education and states to make sure consultation occurs at the earliest possible stage and prior to the development of any programs, initiatives or policy.

Native Language Immersion Programs

Funds awarded under a new Title VI (the new title for Indian Education) grant may be used to fund Native language immersion programs in public schools. The intent is to help Native peoples use, practice, maintain and revitalize their languages and cultures and to improve educational opportunities and student outcomes in AI/AN communities, said Rose. A Language Immersion Study will identify best practices.

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