LANGUAGE & CULTURE-BASED EDUCATION

Native students are more likely to thrive when Native languages, cultures, and histories are present and celebrated in the classroom. As an integral component of culture-based education, Native languages are key to the success of Native students in the classroom and beyond.

 

NIEA ADVOCACY

NIEA supports language and culture-based education programs that create a positive and inclusive learning environment for Native students to be inspired, engaged, and thrive. Since our founding in 1969, NIEA has advocated for culturally-relevant education options that promote college, career, and community readiness.

JOHNSON-O’MALLEY PROGRAM

First authorized by Congress in 1934, the Johnson O’Malley (JOM) program has provided grants to supplement basic student services for Native studentsin public schools and Bureau-funded schools across the country. Currently, school districts utilize these funds to assist innovative programs that meet the unique cultural and scholastic needs of Native students. Though the federal government allocated $125 per student in JOM funding in 1995, per pupil federal funding has decreased to less than $63.80 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. Due to reduced funding, school districts with high-Native student populations often struggle to provide effective culturally-relevant education for Native students. Each year, NIEA advocates for fully funding the JOM programs and updating Native student counts to ensure that all Native students have access to the necessary tools to thrive.

Related Resources

S.943 – Johnson-O’Malley Student Count Update Bill: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s943/BILLS-115s943is.pdf

NIEA Testimony & Comments

NIEA Resolutions

NIEA Budget & Appropriations

 

ESTHER MARTINEZ ACT

In 2006, Congress recognized the critical role of Native languages and culture in the education of Native students by authorizing legislation that promotes Native student achievement by funding Native language immersion and restoration programs. Under this law, known as the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation (Esther Martinez) Act, the Department of Health and Human Services provides grant opportunities to assess, plan, develop, and implement projects to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native languages. Due for reauthorization since 2012, NIEA is working with congressional staff and national partners to advocate for the reauthorization and full funding of grant programs under the Esther Martinez Act.

Related Resources

P.L. 109-394 – Esther Martinez Act: https://www.congress.gov/109/plaws/publ394/PLAW-109publ394.pdf

S.254 – Esther Martinez Reauthorization Bill: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s254/BILLS-115s254rfh.pdf

NIEA Testimony & Comments

NIEA Resolutions

NIEA Budget & Appropriations

 

EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT

Following the authorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, the Department of Education provided grants for Native language immersion programs for the first time in the history of the United States. During the 2016-2017 school year, Department of Education began providing resources and funding to schools that create programs using American Indian and Alaska Native languages as the primary language of instruction. Throughout the development and implementation of the statute, NIEA has advocated for the necessary resources for public schools to fully serve the cultural academic needs of Native students. NIEA continues to support effective implementation and continued funding for Native language programs under ESSA through our work with states and tribes and our advocacy throughout the congressional appropriations process.

Related Resources

NIEA Indian Education Title Side-by-Side

NIEA State ESSA Resources

NIEA Budget & Appropriations

NIEA Fact Sheet: Language Immersion Under ESSA