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Newsom signs bill to boost Native American curriculum (enewspapers.dailybulletin.com)

 

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians annually hosts thousands of fourth graders at a California Indian Cultural Awareness conference commemorating California Native American Day in September. COURTESY PHOTO

Author:  Beau Yarbrough's article, please click here.

California educators will be working more closely with Native American tribes under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday.

Assembly Bill 1703, the California Indian Education Act, encourages school districts, county offices of education and charter schools to form task forces with local tribes or tribes historically located in the region to share local history, discuss areas of concern and develop Native American curriculum and classroom material.

“It’s critical that we teach all students about the diversity of California’s more than 100 tribes,” the bill’s author, Assemblymember James Ramos, D-Highland, says in a news release issued by his office. “Our state’s tribes each have different languages, customs, culture and history.”

Ramos expressed the hope that a “more complete and high quality curriculum” would prevent incidents like the October 2021 incident in which a Riverside Unified School District math teacher imitated a stereotypical Native American as part of trigonometry lesson.

AB 1703 also requires school districts to identify the size of the achievement gap between Native American students and non-Native peers and come up with strategies to close them. The findings would then be submitted to the Assembly and Senate education committees. Curricula and instructional materials developed by the task forces would also be shared with the California Department of Education with the intent of making them available to educators across the state.

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