Support Protecting Native Culture during the Implementation of Common Core State Standards

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 TITLE: Support Protecting Native Culture during the Implementation of Common Core State Standards

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, we, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative was launched in an effort to address concerns regarding the wide variability in state standards resulting in uneven and unequal education opportunities across states and lowered expectations for student achievement in order to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act; and

WHEREAS, CCSS are a set of commonly agreed upon standards for K-12 learning, grounded in research and practice, reflecting the type of skills and knowledge students need for a successful transition between high school, college, and the world of work while also remaining competitive in a global economy; and,

WHEREAS, potential benefits of CCSS include aligned standards across states and public schools, which could limit or mitigate interruptions or disconnects in learning for Native students who are mobile between schools and states, or between public, Bureau of Indian Education schools, and tribal schools; and

WHEREAS, the skills and knowledge identified as necessary in the standards would also need to include the skills and knowledge identified by Native communities as being critical to their continued development and well-being that also provides a pathway for their students’ success; and

WHEREAS, CCSS requires all teachers to master the same curriculum in each content area, instead of differing curricula in varying states, which allows states and school districts to focus on helping teachers be proficient and effective in teaching all students; and

WHEREAS, for Native students, cultural inclusion is often necessary for success, and this may be an opportunity to expand instructional competencies to include Native histories, languages, and cultures, along with the dedicated time for professional development in these areas; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, NCAI calls upon states to identify and evaluate the educational needs of tribal nations and Native communities and provide evidence including: dropout rate, attendance, student achievement and tribally defined standards at all grade levels; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI calls upon states who have adopted CCSS to meaningfully consult, collaborate, and develop tribal-state partnerships that specify additional standards ensuring Native histories, cultures, languages, tribal sovereignty, and government structures are incorporated into the standards; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI calls upon states to recognize and support the right of tribal nations to exercise educational sovereignty in leading the implementation of CCSS in developing culturally relevant standards, curriculum, professional development, and assessments as well as other critical components that affect the education of our students; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI calls upon CCSS states to ensure teachers and administrators have the resources they need to successfully implement culturally-respectful standards by providing onsite and ongoing training, access to CCSS implementation material and instructions, and giving proper notice to changes in implementation procedures and assessment standards; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.