Native American school proposal defeated in House committee

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
03/07/2020 02:30 PM
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota House committee on Wednesday rejected a proposal to start four schools focused on Native American language and culture despite the bill receiving unanimous support from the Senate.

House lawmakers voted 9-5 to effectively kill the bill after representatives from the Oglala Lakota County school district, which is on the Pine Ridge Reservation, opposed it. They said they had not been consulted on the proposal. Other education groups also opposed the bill, arguing that it would hamper their ability to raise funds for facilities.

Educators who are pushing for the proposal held out hope that it could be revived through a rarely used legislative maneuver on Thursday. One-third of the House would have to support bringing it to the floor for debate.

The proposal would allow four Oceti Sakowin schools that would teach a curriculum centered around Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota language and culture. A group of educators proposed the schools as a way to address the low rates of high school graduation and higher education attendance in some Native American communities.

They argued that the culturally relevant style of education could transform education among Native Americans. Gov. Kristi Noem supported the proposal.

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