OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill requiring the State Board of Education to collect information about a student’s tribal affiliation was signed into law on April 20 by by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
House Bill 1104, authored by Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso, would amend the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act to include tribal affiliation for students identified as having American Indian heritage.
“By fully tracking tribal affiliation, schools can strengthen partnerships with tribal nations and make sure they are receiving all available federal funds for their Native American students through Title VI and the Johnson-O’Malley program,” Vancuren said. “This will allow schools to better meet the needs of these students.”
Vancuren, a 30-year educator and coach, said the State Board of Education currently collects other demographic information on students. This information helps with state and federal reporting and to access certain funding. Additionally, the entirety of this information is protected to ensure that individual students are not identified to the public.
HB 1104 was authored in the Senate by Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton.
“The ability to collect data relevant to tribes will better enable them to support their school and community partners, pursuing the best interests and education of our students,” Montgomery said.
In a Facebook statement, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said the bill would build on important tribal-state partnerships in education.
“HB 1104 allows Oklahoma public school districts to collect voluntary data from students about their tribal affiliation,” he said. “I am hopeful this will help our local school districts better serve our Native students. It is a bright day in Oklahoma. When the tribes and state cooperate, we can create a better future for all Oklahomans.”