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Detrimental To Culture (NCLB)  andre cramblit
 Jan 31, 2008 19:13 PST 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Improving the No Child Left Behind Act and how it
applies to Alaska Native students was the goal of a hearing in Anchorage
Tuesday.

Several educators say the act is working but at the expense of Native
language and culture.

Yvette Thiede says Alaska Native language and culture are missing from
the curriculum.

"I just think there are certain things teachers should know about our
kids and culture to help them transition into this world," said Theide,
who works with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

Alberta Jones of the Juneau School District says teachers need better
training.

"I feel (we should be) giving them professional development
opportunities, more opportunities with equity and how to teach Alaskan
Native students and other areas as well," Jones said.

These concerns are not new to Dr. Willard Gilbert, the president of the
National Indian Education Association.

"We are hearing it everywhere because the original intent of the Native
American Education Act was to incorporate language and culture and for
some reason or another we've gotten away from that," Gilbert said.

Gilbert has already testified before Congress and plans to bring
Alaska's concerns to D.C. as the feds continue to consider changes to
the act.

"We want the people in Washington D.C. to know we are very concerned
about the direction our education system has taken and we feel we need
to concentrate on language and culture," he said.

Gilbert says the act is set to be re-authorized in 2009. He says he
plans to travel the country and gather feedback from Native Americans,
Alaskans and Hawaiians about the initiative.

Educators at the hearing hope the people making the laws listen.
	
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