SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted Wednesday the first American Indian Education Oversight Committee (AIEOC) meeting since 2017. The AIEOC will provide input and advice to Thurmond on all aspects of American Indian education programs established by the state, with AIEOC members having extensive knowledge of current educational policies relating to, and issues faced by, tribes and American Indian communities in California.
“I’m excited to bring together educators as we rethink how we not only teach about Native Americans in schools, but also how Native American children are experiencing school,” said Thurmond. “Our statewide data tells us that only 75 percent of Native American children graduate high school. Almost one-third of our Native American students are chronically absent from school, and our native children are scoring below standard in English language arts and math. We can close these gaps, and it begins with partnership and collaboration, something that I recognize needs more nurturing and attention, especially when it comes to our relationships with Native American families and partners. We are committed to finding ways at the state level and locally to include tribes in decision-making.”
The 24-member committee will work on subjects including tribal consultation, cultural standards, reviewing curriculum resources and instructional materials for cultural relevancy, strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism of American Indian students, studying the impacts of COVID-19 on American Indian students, and identifying specific supports and resources to support American Indian students and communities.
“For too long, our classrooms have presented a one-sided, glossed-over account of our nation’s dark history and of the diverse lived experiences of the indigenous people who call California home, and for too long Native American children have not seen themselves reflected in the curriculum. It is my goal to really change these educational disparities and explore pathways that can improve outcomes,” Thurmond said.
The California Department of Education (CDE) funds 23 American Indian Education Centers and 12 American Indian Early Childhood Education programs. California public schools reach and serve more than 25,000 American Indian students on a daily basis.
More information about the AIEOC and yesterday’s meeting can be found on the CDE American Indian Resources July 2021 Meeting Agenda web page.
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s website.