OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A rule change that allows the Oklahoma State Department of Education to grant annual certification to American Indian language instructors aims to address the shrinking number of people who are fluent speakers in their native languages.
Two Sauk language instructors from the Sac and Fox Nation are certified through the new process, and one instructor has applied from the Creek Nation, said Desa Dawson, director of world language for the Education Department. She said several other instructors were previously approved from tribes including the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Kiowa and Osage.
The Oklahoman reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/19r5dsL ) that the change also allows students to receive graduation credit for taking the courses. Before the rule change, students could take elective courses in tribal languages, but they weren't able to receive language credit for graduation, Dawson said.
Oklahoma has 39 federally recognized American Indian tribes, and all the American Indian languages spoken in Oklahoma are considered endangered, Dawson said.
The new rule was adopted this year under legislative rule change procedures. It allows competent instructors to teach under the supervision of a regularly certified teacher.