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Calendar No. 538
113th Congress Report
2d Session 113-265
TO PROMOTE THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF AMERICAN INDIAN, ALASKA NATIVE,
AND NATIVE HAWAIIAN CHILDREN WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIVE
AMERICAN LANGUAGE GRANT PROGRAM
October 1, 2014.--Ordered to be printed
Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of September 18, 2014
Mr. Tester, from the Committee on Indian Affairs,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 1948]
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the
bill (S. 1948) to promote the academic achievement of American
Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Children with the
establishment of a Native American language grant program,
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
The purpose of S. 1948 is to establish a federal grant
program specifically for Native American language immersion
programs and to provide for their administration and the
collection of data to determine their effectiveness.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
History of grant programs supporting Native American languages
In 1990 Congress passed the Native American Languages Act
(NALA), which recognizes the unique status of Native American
cultures and languages. According to the law, it is U.S.
federal policy to ``preserve, protect, and promote the rights
and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop
Native American languages.'' Further, NALA declares U.S.
federal support for ``the use of Native American languages as a
medium of instruction.''\1\ Congress recognized a number of
reasons for encouraging instruction in Native languages,
including not only language survival and community pride, but
also improved educational opportunity and increased student
\1\(NALA, 25 U.S.C. 2903).
The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation
Act (NALPA), which builds on NALA, was signed into law in
December 2006. NALPA further cemented the federal government's
policy of supporting the preservation of and continued
education in Native American languages. Named after Esther
Martinez, a Tewa teacher and storyteller, NALPA bolsters
federal support for Native language education by creating and
funding programs described below.
Programs supporting Native languages
The promotion and preservation of Native American languages
is supported through several different federal programs. NALPA
offers assistance to three types of Native language education
programs: Language Nests, Survival Schools, and Restoration
Native language nests are educational programs that provide
instruction and childcare to at least 10 children under the age
of seven and offer Native language classes to parents. Such
programs use Native language as the primary language of
instruction and can be offered by private entities (e.g., a
daycare center), tribal entities, or public entities (e.g., a
Native language survival schools are similar in concept to
Native language nests but have broader objectives. These
programs, which must be housed in accredited educational
institutions located in regions with high numbers of American
Indians, provide a minimum of 500 hours of instruction in at
least one Native language to at least 15 students. These
schools aim to achieve student fluency in a Native language
alongside proficiency in mathematics, science, and language
arts. Moreover, survival schools provide for teacher training
and develop instructional courses and materials to advance
Native language learning and teaching.
Native language restoration programs operate one or more
Native language programs and can be offered by private
entities, tribal entities, or public entities. In addition to
delivering instruction in at least one Native language, these
programs provide training to Native language teachers and
develop instructional materials for Native language programs.
Funds are given to restoration programs for a variety of
activities that increase proficiency in at least one Native
language, such as language immersion programs, culture camps,
Native language teacher training programs, and the development
of books and other media.
During the 113th Congress, the Committee has held five
hearings on the topic of Indian education. Throughout each
hearing, the Committee heard from witnesses on the importance
of Native languages and culture to the academic and social
success of Native students.
Native language immersion programs are language instruction
programs that teach all academic subjects in the Native
language, and are often full-day, full-year programs starting
from infancy, with many providing post-secondary programs.
Additionally, many of these programs require family and
community involvement to help integrate the language learning
into the full life of the student. Immersion programs are
arguably not only the most effective way to teach a language
and create fluent speakers, but language experts maintain that
this level of instruction is the best way to ensure the
survival of Native languages. While data on the success of
immersion programs is limited, there is a growing body of
research on how immersion programs can impact tribal identity,
academic success, and cultural continuity throughout many
tribal communities in Indian Country. Immersion programs are
often locally operated and run on minimal budgets, subsidized
by a patchwork of federal grants, private donors, and tribal
government support. S. 1948 aims at supporting the work of
immersion programs throughout the country, and building on
their growing record of success for future sustainability.
Competitive grants specifically authorized for Native
American language programs are awarded by the following federal
Administration for Native Americans (under
the Native American Languages Act of 1992);
Office of Bilingual Education and Minority
Languages Affairs (under Title VII, Improving America's
National Park Service (Keepers of the
National Endowment for the Humanities (as
well as humanities councils in various States)
In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (the 2014
Omnibus), the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) program
was funded at $46,520,000, and the President's Fiscal Year 2015
budget requests level funding. The ANA awarded a total of
$13,361,440 of grant funding for Native American language
programs: $8,352,068 for Native Language Preservation and
Maintenance and $5,009,372 for the Ester Martinez Initiative.
The Department of Education does not currently fund any Native
language educational programs, immersion or otherwise.
Native language immersion
S. 1948 would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (ESEA) of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Education to
award grants to schools and private or tribal nonprofit
organizations to develop and maintain, or improve and expand,
programs that support the use by schools, from the pre-
kindergarten through postsecondary level, of Native American
languages as their primary language of instruction. Grant
applicants would be required to present the Secretary with
specified assurances and demonstrations that the schools they
will support have the capacity to provide education primarily
through a Native language.
The grants would be administered by the Department of
Education. Grantees must support Native American language
education and development; develop or refine instructional
curricula for the schools they support, including distinctive
teaching materials and activities; fund training opportunities
for school staff that strengthen the overall language and
academic goals of their schools; and engage in other activities
that promote Native language education and development. The
grant program would be authorized for five years.
There are significant cognitive, psychological, and
academic benefits that result from Native American language
immersion programs. Issues of culture, language, cognition,
community, and socialization are central to learning. Success
in school and life and ensuring Native children reach the
highest levels of academic performance require this kind of
comprehensive and culturally relevant support. Supporting
Native language instruction helps ensure that Native children
will meet the requirements of a multicultural and multilingual
world while also preserving the integrity of Native linguistic
S. 1948 was introduced on January 16, 2014, by Chairman Jon
Tester (D-MT), along with Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark
Begich (D-AK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) as
original cosponsors. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Lisa Murkowski
(R-AK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Walsh (D-MT), and Martin
Heinrich (D-NM) were added later as cosponsors. The bill was
referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. On June 18, 2014,
the committee held a hearing on the bill. On July 30, 2014, the
committee met at a business meeting to consider the bill. One
amendment was offered and adopted, and the bill, as amended,
was ordered to be reported favorably to the Senate by voice
H.R. 4214, an identical House companion bill, was
introduced by Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) on March 12, 2014.
Congressmen Betty McCollum (D-MN), Howard McKeon (R-CA) and
Michael Simpson (R-ID) were added later as cosponsors. The bill
was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce,
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary
SUMMARY OF AMENDMENT
At a Committee business meeting held on July 30, 2014,
Chairman Tester offered an amendment in the nature of a
substitute, which was agreed to. The provisions are detailed
The amendment altered Section 3 of S. 1948 (which would
amend Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
of 1965) to clarify that Tribal Colleges and Universities,
tribal education agencies, and tribes are ``eligible
entities.'' These groups were added at the request of several
tribes and stakeholders to ensure eligibility and access to all
The amendment also expanded eligibility to schools or
programs that offer multiple programs and/or languages. This
language was intended to make the legislation inclusive of all
eligible immersion programs throughout the country.
The amendment also clarified Section 3 (which would amend
Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of
1965) to address that attendance and matriculation data will be
collected to determine best practices of the schooling and that
the grant authorizes eligible entities to develop a Native
language alignment plan to create or refine assessments of
student proficiency on State or tribally developed academic
standards. The amendment did not change the bill's intent;
rather, it clarified ambivalent language and established a
pathway for addressing some of the more nuanced technical
aspects of Native language programs that exist within the
public school system, where programs have the capacity and
SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF BILL AS ORDERED REPORTED
Section 1. Short title
Section 1 states that the Act may be cited as the ``Native
Language Immersion Student Achievement Act.''
Section 2. Findings
Section 2 sets forth the findings that motivate the
Section 3. Amendments to Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.)
Section (a) establishes the purposes of the section: (1) to
establish a grant program to support immersion instruction in
Native American languages; and (2) to further integrate into
federal policy support for Native language immersion education.
Section (b) provides that the Secretary of Education may
award grants to ``eligible entities'' (defined as tribes,
Tribal Colleges or Universities, tribal education agencies,
schools, or private or tribal, nonprofit organizations)
providing prekindergarten through post-secondary educative
offerings. Eligible grantees are identified as schools and
private or tribal non-profit organizations equipped with a plan
to create and sustain--or improve and enhance--programs
employing Native language immersion as the primary mode of
instruction throughout the curriculum. Schools or programs that
offer multiple programs and/or languages are also eligible
under the Act.
Section (c) sets forth the requirements of the application
process for potential grantees. Applications must include the
name of the Native American language of instruction; number of
students enrolled at the institution; number of present hours
for instruction; status of school (tribal, public, indigenous
language schooling research and cooperative, etc.); statement
of compliance with proficiency requirements of applicable law
and that the school provides assessment of student use of the
Native language; and list of instructors, staff,
administrators, contractors, or subcontractors at school and
their qualifications to instruct in the Native language.
Additionally, this section mandates that attendance and
matriculation data will be collected to determine best
practices of the schooling and that the grant authorizes
eligible entities to develop a Native language alignment plan
to create or refine assessments of student proficiency on State
or tribally developed academic standards.
Section (d) requires that the Secretary shall determine the
amount and length of each grant, that she will do so to ensure
as much as possible the diversity of languages of instruction,
and require that eligible entities present a plan to improve
high school graduation rates, college attainment, and career
readiness resulting from Native language instruction.
Section (e) clarifies which activities the grants are
authorized to fund. These activities include the support of
Native language and development; development or refinement of
instructional curricula; funding for training opportunities for
teachers as appropriate staff in the furtherance of the
immersion program; and other activities to promote Native
language education and development.
Section (f) mandates that each grantee provide an annual
report to the Secretary.
Section (g) authorizes $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2015 and
authorizes that funding may be appropriated for fiscal years
2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following cost estimate, as provided by the
Congressional Budget Office, dated August 19, 2014, was
prepared for S. 1948.
August 19, 2014.
Honorable Jon Tester,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1948, the Native
Language Immersion Student Achievement Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin
Douglas W. Elmendorf.
S. 1948--The Native Language Immersion Achievement Act
Summary: S. 1948 would amend the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act of 1965 (commonly referred to as No Child Left
Behind) to create a grant program that supports schools that
use Native American languages as the primary language of
instruction. The bill would authorize the appropriation of $5
million for fiscal year 2015 and such sums as may be necessary
for fiscal years 2016 through 2019. That authorization would
automatically be extended for one additional year by the
General Education Provisions Act.
Estimated cost to the Government: As shown in the following
table, CBO estimates that S. 1948 would authorize the
appropriation of about $25 million over the 2015-2019 period
and that implementing the bill would cost $20 million over the
same period, assuming the appropriation of the necessary
amounts. For thisestimate, CBO assumes that spending will
follow historical patterns. The costs of the legislation fall within
budget function 500 (education, training, employment, and social
By fiscal year in millions of dollars--
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2015-2019
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Estimated Authorization Level...................... 5 5 5 5 5 26
Estimated Outlays.................................. * 4 5 5 5 20
Notes: Components do not sum to totals because of rounding.
* = less than $500,000.
Pay-as-You-Go considerations: Enacting the bill would have
no effect on direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-
you-go procedures do not apply.
Estimated impact on the private sector: S. 1948 contains no
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on
state, local, or tribal governments.
Estimate prepared by: Justin Humphrey.
Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director
for Budget Analysis.
REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK IMPACT STATEMENT
Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 1948 will
have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.
While it is not Department policy to officially support
pending legislation, the Committee did work with the Department
of Education in drafting and amending this legislation. The
Department did express an understanding of the urgency to
preserve and revitalize Native languages and support for the
overall goals of the legislation.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW (CORDON RULE)
On July 30, 2014, the Committee on Indian Affairs
unanimously approved a motion by Chairman Tester to waive the
Cordon Rule. Thus, in the opinion of the committee, it is
necessary to dispense with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate in order to expedite the business
of the Senate.