A Native American history education is going to be required for K-12 teachers in Minnesota, after a new law went into effect on Tuesday.
The Minnesota-state Legislature this year passed a new law requiring a basic amount of training on Native American history, culture, and current affairs for all teachers renewing their teaching license. On Tuesday, it went into affect for all new teachers. Everyone else will have until January 1 2024 to catch up.
The new law is just one of several requirements for the renewal of a teaching license. Others include reading preparation and training units on suicide prevention. The new instruction revolves around making sure teachers understand both the history of Minnesota Tribal Nations, and the issues facing them today.
The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board is working on the Native American history rollout, exactly what the training will include and how it will be taught. Until then, teachers can fulfill the new requirement under the existing cultural competency training.
In addition to this, Minnesota governor Tim Walz stipulated a part of his education budget to be given so teachers have the resources to study and teach Native American history.
“Given the rich history of American Indians and their contemporary contributions, more time and resources should be provided to Minnesota educators,” Walz’s budget proposal stated.
The Minnesota teachers union is in support of the new requirement, but does point out that it’s an additional burden on teachers and their time, and that deserves specific time allotted for and compensated.
“Minnesota’s Indigenous history is complex, rich and long, and it has been far too often ignored in both U.S. and Minnesota history lessons,” said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht. “At the same time, we have to be aware of the extra time and effort each new requirement adds to the plates of educators, and give them the adequate time and training they need to address these important pieces of delivering a well-rounded education.”