Editorial: Include tribal history in public schools in Washington

Washington State Sen. John McCoy (D). Photo from Washington State Senate Democrats

Washington newspaper praises Sen. John McCoy (D), a member of the Tulalip Tribes, for working to advance legislation that requires public schools to teach about Indian history:
Ten years ago, state Sen. John McCoy, a Democrat and Tulalip tribal leader, introduced a bill to require more accurate school curriculum about Washington’s 29 federally recognized tribes. His bill called for closer relationships between local tribes and schools, and a telling of tribal history that included the tribes’ perspectives.

Opposition to this bill was fierce. School administrators and boards claimed it violated local control, that it would be an unfunded mandate, and that there was simply no room in school curriculum to add anything more. In the end, McCoy was forced to change the bill from requiring the changes he sought to simply encouraging them.

But during the last decade, McCoy and others — notably Denny Hurtado, the recently retired director of the Office of Native Education in the Office of the Superintendent for Public Education — have nudged, educated, and cajoled the public school system forward. They’ve found allies among educators, and opened peoples’ eyes to just how important a part of our society and economy tribes are. They have written and tested curriculum, held lots of workshops, and talked with hundreds of teachers, legislators and local leaders.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Tribal history curriculum gets boost (The Olympian 4/8)

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