Native American charter school bill filed in South Dakota Legislature


PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - South Dakota lawmakers will debate a bill allowing Native American charter schools.

There has been discussion lately about focused charter schools because of the low graduation rate among Native American high school students; not just in South Dakota but other states as well.

In the Tribal State of the State Address at the state Legislature Jan. 16, Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Chairman Lester Thomson said:

"New educational opportunities, such as a Native American, community- inspired charter school that properly address the achievement gap by meeting the needs of the individual student in a culturally-appropriate manner is one of the many innovative solutions to addressing the growing educational crisis."

Senate Bill 66 would approve and set guidelines in establishing Oceti Sakowin charter schools in South Dakota.

You can read about Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards on the South Dakota Department of Education website.

Charter school sponsors would have to show a financial plan for the first three years of operation; and criteria used to measure the effectiveness of the school.

Teachers must have a teaching certificate and be acknowledged as a fluent speaker of Lakota, Dakota or Nakota and be capable of providing instruction in one or more of the dialects. Background checks will also be required.