WHEREAS, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) is an Alaska Native tribal health and social services consortium established by the Interior Alaska tribes and tribal communities, to provide a unified voice in advancing sovereign tribal governments through the promotion of physical and mental wellness, education, socioeconomic development and culture of the Interior Alaska Native; and
WHEREAS, There has been a significant decline in the number of Alaska Native educators teaching in Interior Alaska school districts in the last several years due to teachers leaving the classrooms for other positions, retirement, and the low numbers of Alaska Natives seeking to teach in Alaska; and
WHEREAS, The State of Alaska has requested guidance and public comment on declaring an emergency for teacher recruitment and certification in Alaska, on the premise that over 200 teaching positions statewide were unfilled at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year; and
WHEREAS, According to the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, there are 36 Alaska Native educators in Interior Alaska school districts in the Tanana Chiefs Conference region, with 24 of those educators in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District; and
WHEREAS, According to the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, to fill teaching positions within the state, Alaskan schools hired 835 new teachers prepared out-of-state in 2018-19, and 712 new teachers prepared out-of-state in 2019-20; and
WHEREAS, The data on the number of Alaska Native students pursuing Education degrees and teaching certification is based on student self-reporting at institutions of higher learning; the University of Alaska reports that during the Fall of 2019 there were 256 Alaska Native students enrolled in the University of Alaska education programs, with only 19 Alaska Native students in secondary education programs; and
WHEREAS, The Association of Interior Native Educators (AINE) highly supports the urgent, immediate, and long-term educational and professional development of Alaska Native educators to fill Alaska K-12 classrooms and school district administrative positions; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors directs TCC to partner with the Association of Interior Native Educators and other Interior Alaska Native entities and educational institutions, including our statewide post-secondary institutions of higher education to significantly increase the recruitment and retention of Alaska Native educators in our interior and statewide schools; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that subject to the availability of funds, the TCC Full Board of Directors encourages and supports the individual and collective efforts of our Interior Alaska Native organizations to explore, create, deliberately align and maintain long-term initiatives to develop and retain Alaska Native educators by dedicating innovative projects, culturally-based programs, accessible scholarships, relevant professional learning opportunities, and a shared vision to systematically increase and cultivate Alaska Native educators for our children, our communities, our region and Alaska; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Tanana Chiefs Conference requests that the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development modify its statewide ESSA plan to designate up to 50% of Title II funds, received statewide, be distributed to an indigenous teacher training program focused on giving full scholarships to aspiring Alaska Native teachers.
Submitted by: Northway Village Council
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