maine logo       Sec. 1.  20-A MRSA §4706, as amended by PL 1991, c. 655, §4, is further amended to read:

§4706. Instruction in American history, Maine studies and Maine

Native American history

   The following subjects shall be arerequired.


 

   1.  American history. American history and civil government, including the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, the importance of voting and the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship, shall must be taught in and required for graduation from all elementary and secondary schools, both public and private.

   2.  Maine studies. A course in Maine history, including the Constitution of Maine, Maine geography and environment and the natural, industrial and economic resources of Maine and Maine's cultural and ethnic heritage, must be taught in at least one grade from grade 6 to grade 8, in all schools, both public and private.  These concepts must be integrated into the curriculum in grades 9 to 12.

   3.  Maine Native American history.  Maine Native American history and culture must be taught in all elementary and secondary schools, both public and private.

   4.  Rulemaking.  The commissioner shall adopt or amend rules to implement this section.  Rules adopted pursuant to this section are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter II-A.

       Sec. 2.  20-A MRSA §6209, first ¶, as amended by PL 1999, c. 75, §5, is further amended to read:

   The department in consultation with the state board shall establish and implement a comprehensive, statewide system of learning results, referred to in this section as the "system," no later than the 2002-03 school year.  The system, based broadly upon guiding principles set forth in this section, must establish high academic standards at all grade levels in the areas of math; English; science and technology; social studies, including history, economics and civics; career preparation; visual and performing arts; health and physical education; and foreign languages.  Maine Native American history and culture must be included in, but is not limited to, the areas of social studies and modern and classical languages.  Only students in a public school or a private school approved by the State pursuant to section 2901 and approved for the receipt of public funds by private secondary schools pursuant to section 2951 are required to participate in the system of learning results.  The commissioner shall develop accommodation provisions for instances where course content conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs and practices of a student's parent or guardian.  The system must be adopted to accommodate exceptional students as defined in section 7001, subsection 2.

       Sec. 3.  20-A MRSA §6209, sub-§3 is enacted to read:

   3.  Rulemaking.  The commissioner shall adopt or amend rules to implement this section.  Rules adopted pursuant to this section are routine technical rules as defined by Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter II-A.  On or before September 1, 2003, the commissioner shall adopt rules to incorporate Maine Native American history and culture into the standards and performance indicators of the 8 content standard subject areas that comprise the system.  In adopting these rules, the commissioner shall amend the standards and performance indicators in the content standard subject areas of social studies under the headings of civics and government, history, geography and economics that address the following topics:

A.  Maine tribal governments and political systems, and their relationship with local, state, national and international governments;

B.  Maine Native American cultural systems and the experience of Maine tribal people throughout history;

C.  Maine Native American territories; and

D.  Maine Native American economic systems.

       Sec. 4.  Commission established.  The Commission to Study the Inclusion of Maine Native American History and Culture in Maine's System of Learning Results, referred to in this section as the "commission," is established to assist school administrative units and educators in the exploration of a wide range of curricular programs and options that include Maine Native American history and culture in a manner that is consistent with the guiding principles of the system of learning results established in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, section 6209.  The curricular programs and options must be developed so that the inclusion of Maine Native American history and culture coincides with the full implementation of the system of learning results for the 2002-03 school year.

   1. Membership.  The commission consists of the following 7 members:

A.  Four members representing the tribal chiefs and governors of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseets and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs or the tribal chiefs' or governors' designees;

B.  The Commissioner of Education or the commissioner's designee;

C.  The Chair of the State Board of Education or the chair's designee; and

D.  The Chancellor of the University of Maine System or the chancellor's designee.

No later than 30 days following the effective date of this Act, the Commissioner of Education or the commissioner's designee shall call and convene the first meeting of the commission.  The Commissioner of Education shall select a chair from among the commission members prior to the first commission meeting.

   2.  Duties.  The commission shall report to the Commissioner of Education for implementation of its findings on:

A.  Curricular programs and options that are appropriate to assist school administrative units and educators in the State to include Maine Native American history and culture into the system of learning results; and

B.  The necessary professional development, training and technical assistance that must be provided to assist school administrative units and educators in the State in implementing Maine Native American history and culture into the system of learning results.

   3.  Staff assistance and budget.  The Department of Education shall provide staffing assistance and research services to the commission.  The department may elect to provide members of the commission with per diem and expenses for their participation in commission meetings.

   4.  Implementation.  The recommendations of the commission must be submitted to the Commissioner of Education no later than June 1, 2003 and must be implemented no later than September 1, 2003.

SUMMARY

   This bill requires that Maine Native American history and culture be taught in all elementary and secondary schools and requires the Department of Education to include Maine Native American history and culture in the system of learning results. This bill establishes a commission to investigate and recommend how the Department of Education will accomplish this task.