[Senate Report 113-265]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                       Calendar No. 538
113th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     113-265




                October 1, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of September 18, 2014


           Mr. Tester, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1948]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 1948) to promote the academic achievement of American 
Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Children with the 
establishment of a Native American language grant program, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.


    The purpose of S. 1948 is to establish a federal grant 
program specifically for Native American language immersion 
programs and to provide for their administration and the 
collection of data to determine their effectiveness.

                         BACKGROUND AND HISTORY

History of grant programs supporting Native American languages

    In 1990 Congress passed the Native American Languages Act 
(NALA), which recognizes the unique status of Native American 
cultures and languages. According to the law, it is U.S. 
federal policy to ``preserve, protect, and promote the rights 
and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop 
Native American languages.'' Further, NALA declares U.S. 
federal support for ``the use of Native American languages as a 
medium of instruction.''\1\ Congress recognized a number of 
reasons for encouraging instruction in Native languages, 
including not only language survival and community pride, but 
also improved educational opportunity and increased student 
    \1\(NALA, 25 U.S.C. 2903).
    The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation 
Act (NALPA), which builds on NALA, was signed into law in 
December 2006. NALPA further cemented the federal government's 
policy of supporting the preservation of and continued 
education in Native American languages. Named after Esther 
Martinez, a Tewa teacher and storyteller, NALPA bolsters 
federal support for Native language education by creating and 
funding programs described below.

Programs supporting Native languages

    The promotion and preservation of Native American languages 
is supported through several different federal programs. NALPA 
offers assistance to three types of Native language education 
programs: Language Nests, Survival Schools, and Restoration 
    Native language nests are educational programs that provide 
instruction and childcare to at least 10 children under the age 
of seven and offer Native language classes to parents. Such 
programs use Native language as the primary language of 
instruction and can be offered by private entities (e.g., a 
daycare center), tribal entities, or public entities (e.g., a 
public school).
    Native language survival schools are similar in concept to 
Native language nests but have broader objectives. These 
programs, which must be housed in accredited educational 
institutions located in regions with high numbers of American 
Indians, provide a minimum of 500 hours of instruction in at 
least one Native language to at least 15 students. These 
schools aim to achieve student fluency in a Native language 
alongside proficiency in mathematics, science, and language 
arts. Moreover, survival schools provide for teacher training 
and develop instructional courses and materials to advance 
Native language learning and teaching.
    Native language restoration programs operate one or more 
Native language programs and can be offered by private 
entities, tribal entities, or public entities. In addition to 
delivering instruction in at least one Native language, these 
programs provide training to Native language teachers and 
develop instructional materials for Native language programs. 
Funds are given to restoration programs for a variety of 
activities that increase proficiency in at least one Native 
language, such as language immersion programs, culture camps, 
Native language teacher training programs, and the development 
of books and other media.
    During the 113th Congress, the Committee has held five 
hearings on the topic of Indian education. Throughout each 
hearing, the Committee heard from witnesses on the importance 
of Native languages and culture to the academic and social 
success of Native students.
    Native language immersion programs are language instruction 
programs that teach all academic subjects in the Native 
language, and are often full-day, full-year programs starting 
from infancy, with many providing post-secondary programs. 
Additionally, many of these programs require family and 
community involvement to help integrate the language learning 
into the full life of the student. Immersion programs are 
arguably not only the most effective way to teach a language 
and create fluent speakers, but language experts maintain that 
this level of instruction is the best way to ensure the 
survival of Native languages. While data on the success of 
immersion programs is limited, there is a growing body of 
research on how immersion programs can impact tribal identity, 
academic success, and cultural continuity throughout many 
tribal communities in Indian Country. Immersion programs are 
often locally operated and run on minimal budgets, subsidized 
by a patchwork of federal grants, private donors, and tribal 
government support. S. 1948 aims at supporting the work of 
immersion programs throughout the country, and building on 
their growing record of success for future sustainability.
    Competitive grants specifically authorized for Native 
American language programs are awarded by the following federal 
           Administration for Native Americans (under 
        the Native American Languages Act of 1992);
           Office of Bilingual Education and Minority 
        Languages Affairs (under Title VII, Improving America's 
        Schools Act);
           National Park Service (Keepers of the 
        Treasures program);
           National Endowment for the Humanities (as 
        well as humanities councils in various States)
    In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (the 2014 
Omnibus), the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) program 
was funded at $46,520,000, and the President's Fiscal Year 2015 
budget requests level funding. The ANA awarded a total of 
$13,361,440 of grant funding for Native American language 
programs: $8,352,068 for Native Language Preservation and 
Maintenance and $5,009,372 for the Ester Martinez Initiative. 
The Department of Education does not currently fund any Native 
language educational programs, immersion or otherwise.

Native language immersion

    S. 1948 would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act (ESEA) of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Education to 
award grants to schools and private or tribal nonprofit 
organizations to develop and maintain, or improve and expand, 
programs that support the use by schools, from the pre-
kindergarten through postsecondary level, of Native American 
languages as their primary language of instruction. Grant 
applicants would be required to present the Secretary with 
specified assurances and demonstrations that the schools they 
will support have the capacity to provide education primarily 
through a Native language.
    The grants would be administered by the Department of 
Education. Grantees must support Native American language 
education and development; develop or refine instructional 
curricula for the schools they support, including distinctive 
teaching materials and activities; fund training opportunities 
for school staff that strengthen the overall language and 
academic goals of their schools; and engage in other activities 
that promote Native language education and development. The 
grant program would be authorized for five years.
    There are significant cognitive, psychological, and 
academic benefits that result from Native American language 
immersion programs. Issues of culture, language, cognition, 
community, and socialization are central to learning. Success 
in school and life and ensuring Native children reach the 
highest levels of academic performance require this kind of 
comprehensive and culturally relevant support. Supporting 
Native language instruction helps ensure that Native children 
will meet the requirements of a multicultural and multilingual 
world while also preserving the integrity of Native linguistic 

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1948 was introduced on January 16, 2014, by Chairman Jon 
Tester (D-MT), along with Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark 
Begich (D-AK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) as 
original cosponsors. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Lisa Murkowski 
(R-AK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Walsh (D-MT), and Martin 
Heinrich (D-NM) were added later as cosponsors. The bill was 
referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. On June 18, 2014, 
the committee held a hearing on the bill. On July 30, 2014, the 
committee met at a business meeting to consider the bill. One 
amendment was offered and adopted, and the bill, as amended, 
was ordered to be reported favorably to the Senate by voice 
    H.R. 4214, an identical House companion bill, was 
introduced by Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) on March 12, 2014. 
Congressmen Betty McCollum (D-MN), Howard McKeon (R-CA) and 
Michael Simpson (R-ID) were added later as cosponsors. The bill 
was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, 
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary 

                          SUMMARY OF AMENDMENT

    At a Committee business meeting held on July 30, 2014, 
Chairman Tester offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute, which was agreed to. The provisions are detailed 

Eligibility requirements

    The amendment altered Section 3 of S. 1948 (which would 
amend Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
of 1965) to clarify that Tribal Colleges and Universities, 
tribal education agencies, and tribes are ``eligible 
entities.'' These groups were added at the request of several 
tribes and stakeholders to ensure eligibility and access to all 
immersion programs.
    The amendment also expanded eligibility to schools or 
programs that offer multiple programs and/or languages. This 
language was intended to make the legislation inclusive of all 
eligible immersion programs throughout the country.

Data collection

    The amendment also clarified Section 3 (which would amend 
Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
1965) to address that attendance and matriculation data will be 
collected to determine best practices of the schooling and that 
the grant authorizes eligible entities to develop a Native 
language alignment plan to create or refine assessments of 
student proficiency on State or tribally developed academic 
standards. The amendment did not change the bill's intent; 
rather, it clarified ambivalent language and established a 
pathway for addressing some of the more nuanced technical 
aspects of Native language programs that exist within the 
public school system, where programs have the capacity and 
where appropriate.


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 states that the Act may be cited as the ``Native 
Language Immersion Student Achievement Act.''

Section 2. Findings

    Section 2 sets forth the findings that motivate the 

Section 3. Amendments to Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.)

    Section (a) establishes the purposes of the section: (1) to 
establish a grant program to support immersion instruction in 
Native American languages; and (2) to further integrate into 
federal policy support for Native language immersion education.
    Section (b) provides that the Secretary of Education may 
award grants to ``eligible entities'' (defined as tribes, 
Tribal Colleges or Universities, tribal education agencies, 
schools, or private or tribal, nonprofit organizations) 
providing prekindergarten through post-secondary educative 
offerings. Eligible grantees are identified as schools and 
private or tribal non-profit organizations equipped with a plan 
to create and sustain--or improve and enhance--programs 
employing Native language immersion as the primary mode of 
instruction throughout the curriculum. Schools or programs that 
offer multiple programs and/or languages are also eligible 
under the Act.
    Section (c) sets forth the requirements of the application 
process for potential grantees. Applications must include the 
name of the Native American language of instruction; number of 
students enrolled at the institution; number of present hours 
for instruction; status of school (tribal, public, indigenous 
language schooling research and cooperative, etc.); statement 
of compliance with proficiency requirements of applicable law 
and that the school provides assessment of student use of the 
Native language; and list of instructors, staff, 
administrators, contractors, or subcontractors at school and 
their qualifications to instruct in the Native language. 
Additionally, this section mandates that attendance and 
matriculation data will be collected to determine best 
practices of the schooling and that the grant authorizes 
eligible entities to develop a Native language alignment plan 
to create or refine assessments of student proficiency on State 
or tribally developed academic standards.
    Section (d) requires that the Secretary shall determine the 
amount and length of each grant, that she will do so to ensure 
as much as possible the diversity of languages of instruction, 
and require that eligible entities present a plan to improve 
high school graduation rates, college attainment, and career 
readiness resulting from Native language instruction.
    Section (e) clarifies which activities the grants are 
authorized to fund. These activities include the support of 
Native language and development; development or refinement of 
instructional curricula; funding for training opportunities for 
teachers as appropriate staff in the furtherance of the 
immersion program; and other activities to promote Native 
language education and development.
    Section (f) mandates that each grantee provide an annual 
report to the Secretary.
    Section (g) authorizes $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2015 and 
authorizes that funding may be appropriated for fiscal years 
2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.


    The following cost estimate, as provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office, dated August 19, 2014, was 
prepared for S. 1948.

                                                   August 19, 2014.
Honorable Jon Tester,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1948, the Native 
Language Immersion Student Achievement Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin 
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.

S. 1948--The Native Language Immersion Achievement Act

    Summary: S. 1948 would amend the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965 (commonly referred to as No Child Left 
Behind) to create a grant program that supports schools that 
use Native American languages as the primary language of 
instruction. The bill would authorize the appropriation of $5 
million for fiscal year 2015 and such sums as may be necessary 
for fiscal years 2016 through 2019. That authorization would 
automatically be extended for one additional year by the 
General Education Provisions Act.
    Estimated cost to the Government: As shown in the following 
table, CBO estimates that S. 1948 would authorize the 
appropriation of about $25 million over the 2015-2019 period 
and that implementing the bill would cost $20 million over the 
same period, assuming the appropriation of the necessary 
amounts. For thisestimate, CBO assumes that spending will 
follow historical patterns. The costs of the legislation fall within 
budget function 500 (education, training, employment, and social 

                                                               By fiscal year in millions of dollars--
                                                       2015      2016      2017      2018      2019    2015-2019
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level......................         5         5         5         5         5         26
Estimated Outlays..................................         *         4         5         5         5        20
Notes: Components do not sum to totals because of rounding.
* = less than $500,000.

    Pay-as-You-Go considerations: Enacting the bill would have 
no effect on direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-
you-go procedures do not apply.
    Estimated impact on the private sector: S. 1948 contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on 
state, local, or tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Justin Humphrey.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.


    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 1948 will 
have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    While it is not Department policy to officially support 
pending legislation, the Committee did work with the Department 
of Education in drafting and amending this legislation. The 
Department did express an understanding of the urgency to 
preserve and revitalize Native languages and support for the 
overall goals of the legislation.


    On July 30, 2014, the Committee on Indian Affairs 
unanimously approved a motion by Chairman Tester to waive the 
Cordon Rule. Thus, in the opinion of the committee, it is 
necessary to dispense with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate in order to expedite the business 
of the Senate.