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Debate will focus on education act


By Cassie Blombaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 23, 2005
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The widely debated No Child Left Behind Act and the potential negative effects it can have on American Indian students will be addressed at an open lecture tonight.

Key speaker Christine Sims, assistant professor of language literacy and socio-cultural studies at the University of New Mexico, will present her findings at 6 p.m. in the Kiva Auditorium in the Education building.

Sims will discuss how the act can have a detrimental impact on American Indian students, particularly in the area of language, said Ofelia Zepeda, linguistics professor.

The act, which requires states to ensure their public schools' success by creating standardized-testing assessments, may have a negative impact on American Indian students and their language, Sims said.

"No Child Left Behind is just a small part of that," Sims said.

In addition to discussing language conflicts, Sims will also share a broader overview of the different types of issues and pressures that are impacting American Indian language initiatives, she said.

Zepeda said she hopes many students will attend the event to enhance their awareness about such political measures, but she also hopes to bring in an American Indian audience as well.

"We have circulated information about the speaker series across campus and to the surrounding Tucson community, including the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Tohono O'odham Nation," Zepeda said.

The No Child Left Behind Act is of interest to many in the American Indian language and educational fields, said Ana Luisa Terrazas, the director of Communications at the College of Education.

"It's such a hot issue right now," Terrazas said.

Terrazas said this event is only one part of a yearlong speakers series that addresses the challenges that indigenous people face every day.

"This is just bringing awareness about this as well as some really unbelievable experts in the field," Terrazas said. "To get this group of people to come here is phenomenal when you consider their background."

The upcoming speakers events will offer visitors the opportunity to see knowledgeable and talented American Indian scholars, Zepeda said.

"These speakers will not only bring attention to some important issues affecting native populations," Zepeda said. "But (they) will also serve as models for our growing pool of native graduate students on this campus."



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