Why Act 31 Viewpoints: J P Leary | Aaron Bird Bear
Since 1989, Wisconsin has required instruction in the history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of then eleven federally recognized tribes and bands in the state for K-12 schools and teacher education programs.
Anyone seeking a license to serve as a professional educator in the state, as a teacher, pupil services professional, or administrator, must receive instruction in these areas. These requirements are a product of the violent treaty rights controversy in the 1980s and early 1990s and of past educational policy decisions that contributed to widespread public ignorance and misunderstanding of Native people.
Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Social Studies,
the statutorily required area of instruction, also reflect these requirements. (see “American Indian Studies, Standards, and Curriculum”).
In a local control state like Wisconsin, each school district sets their own scope and sequence, but the required instruction typically takes place in Wisconsin in fourth or fifth grade (Wisconsin history), seventh or eighth grade (U.S. history), and in high school in U.S. History or Civics.