Students in Ann Shisler’s second-grade class raise hands to answer a question as they read, “Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom,” in their classroom at Eliot Elementary School this month. Judge lived right over the bridge from Eliot in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, after escaping slavery. The students are learning about local Black history along with U.S. history in February. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

AUGUSTA — The Maine House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would provide additional funding and resources for schools to ensure they are complying with laws that require them to teach African American and Wabanaki studies.

The bill, L.D. 2001, was approved 77-54 and advances now to the Senate.

“What this bill does is provide the resources, through the (Department of Education), to local communities to be able to make sure that teachers, staff and students have a robust experience in looking at Wabanaki studies and African American studies,” said Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, co-chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

The bill would create an advisory council that would assist school administrators, build professional development opportunities and gather and organize resources to help schools teach both African American and Wabanaki studies.

It would also direct the department to provide professional development opportunities for educators and would provide grants to schools to expand or implement African American studies or Wabanaki curriculums.

The bill has a fiscal note of $3.1 million, most of which would go toward one-time grant funding for schools and about $110,000 of which would be ongoing funding for an instruction specialist to provide outreach and support to schools.

If passed by the Senate, the proposal still would have to compete for funding before being sent to Gov. Janet Mills for her signature.

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