Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that American Samoa’s Department of Education (DOE) will receive $618,000 for its Samoan language program for grades K-12. Last night, the Senate passed, by a vote of 62 to 35, H.R. 1105, the FY09 Omnibus Appropriations Act which the House passed on February 25, 2009 by a vote of 245 to 178. The bill included Faleomavaega’s request to provide funding to American Samoa’s DOE for purposes of enhancing its Samoan Language program. The funds will be used to provide teacher training and instructional material development.
“Because the Senate agreed to the House version, the bill will now go straight to President Obama for signature,” Faleomavaega said. “Also, because these are 2009 funds, the funds will be released to our local Department of Education as soon as the U.S. Department of Education can process the paperwork.”
“At this time, I especially want to thank Chairman Obey for his support of my request which I made last year on May 21, 2008 on behalf of our K-12 students and our public school teachers. I have always advocated that we need to do everything we can to preserve our Samoan language as it is the heart of our culture and identity, and I am pleased the U.S. Congress supports this goal.”
“The $618,000 that has been set aside by Congress for this program will be used for teacher training and also for instructional material development of reading books in the Samoan language for our students. As we build on this program, I am hopeful that we will be able to acquire additional funds in the future to make certain that our Samoan language will be protected and preserved.”
“Under the direction of our local DOE Director, Dr. Poumele, and with the support of her staff and the commitment of our local teachers, I have every confidence that we will be successful in our efforts, and I stand ready to assist in any way I can to provide our students and young people with the support they need to carry our Samoan culture forward to the next generation. I look forward to working with our teachers, students and local DOE as we work together to undertake this worthy endeavor,” Faleomavaega concluded.