St. Paul students celebrate Karen New Year. Credit: Ellen Perrault | Saint Paul Public Schools
Banned for 60 years in Myanmar, Karen language classes make public school debut in Minnesota: This fall, St. Paul Public Schools in Minnesota will begin offering Karen language classes at four high schools and online. Sahan Journal reports about 4,700 students come from households that primarily speak Karen, which is a language spoken by groups in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar.
Karen is the fifth-most common home language among Minnesota’s public students after English, Spanish, Somali, and Hmong. It is believed that this will be the first time Karen language instruction will be offered in any public school district in the country. “Parents have been asking for this for many, many years,” said Saw Sunshine Timothy, a cultural specialist with St. Paul Public Schools. “It’s become reality now.”