This interdisciplinary study presents an overview of local and federal policies affecting language education in southern Siberia in the Republic of Altai and the Republic of Tyva. In the 1990s, as part of a broader effort to revitalize local languages, educational policies were adopted that aimed to strengthen local language education. Since 2005, in part due to federal education reforms, priorities in language education have shifted. Grassroots support for strengthening local language education has faded with the introduction of federally mandated high stakes testing. The comparison of policies in these two regions highlights the negative effects of federal education reforms on local language education.