New Washington State Director of Indian Education Named

Following the retirement of Denny Hurtado, former chair of the Skokomish Tribe and Director of Indian Education, a new Director has been named. Michael Vendiola is set to take office on January 5, 2015.

Michael Vendiola, has a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Washington and is a member of the Swinomish and Visayan Nations.

Statement by Assistant Secretary Washburn on FY15 Omnibus Bill Increased Funding for Bureau of Indian Education Reforms

Here, and an excerpt:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today issued the following statement regarding the $40 million in additional Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)-related funding in the recently enacted Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015.

. . . .

The Consolidated Appropriations Act includes an additional $19,211,000 for school replacement over fiscal year 2014 funding levels. The school replacement funding completes the requirements for the school construction project started in fiscal year 2014 and covers design costs for the final two schools on the 2004 priority list. The agreement also includes an increase of $14,142,000 for Tribal Grant Support Costs for tribally controlled schools, $2,000,000 for the development and operation of tribal departments of education, and an increase of $1.7 million for Science Post Graduate Scholarships.

Why Tribal Colleges Matter: Our Response to The Hechinger Report

The American Indian College Fund‘s President and CEO,  Cheryl Crazy Bull, published this important response to the Hechinger Report we previously posted about.   An excerpt from the response:

In regard to the article “Tribal colleges give poor return on more than $100 million a year in federal money” in the November 26, 2014 issue of The Hechinger Report which also ran in The Atlantic under the title “The Failure of Tribal Schools, Sarah Butrymowicz misses several salient few points about the challenges facing tribal colleges (TCUs) and their students concerning the colleges’ mission to give—and their students’ goal to earn—a higher education.  We appreciate the importance of analyzing data as it pertains to higher education given the challenges faced in this country when addressing student completion and the cost of higher education.  But as with all analysis, context is the most critical basis for any examination.

Butrymowicz looks at the need for TCU students to receive remedial education when entering college, as well as their graduation rates, but she touches only lightly on the underlying reasons for this. The answer is not simple, but it is tied to socioeconomics. Poverty and its attendant social issues are what prevent so many Native students from entering a college or university, let alone graduating. This nation’s TCUs have been remarkably successful in helping students overcome incredible barriers to entering college and have over time consistently helped students to achieve their educational goals and attain successful employment.

As the College Fund notes, Marybeth Gasman, Professor of Higher Education at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education also responded on The Huffington Post with “Not a Full Picture: Evaluating Tribal College Success Using Mainstream Measures.

USA Today: Young tribal leaders optimistic about Obama initiative

Here.  An excerpt:

The plight of indigenous youth became the central theme of the Dec. 3 White House Tribal Nations Conference, where Obama spoke about visiting the Crow Nation in Montana while campaigning to become president, and his recent visit to the Lakota reservation at Standing Rock, N.D.

“I made another promise, that I’d visit Indian Country as president,” Obama said to the conference’s attendees, including leaders from the 566 federally recognized tribes. “And this June, I kept that promise.”

We previously posted about the White House’s 2014 Native Youth Report here.