On Tuesday evening, House and Senate appropriators released the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill (HR 83), which will fund TEAs through Department  of Interior for the first time.

Here is the BIA section of the Interior explanatory statement. On page 24, it provides that:

Education.- The agreement includes $2,000,000 for the development and operation of tribal departments or divisions of education as authorized in 25 U.S.C. 2020.

This funding through the Department of Interior has been authorized since 1988 (see NARF Orange Book at 5), but Congress has never appropriated the money. TEDNA and its partner organizations, NIEA and NCAI, have long advocated for fulfillment of this promise. The bill, which is expected to be passed by both the House and Senate later this week, will mean new capacity-building grant opportunities for TEAs, which will expand tribal involvement in Indian education.  The STEP Program, which TEDNA long advocated for and was also a first of its kind, is a similar appropriation through the Department of Education.

You can see Quinton Roman Nose’s Testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies for FY 2015 here, and for FY 2014 here.  You can also see other budget requests in our Congressional Materials section.  We will provide more information as it becomes available.

The Department of Education (ED) invites stakeholders to provide comments on proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for the Indian Demonstration and Indian Professional Development programs. Last week, ED published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Professional Development program and the Demonstration Grants for Indian Children (Demonstration Grants program). Both grant programs are authorized under Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). For the Professional Development program, the regulations would enhance the project design and quality of services to better meet the objectives of the program; establish post-award requirements; and govern the payback process for grants in existence of the date these regulations become effective. For the Demonstration Grants program, ED is proposing new priorities, including one for the newly-announced Native Youth Community Projects, and application requirements.

Submission Information:
• Federal Register Notice
• Submission Deadline: January 2, 2015
• Electronic Submissions: Please visit http://www.regulations.gov
Or Mail to:

John Cheek
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Room 3W207
Washington, D.C. 20202-6135
(202) 401-0274

For more information, please contact John Cheek at the U.S. Department of Education at (202) 401-0274 or john.cheek@ed.gov.

Here. An overview of this interview with Secretary Sally Jewell:

The high school graduation rate for Native Americans is the lowest of any ethnic or racial group in the United States. How can the government assist reservation schools while respecting autonomy of tribes? Judy Woodruff talks to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell about a series of initiatives announced by the president on how to undo deep-seated education challenges for Native Americans.

Here is the White House 2014 Native Youth Report. An excerpt from the Root Causes of Disparities in Native Educational Attainment:

Continued Lack of Genuine Tribal Control: Historically, states that have Indian lands within their geographic boundaries have not been required, or even encouraged, to collaborate with tribes in operating schools. Public education, which serves the vast majority of Native students in schools both on and off reservation and tribal lands, continues to exclude tribes and maintains non-tribal control over academic goals, funding, staffing, and curriculum. The lack of culturally-relevant curriculum and culturally competent staff that understand how to reach Native youth may lead to the high drop-out rates and low high- school graduation rates for AI/AN students. Although there are over 200 Tribal Education Departments, they are not adequately funded to develop tribal expertise. In addition, the BIE, which has transferred operation of two-thirds of schools to tribes, has not been adequately restructured to recognize its new primary role of supporting tribal programs, rather than being the primary provider of Indian education. Tribes and Indian educators identify infrastructure investments and administrative grant support costs as necessary resources to execute genuine tribal control.

And an excerpt from the Recommendations for Change:

Strengthen tribal control of education: Education is a key component in improving the life trajectories of Native youth and ultimately rebuilding strong tribal nations. Tribal nations are in the best position to address the unique needs of their students because they best know their own children and communities. Research identifies tribal self-determination as a strategy that has improved the well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives across many areas of government service. Increasing tribal control also is likely to lead to greater development of curricula that include Native languages, cultures, and values. Tribal/state and tribal/school district partnerships in education are important opportunities for improving outcomes for Native youth. Elevating the role of tribes in education allows them to design schools and programs rooted in high expectations for all students, while embracing tribal values and traditions that meet the specific needs of their citizens.

You still have time to register for the third Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) informational webinar scheduled for today, December 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm (Eastern Time). The BIE will join NIEA to provide updates from the town hall meetings held during the NIEA 2014 Annual Convention as well as their other national site visits. This is an opportunity for additional dialogue and new information to support stakeholder decision making. Registration is now open, so if you are an educator, parent, community member, tribal leader or stakeholder who is curious for what next year has in store for BIE reform, this is the perfect opportunity to get involved!

Facilitators

  • Dr. Charles “Monty” Roessel, BIE Director
  • Ahniwake Rose, NIEA Executive Director

Important Information

  • Date: Thursday, December 4, 2014
  • Time: 4:00 – 5:00 pm (eastern)
  • Registration:  Please click HERE
  • Additional Details: Please visit www.niea.org

For more information or questions on the NIEA webinar series, please contact Diana Cournoyer at dcournoyer@niea.org.

From Indianz.com, here. An excerpt:

SUPPORTING THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF ALL NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENTS

Promoting Educational Self-Determination for Tribal Nations through Sovereignty in Indian Education Enhancements. In October 2014, DOI took a critical step towards furthering tribal control over BIE-funded schools when it issued $1.2M to six tribes to research, assess and develop implementation plans to establish tribally managed school systems.

Building tribal capacity through State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) grants. The STEP grant program is designed to strengthen Tribal Education Agencies (TEAs), and improve partnerships between tribes, states, and school districts so they can work together more effectively to meet the academic, cultural, and social needs of Native students. EDs Office of Indian Education (OIE) published a Notice of Proposed Priorities (NPP) for the STEP program on October 31, 2014.

Expanding Access to STEM Programs. In September 2014, ED entered into an agreement with the National Park Service at DOI, and the Hands on the Land program at the National Environmental Education Foundation, to develop a project around STEM skills at 17 Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) funded schools and one state funded school near 21st Century Community Learning Center programs. The project will introduce students to STEM activities focused on natural and cultural resources to improve the retention of students in STEM activities during their middle and high school years.

Convening Native Languages Summit. Following the first Native Languages Summit in June 2014 which brought together 300 participants, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums have joined ED and the Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Health and Human Services, (HHS) to convene a second Native Languages Summit in the Fall of 2015. The Summit will discuss best practices in preserving and revitalizing Native languages.

Improvements in ED’s Special Programs for Indian Children. On December 3, ED will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking that proposes changes to the Demonstration grants program to add the Native Youth Community Projects mentioned above. It also makes substantial improvements to the Professional Development program, which funds the training of new American Indian/Alaska Native teachers and administrators.