A tribal school in Florida has been granted relief from the most onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind, making it the first tribal school in the nation to win its own waiver from the nation’s main federal education law.
The Miccosukee Indian School joins more than 40 states that have already won flexibility from No Child Left Behind by setting forth an alternative plan to hold their schools accountable. The Miccosukee school’s plan includes academic standards that cover not just math and English, but also the Miccosukee language and culturally relevant science.
It also aims to cut academic achievement gaps at the school in half over the next six years, which means its annual performance targets are different than Florida’s.
“Our standards include rigorous educational benchmarks and reflect the unique history, heritage, tradition, language, culture and values of the Miccosukee Indian Tribe and our people,” said Colley Billie, chairman of the tribe.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the move Monday, saying it is a sign of the Obama administration’s broader commitment to ensuring that tribes have control of their children’s education.
“This is a historic day,” Jewell said during a ceremony at her office. “It’s all about tribal self-governance, self-determination, and it starts with making sure the people who care most deeply about these children are the people that are making decisions for them.”