FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     

February 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. – At the National Indian Education Association’s (NIEA) annual legislative summit, Senator Barrasso (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced he was introducing a bill to Congress that would have ramifications for the future of Native education. The Reforming American Indian Standards of Education (S.2580) (RAISE) Act would eliminate the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and establish an independent Indian Education Agency within the Department of the Interior.

While speaking to NIEA membership about the bill, Senator Barrasso said, “BIA is not an agency equipped to run schools…the [process] needs to be more streamlined with increased accountability.” He went on to say, “My legislation will ensure that the administrators, teachers, and students from tribal communities are being listened to and that their needs are being met. It is an important first step for better transparency and accountability for schools across Indian country.”

Under Barrasso’s plan a director, who would be appointed to a six-year term, would lead the new Indian Education Agency. The new agency’s director would be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The new agency would also staff two assistant directors, one overseeing education curriculum and the other overseeing facilities management. The bill assumes that by merging all education and administrative offices under the leadership of one agency, a more efficient and functional Indian education system could be established- one that could be responsive to local needs.

NIEA’s Executive Director, Ahniwake Rose said of the bill, “The proposed language is a direct response to the reform needed within the BIE system – and Mr. Barrasso has provided a bold proposal on how to improve the process. I look forward to addressing NIEA membership about the bill to better understand how this action would impact their communities and working with Senator Barrasso to determine what is in the best interest of Native students.”

NIEA will continue to monitor and provide updates to members on the advancement of this bill.

 To read S. 2580, please click here.

An excerpt:

President Barack Obama recently namedPhyliss J. Anderson, Joely Proudfit, Mandy Smoker Broaddus, and Dahkota Franklin Kicking Bear Brown to theNational Advisory Council on Indian Education.

They will serve on the council, which was established under the Indian Education Act of 1972 and advises the Secretary of Education and Congress on the administration and funding of Alaska Native and American Indian education programs.

“I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to serve our country,” President Obama said in the release. “They bring their years of experience and expertise to the Administration, and I look forward to working with them.”

To read the entire article, click here.

INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION
The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is looking to hire two current undergraduate or graduate students as interns for the summer of 2016. The internships are full-time positions over the course of 10 – 12 weeks (400 hours). Beginning and ending dates are negotiable. Salary will be $15.00 per hour with potential additional funds for living and relocation expenses. As temporary employees of ILTF, interns are not eligible for employee benefits.

ORGANIZATION DESCRIPTION
ILTF’s mission is to ensure that “land within the original boundaries of every reservation and other areas of high significance where tribes retain aboriginal interest are in Indian ownership and management.” We support this mission through long-term capital investments, focused grant-making, and collaborations with those holding similar interest in Indian land tenure issues.

INTERNSHIP DESCRIPTION
Research Intern: The Research Intern will conduct outreach and general research to update Foundation records to improve relationships and the understanding of tribal land office1s. The intern must have knowledge of database technology. (Microsoft Access preferred.)

Education Intern: The Education Intern will edit curriculum lessons, develop and implement online education surveys, create a summer education outreach plan, and revise teacher training materials. Candidates must have high attention to detail and thorough knowledge of grammar and punctuation rules. Knowledge of federal and educational state standards desired. Experience with Drupal content manager a plus.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: February 29, 2016

For more information, click here.

The 10thannual Lakota Summer Institute will be held June 6 to 24 at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

“For me, this was a spiritual journey which I will never forget,” Rick Williams, a 2015 LSI participant, told the Tribal College Journal.

Hundreds of Lakota learners and educators have attended LSI in the past.

Alli Moran is a three-year LSI attendant who practices Lakota at home. “When I was 10 everything began to come together. I began to understand what it means being a Native woman and the importance of Lakota language and culture… I love it here. I love seeing everyone come together and we all have a common cause, which is to learn and speak the language.”

For more information, click the links below:

Read what other past participants have to say here.

Registration is free and open now at LakSummerInst.com.

Senator Tester (MT), ranking member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Sen. Cantwell (WA) introduced a bill on January 27, 2016 specifically geared to address the abysmal conditions of schools run on reservations. The bill would require the Bureau of Indian Education and the Office of Management and Budget to develop a 10 year plan to address the condition of BIE schools. It puts into place a demonstration program that would allow tribes to help accelerate the construction of BIE facilities. The bill also addresses other schools on reservations, including tribal colleges and Impact Aid schools – which are public schools that have limited tax income since most reservation residents are exempt from state tax.

For all three types of rural schools, the bill authorizes housing assistance for teachers to help fill vacancies and increase teacher retention. It also requests separate comprehensive government reports on both BIE and public Impact Aid schools to better understand and assess the needs, best practices, and next steps for renovating reservation-based schools

For more information, click here.

On December 10, 2015, the President signed into law the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA), amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).  The Department of Education is now in the process of helping States and districts transition to and implement the law.  On February 4, 2015, the Department published a notice of intent to engage in negotiated rulemaking to:

  • update existing assessment regulations to reflect changes to section 1111(b)(2) of ESEA, and
  • to prepare proposed regulations related to the requirement under Section 1118(b) of ESEA, that title I, part A funds be used to supplement, and not supplant, non-Federal funds.

To help our stakeholders understand and be involved in this process, the Department is hosting a webinar, including a brief Q&A, on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, to provide an overview of the rulemaking process, including negotiated rulemaking. Space is limited and will be provided on a first come, first served basis.  For this reason, we ask that groups have a single representative join.  For those who cannot attend, the webinar will be posted afterwards on http://www.ed.gov/essa