Thousands of children attend schools operated by the federal Bureau of Indian Education, and for years, no one has known for sure if the buildings where they learn, eat and sleep are safe.
That’s one finding from a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office that has shaken the bureau, which oversees schools that serve about 7 percent of American Indian students — nearly 50,000 schoolchildren — scattered across 23 states mostly in the rural western and southwestern United States.
The report says more than one-third of all 180 school locations have gone longer than one year without health and safety inspections. Of those, 54 sites haven’t been inspected in at least four years. The Bureau of Indian Education mandates annual inspections for all schools.
And among inspected schools, it’s unclear how many of them received improper or incomplete review, said Melissa Emrey-Arras, who directs education, workforce and income security issues for GAO. She said that in one instance, a “drive-by inspection” was conducted for a school complex with 34 buildings.
“They’re at risk of endangering the children they’re charged with protecting,” Emrey-Arras said.
To read the entire article, click here.
The Washington State Office of Public Instruction and its Superintendent Randy Dorn recently issued a letter to state schools regarding “tribal students wearing items of cultural significance such as eagle feathers during graduation ceremonies.” The State concludes that a student wearing an eagle feather “should not be viewed as a violation of the graduation ceremony dress codes.”
Many educators and policymakers in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities are concerned that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will fall short of their goal to ensure the preparation of all students for college and/or career.
This paper explores how the CCSS could affect AI/AN students, and examines how to best implement the standards to increase the likelihood for college and career success for this group of students. Specifically, the paper describes:
- The importance of understanding the diversity among AI/AN communities
- Why today’s education reforms might be viewed as forced assimilation
- How previous education reforms have failed
- What needs to happen for the CCSS to work
- The impact of No Child Left Behind
In addition, the paper includes recommendations for how local and state education agencies, researchers, and policymakers can best proceed to help prepare AI/AN students to succeed in college and/or career.
To view the report, click here.
The 2016 Young Native Writers Essay Contest is open to Native American high school students currently enrolled in grades 9-12only. All students participating in the Young Native Writers Essay Contest should have a significant and current relationship with a Native American community (i.e., an American Indian tribe, an Alaska Native community or a Native Hawaiian community).
2016 Prompt Native Youth Initiatives
What active role should Native youth take in advancing Native initiatives within your community, region, or state? The essay should use research from your tribal community (website, tribal documents or personal interviews) and should reflect on your own experiences within their community.
The following prizes will be awarded to winning essayists:
Four (4) First-Place Winners will each receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the National Museum of the American Indian and other prominent sites as part of Scholar Week (July 24 – 28, 2016).
First-Place Winners will receive a special award for display at home or school. In addition, each First-Place Winner will receive a scholarship of $2,500 to be paid directly to the college or university of his or her choice.
Entry Deadline for the 2016 Young Native Writers Essay is Wednesday, April 30, 2016.
For more information, click here.
Congress could soon find itself with a chance to radically improve the lives of thousands of children currently trapped in crumbling and failing schools now that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has proposed the Native American Educational Opportunity Act.
The proposal would enable children attending Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools to access education savings accounts to attend a private school of choice and to afford other education opportunities.
Funding for Bureau of Indian Education Schools is unique among K-12 education financing because it is almost entirely federal. Moreover, the Native American Education Improvement Act of 2001 makes clear that “the Federal Government has the sole responsibility for the operation and financial support of the Bureau of Indian Affairs funded school system.”
But even a quick look at that system reveals just how poorly the federal government has handled that responsibility.
To read the entire article, click here.