The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will be having a hearing on April 22, 2015, on “Examining the Challenges Facing Native American Schools.”

The hearing is scheduled at 10:00 a.m. in room 2175 Rayburn H.O.B.

To watch the hearing live, you can utilize this link.

Witness List

Ms. Jill Burcum
Editorial Writer
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mr. Brian Cladoosby
National Congress of American Indians
Embassy of Tribal Nations
Washington, D.C.

Ms. Melissa Emrey-Arras
Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues
U.S. Government Accountability Office
Boston, Massachusetts

Mr. Quinton Roman Nose
Executive Director
Tribal Education Departments National Assembly
Boulder, Colorado

Quinton’s written testimony can be seen here.

With the STEP Grant being announced, this is a good time to review TEDNA and Education Northwest’s webinar on the STEP Program here.  We encourage any Tribal Education Agency or Department that is contemplating applying for the next round of STEP Grants to watch the webinar.  The PPT slides can be seen here. TEDNA’s overview of the STEP Grant can be seen here.

Here is Mr. Roman Nose’s Testimony, which he will be presenting on March 25, 2015.  An excerpt:

TEAs are in a unique position to halt and reverse the negative outcomes for Native students. TEAs have already proven that they are capable of improving Native American student outcomes. For example, the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, one of the STEP grantees, has a science, technology, and math program, among many other education programs, that serves approximately 250 Chickasaw students. Ninety percent of senior students participating in the program enroll in college. Through the STEP grant, Chickasaw has already put in place the framework to improve student outcomes and attendance. For example, before the co-governance model was in place, several Native American students were falling through the cracks and being expelled. Now, the Chickasaw Nation has stepped in to move expelled students into other alternative high school programs. Through this process, Local Education Agencies (“LEAs”) now understand that this is exactly the type of situation that the Chickasaw Nation TEA can address before the expulsion stage so intervention services can be provided, such as counseling, to students that are at risk.

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.