Interagency Native American Languages Summit 2016

The Administration for Native Americans (ANA), the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE) will be hosting a Native American Languages Summit, as agreed to under the Memorandum of Agreement on Native Languages signed in 2012. The purpose of the 2016 Summit is to share across federal agencies and with Native American language programs, the various resources available to preserve, protect, and promote Native Americans rights to use their indigenous languages anywhere, including as a medium of instruction in schools.

To register for this session, please click here. For more information about the 2016 Summit or NIEA Pre-Convention Meetings please click here.

Airing Tonight on PBS NewsHour: Education Week Reports: A New Vision for Science Education

The Common Core State Standards in math and English/language arts have gotten a lot of attention over the past few years, fueling debate about how best to set goals for student learning. But another set of new standards-these for science-has been redefining instruction in American classrooms with much less controversy. The Next Generation Science Standards, being implemented in 18 states, emphasize learning science by doing science.

Wyoming has not yet adopted the standards, but some school districts, like Campbell County, aren’t waiting for the state to take action.

“We’re not teaching out of a textbook anymore,” says 4th grade teacher Jamie Howe. “It’s more hands on and students are taking control of their own learning.”

Although this more active way of teaching is fueling enthusiasm, it also faces significant challenges. Schools across the nation spend less time on science and more on math and reading, and educators in small schools with few science teachers must adapt in not just one subject, but three or four.

John Tulenko of Education Week visited Wyoming this spring to learn how the Next Generation Science Standards are changing K-12 science classes.


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The Common Core Initiative, Education Outcomes, and American Indian/Alaska Native Students: Observations and Recommendations

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.

Lessons Sought on Serving Native American Students

Here, from Ed Week.  An excerpt:

The Council of Chief State School Officers is looking to a small-scale Montana program for help in reversing the fortunes of hundreds of thousands of American Indian children.

Despite federal attempts to raise the profile of the challenges that Native American students face, they are often an afterthought, said William Mendoza, the executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education.

“They’re underrepresented, underserved, and darn-near invisible,” Mendoza said.

While Congress and the Obama administration have pressed the Bureau of Indian Education to overhaul operations at the schools it oversees on or near American Indian reservations, more than 90 percent of the 950,000 American Indian children attend traditional public schools run by local districts.

That makes district- and state-level intervention crucial.

New School, New Vision for Isleta Pueblo

From ICT, here. An excerpt:

Isleta Pueblo has taken over the Isleta Elementary School, which since its founding in the 1890s had been under the control of the federal government. The difference in school morale and the children’s behavior, say school officials, is already evident. And it was certainly easy to see the day ICTMN visited—bubbly, friendly, well-behaved children, smiling teachers only too eager to show off their classrooms, and committed staff who took time to share their programs and plans for the future.

The transfer was official July 1. Just a few days before school started in August Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, Bureau of Indian Education Director Charles Roessel and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M, joined Isleta Pueblo Gov. E. Paul Torres at the school to celebrate and turn over the keys. This is the first BIE-to-tribal school transition enabled by the Obama Administration’s Blueprint for Reform and the president’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, according to the Department of the Interior.


Grace: Among the last of its kind, Flandreau Indian School catches second wind

From, here.  An excerpt:

FLANDREAU, S.D. — At 6 a.m. the dorm’s hallway alarm blared. Then the overhead fluorescent lights beamed on.

Slowly, high school students Talitha Plain Bull, Juwan Grant and Ethan Young Bird tumbled out of bed and toward the showers.

They had arrived the night before, without much time to settle into this government-run boarding school for Native Americans.

Some of their schoolmates had flown to South Dakota from far-flung places like the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Some had come by car. Most had come on buses that traversed the Great Plains, stopping at reservations and towns along the way.

NCAI Education Resolutions

You can see the four education resolutions that passed at NCAI’s mid-year conference last week here.  An excerpt from the  Support for Equal Treatment of Tribal and State Education Departments by the U.S. Department of Education:

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Education has many competitive grant programs available to State Education Agencies (SEAs) but do not include Tribal Education Departments (TEDs) as eligible grant applicants; and

WHEREAS, several competitive grant applications explicitly exclude TEDs as eligible applicants; and

WHEREAS, these exclusions prohibit TEDs from being treated equally as SEAs to effectively serve their tribal students by administering title programs and funding; and

WHEREAS, parity between TEDs and SEAs levels the playing field for tribal communities to compete for and administer all competitive, discretionary grants available from the United States Department of Education.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI supports and calls upon Congress to expand eligibility of all competitive, discretionary funding from the U.S. Department of Education to explicitly include Tribal Education Departments as eligible grant applicants and recipients; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby calls upon Congress to enact legislation that establishes parity between State Education Agencies and Tribal Education Departments; and

ACT Report: The Condition of College and Career Readiness of American Indian Students

This report is designed to help inform the following questions regarding American Indian students:

  • Are American Indian students prepared for college and career?
  • Are enough American Indian students taking core courses?
  • Are core courses rigorous enough?
  • Are younger American Indian students on target for college and career?
  • What other dimensions of college and career readiness should we track?
  • Are American Indian students who are ready for college and career actually succeeding?

American Indian students are less likely than their peers to meet key college readiness benchmarks, even when taking academically rigorous courses in high school, according to a new report released today by ACT and the National Indian Education Association.

The report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: American Indian Students, examines the academic preparation and postsecondary aspirations of American Indian 2014 high school graduates who took the ACT® test. It is the third in a series of seven reports that focus on demographic groups of ACT test takers from the 2014 high school graduating class.

Among the findings:

  • 55 percent of American Indian students failed to meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, and only one in 10 met all four. Among all students, 31 percent didn’t meet any Benchmarks, and 26 percent met all four.
  • Across all four subjects, the percentage of American Indian students meeting each Benchmark was lower than the proportion who took “core or more” (recommended core curriculum) courses.
  • In English, less than half—43 percent—of American Indian students who took related “core or more” courses met the Benchmark, compared to 67 percent of all students.
  • In reading, 28 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 47 percent of all students.
  • In math, 23 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 46 percent of all students.
  • In science, 22 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 41 percent of all students.

To read the report, click here. For more information from the ACT website, click here.