DOE Releases Civil Rights Data Collection Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      

June 9, 2016

Washington, D.C.– Earlier this week, the Department of Education (ED) released a first look at the data collected in the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) Report. The CRDC is a survey of all public schools and school districts in the United States. The survey measures student access to resources, as well as information on factors like school discipline and bullying. As other reports have shown, Native students continue to face obstacles that impact their academic success. Highlights from the report show the harsh realities our students experience in public schools including:

  • Native students are disproportionately suspended from school.
  • Native high school students are also retained disproportionately.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (26%), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (25%) high school students are chronically absent.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native boys represent 0.6% of all students, but 2% of students expelled without educational services.
  • More than one out of five American Indian or Alaska Native (22%) and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (23%) boys with disabilities served by IDEA received one or more out-of-school suspensions, compared to one out of ten white (10%) boys with disabilities served by IDEA.

Secretary of Education, John King, said of the report, “The Obama Administration has always stressed how data can empower parents, educators and policy makers to make informed decisions about how to better serve students. The stories the CRDC data tell us create the imperative for a continued call to action to do better and close achievement and opportunity gaps.”

NIEA Executive Director Ahniwake Rose agreed saying, “This report confirms what Native education advocates have always known-gaps persist that impact the success of our students. However, it only provides one chapter of a larger story. When looking at reports that assess the innovative solutions tribes have started to implement:  culture-based education, language immersion programs, community input, and support work, we know tribal communities have the ability to reverse these statistics. NIEA hopes the CRDC report provides an opportunity to begin a national discussion on how to expand these solutions and provide the flexibility and support to make them work.”

Throughout 2016, the ED will continue to release data highlights that relay information about issues that impact student success.

To view the CRDC report, please click here.

Click here to learn more about NIEA.

Congress Passes the Native American Children’s Safety Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, praised Congress’ passage of S. 184, the Native American Children’s Safety Act. The bill was sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), with bipartisan support.

S. 184 amends the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to require background checks before foster care placements are ordered in tribal court proceedings. The bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Feb. 2, 2015, and passed the full Senate on June 1, 2015. The bill passed the House of Representatives on May 23, 2016.

“Protecting Native children is paramount,” said Barrasso. “Requiring background checks for potential foster care parents of Indian children is just common sense. I want to thank Senator Hoeven for his leadership in introducing this important bill, and I call on the president to sign it into law as soon as possible.”

“Our bill ensures that Native American children living on reservations have all of the same protections when assigned to foster care that children living off the reservation have,” Hoeven said. “The measure requires background checks for all adults living in a foster home, which will help to protect children placed there at an already difficult time in their lives.”

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules meeting and hearing

From Indianz.com, here. Education will be among the top discussion topics.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a business meeting and legislative hearing on May 11. Three items are on the agenda for the business meeting. They are:

S.1163, the Native American Languages Reauthorization Act. The bill extends grants awarded under the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act from three years to five years. The committee held a hearing on November 18, 2015.
S.2304, the Tribal Early Childhood, Education, and Related Services Integration Act. The bill creates a demonstration project so tribes, tribal education institutions and tribal organizations can develop early childhood education programs. The committee held a hearing on April 6.
S.2739, the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act. The bill compensates the Spokane Tribe of Washington for land lost to the Grand Coulee Dam. The committee hasn’t held a hearing on the bill during the 114th Congress but prior versions have been advanced in the past.

The legislative hearing will focus on two bills. They are:

S.2417, the Tribal Veterans Health Care Enhancement Act. The bill authorizes the Indian Health Service to cover the cost of veterans’ copays for services rendered at the Veterans Health Administration.
S.2842, the Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act. The bill updates the decades-old data that the Bureau of Indian Affairs uses to award grants under the Johnson O’Malley (JOM) program.

The meeting and hearing will take place in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

From TurtleTalk: U.S. Presidential Candidates on Native American Issues

In light of campaigning in Indian Country, here are links on how leading candidates are addressing tribes:

Fmr. Sec. Hillary Clinton

“Growing Together: Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Building a Brighter Future for Native Americans” from from her campaign’s webpage.

“How Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Is Making Its Play for Native American Support” from the Atlantic.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)

“Empowering Tribal Nations” from his campaign’s webpage.

“In Arizona, Sanders woos Native Americans” from the Associated Press and “Bernie Sanders Replaces Stump Speech with Epic Call for Native American Justice in Arizona” from US Uncut.*

*The first article is slightly biased against the Senator but is the AP wire most news outlets reported for the March 17th event.  The second article is biased towards Sanders but includes video of the full speech.

Donald Trump

Trump has no website dedicated to Native issues, but here are some reported positions:

“Donald Trump and Jeb Bush Find Common Ground on Washington’s Football Team” from the NYT reporting on Trump’s defense of the Washington NFL team’s name.

“The Connecticut Roots Of Trump’s First Big Slur” from the Hartford Currant remembering Trump’s testimony to the House Subcommittee on Native Americans in 1993 concerning Tribal casinos.

To read the article on TurtleTalk, click here.

Colorado Commission to Study American Indian Representations in Public Schools

News stories here and here about the Commission’s latest meetings.

An excerpt from one:

Military veteran Stan Snow captivated the audience with his storytelling ability, sharing the name of the bomb squadron he was a part of in 1954: The Devil’s Own Grim Reapers.

The name might be offensive, Snow said, but when the B-52s shielded Americans from their enemies, people would be happy.

Snow decried political correctness, and praised the warrior spirit, and in the end, he pleaded.

“Please, please, don’t take it away from them,” Snow said.

There was clearly an age gap in the opinions of the roughly 60 audience members in attendance. The younger ones, save for a little girl who spoke first, fell strongly in the camp of tossing the mascot — or, at the very least, reaching out to tribes to make Eaton’s depiction more accurate and authentic and less of a caricature.

The older audience members leaned more toward tradition, keeping a logo that has been a part of Eaton since 1966.

S. 2468: Safe Academic Facilities and Environments for Tribal Youth (SAFETY) Act

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.

Sources: House and Senate Negotiators Have Reached Preliminary ESEA Deal

UPDATED

Christmas seems to have come early this year for education advocates. After weeks of long and hard negotiations, House and Senate lawmakers have reached preliminary agreement on a bill for the long-stalled re-authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, multiple sources say.

The agreement will set the stage for an official conference committee, which would likely kick off next week. The legislation could be on the floor of the House and Senate by the end of this month, or early next, sources say. (Nothing set in stone on timing just yet.) 

So far, the word isn’t official. Neither the House nor the Senate education committee has confirmed.

No hard-and-fast details available yet, although those are likely to trickle out in coming days. But if I were a betting woman, I’d put money down that there will be some language asking states to intervene in the bottom five percent of their schools, and schools with high drop-out rates.

No provision for so-called Title I “portability,” smart money says. (School choice fans might have something to cheer about anyway). And many smaller programs may have been rolled into a big giant block grant, according to folks familiar with earlier drafts of the proposal.

Sources familiar with previous versions of the agreement also say the odds are good that a new program for early childhood education made it into the compromise.

Some of the biggest sticking points towards the end of negotiations were said to be secretarial authority, authorizations, and accountability. So where did things end up?

We’ll find out soon enough for sure.

But the accountability provisions in earlier drafts were said to be pretty complicated, which makes sense, given the nature of bipartisan compromise.

“Based on what I’ve seen, for the next Secretary, interpreting the new law will be like looking at a Rorschach with one eye closed and with both hands tied behind their back,” said Charlie Barone, the policy director at Democrats for Education Reform, who served as an aide to Rep. George Miller of California, the top Democrat on the House education committee, when NCLB was written.

But that complexity could actually be a boon to state and local control, especially since the compromise includes nearly all of the restrictions on the Secretary’s authority that were in the House and Senate versions.

“The complexity helps,” said a GOP aide. The agreement “leaves a lot of this to states to figure out and the secretary’s ability to interfere with those state decisions is astonishingly limited.”

UPDATE [Nov. 13, 10:20 am] Overall, everyone walked out of negotiations with his or her biggest priority intact, the aide said. “Everybody has a lot to be happy about,” said a GOP aide who participated in the negotiations.

  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., got her early childhood education program, which the Obama administration also really wanted, plus some additional accountability, including on subgroups.
  • Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, got many programs placed into a block grant.
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate committee, got limitations on secretarial authority. That includes new limits on teacher evaluations, turnarounds, tests, you name it.
  • And Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., got some beefed-up subgroup language, which Murray also fought very hard for. The administration also wanted to see some subgroup accountability.

So what’s in the bill?  To read the entire article, click here.

2015 NCAI Resolutions

TEDNA sponsored two resolutions that passed at NCAI’s Annual Convention in San Diego last month.  The first was a resolution calling on the Department of Education to utilize its authority under 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(C) and 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(3)(iii) to exempt tribes and TEAs from FERPA’s advance consent requirement by designating TEAs as the Secretary of Education’s authorized representatives.

The second was a resolution that supports the right of American Indian and Alaska Native high school students to practice and express their traditional religious and spiritual beliefs and honor their academic and other achievements by wearing an eagle feather at their commencement ceremonies.

You can see those and all of the other resolutions that passed NCAI’s Annual Convention here.