Department of Education Press Release: Historic Investment: $17.4 Million in Grants Available to Help Native Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                               Feb. 29,2016
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov

Support Aimed at Helping Native Students Become College-, Career-Ready

The U.S. Department of Education today announced it is more than tripling – from $5.3 million to $17.4 million – the availability of funding for grants to help Native American youth become college- and career-ready.

The extra support is being provided for Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) as an ongoing step toward implementing President Obama’s commitment to improving the lives of American Indian and Alaskan Native children. The grants will support the President’s Generation Indigenous “Gen I” Initiative to help Native American youth.

 In a Federal Register notice, the Department said it expects to make approximately 19 demonstration awards ranging from $500,000 to $1 million to tribal communities before Sept. 30.

 “In too many places across Indian Country, Native youth do not receive adequate resources to help prepare them for success in school or after graduation,” said Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.  “The Native Youth Community Projects are an investment in bringing tribal communities together to change that reality, and dramatically transform the opportunities for Native youth.  When tribal communities join together around shared goals for Native youth, we will see locally driven solutions coming from leaders who work most closely with students and are best-positioned to lead change.”

William Mendoza, executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, said, “These resources are desperately needed in tribal communities and are rooted in the value of tribally driven partnerships and strategies as a foundation to addressing the challenges Native youth face.”

 Today’s announcement builds on the NYCP grants awarded last year to a dozen recipients in nine states that impacted over 30 tribes and involved more than 48 schools. The NYCP program is based on significant consultation with tribal communities and recognizes that these communities can best:

·         Identify key barriers to and opportunities for improving educational and life outcomes for Native youth, and

·         Develop and implement locally produced strategies designed to address those barriers.

Each grant will support a coordinated, focused approach chosen by a community partnership that includes a tribe, local schools and other optional service providers or organizations.

 For example, the program allows tribes to identify ways to achieve college and career readiness specific to their own populations – which could include any number of approaches, such as early learning, language immersion or mental health services. Communities can tailor strategies to address barriers to success for students in college-and-career readiness.  The success of these projects will guide the work of future practices that improve the educational opportunities and achievement of preschool, elementary and secondary Indian students.

 The President’s recent fiscal year 2017 budget proposal calls for increased investments across Indian Country.  The plan would:

 ·         Significantly expand the overall funding for NYCP to $53 million.

·         Provide $350 million for Preschool Development Grants – an increase of $100 million over fiscal year 2016 – to help develop and expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities, including planning grants to tribal governments.

·         Help nearly 470,000 Native students with increased support for Title I programs serving low-income schools with funding necessary to provide high-need students access to an excellent education.  The proposal seeks $15.4 billion – a $450 million increase – for all Title I efforts.

 In addition, Acting Secretary King will be visiting the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in the coming months to listen to the needs of tribal officials and share information on the efforts by the Administration to help Native youth and adults.

 For more on the Administration’s investment in Native American issues, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/nativeamericans.

Via Indian Country Today: Obama Names National Advisory Council on Indian Education Members

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.

Via Indian Country Today: 9 Ways the New Education Law Is a Win for Indian Country

An excerpt:

The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 is a big win for Indian country, according to the National Indian Education Association. Executive Director Ahniwake Rose, Cherokee/Creek, and Federal Policy Associate Dimple Patel explained why in a January 27 webinar, “Understanding the Every Student Succeeds Act.”

ESSA, signed into law by President Obama on December 10, reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, a piece of civil rights legislation meant to protect the nation’s most vulnerable children. ESSA replaces the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act and shifts much of the responsibility for elementary and secondary education from the federal government to the states.

Tribal Consultation

For the first time ever, states and local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to engage in meaningful consultation with tribes or tribal organizations in the development of state plans for Title I grants. Further, LEAs must consult with tribes before making any decision that affects opportunities for American Indian/Alaska Native students in programs, services or activities funded by ESSA.

“Consultation means better decisions will be made for our students…. We believe that this provision alone is going to change the way our students are perceived and worked with in our school systems,” said Rose.

The key, she said, will be to help schools and LEAs understand what meaningful consultation is. NIEA will be working with the Department of Education and states to make sure consultation occurs at the earliest possible stage and prior to the development of any programs, initiatives or policy.

Native Language Immersion Programs

Funds awarded under a new Title VI (the new title for Indian Education) grant may be used to fund Native language immersion programs in public schools. The intent is to help Native peoples use, practice, maintain and revitalize their languages and cultures and to improve educational opportunities and student outcomes in AI/AN communities, said Rose. A Language Immersion Study will identify best practices.

To read the entire article, click here.