The BIE is responsible for providing quality education opportunities to Indian students. It currently oversees 185 schools, serving about 41,000 students on or near Indian reservations. Poor student outcomes raise questions about how well BIE is achieving its mission. In September 2013, GAO reported that BIE student performance has been consistently below that of Indian students in public schools.

This testimony discusses Indian Affairs’ management challenges in improving Indian education, including (1) its administration of schools, (2) staff capacity to address schools’ needs, and 3) accountability for managing school construction and monitoring school spending.

This testimony is based on GAO reports issued in September 2013 and November 2014, as well as GAO’s February 2015 testimony, which presents preliminary results from its ongoing review of BIE school facilities. A full report on school facilities will be issued later this year. GAO reviewed relevant laws and regulations; analyzed agency data; and conducted site visits to schools, which were selected based on their geographic diversity and other factors.

GAO has made several recommendations in its earlier reports; it is not making any new recommendations in this statement.

For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or emreyarrasm@gao.gov.

To view the highlights page, the testimony in PDF or to read further on the GAO’s website, click here.