Congress Explores Mismanagement of Native American Schools

By: Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

On Thursday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m. EST, the Committee on Education and the Workforce is holding a Congressional Hearing “Examining the Federal Government’s Mismanagement of Native American Schools.” It is in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC.  While it is a bit of a commute to attend from the west coast, people working throughout Indian Country should pay attention that steps are being taken to fix, or at least make more effective, a system that has languished ineffectively for a long time.  It is through effective education that future leaders arise.

There are more than 40,000 students throughout Indian Country in more than 185 Native American schools operated by the federal government. Within the federal government, the Department of Interior (DOI) – the Bureau of Indian Education, (BIE), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management – and the Department of Education are responsible for ensuring Native American students receive an education comparable to their peers by providing schools with funding, academic support and operational support, as well as overseeing personnel, transportation, and financial management.

William Mendoza, Executive Director, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, will testify. Mr. Mendoza was integral in the Native youth listening sessions throughout Indian Country last fall focused on students’ educational environments throughout Indian Country.  You can see that post here on the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE). We wrote about this outreach in Indian Country in October 2014.

To view a webcast of the Congressional Hearing it can be accessed live here.

To learn more about the hearing, or upcoming hearings, please visit here.

Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, is holding an additional tribal consultation session to discuss the American Indian Education Study Group Blueprint for Reform and Secretarial Order 3334 to Restructure the BIE. This meeting will be held Friday, May 15, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. (local time) at the Isleta Resort and Casino, Seminar Room, 11000 Broadway Boulevard, Southeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The comment period has been extended to May 22, 2015 to submit feedback on the Blueprint for Reform to the BIA.

Ted is head of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.