Tribal Leaders Say
By Alyson Klein
Condensed by Native Village
Native American leaders have told Washington officials that the federal government needs to provide more early childhood education, after-school programs, and other services for American Indian students.
But tribal leaders admit this will require a large increase in federal resources and may be difficult in tight educational times.
“Getting the money is always going to be a problem,” said Levi Pesata, president of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
The comments came during discussion on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Its current version is the No Child Left Behind law.
Since spring, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been meeting with educators, parents, and community members across the country to discuss changes.
Many tribes are interested in applying for some of the $4,000,000,000 in grants from the Race to the Top Fund. Race to the Top was created to reward states that make progress in providing quality education.
It isn’t clear if tribes can apply for a grant, because tribes are regarded as separate nations. Some tribal schools, however, are operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Native American leaders also stressed the need for more Native American teachers or teachers who are trained to work with Native populations. They added that Native students need to be schooled in their heritage and language, not just in reading and math.
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