Education | Opinion

Duane Champagne: Morongo Band finds success with education





Duane Champagne praises the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in California of adopting a new education system:
The Morongo Indian School provides a plan that all tribal nations should consider. Like many Indian tribes, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians invested heavily in mentoring and after school programs. The tribe won a national award for its education support program.

However, tribal community members, parents, and tribal leadership, noticed that while the mentoring program was helping some students get through high school, most were not prepared for college. Furthermore, the Morongo tribe wanted their tribal citizens to graduate from college and professional schools, and return to the reservation to help build and maintain the tribal government and community. The tribe offered to pay college expenses for all students who wanted to attend college, but did not get a response from most students, because they were not sufficiently prepared to succeed in college.

For about the same budget cost as the mentor program, the Morongo tribe decided to build a tribally managed private school. Currently the school covers K-8th grade, and in fall 2013, the Morongo School will create a 9th grade class, and each year after will create a new high school class. By 2015, the school will cover K-12.

Get the Story:
Duane Champagne: A Better Education for Native Students: The Morongo Method (Indian Country Today 9/3)