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BIA to hold consultation sessions on education

A proposal to restructure the Bureau of Indian Affairs education program is on the agenda for tribal consultation sessions next week.

Comments are sought on the addition of three bureaucratic positions to the Office of Indian Education Programs. These deputy directors would oversee the 184 schools that make up the BIA system.

The BIA is also taking comments on the location of the line offices with direct authority over the schools. The restructuring would reduce the number of line officers from 22 to 17, according to an organizational chart prepared for the consultation meetings.

The goal of the reorganization is to increase accountability for the operation of the schools as well as the performance of the estimated 47,000 American Indian and Alaska Native students who attend them. Only 46 of the 184 schools, or 25 percent, met the adequate yearly progress (AYP) standard under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

The restructuring will "provide enhanced senior leadership and accountability to the BIA education programs," the BIA documents state.

As part of the proposal, the BIA plans to add three associate deputy director positions under the OIEP director. Two deputies would be responsible for schools that are directly managed by the BIA. The third would oversee schools that are operated by tribes.

According to the BIA, the deputies are necessary because there are currently only two senior leadership positions for over 5,000 employees.

Additionally, schools operated directly by the BIA don't perform as well as their tribal counterparts. Only 8 of the 62 BIA controlled met the AYP standard. In contrast, 38 of the 122 tribal schools passed.

Neither number is high enough, though, so the BIA and the Education Department are proposing to improve AYP performance under a memorandum of agreement that is also on next week's agenda. By 2014, 100 percent of students will be proficient or advanced, the two agencies project.

As of the 2001-2002 school year, only 34 percent of BIA students were proficient or advanced. Starting in the 2005-2006 school year and continuing through the 2013-2014 school year, the agreement seeks to move 5.5 percent of students out of the "basic" category and into the proficient or advanced level.

Under the proposed reorganization, one associate deputy will be responsible solely for schools on the Navajo Nation. This "Navajo" deputy would oversee 33 Navajo schools, about 2,300 employees and about 9,800 students.

The second associate deputy would oversee 28 BIA schools located elsewhere in Indian Country. About 1,800 employees and 8,300 students are covered by the "non-Navajo" deputy.

The final associate deputy, for the 123 tribal-controlled schools, would oversee about 30,000 students.

Each associate deputy would have control over the line offices. The "Navajo" deputy has four: West New Mexico (9 schools), East New Mexico (9 schools), East Arizona (9 schools) and West Arizona (7 schools).

The "non-Navajo" deputy's line offices are: New Mexico (9 schools), Arizona (8 schools), North Dakota (2 schools), South Dakota (4 schools) and Oregon (4 schools and 1 dorm).

The third deputy's line officers are: Oregon/Montana/California/Idaho (16 schools), Arizona/New Mexico (18 non-Navajo schools), Oklahoma/Minnesota (16 schools), Arizona/Utah (14 schools), New Mexico (18 Navajo schools), South and Eastern (15 schools), South Dakota (17 schools), North Dakota (9 schools).

The proposed restructuring, the agreement with the Education Department and a draft policy for facilities management and construction will be discussed at seven meetings next week.

On August 29, meetings will be held in Phoenix, Arizona; Gallup, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. On August 30, meetings will be held in Aberdeen, South Dakota; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Nashville, Tennessee.

Written comments must be sent to the BIA by September 30, 2005. The address is:
Department of the Interior
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Office of Indain Education Programs
Attn: Mail Stop 3609-MIB / Tribal Consultation
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Faxes may be sent to 202.273.0030.

Relvant Documents:
Consultation Schedule / Press Release | Consultation Topics

Relevant Links:
Office of Indian Education Programs, BIA -