Education | Opinion

Editorial: Indian schools deserve more federal and state funds

The Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota. Photo from Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is running a four-part series on the "separate and unequal" system at the Bureau of Indian Education:
The Bug school, part of the federally funded Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) system, is partly housed in a 30-year-old metal “pole barn” built as an auto mechanic school and bus garage. Tribal leaders and staff on the K-12 campus, which has about 200 students, have been pushing for a new high school for a decade.

But federal funding for new BIE schools has declined precipitously over the past decade and likely remains years away. Students in Armstrong’s class want their little brothers and sisters to have a modern high school and don’t understand why federal officials responsible for BIE schools aren’t advocating for them.

“We’re going to school in a tin can,’’ said Terra Warner, a ninth-grader. “If they really cared, we’d have a new school.”

Given the federal government’s failure at the Bug school, state-level funding — from both public and private sources — is needed and justified.

That the Bug high school needs to be replaced now, not at some point when federal officials get around to it, is glaringly obvious from the moment a visitor sets foot inside.

Get the Story:
Editorial: 'We're going to school in a tin can' (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 11/30)

Separate and Unequal Series:
Part 1: Indian schools, a nation's neglect (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 11/23)

Government Accountability Office Report:
Bureau of Indian Education Needs to Improve Oversight of School Spending (November 13, 2014)

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