Education | National

Senate confirms John King as leader of Department of Education

John King Jr., then the acting Secretary of the Department of Education, speaks at the National Congress of American Indians winter session in Washington, D.C., on February 22, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com

The Senate voted 49 to 40 on Monday to confirm John King, Jr. as Secretary of the Department of Education for the remaining months of the Obama administration.

King has worked at the department since January 2015. He's been closely involved with efforts to improve educational outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native students, the vast majority of whom attend public schools across the nation.

"It is a shame for the country ... that still we do not provide the access and opportunity for our Native American youth that we should and must," King told tribal leaders at the National Congress of American Indians winter session in Washington, D.C., last month.

King noted that graduation levels for high school students are the highest in history. But he said Native students are still being left behind.

"Although we have the highest graduation rate that we've ever had at 82 percent, we know that the graduation rate for Native American youth is stuck at 70 percent," King said.

Going forward, King said the Every Student Succeeds Act, the law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, will help address those outcomes. The law includes provisions that address tribal consultation, tribal-state partnerships and Native languages.

"We think there are important elements to the law that we can work to implement together for the sake of better outcomes," King told NCAI.

Get the Story:
Senate votes to confirm King to head Education Department (AP 3/14)
In bipartisan move, Senate confirms John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary (The Washington Post 3/15)

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