BIA Schools: Are Indian students being left behind?
Monday, January 26, 2004

Like public schools across the nation, Bureau of Indian Affairs schools are struggling to implement and meet the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader examines some of the challenges they are facing.

BIA schools were given a different timetable under the law. A committee of tribal and federal representatives has spent much of the last year drafting rules for the 185 schools in the system. The goal is to make Indian students more proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Indian educators are considering special circumstances, including the need to teach Indian culture. But some worry the children won't be able to meet standards that are set too high. Most BIA students perform at levels below state and national averages.

Some schools are in unique situations. The Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota receives federal and state funds, so it has to meet standards set by both governments.

At least one BIA school has implemented accountability and testing standards. The Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting School, a charter of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, l has smaller classes, a tougher curriculum, and better test scores. The school spends about $14,000 per student, compared to the $4,000 average for BIA students.

Get the Story:
No Child Left Behind puts Indian schools to the test (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 1/25)
Standards for schools not equal (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 1/25)
Schools take small steps toward higher achievement (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 1/26)
Michigan BIA school serves as example (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 1/26)

Relevant Links:
Office of Indian Education Programs, BIA -
Indian School Report Cards, BIA -
National Indian Education Association -

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