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Feds Encourage Native Tribes, States to Partner in Education

Native American tribes and nations are being encouraged to play a bigger role in education in a new pilot program grant competition launched this week by the U.S. Department of Education.

The State-Tribal Education Partnership will give tribal education departments up to $500,000 for capacity building, and departments working in a consortium could receive up to $750,000. Nearly $2 million is available for the program.

To qualify, tribal education departments must implement collaborative agreements with state education agencies, as well as oversee state administrative activities receiving federal funding, such as School Improvement Grants, migrant education, and English-language learners.

Back in March, we wrote about a report, "Profiles of Partnerships Between Tribal Education Departments and Local Education Agencies," that looked at nine communities where tribal education departments, which are the groups that oversee American Indian education, had forged good relationships with local education agencies. Seven of those were in rural areas.

The National Indian Education Association has advocated for this new STEP grant opportunity because officials say it will improve the education of its students. Federal officials will host a Webinar Tuesday on how to apply for it, and notice of intent to apply is due June 12.

In other Native student news, the National Indian Education Association's Board of Directors announced earlier this week that it would have a new leader. Executive Director Colin Kippen, a Native Hawaiian, stepped down May 31, and his interim replacement will be Gerald E. Gipp, former executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and member of the Standing Rock Sioux. The association described Gibbs as having "a lifelong record of advancing education for Native students."

A national search will be launched to find its next executive director.

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