The Native Indian Education Association, which represents a significantly rural population, released last week a series of new recommendations aimed at strengthening the federal government's commitment to Native American children.
— Support the Native CLASS Act, which the association says would grant tribes and their education departments status as state education agencies, encourage partnerships between states and tribes, and invest in Native language programs.
— Re-establish the Executive Order on Tribal Colleges and Universities, which the association says would help tribal colleges and universities and their students improve access to and equity in higher education.
— Reaffirm and acknowledge the department's federal trust responsibility, which the association says would lead to "meaningful inclusion" of tribes as key stakeholders in the education of their citizens.
"Native education is in a state of emergency, and the federal government needs to take immediate action to ensure that Native students grow into engaged, productive citizens of both their tribes and the nation as a whole," according to the recommendations.
The recommendations follow the Obama administration's recent announcement of its Fourth Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference on Dec. 5. The conference will give leaders from the 566 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the president and administration officials.
The recommendations also come as the president is shaping his education agenda for the next four years. For more information, check out the new website launched by the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education that details its efforts to improve Native education.