EXAMINING EDUCATION PROGRAMS BENEFITING NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,

YOUTH AND FAMILIES

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND

THE WORKFORCE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

 

HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 20, 1999

 

Serial No. 106-60

 

Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce


Table of Contents

 

Statement Of Joe Christie, Acting Director, Office Of Indian Education Programs, Bureau Of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C. *

Statement Of Rose Potvin, Coordinator, Family And Child Education Program, Hannahville Indian School, Wilson, Michigan *

Statement Of Fay Blueeyes, Director Of Facilities, Shiprock Alternative Schools, Inc., Shiprock, New Mexico *

Statement Of Don Sims, Superintendent, Riverside Indian School, Anadarko, Oklahoma *

Statement Of John Cheek, Executive Director, National Indian Education Association, Alexandria, VA *

Statement Of Sandra Murie, Superintendent, Rocky Boy High'elementary Schools, Box Elder, Montana *

Appendix A The Written Statement Of Vice-Chairman Thomas E. Petri, Member Of Congress From Wisconsin. *

Appendix B The Written Statement Of Ranking Member Dale E. Kildee Member Of Congress From Michigan. *

Appendix C The Written Statement Of Joe Christie, Acting Director, Office Of Indian Education Programs, Bureau Of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C. *

Appendix D The Written Statement Of Rose Potvin, Coordinator, Family And Child Education Program, Hannahville Indian School, Wilson, Michigan *

Appendix E The Written Statement Of Fay Blueeyes, Director Of Facilities, Shiprock Alternative Schools, Inc., Shiprock, New Mexico. *

Appendix F Appendix F For The Written Statement Of John Cheek, Executive Director, National Indian Education Association *

Appendix G The Written Statement Of Don Sims, Superintendent, Riverside Indian School, Anadarko, Oklahoma. *

Appendix H The Written Statement Of Sandra Murie, Superintendent, Rocky Boy High Elementary Schools, Box Elder, Montana. *

Table Of Indexes *

EXAMINING EDUCATION PROGRAMS

BENEFITTING NATIVE AMERICAN

CHILDREN

 

Tuesday, July 20, 1999

 

House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Early Childhood,

Youth, and Families

 

Committee on Education and the

Workforce,

 

Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:30 p.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Thomas E. Petri (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Tancredo, DeMint, Kildee, Woolsey, Kucinich, and McCarthy.

Staff Present: Castleman, Conant, Renard, Selmser, Wood, Harris, Nock, and Folescu.

Mr. Petri. The Subcommittee will come to order.

The Subcommittee Chairman, Mike Castle, asked me to apologize. He had a conflict, but otherwise would be here. I would like to welcome you to the next in our series of hearings in preparation for the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Today, we will hear testimony on programs that benefit Native American children. Before making the rest of my remarks, I would like to thank the Ranking Minority Member, Mr. Kildee for being with us today. As the co-Chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Mr. Kildee has been one of the leading proponents of education programs serving Native American youth.

More importantly, he has been a wealth of knowledge on how these programs work. I look forward, as do other members of the Committee, to working with him as we move ahead. There are also a number of Republican members, including our Committee Chairman, Mr. Goodling, who would be with us, but who is on the Floor managing a bill as we gather. Chairman Goodling has supported these programs in the past and has expressed a strong interest in improving the way they work.

In my own Congressional District in Wisconsin, five school districts receive funds under Title 9, Part A of the ESEA, for a total of $93,000 to supplement the education of Native American students. So, I know the value of this program. All of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, want to ensure that our children receive the best education possible.

As Mr. Kildee often reminds me, we have a special obligation in the form of a treaty between the United States Government and the Sovereign Tribal Nations to meet the education needs of Native American children. For this reason, I am particularly concerned about the high dropout rate for Native American students, which is currently well- above our National average.

As the Subcommittee begins to craft legislation, my goal will be to ensure that Native American students have the same access to quality education programs that all of our citizens deserve, and that our educators have the tools they need to improve the education outcomes for Native American students.

The first program we will look at today is the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Elementary and Secondary Education Program. While this program is not specifically authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Act, we have traditionally used reauthorization of the act as a vehicle for making improvements to this program as well.

The BIA Program is the largest program for the education of Native American students. Under this program, the students attend schools operated by the BIA or the Tribal Governments under grant or contract arrangements with the Bureau.

Funding for school operations is based on the Indian Student Equalization Formula, and students are assigned a relative weight based on the cost associated with their education. The second program we will look at today is operated by the Department of Education under Title 9, Part A of ESEA. This program provides funds to improve and enrich the quality of education received by Native American students.

Most of these funds are distributed on a formula basis, based on the number of Indian children in the LEA or at the BIA-funded school. Despite the current high dropout rate among Native Americans, I am encouraged that Tribal Governments are increasingly taking control of schools through grant or contract arrangements.

In the near-term, I hope this will translate into better academic achievements among our Native American students. In addition, I understand that strides are being made in Native American Family Literacy Programs. I look forward to learning more about successes in this area.

We have a large panel today and a lot of ground to cover. I will stop here and thank our witnesses for their appearance before this Subcommittee. We work to update and improve these programs. The other members of the Committee and I will do our best to improve the quality of the service provided and increase flexibility for participating schools and Tribes. I look forward to hearing your ideas on how we can do this. I would like to yield to Mr. Kildee for his opening statement.

See Appendix A for the Written Statement of Vice-Chairman Thomas E. Petri, Member of Congress From Wisconsin

 

Mr. Kildee. Thank you very much, Mr. Petri.

I appreciate this hearing this morning on Indian Education Programs. I know that both of us are looking forward to hearing today's testimony on these very vital Federal investments. I would like to call attention to the fact that a former member staff of this Committee is in the room, Alan Lovesey.

Alan, about 22 years ago, accompanied me as I toured BIA schools, and public schools that receive Johnson-O'Malley Funds. We toured through Indian Country. He was a great mentor and we are glad to have you here today, Alan.

The programs operated both by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Department of Education are extremely important to ensuring a high quality education for Indian children in meeting the Federal Constitutional responsibility toward Native Americans.

Whether it be funding provided through Title 9 of the Elementary and Secondary Act, or through Bureau-operated or funded schools, the goal is singular; to provide Indian children with the opportunities, the resources, and the facilities that are provided to non-Indian children in this Country, no less than that.

Moreover, these programs began to address the Federal responsibility. That Federal responsibility is contained in our treaties which the Constitution, which I carry with me all the time. The Constitution states in Article 6, that this Constitution and all treaties entered into, are the supreme law of the land.

Back in 1981 when the Federal Government was beginning to retrench in its responsibility to education, I recall reminding this Committee that if we were to remove all supportive education, we could not remove it from the Indians of this Country, the Native American.

I have read the Treaty of Detroit. We took millions of acres of land from the Ottawa, the Chippawa, and the Potawatomi; gave them very little in return, but we did promise them education. I reminded the Committee then that if we were to go back to zero for others, which I would not advocate.

I would like to raise it higher for everybody, we could not do that to the Indians because we have treaty responsibilities which is the supreme law of the land. It is my hope that we take the lessons learned at today's hearing and apply it for our work in this Congress.

Only after we have heard the voices from Indian Country can we truly understand and appreciate the task before us. All of you here at this table have an awesome responsibility to deliver education. We have an awesome responsibility to give you the means to deliver that education. I take that very seriously.

I thank you for your presence here today.

See Appendix B for the Written Statement of Ranking Member Dale E. Kildee Member of Congress From Michigan

 

Mr. Petri. Thank you, Mr. Kildee.

Are there any other opening statements?

[No response.]

Mr. Petri. If not, we will proceed. Let me introduce the panel briefly. We are joined by Mr. Joe Christie, the Acting Director of the Office of Indian Education Programs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and as such is responsible for administering the Bureau's Elementary and Secondary Education Programs.

Also on the panel are Rose Potvin, who is the Coordinator of the Family and Child Education Program for the Hannahville Indian School in Wilson, Michigan. For almost 14 years, she has served Hannahville Indian Schools overseeing programs such as Title 1, FACE, and Special Education. She has also had significant classroom experience in her career.

 

Ms. Faye BlueEyes is the Director of facilities for the Shiprock Alternative Schools, Inc., in Shiprock, New Mexico. In her 13 years with the Shiprock Alternative Schools, she has held numerous positions. From her various posts, she has administered the breadth of programs dealing with everything from programs that assist at-risk students, to school construction, to housing issues for her students.

 

Mr. Don Sims is our next witness. He is Superintendent of Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Mr. Sims has had years of experience with the Bureau of Indian Affairs' off-reservation schools, as well as 24 solid years in education.

 

Mr. John Cheek represents the National Indian Education Association as its Executive Director. Since 1984, he has been involved with Indian Education Programs on every level. He served as an Indian Education Act Advisor to the Oklahoma City Schools, Program Director for Indian Education Programs with the Norman Public Schools, and also served as the Acting Director of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

Finally, Ms. Sandra Murie is the Superintendent of Rock Boy High and Elementary Schools in Box Elder, Montana. In her 25 years experience in educating Indian children, she has administered the Title 9 Programs, as well as acted as an advocate for the needs of Native American education.

Welcome to all of you. As I expect you have been told here, all statements will be made a part of the record of this hearing and will be reviewed by members and staff to assist us in working on legislation and revising programs.

We invite you to summarize your remarks in about 5 minutes. To guide you, you will see a green light, then a yellow light after about, well that means 1 minute is left. Then the red light is an indication that you should attempt to summarize and complete. We will start with Mr. Christie.

 

STATEMENT OF JOE CHRISTIE, ACTING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF INDIAN EDUCATION PROGRAMS, BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, WASHINGTON, D.C.

Mr. Christie. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am pleased to be here today in support of your reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act, ESEA, and to speak about the education programs benefiting Native American children. The BIA is only one of the two school systems that are operated by the Federal Government, the other being the Department of Defense.

Unlike our sister agency, the Department of Education, the BIA operates a school system, which means that we have to hire staff, fire staff, and live within a budget, like public school systems across the Nation. However, unlike public school districts, we do not have the luxury of operating within close geographical boundaries.

Unlike State Departments of Education that set State standards, we operate in more than one State. In fact, we are located in 23 States and 63 Reservations where each of the Tribal Governments are a sovereign Government.

In school year 1999-2000, we anticipate an enrollment of 51,378 students, which will increase about 2.5 percent per year. If you read the Parade in Sunday's paper, the Native American population is one of the fastest growing populations in the Nation.

H.R.1960, the Excellence of Children Act of 1999, would help support American Indian and Alaskan Native students to achieve higher academic standards, address the special needs of these students by supporting research-based culturally appropriate educational services, and promote high quality professional development.

It also promotes small class size accountability for students and schools, safe health, and disciplined learning environments. I might add that the DOI, the Department of Interior and the Department of Education, are jointly working on a Memorandum of Agreement presently to target research toward the Indian students in our Bureau-funded and operated schools, and in public schools with high Indian populations to try and develop a research-based best practices so that we then can take those research-based practices, based upon Indian children and apply that directly to our Indian children.

Most research to-date is not targeted or based upon Indian children. We support the Administration's commitments to standards-based reform through the school-wide Reform Programs. The BIA-funded schools have made progress under the Improving America's Schools Act.

Each of our schools have consolidated School Reform Plans. Each have school report cards available to their communities, Tribes and, by this time next year, to the general pubic via Internet. These report cards focus on student achievement and other indicators, such as improved retention, reduction in dropout rates, staff development, and integration of technology into the curriculum, which is not an easy task, given the location of our schools.

For example, this past week, I visited Havasupie Elementary at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We believe in accountability and support the focus of holding schools accountable for positive results, while giving them the critical flexibility needed to meet their goals.

I will be happy to answer any questions the Committee may have.

See Appendix C for the Written Statement of Joe Christie, Acting Director, Office of Indian Education Programs, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C.

 

Mr. Petri. Thank you very much, Mr. Christie. Ms. Potvin?

 

STATEMENT OF ROSE POTVIN, COORDINATOR, FAMILY AND CHILD EDUCATION PROGRAM, HANNAHVILLE INDIAN SCHOOL, WILSON, MICHIGAN

Ms. Potvin. Boozhoo. My name is Rose Potvin. I work for the Hannahville Indian Community in Upper Michigan as the Family and Child Education, FACE, Program Coordinator. I have been asked to testify on the importance of the FACE Program. I am going to tell you our FACE story; how we build on strengths, giving parents and children opportunities to interact in a positive way. I will let the parents' own words tell you how FACE has impacted their lives.

FACE is a strength model. It builds on family strengths, rather than pointing out deficits. This is a factor in family involvement and helps develop a partnership with the school that continues when the children enter the Kindergarten-12 System.

Many of the parents in our program did not have a positive experience when they were in school. When they voluntarily enroll in FACE, they are inviting us into their homes. The parents are the first teachers. Our role is to strengthen and support them as their child's teachers.

The FACE team begins the family school partnership. Trust is earned. It does not just happen. We have just completed our 7th year in the FACE Program at Hannahville, with an average of 65 families each year receiving services.

An example of the flexibility of FACE is in our home base component. Hannahville has a child care facility in the school. Parents who are working are granted education release time to pickup their child from day care, go across the hall, and have a visit in the Parent Educator's Office, or they can leave work an hour early, pickup their child, and have the visit at home.

FACE has had a significant impact on early intervention. Our FACE Program works closely with Early On of Michigan. When a child is identified as being eligible for Early On services, the family chooses a service coordinator. Because of the trust that has developed over time, FACE families will usually request their parent educator to also be their service coordinator.

The service coordinator helps the family coordinate all of the interventions they may be receiving to an individual family service plan, an IFSP. This identifies strengths and needs of the family in order to best meet the needs of the child. Last year, 14 FACE families had IFSP's.

When you consider the latest research on windows of opportunity, begin to realize the impact that early identification and intervention can have. The sooner a concern is identified and addressed, the better progress a child can make. I could give you research and statistics, but how do you measure a person's self-esteem or the effect that improved self-esteem has on future generations. A FACE parent gains confidence as a parent and as a person, due to the support and success they achieve.

The best testimony for FACE is in the following quotes from five of our families, and the essay attachments to the written testimony. ``I received my GED finally after 12 years of putting it off. I tried in the past, but having children and trying to raise a family, it seemed impossible to get old and go back to school.

I thought, wow, I could take the kids to school with me while they go to pre-school themselves. It was well-worth getting up in the morning with something to look forward to everyday. After completing my GED, I moved on to a Teacher Aid position at the school, which made me feel honored, and like my full life was worthwhile again. ``

``The classroom itself has taught me more than just high school academics. It has taught me about goals, plans, and child development.''

``On the first day that the class began, I was very apprehensive about the whole thing. Well, once we got on the bus that first day, our lives changed.''

``The home visits helped me learn about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the effects of it, what the physical signs are, and what I should lookout for.''

``I have been in both home and center-based FACE. I cannot say enough about it. When my daughter, who is now 12, was asked about her favorite memory of school, she said it was at naptime when my mom would come into the classroom and read me a story.''

There are currently only 22 FACE sites in over 180 Indian schools. FACE is unique in providing services from pre-natal through third grade. Waiting until a child is in kindergarten to start working on parental involvement may be too late.

In closing, I would like to relate one more parent quote. This is from a father who was involved in FACE from the time his 8-year-old son was a baby. This dad is a recovering alcoholic. We have shared his ups and downs. He was hired as a counselor last fall at a halfway house.

I saw him last month at our pow-wow and asked him how his job was going, and he replied, ``that job is the best thing that ever happened to me. No, I have to change that. FACE was the best thing that ever happened to me.''

See Appendix D for the Written Statement of Rose Potvin, Coordinator, Family and Child Education Program, Hannahville Indian School, Wilson, Michigan

 

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Ms. BlueEyes.

 

STATEMENT OF FAY BLUEEYES, DIRECTOR OF FACILITIES, SHIPROCK ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS, INC., SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO

Ms. BlueEyes. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to share my thoughts about Tribal operation of schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I am a member of the Navajo Nation, and have lived and worked on the Navajo Reservation all my life.

Our Tribe is the largest Federally recognized Tribe in the United States in population; approximately 200,000 enrolled members. BIA-funded schools are a vital part of the education system on the Navajo Reservation. Of the 185 schools in this system, 65 of them are located on Navajo.

The entire BIA School System serves about 52,000 Indian children. Shiprock Alternative Schools, Inc. We refer to it as SASI, is operated by an elected Navajo School Board and with a BIA grant issued under the Tribally Controlled Schools Act.

Our school serves 450 students from K through 12. SASI is one of the few schools that operates ever program for which BIA funding is available. SASI's mission is to instill in our studentsí pride in being a Native American, and a drive to be an integral and contributing member of the Navajo Nation and society at large.

Our curriculum is designed to empower each student to be a life-long learner, and to develop the skills necessary to compete in the job market of the 21st Century. A brief description of our school programs is attached to my written testimony. However, we do provide an Alternative High School Program, an Elementary Program, Special Education Program for Severely Handicapped Students, bilingual education, Residential Program.

We provide transportation and facilities. We are also in the design phase of a new school construction. We also have the Family and Child Education FACE Program. We also have the oversight and management of 74 apartments. I have a few comments about the BIA School System.

I would like to point out that schools that are funded by the Bureau are totally Federally funded. We are not part of any public school system. Our per pupil bases receive nearly 30 percent less for education programs than the national average in public schools.

Our transportation budget, too, falls about one-third short of the per mile funding versus public schools. This makes it very difficult for us to run a quality education program. In the limited time available, I would like to highlight some areas that I feel are important.

One is the best aspects of the BIA School System is that it gives Indian Tribes the opportunity to have direct hands- on involvement in the education of our children. The BIA education law passed 20 years ago, Public Law 95-561 enacted in 1978, has never had a statement of Congressional findings or purposes to expressly spell out Congress' hopes, objectives, and responsibility for this Federal school system. We need you to acknowledge in Federal law that the United States is responsible for this school system, and express its commitment to work directly with Tribes in a Government-to-Government relationship.

With respect to funding issues, our schools are under- funded in several critical areas: basic education funding, administrative costs, facilities operations, and maintenance. Our basic education funding, Indian School Equalization Formula, or ISEF, was intended to serve two purposes.

One was to identify program funding needs. The other was to provide equal distribution of those funds. The equal distribution has been achieved, but a system to identify overall funding needs has not been accomplished. The draft legislation proposes a method for identifying needs, which would be tied to the National average per pupil expenditure, calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics.

We urge you to seriously consider adopting this proposal, and ask that you carefully monitor the annual BIA education budget, and alert the Appropriations Committee if the budget request does not meet the reflected identified level of need. The Administrative Cost Grants that our schools receive are far less than what we need.

What is really distressing is that every year, more schools enter the BIA system to be Tribally-controlled. Yet, the money remains the same. If there is already 50 schools in this system, then we are all expected to operate these same schools with the same amount of money with more schools.

I really feel this is a setup for schools to fail. In the past 2 years, the Appropriations Committee has placed a cap on the amount of those funds. This year, we expect to only get maybe 80 percent of what the statutory formula requires. Another area of concern is the development of a Tribal Department of Education.

We feel it is vital that this Committee support the development of Tribal Departments of Education, especially on Navajo where 65 of these BIA-funded schools are located. The Tribal Department of Education could play a critical role in training new Tribal school board members to take over direct operations, help them recruit highly qualified administrative staff, develop good financial management systems, and provide ongoing monitoring. This role must be performed by the Tribes involved.

Finally, I would like to address schools and dorm facilities. Most of the BIA schools and dormitories are old, out of space, out-dated, and over-crowded. Shiprock is a prime example. I could sit here and tell you all the horror stories related to our facilities, but because of the time limit and also my red light has turned on, I will immediately jump to the fact that for Shiprock Alternative, we have been very fortunate.

We are added to the new school construction priority list, but it has taken us 7 years to get funding. We hope Congress in the fiscal year 2000 will provide us the first phase funding. Mr. Chairman, we do not even receive enough money for our routine operations and maintenance of these buildings.

For years, we have advocated for additional facilities' support, but have not been able to get the amount that was needed. When the Federal Government spends millions of dollars to replace new schools, it does not make sense there is not enough money for operations and maintenance.

In the long run, those new schools are going to also deteriorate. Our BIA School System has labored under this under-funding of facility needs for decades. We need your help to turn things around. There is no guidance in the law as to the amount the authorizing committees because should be appropriated annually for new school construction and major repair projects.

I would estimate that over half of the schools in our systems need to be replaced. Funding has only been provided for one to three new school starts per year. Please establish the authorizing statute annual amount for new school construction and facilities improvement and repairs that would reflect what is needed and work with the Appropriations Committee to appropriate at these levels.

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to testify about the BIA School System that is so vital to the Navajo Nation and to other Tribes throughout the Country. I will be happy to answer any questions.

See Appendix E for the Written Statement of Fay BlueEyes, Director of Facilities, Shiprock Alternative Schools, Inc., Shiprock, New Mexico

 

Mr. Petri. Mr. Sims.

 

STATEMENT OF DON SIMS, SUPERINTENDENT, RIVERSIDE INDIAN SCHOOL, ANADARKO, OKLAHOMA

Mr. Sims. Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to share with you my experiences in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Education Programs. They are 100 percent off- Reservation board school experiences. At this moment, I am in Oklahoma. I just completed my second year there.

Our belief is every one of our students can learn. They can not only learn, they can excel. One of the fundamental issues we have to address in our schools is the fact is they do not learn at the same rate. They do not learn in the same styles.

So, we are very fortunate to have the freedom in our school to adjust how we teach, how we educate. We propose that students do not have to finish high school in 4 years. They could finish it in 3 if they want to, or 5, or 5-1/2 if they need to. It is much better to have a really truly educated person at the age of 19, or 20, or even 21 leave our school, than to send someone out after 4 years of earning or receiving grades of Ds and Cs.

What our goal is, is to have a mastery level system for every student who leaves our school will have at least an 80 percent mastery of every subject. We believe that sends the signal that you really do know something at that point and you do not have to worry about being second class when you go to the next level, whatever that is. I have seen too many students graduate with less than a 2.0, which is a C, but they graduate. That sends a subtle message that okay, it is okay to be inferior. Go out there and do whatever you can do now. We have the freedom to change that and so we are.

In January we started a program at our school that said we do not accept flunkey. We do not accept Fs. We have weekly grade reports. We have 425 students ranging from 5th grade to 12th grade. This coming year we are going to be 6th grade to 12th. The fact is we said it is not okay to flunk.

We did not just say that. We gave them the tools to help to support to make sure that they got past that flunking stage. We created what we call an opportunity dorm. We are a residential school. So, all of them live on campus. If you fell into the flunking range, we moved them into the opportunity dorm and for one week, they had the opportunity to work themselves out of the dorm.

While they were in the dorm, they had no TV, no radios, no walkman, no diversions. If we had a school trip or anything, they could not go. Some people said that was really harsh. Maybe, but what is really harsh is to send those kids out thinking they know something when they do not.

So, our first week we did that. We had 93 kids. The second week, we had 57. The third week we had 12. Our students are not lacking for intelligence. They are lacking for the sequential education that most people get. They are lacking the support from families that says, yes, it is important to learn.

I live right on campus. So, I live this day-in, day- out, nighttime, weekends. As I mentioned, all of my BIA experience has been in boarding schools. So, what we are doing is raising the standard each semester this coming year. In 2 years, we will be at the 80 percent mastery. We will probably go beyond that because they are capable.

My yellow light already. I knew this would be a challenge; 5 minutes. Mr. Cheek's report references the Executive Order 13096 on Indian Education from President Clinton, improving reading and mathematics, increasing high school completion in post-secondary attendance rates, reduce the influence of any long-standing factors that impede educational performance, such as poverty and substance abuse, creating a strong, safe, and drug free school environments, improving science and education, and expanding the use of educational technology.

We can do all of those, but we cannot do it with all of the students in the same amount of time. We have to adjust what we do to meet the needs of our students, and focus on those needs, and not get caught up in everything else that goes on with the students. We have to give them support in every area. That is what we do.

I would invite you to check with us next year to see what happened, because this year, in 1998 we graduated 24 students with the advent of an alternative program school within a school on our campus this year to increase our graduation to 73 students.

So, we are pretty confident about what we are going to do because we are confident in the students. Anything you can do to help us, we appreciate. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Again, thank you for this opportunity.

See Appendix F for the Written Statement of Don Sims, Superintendent, Riverside Indian School, Anadarko, Oklahoma

 

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Mr. Cheek.

 

STATEMENT OF JOHN CHEEK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INDIAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, ALEXANDRIA, VA

Mr. Cheek. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.-

On behalf of the National Indian Education Association and its 3,000 members, we thank you for allowing us the opportunity to present testimony today. We also would like to thank the staff of the Committee for helping us be here today. So, we appreciate that; especially you, Mr. Kildee. You have been a true advocate for Indian education. I do not really know what we would do without you. So, thank you.

My comments today are solely on behalf of the Title 9 Program, the Office Indian Education. My base of experience is traditionally in that program. I have been in Indian education for about 20 years. About 18 of those years have been with programs directly funded under that authority.

A part of the problem in that we allude to in our testimony today is the ESEA reauthorization recommendations being put forward by the Administration. On the one hand, we have the Individual Education Executive Order, which espouses all of these great activities and needs that have to be met, as Mr. Sims mentioned.

The problem is that many of the authorizations in the current Indian Education Act are being eliminated in the Administration's proposal. The position of the National Indian Education Association and Indian educators, in general, is that this is the wrong attitude or position to take.

Key programs that are going to be eliminated, should this occur, would include Indian Fellowships, Adult Education Programs, Gifted and Talented Programs, and probably the most key portion of the Act is an authorization for Travel Education Departments.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Tribes, in general, are moving to more control over their economic and educational situations. Without some of these programs in place, it is going to be very difficult for them to assume responsibilities kind of as being your own Tribal Government administering your own programs.

We feel that these programs should remain, and the new authorization should be funded accordingly, and allow Indian Country to work on these programs and make their own futures. The history of the Individual Education Act has been a remarkable one. It has been around since 1972. It has funded thousands of students.

I am a product of one of the programs. I was able to receive a master's degree in one of their programs. I went back and worked with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma and ran an Adult Education Program. Both of those programs are earmarked for elimination. In my work with Adult Education Programs with the Tribe, I would work with about four or five different locations, and work with Indian adults. For the most part, these were high school dropouts who may have dropped out even as early as middle school or junior high.

For the most part, many of them were reluctant to take programs offered by the State Department of Education because that was a part of the reason they left in the first place. They were very uncomfortable in working in a traditionally non-Indian situation.

So, if you take the programs to the Tribes, to their location, they will come. They will participate in those programs. That is really what it is going to take to elevate the status of Indian education with Indian Tribes up from the bottom rung of the ladder, which is where they have been over the past hundreds of years.

If you want Indian people to compete in this Country in a level equal with other groups or non-Indians, then you need to give them the avenue to do that. This program can provide that, if it is fully funded. The Office of Indian Education educates approximately 90 percent of the Indians in public school. BIA educates approximately 10 percent.

The programs that are earmarked to be funded, I guess, in the 2000 budget is only for Public School Programs.

They educate or serve approximately 450,000 students, including BIA students. These other additional programs, discretionary-type programs, if they were funded, could help the portion of the population that have dropped out or are seeking higher education degrees.

In closing, I would like to say that the rest of our comments would be on the record. I think you could read that and see NIA's position on BIA funding in their schools, and the rest of the different programs that, if they could be funded, could really help Indian Country.

I would like to mention that were it not for the work of Robert Kennedy back in 1967-1968, the Indian Education Act would probably not even be here today. I probably would not even be here today. So, I would encourage you to take the right step, and move forward with Indian education. Keep the program viable where it helps all parts of the Indian community, not just the K through 12 students.

Thank you.

See Appendix F for the Written Statement of John Cheek, Executive Director, National Indian Education Association

 

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Ms. Murie.

 

STATEMENT OF SANDRA MURIE, SUPERINTENDENT, ROCKY BOY HIGH'ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, BOX ELDER, MONTANA

Ms. Murie. Good afternoon, members of the Committee.

I want to thank you for allowing me to testify today on the reauthorization of Title 9, the Indian Education Title of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I am from the Rocky Boy Public Schools. I represent the Rocky Boy Public Schools. The Rocky Boy Public Schools are located on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in North Central, Montana.

The Rocky Boy Public Schools Has a student body of almost 100 percent Native American. The Rocky Boy Reservation has a taxable which are_the boundaries of the Reservation are the boundaries of our school district. It has a taxable valuation of about $54,000.

Therefore, 47 percent of the general operation budget of Rocky Boy Public Schools is funded by Federal Impact Aid. So, we do appreciate continued support and any increases in the reauthorization of the Federal Impact Aid Program.

My written testimony also outlines some concerns and recommendations we have with the Administration's proposed language in the reauthorization of Title 9. So, I will not go into those. Instead, I want to talk a little bit about Title 9 Programs at Rocky Boy Schools.

To improve academic schools and enrich the lives of students at Rocky Boy Public Schools, several innovative programs and services are being provided through our Title 9 Program. This is in collaboration with many other programs. At $90,000 a year, with over 600 kids eligible for this program, and we are serving well-over 700, you are averaging about $140 a student.

You cannot do much with that, but when you collaborate with other programs, you can do a lot. I will discuss four of the programs we use to implement the objectives of Title 9. Tutoring is provided to assist students in completing assigned work and receiving credit. Credit can be earned in math and science when students participate in 2-week, what we call Aim Right Programs.

Aim Right is named after a local educator at Rocky Boy who has been deceased. Title 9 funds provide specific projects to help our students increase their math and science skills, utilizing technology and cooperative learning approaches.

I have also outlined for you in my written testimony, some of the progress we have made in our student test scores and in our attendance. I would like you to look at those. This program has motivated many students to participate in Local, State, and National Science Fairs and probably bring home awards.

Another very innovative program is the Summer School on Wheels. Like the Math and Science Program, it has a component to help improve the academic skills of students. This program allows students to participate in 5- to 10-day field trips and be exposed to learning experiences beyond the classroom.

As an example, 12 students just returned from a 10-day outdoor trip at the Archeological Digs in Drumheller Alberta, Canada. They had a chance to go up into the glaciers and the Rocky Mountains and do some work there. Students camp out when they are on this trip. They are assigned duties and chores, thus learning other life skills as well.

This allows students an enriching academic life, and a life-long experience, and also the ability to earn science credit. We also provide, with Title 9, enrichment activities, activities that you cannot find in our isolated community: swimming, bowling, roller skating, attending baseball games.

We also provide cultural activities. We have found through student surveys that cultural activities are a deterrent to the use and abuse of harmful substances, and in building self-esteem in our students. Another section of my testimony outlines some of the concerns we have with the competitive part of funds under Title 9.

There are some discretionary funds set aside. I believe in 1999, there was $3.26 million appropriated. This was for professional development and what we call PPD, Planning, Piloting, and Demonstration Projects, and Adult Education. We are asking four increases: in reinstatement of Adult Education, for increases in professional development and the PPDs, and reinstatement of Adult Education.

If it is the intent of this Congress is to create a self-sufficient population, independent of Government support through Welfare Reform, then the funds needed to educate that population needs to be invested in this manner today, when we talk about investing in adult education.

The other thing I want to bring to your attention are the concerns we have with additional school facilities that are needed in our district. We also have a neighboring district who has the same type of dire needs. This is found throughout Indian Country.

I believe in the latest surveys, school construction has a need of about $100 billion. Schools in Indian Country need about $2 billion. We, at Rocky Boy, have a schematics plan with about a need of $12 million. I appreciate the language the Administration is proposing be included in the Title 8 Impact Aid supporting construction needs on Indian lands.

Likewise, we support the construction bills introduced by Senators Baucus and Hagel, and Congressmen Hayworth and Pomeroy. These bills recognize the construction needs of school districts in Indian Country.

I am going to stop there. Thank you.

See Appendix G For The Written Statement Of Sandra Murie, Superintendent, Rocky Boy High Elementary Schools, Box Elder, Montana

 

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Mr. Kildee, do you have any questions?

Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the courtesy. Both Ms. BlueEyes and Murie stated that we should have a set of findings or purposes for, I think, Public Law 95-561 in your written or spoken testimony. I think that is a real good idea.

I was here as a Freshman when that bill was passed. Al Quay was the Ranking Republic Member and a very, very good friend of Indian education. I was working closely with Al Quay. Do you have any particular or specific idea of what we should have in our findings or purposes for 95-561?

I will start with you, Ms. BlueEyes and then go to you, Ms. Murie.

Ms. BlueEyes. Thank you. I would like to refer to the Navajo Nation draft that was attached to my testimony, particularly Section 1122(C). Excuse me. That is not (C). It is under (A). There are several things listed here. One is that I would like to just read a couple of them.

That it is the mission of the United States to provide quality education opportunities from early childhood through life, in accordance with the Tribe's needs for cultural and economic well-being, and the desires of each student and family. The other one is to reaffirm the trust responsibility of the Federal Government to the Indian Tribes to provide quality educational services to Indian students, whether directly or through contract, or grant taking into account the educational, spiritual, mental, physical, and cultural aspects of each student, and their families, and Tribes.

We definitely believe that these are some of the findings that we would like to see and, I guess, follow it.

Mr. Kildee. Ms. Murie, do you wish to add to that?

Ms. Murie. I am not familiar with Public Law 95-561, as a public school administrator.

Mr. Kildee. If you could get your ideas to Alex or to George, our staff people, we would like to, myself, look those over and see where we can incorporate some purposes. I think 95-561 was a landmark bill. Mr. Quay worked very hard on that, whenever he toured schools. Also, if you would give us some suggestions on the building needs. When I first started visiting BIA schools, and this is not criticize the BIA because the trust responsibility resides with the entire U.S. Government, which includes the Congress who appropriates the funds.

I would visit the BIA schools. There were more direct BIA schools in those days, and contract schools came into being more later. I used to get calls from BIA principals asking me to come out and visit their school or at least tell the BIA I was coming to visit their school because they were there a week ahead of time repairing things.

That is not a criticism of BIA, because we did not give you the monies. It is Congress' fault really. I remember I went to one school and I saw all new shower heads on the showers. I could tell they were new. So, finally I asked one of the students, when did they put those new shower heads up there? He said, oh, a couple of days ago.

I said, what kind of shower head did you have before? He said none, just the plain pipe coming out. So, I am really concerned. We have a moral obligation. A Federal Judge, and many of you have heard me say this many times, but it bears repeating. A Federal Judge in my Congressional District, several years ago, ordered a jail closed down.

The jail was built in 1930, closed down, because it was not fit for human habitation. That jail was in a lot better condition than some Indian schools I had visited. That is immoral. That is really immoral; absolutely immoral. They imploded the jail. They blew it up.

That jail was in pretty good shape, compared to some of the Indian schools I have been in. So, I am going to yield now and come back for a second round of questions, because I have used most of my time talking.

On us is an awesome moral responsibility. On you is an awesome moral responsibility to remind us of what we should be doing. You are right on the front line. You are really the foot soldiers. You people who are so important. We are the ones who set the policy here. You have to prod us to provide us the information so we can set right policy and have the courage to do that.

We have a real responsibility to the Federal Government for K-12 education, particularly for the Indians of this Country. I will not rest until we really_I hope to stay in this Congress as long as God and the voters are willing. I have been here 23 years now.

I visited Pine Ridge about 21 years ago. Robert Kennedy went into Pine Ridge in 1967, was it? I visited about 21 years ago. It was really abject poverty. I visited it again 3 years ago with Patrick Kennedy and it was abject poverty. You have great leadership out there doing wonderful things, but they need resources.

Then I visited Pine Ridge again about 2 weeks ago with the President of the United States. Pine Ridge is just an example of the Federal Government's failure to live up to its commitment; to live up to its own Constitution and the treaties.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for indulging me.

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Mr. DeMint.

Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Sims, I would like to direct a question to you. As you know, often times with Federal funds comes a pretty tight prescription on the programs that need to be followed through with those funds. I was intrigued with the broad flexibility that you are taking in creating your own programs, even to the point with the tough love with the students.

You have set some very specific goals related to mastery of subjects. You are taking a lot of license in how to accomplish that. Is that something that you think is a good idea or should we prescribe it more tightly from the Federal level as to how you are going to accomplish those goals?

Mr. Sims. A qualifier before I answer. Have you ever been to an off-reservation boarding school?

Mr. DeMint. No.

Mr. Sims. Are you an educator?

Mr. DeMint. No.

Mr. Sims. Okay. I will educate you real quick.

The answer is yes, we need the flexibility because our students come from a wide range. We have students from 63 Tribes, from 21 States. They come with an understanding of who they are. They come from urban areas who have never been on a reservation before.

They do not know their history, the traditions, culture. They have an opportunity to learn that within the boarding school. Our School Reform Act that Mr. Christie referenced gives us the ability to have freedoms at our schools, all the way across the board, all 185 school, to create the best arena we can to educate the students we get.

So, when we turn in a school reform plan, it references most of these plans. As I have said, some of the particular things we did started in January. So, our school reform next year that we turn in will reference those programs.

So, I believe, yes, that of course we need regulations, but why would we settle for Ds when we can have, in a sense, Bs and even As?

Mr. DeMint. I agree. Do you not think it is unfair to treat students differently in the same setting, based on their needs?

Mr. Sims. Absolutely not. They will be treated differently when they step outside those doors. They are going to have to perform. They are going to have to know stuff, lots of stuff. Kids now days have to know so much stuff, I am glad I am not a kid. So, yes, I think we have to have that freedom within the schools. Of course, we need standards. We need legislation to set standards for us and all, but I do not think we should settle for low standards.

Mr. DeMint. Thank you.

Mr. Sims. May I just close a bit? With our Accelerated Education Program that we started this year, we set 80 percent mastery level for those kids. Granted, those kids are older and they wanted to do well so they could go on with their lives. Eighty percent mastery, roughly a B-minus.

Well, we did not have one student below a 3.5 in that program. So, they can do it. We just have to give them the opportunity to do that. Thank you for your question.

Mr. DeMint. Thank you. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Petri. Ms. McCarthy.

Ms. McCarthy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I will say that this is probably my first hearing dealing with these issues. So, I am ignorant on a lot of the issues. I know that we are dealing with education on the Floor right now. Even just going over the budgets and everything, it does not make sense to me.

If we are increasing monies for education in the public school systems, why are we not doing it for all of you? Our whole goal has been to raise all young people so they could have a good education and get good work. So, I guess I have to go to Mr. Christie. Is it because you have not asked for enough money, or we are not giving you enough money, or what? Bottom line is what it comes down to. I do not understand these figures at all. There are cuts all the way across.

Mr. Christie. The funding for Indian education needs to be looked at over a complete continuum, not in a short segmented way. We know from research base that if we get more kids into FACE, that those FACE kids come into kindergarten at a higher readiness level, with a greater parental involvement, not only in the kindergarten, but that involvement carries right on through the rest of the elementary and secondary grades.

Therefore, we anticipate higher achievement levels. We are not eligible for Even Start Funding. So, the only programs where we can deal with Indians zero to 5 is in FACE. We have 146 schools that have kindergartens, but we are only in 22 sites. If we really want to increase education, we need to start at the very lowest level.

When we get into the elementary and secondary levels, as it was stated here before, when you compare our per pupil cost to the per pupil cost in public schools or even more, try to compare it to DOD schools. When you compare the two Federal systems, DOD to BIA, it looks like we are on the wrong side of the tracks.

Now, Indians start out behind. They have a higher dropout rate. They have an atrocious dropout rate at eighth grade. They have the highest birth rate of any population in the United States, but we have had a continuing cap, moratorium, on any new school starts. So, you ask me are we over-funded, or are we adequately funded, I would say no.

Ms. McCarthy. No. I actually said from everything I see here, you are way under-funded.

Mr. Christie. Yes, ma'am. I would say we are definitely not over-funded and we are not adequately funded. We need to target those funds all across the board, including our Tribally Controlled Community Colleges, which are not a concern of this legislation.

However, I recall last week when I was at Haveasoupi, I went there and I looked at their elementary school. Talked with the Tribal leaders and with the school people. They told me that they do_when they graduate from the eighth grade, they are actually reading on about the fourth or fifth grade level.

They did not send them out of the Canyon. They go to the public schools and they go to off-reservation boarding schools, and most of them drop out because they happen to be away from home, out of the Canyon. So, when they drop out, where do they go? They come right back into Haveasoupi. There is no high school there.

There is no alternative school there. The two biggest programs at Haveasoupi right now are law enforcement and education. There are only enough quarters there to either have law enforcement or to have education. So, the Tribe is going to have to make a choice.

Do I have law enforcement for all of those kids who are coming back, dropping out, getting into bootlegging and other social problems, or do I concentrate on education and have enough for teachers to live there. Their rollover rate is atrocious.

You want a qualified teacher in the classroom, yes, but you would like to have that same teacher there for 5, or 10, or 15 years to really become a member of that community and to know, and understand, and be a role model. When you have only got quarters for half of your teachers, they have got to leave. It should not be either or. We should have a bigger pie.

Ms. McCarthy. I agree. From what Mr. Kildee said, and I will certainly go to him to help you in any way I can, but it seems to me that we are being totally unfair towards how we are dealing with the public schools and how we are dealing with the Indians.

So, I think that this is something we have got to work with. I mean, our job is no matter who we are, we are supposed to make sure all of our children of this Nation have the education that they need. I will certainly work with you, Mr. Kildee, on that.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Mr. Tancredo.

Mr. Tancredo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I apologize to the members of the panel there for having been late and not having been able to hear most of the testimony. I have tried to read through as much as possible. The question I have for you is going to deal with macrocosm, I think, more than any of the details of Indian education.

It stems not from anything I have read here, really, but from my own experience as the Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Education's Office in Denver for Region 8. I have, by the way, visited both boarding schools and schools on the reservation, BIA-run schools.

I had quite an opportunity to do that at Pine Ridge too. I had a very good relationship with the principal there, and had him tell me, almost seemed like weekly anyway, through communications that he would make with my office of the problems he faced in trying to actually accomplish the goal that he had established for himself and for the kids in his charge.

I guess I do not know how else to characterize what he told me, except to say that essentially the system, he felt, had certainly failed him and the students in it. That he felt, as opposed to the comments that have been made here, that the issue was certainly not financial.

As a matter of fact, the per pupil operating expenditures there were significantly higher than in any of the public schools around there. I do not know about DOD. I do not know what the difference is there, but I can tell you in terms of just the public school per pupil operating expenditures, the BIA-run schools were much richer in that regard.

He continued to suggest, anyway, that the problem was structural, really, that the BIA does not know how to run schools. I am sure that, that is a perception; that I do not know how widely it is shared.

I have to ask you, considering the difficulty we have had over the past, gosh, 20 years at least, in trying to actually improve educational attainment levels on the reservations and with Native Americans, and the failures that we have met there, with all of the attempts at various types of structural changes that I know have been advanced through the U.S. Department of Education and through the Congress, what does anyone on the panel, what do you think really and truly we can do?

I recognize, and I was very happy to see the comments about Rocky Boy; an increase in attainment level there. I have to tell you, however, that we have seen these little spurts before and they have not proven to be long lasting. I am just worried because I really feel that this is a disaster.

Indian education, generally, has been a disaster. I do not know why and I do not know how to stop it. So, again, I realize that there were probably a lot of comments made during your opening address that may have allayed my fears to some extent. I apologize if I have to ask you to repeat any of those. Just look at the big picture for a moment and tell me what you think, anyone there, tell me what you think we can do.

Mr. Christie. I was struck with Mr. Kildee's discussion about Mr. Quay. In 1977-1978, I was a trainee up here and I worked with Yvonne Franklin on his staff when 95-561 was being put together. When you talk about structural, prior to 95-561 we had a major structural problem with education in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in that the funding would come down through the Bureau chain, and because education was such a high priority, or a high visibility issue, chunks of that money got pulled down and got pulled off for other things.

In 1978, prior to 95-561, there was an extraordinary difference in the amount of funding that went down. Off- reservation boarding schools, like Inner Mountain which is now closed, was drawing almost $20,000 per student. On- reservation day schools were getting less than $700 per student. Public Law 95-561 realigned the structure. It allowed us to fund schools on an equal basis, by student, and to take those funds and drive them past the bureaucracy, right down to the school. The ESEA, during that period of time, the Elementary and Secondary School Act during that time, however was built in a fragmented way.

So, when you got to Chapter 1, or what used to be Title 1 back in those days, you could only spend it on Title 1. You could only spend it on certain things that the Department of Education was trying to get improvement in. As a result, what you had was not an integrated school system, even with the new money, but you had a segmented little school system that said, I work for Title 1, or I work for Title 4, or I work for this.

So, there was no cross-development and unity feeling at those schools. However, because we operate a school, we operate them and we try to do the best, whether the facilities are good, or whether the facilities are bad, or whether the flexibility is there is not there.

The best thing that has come down the pike is this Consolidated School Reform Plan. It allows us to bring every pot of money in, drop it down there at the school level, let them decide within certain standards what the best way to education those kids are. They know them. We do not. We are sitting up here in Washington, D.C. and we do not know what is best out there. I have got 185 schools, each one of those people have to make that decision. They are making that decision now. We set the standards. They help set the standards. They are adhering to State standards.

We are in 23 different States. So, we have 23 different State standards that the schools within those states are adhering to. That is the way to run an education system. Now, once you have the program, and you have the "integratedness," and you have the staff development, and you have the high standards, then all that is left is to fund them adequately and put them in safe environments, so that they then can achieve and expect them to achieve.

I think that is the direction we are moving in. Do we have along way to go? Yes, we do. We have got years, and years, and years, and years of background things, not only with the community, but with the staff themselves, to overcome. We are moving in that direction.

So, I look at this as a great opportunity. I am really excited about the next 5 years. We are in the process of ending our first 5-year plan. We are in the process now of getting ready for the next round of consolidated school plans. All you have to do is look at the Internet a year from now and see where our schools are at.

The next best thing that has happened to Indian education is the 10297 that allows the Tribes and local school boards to take over those schools. If we are not doing a good job as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, they can take it over. They can do a good job. There are some things that we need to change about that because the child needs an adequate education, whether run by us or whether by the Tribe.

So, we need to have a way of monitoring and oversight, making sure that, that education reform is occurring, but we are moving in the right direction. Let us do not change horses like we have in Indian policy for the last 150 years, where every 5, 10, 15, or 20 years we change policies because we get impatient as Americans. Let us stay with this. Let us let the local school do it. Let us fund them adequately.

Mr. Tancredo. Thank you. I do not know, Mr. Chairman, if we have time.

Mr. Petri. We will have another round. I will give Ms. Woolsey her opportunity.

Ms. Woolsey. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

Mr. Christi, my question and your response just now would be, if we block grant education and bring it down, give the money to the Governors, why do you think those Governors are going to invest in reservation schools rather than public schools, and continue to under-invest in reservation schools and force Native Americans to send their children to schools that they would otherwise not choose?

My fear is that what this is all about, and hearing the funding question that Congresswoman McCarthy asked, and the example that Congressman Kildee gave, my fear is that the Federal Government_now, if we block grant, the Governors very well could be working to try to do away with Indian schools, and BIA, and reservation schools.

So, you could respond to that. I would like any one of you all prepared to respond to that question. That really was not what I came here to ask you. I think it needs to be asked.

Mr. Christie. In my discussion in answering the last question, it was not aimed at block granting Indian education funds out to the Governors or the Governors or the States. This is a Federal school system. The funding would come down through the Federal Government, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and then be allocated and distributed based upon the weighted student union, the unit, ISEF, the Indian Student Equalization Formula.

That the funds then would be dropped down through that allocation system. If the Tribes take over the schools under a 100-297, then it would be allocated over to them. It has been short of a disaster. Well, let me correct that. It has been a disaster, when we have expected public schools in states to take over the education of Indian kids. They are in rural settings.

There are schools that we operate on Navajo where there is not a public school district within 50 miles or more. There are others there where school districts come right in, and they are almost side-by-side with us in some cases.

Their basic problem has always been is how do you have basically non-Indians in the tax base wanting to, and continuing to on a voluntary basis then fund Indian students? When you do that, you take out of the mix the participation of the parent, because they are reluctant to come into a public school setting.

Ms. Woolsey. I am not suggesting they go to public school, believe me.

Mr. Christie. I understand.

Ms. Woolsey. What I am trying to do is prevent that and have that be the choice. I would think that if the Governors, and I think that is what we are heading for. So, I would like somebody else to respond to that. I really was not suggesting we send Native American children to public schools, if their parents did not want that.

Mr. Cheek. First, there is a Government-to-Government relationship between Indian Tribes and the Federal Government. I think if you send the money down to the State level, they are going to be reluctant to give it to another Government, or essentially a State where a reservation is located.

In regards to the block granting situation, in relation to Title 9 of the Department of Education, those funds go directly to the public school, to the LEA, from the Department of Education. In effect, they are already block granted or ed-flexed to the local education agency.

Our preferred method of giving out the money to Indian projects and public schools would be to stay that same approach. About side-tracking it through the State Department, in our estimation, is a better approach.

In regards to Indian education in general, regarding the big picture he alluded to, there has never been a consistent long-term approach to educating American Indians. I think probably the closest thing to it was the termination era, when they tried to eliminate all Indian Tribes in this Country.

Indian education really, programs earmarked for American Indians have really only been around for the last 30, or 40, or 50 years at the most. They have been not funded adequately enough or consistently enough over the long term to really make a great deal of improvement into the status of education for American Indians.

Until you have an approach that is consistent over the long-term, that looks at every facet of American Indian existence from pre-school all the way up through adulthood, you are going to have these same situations with low academic levels. In regards to I believe somebody mentioned whose responsibility is it for educating American Indians? We all have responsibilities. If I could give my annual tax bill to somebody else to pay, I would do that. Indian education is the responsibility of the Federal Government. We will advocate on behalf of that as long as it takes. Thank you.

Mr. Petri. I guess I am entitled to a question or two, too, and then we will go to the second round. It is interesting to go through the history of all this, but I think probably more relevant and important to us is moving forward, and trying to do it in a way that avoids this shifting from one voice to another, stopping and starting, building on what has been working, and also trying to give you more tools and the Tribes more tools so that they have the ability to correct problems and to accelerate improvement.

In that connection, are there any recommendations you would like to make to us? Tribes, as I understand, are able now, if they are dissatisfied with the BIA-run program to take it over themselves. Are they able to contract out if they wish to, like an Edison Project, the way some local school districts do?

Do they do charter schools? Do they need some special programs for boarding-type schools, or some recognition of different conditions that require different cost reimbursement, just in the nature of some sensitivity or some process so that those adjustments can be made? Is that all being handled.

Could you address that, Mr. Christie?

Mr. Christie. Under the current statute, 561 and 10297, there are some technical amendments that do need to be made to those so that the accountability factors can be tightened down on. However, one of the things that we really need to look at very closely, and especially crops up in the SEA legislation is we need to recognize Tribal standards.

Many tribes have started to develop their own educational standards. We need to recognize those standards and we need to incorporate those standards as a part of the standards definition within ESEA.

Once a Tribe has taken one of the Bureau-operated schools, when then, what we call a Bureau-funded school, they have the authority to do within that school those things that they need to do in order to increase the educational achievement and control. Most of those Tribes have also incorporated cultural traditional learning within that.

One of the things that ESEA does not adequately do is to address the cultural issues. It addresses the language issues, but it needs to address the cultural issues; remembering that we have 530-some-odd different Tribes, with each having their own cultural issues, and their own cultural backgrounds. I would be glad to review, or do a more in- depth review of 561 and 10297 and submit that to you for the record for recommendations, sir.

Mr. Petri. Thank you very much. We would appreciate any guidance or help. Mr. Kildee.

Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The BIA schools and the contract schools get their money through the BIA, plus they get ESEA funds. Then the public schools will get their Title 9 Funds and their Johnson- O'Malley Funds. But all in all, the appropriations we make for Indian Programs, whether they are BIA schools, contract schools, or public schools with Indian students, have always been inadequate no matter what streams we have. They have always been inadequate.

I appreciate your clear explanation of that. Let me ask you this, assuming that non-Indian schools around you or generally in the Country, assuming that non-Indian schools receive 100 cents on the dollar, what percentage or cents on the dollar do you feel Indian schools are getting in relation to public schools in general?

Mr. Christie. I can guess.

Mr. Kildee. I know it will be less. Can you give me an educated guess as to the relationship between using a hundred as what generally public schools would be getting and say what BIA and contract schools might get? You may want to talk on the other funds for public schools. Could you give us a figure, Mr. Christie? I know it is a "guesstimate."

Mr. Christie. The numbers that we have been looking at generally indicate somewhere around 50 to 60 percent of what a public school district gets.

Mr. Kildee. So, 50 to 60.

Mr. Christie. Fifty to 60 percent. Then you have to look, in addition to that, you have to isolate the instructional dollars, the staff development dollars, and the actual operation of the school. Then you have to compare the O&M cost. What happens many times is that they take our O&M costs and lump it in with our instructional costs, and then make their comparisons.

You really need to strip that out. On the O&M side, we are currently funded at about 69 cents on the dollar of our own funding formula. There is no public schools that I am aware of that run schools where the wiring is so inadequate that you cannot even hook up air conditioners without blowing all of the circuit breakers like we have out at Navajo.

We had an investigation out there by a TV show. They showed all of these air conditioners. Then we were out in the middle of Navajo and it is very hot. It is a desert, but we could not hook them up because the wiring was actually put in pre-WPA. So, there are certain ways that you have to isolate this. There are certain issues that you need to address, especially the O&M.

Mr. Kildee. So, 60 percent, but even part of that is used for non-instructional purposes then; right?

Mr. Christie. The 50 to 60 percent is trying to isolate the instructional cost and compare that to the instructional cost over in the public school category.

Mr. Kildee. Thank you. In Michigan, do you have any idea where your schools would stand?

Ms. Potvin. I am not in the finances.

Mr. Kildee. Okay; all right, honest answer. Ms. BlueEyes.

Ms. BlueEyes. I would have to agree with Mr. Christie. We are one of those schools whose electrical used to shut down. We would have a system and we would say, okay, you guys on that end turn off your air conditioners. We will turn on ours. Otherwise, everything would go down.

Since our schools are residential programs that were converted to classrooms, what we have done is there are two bedrooms. All we did was knock down the wall in the middle so it became a larger office space or a classroom. So, it became really bad where the wires started to melt.

Our buildings could have easily caught on fire. However, because we were persistent with the BIA, we practically told them we have no choice. We are going to have to upgrade these electrical amperage. We had 100 amps for over 16,000 square feet.

We are supposed to be running computers, calculators, typewriters, and air conditioners. We had swamp coolers and it could not handle it. So, like I said, we have a lot of stories related to facilities, which I could tell you about, but I would like to invite the rest of the Committee to come out and actually see the schools like Mr. Kildee has done.

You are going to see first-hand what we are talking about. If our kids are sitting here in the wintertime, we are trying to teach them something to learn like reading, science, math, whatever, and the boiler has gone down, they are sitting there with their coats on.

Mr. Kildee. The time has run out and I am trying to get a percentage figure here. I know it is a difficult question, but if you could just give me a ballpark figure or guesstimate.

Mr. Sims. We are directly funded from the Office of Indian Education Programs. So, whatever Mr. Christie says, that reflects us.

Mr. Kildee. You would concur though with the 50 to 60 percent?

Mr. Sims. Yes.

Mr. Kildee. Mr. Cheek.

Mr. Cheek. In our testimony, we did include the WSU for BIA schools is approximately $3,200. The National per pupil average for public school students is around $7,300 per student. When you factor in all of the overhead, facilities, maintenance, et cetera, my guesstimate would be about 25 percent for students.

Mr. Kildee. Ms. Murie.

Ms. Murie. One thing I want to point out, Mr. Kildee, you are probably well aware that Federal Impact Aid is not forward funded. When we operate our general operations with Federal Impact Aid, we go by the seat of our pants, you might as well say, unless we are good managers and we have built up a reserve. Many of us have, and many States have kind of taken a look at that with a leery eye before they provide State aid.

We do have a constant struggle when we talk about the needs versus how much is going directly to the student of the dollar. We do operate 40-year-old buildings who do not have electrical capacity for technology, nor for cooling. As an example, I have a 40-year-old building. We are presently planning to build a cooling system into the boiler system.

It is going to cost me well over $100,000. Where does that come from? Somebody has to make a decision how much of that instructional money goes back into creating this cool environment for students to learn.

Mr. Kildee. Thank you.

Mr. Petri. I understand Mr. Cheek has to leave at around 3:00 p.m.

Mr. Cheek. Yes. I apologize to the Committee. I am going out to Albuquerque for a National Indian School Board Association meeting.

Mr. Petri. If you have to leave, then we will understand.

Mr. Cheek. Thank you.

Mr. Petri. Mr. Tancredo.

Mr. Tancredo. Mr. Chairman, I am just going back to the principle that I talk to so often in trying to reconcile what he told me against what I have just been hearing about the costs and the expenditures. If I remember correctly, at the time the per pupil operating revenue in his school was approximately 3 times what it was the public school district that I lived in, in Colorado.

So, something is peculiar in this regard. I do not know if it has to do with the way in which the money is accounted for. The testimony has been provided here that perhaps the O&M account was added into what he considered to be his PPOR. I do not know, but I am certainly going to find out, I will tell you that.

I am interested in one of the things that Mr. Sims mentioned in his testimony about letting parents choose where their children go to school. The school is deficient in how they help students learn. Why should children have to attend? There are other options. How could we increase the options available to Native American students?

Mr. Sims. I have always been a proponent of_our school requires an application. All of the off-reservation boarding schools require applications. That process requires signatures from people from the home reservations, and from the local line officers, from which the schools that they are attending to, they are requesting to attend.

There are statements made by certain line officers that all of the students within that particular area will go to a certain school. They will not go anywhere else. If you accept_I am not going to sign off on them. So, therefore you do not get any of the money.

I think that is a real detriment because you do not have to perform and you will still get your students, and the students will still leave, either before or with an inadequate education, in my opinion.

So, I have always thought that it should be each parent's right, for many reasons. In our school, we have fourth generation students that are there. That is a part of it because grandfather I do not like there. I learned this part of it. The student just comes there to learn that part of it.

Mr. Tancredo. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Sims. I yield the time.

Mr. Petri. All right. Ms. McCarthy.

Ms. McCarthy. I will let everybody go because they seem to have to catch planes, but I do want to work on this issue.

Thank you.

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Thank you all very much. It has been a very informative session. We will continue working with you and look forward to your later submissions.

If members have additional questions for Mr. Christie or others, I suspect they will be willing to submit responses in writing.

 

Mr. Petri. With that, this hearing is adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 3:00 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]