(Washington, D.C.) – A bipartisan bill from Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to fix No Child Left Behind (NCLB) includes several provisions to strengthen native youth education programs. The bill, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), includes provisions to require every state to consult with tribes in the development of their Title I state education plans. In addition, school districts with Native American students will need to consult with tribes in the development of plans for many federal education programs. The bill also includes a new program to build the capacity of tribal educational agencies to manage and design federal education programs. Finally, the program also includes a new program to promote the development and expansion of language immersion schools for tribal communities.
ECAA also ensures that Impact Aid will continue to be available to areas with high populations of military families and children living in tribal communities, providing critical support and stability for districts across the country. Washington state has 53 school districts that rely on Impact Aid. The Senate is beginning debate on the bill this week.
“I was proud to fight to include these important provisions that will help improve education for Washington state students in tribal communities,” said Senator Murray. “The focus on Impact Aid and local participation in education programs among native youth in the bill will improve educational outcomes and provide critical services to students.”
Senator Murray also fought for passage of an amendment to improve the understanding of elementary and secondary education in vulnerable areas of Indian country. The amendment would require a study of schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) on how to improve effectiveness. This would include ways to increase tribal control of schools, identify ways to recruit and retain highly effective teachers, identify areas of improvement and provide strategies on how to increase high school graduation rates in such schools.