Supporting Education and Children

As a parent, and a former pre-school teacher and school board member, Senator Murray knows how important education is in ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed. She has seen first-hand the challenges facing tribal schools, from a lack of teachers and resources to dilapidated buildings, and she has been working to address these issues. She has helped write legislation to improve tribal school programs, and worked to increase funding to support tribal education programs.

Supporting Tribal School Construction

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) operates or funds tribal schools that provide services to approximately 60,000 Native American students. Unfortunately, in many cases, inadequate investments from the resourced-strained BIA have contributed to a decline in infrastructure repairs and upgrades. 

To address these challenges, Senator Murray has fought to increase funding for BIA school construction and repair. Over the years, those increases have resulted in new schools being built in tribal communities throughout Washington state, including schools on the Lummi, Puyallup, and Colville Confederated Tribes reservations. She also cosponsored the Indian Schools Construction Act, which would enable tribes to issue bonds for the purposes of school construction and repair.

Supporting Tribal Head Start

Throughout Washington state, tribal Head Start programs are helping children build the confidence and skills they need to succeed in school. At the same time, they are also helping tribes preserve their native language and culture.

As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Murray worked on the 2007 Head Start reauthorization. Senator Murray was a strong supporter of several provisions in the reauthorization that benefit tribal education programs including: increased tribal Head Start funding and research; establishing a tribal college and university Head Start partnership program; and recognizing the importance of native language immersion and cultural programs.

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