your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Bush administration blasted on Indian education
Friday, June 17, 2005

Indianz.Com Listening Lounge:
Note: Files are in MP3 format
Introduction - 5:04 - 2.03MB
Introductory Statements

Panel I - 14:55 - 5.75MB
Testimony by Panel I

Q&A - 34:24 - 13.7MB
Q&A with Panel I

Panel II - 32:46 - 13.1MB
Testimony by Panel II

Q&A - 17:49 - 7.14MB
Q&A with Panel II
Members of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee slammed Bush administration officials at an oversight hearing on Thursday, questioning their commitment to Indian education.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the chairman of the committee, led off the criticism with his portrayal of a do-nothing administration. He said little appears to have been accomplished since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the law that calls for improvement in public and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools that educate more than 500,000 Native children.

"It's going to take you until July 2006 to find out what the construction and transportation needs are for these schools?" he told Jim Cason and Ed Parisian, the Interior Department's witnesses, in reference to an NCLB report issued over a year ago. "Please."

"It's interesting that you were testifying [about] all the things you're gonna do to comply with NCLB," he then told Victoria Vasques of the Education Department. "What have you done so far to implement NCLB?"

When Vasques, the director of the Office of Indian Education, started to responded, she was interrupted. "So you've had meetings? Good," McCain said in an abrupt tone. He also questioned how the NCLB process was being conducted.

"You are working with governors to determine the needs on Indian reservations?" he asked. Vasques pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Indian children attend public schools that are not part of the BIA system.

Democrats on the committee were equally displeased with the administration's performance. They cited repeated cuts in the budget for tribal colleges, construction of new BIA schools and other education programs.

"I've heard the testimony here," commented Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the vice chairman, "and some of it doesn't sound to me like it's in English."

Tribal witnesses also had harsh words, centering on the budget cuts and the BIA reorganization. David Beaulieu, the president of the National Indian Education Association, said resources at the agency's education office have been reduced under the guise of trust reform.

"Our constituency is becoming ever more alarmed," he told the committee, "about their concerns with the statute and what is happening to Indian education, generally."

Roger Bordeaux, the superintendent of the Tiospa Zina Tribal School on the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, testified the reorganization is hurting Indian students. He said he was "disturbed" by Cason's suggestion to add more high-paid senior executive service employees to the BIA.

"I would be willing to bet part of my salary that that's not going to make a difference over time," he said. He said the Bush administration is preparing to take $3.4 million from Indian education to hire more management staff.

Cason, the deputy secretary at Interior and the acting assistant secretary for Indian affairs, defended his department's commitment to Indian education. He said the White House so far has provided $1.5 billion to fix crumbling BIA schools, although he acknowledged a slow-down because only nine of the 25 replacement projects that were funded have been completed.

"If you go back and look at it historically, the president has placed a huge amount of emphasis on additional school construction," he testified.

Vasques, whose budget has remained constant since 2001, defended her work with the BIA and states to implement the reforms of the NCLB. But she said true progress needs to come from Indian Country.

"Whenever I go out and speak, my number one challenge for those who will listen is for tribal leaders to put education on their agenda," she said. "I know it's our number one agenda but I don't know if I feel it's the number one agenda out there when I'm working in the field."

Although McCain appeared exasperated with the government's testimony, he said he was willing to wait a few more months for answers. He told the witnesses to be called back for another hearing sometime in the fall.

At an oversight hearing on Indian education a year ago, retired Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), the former chairman of the committee, said he asked the General Accountability Office for an investigation into the reorganization's impact. At the time, he cited a list of complaints he received about the BIA's actions.

"We have no way of knowing, in the committee, if these accusations have any merit or not and maybe they don't. Maybe some are just disgruntled employees," Campbell said on June 16, 2004. "But I don't take them lightly."

It is not clear what the status of the investigation is or when a report might be issued. Campbell retired at the end of 2004.

Relevant Documents:
Witness List/Testimony: Oversight Hearing on Indian Education (June 16, 2005)

Relevant Links:
National Indian Education Association -
Office of Indian Education Programs, BIA -

Related Stories:
Senate oversight hearing on Indian education (6/17)
Senate bill restores funding for Indian programs (06/09)
Tribes struggle to find funds to fix crumbling schools (06/09)
Bill calls for tribal consultation on BIA budget (05/31)
Indian educator: More classwork, less culture (05/27)
BIA publishes final No Child Left Behind regulations (04/28)
School construction fared poorly on White House test (02/14)
Indian education funds reduced by Bush budget (2/10)
New Bush administration budget slashes programs (2/7)
Complaints prompt probe into BIA education (06/17)
Report finds BIA misused school emergency funds (05/12)
Tribes tackle budget woes under Bush administration (4/14)
Audit finds school construction problems at BIA (04/12)
Report finds lax safety measures at BIA schools (04/08)
Budget resolution barely clears House vote (03/26)
Tribal leaders denounce BIA budget plans as reckless (03/24)
BIA education programs taking $79 million hit (3/23)
Indian educators meet for legislative summit (3/22)
Cuts run deep for tribal programs at BIA (03/09)
Navajo leader gives BIA a 'D' for school funding (03/04)
BIA to publish replacement school construction list (2/26)
Comments sought on No Child Left Behind Act rules (02/26)
Tom Daschle: Leave no Indian child behind (2/25)
Senate panel shares criticism of Bush budget (02/12)
Tribal leaders pressing Congress on funding (02/11)
BIA programs barely survive White House test (02/10)
BIA budget staying the same under Bush request (2/3)
BIA Schools: Are Indian students being left behind? (01/26)
NCAI president uses speech to lobby for funding (01/22)
Bush education official pays visit to N.M. school (01/09)
Report card shows Native students falling behind (06/23)
Paige advancing Indian issues at Ed. Dept. (6/16)
Tribal-federal effort targets Indian education (11/15)
Controversial BIA school proposal dropped (05/16)
Leave no Indian child behind (5/15)
Court to decide limits of trust duty (4/23)
Bush school proposal faces tribal debate (3/19)
McCaleb: Bush helping education (3/7)
Bush proposal strips BIA of education (2/5)
Bush school proposal criticized (2/5)
GAO report finds failing BIA schools (10/29)
Final BIA school goes online (8/24)
Norton, McCaleb to address Indian educators (7/23)
Norton pushes Indian school construction, reform (7/17)
Norton to visit Indian school (7/16)
Norton to visit Indian Country (4/25)
Tribal Schools on Priority List (2/16)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribal member speaks out against fracking (11/27)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud mothers address meth issues (11/27)
Tim Giago: Walk a mile in the moccasins of Native Americans (11/27)
Vince Two Eagles: Focus on being thankful this holiday season (11/27)
Native Sun News: Keystone fighters celebrate permit's defeat (11/27)
Kevin Leecy: Tribes remain a vital segment of our community (11/27)
Steven Newcomb: Even media treats our nations as 'nothing' (11/27)
Ray Cook: Thanksgiving flies in the face of original Americans (11/27)
Terese Mailhot: Racism prevails in American popular culture (11/27)
Ilya Somin: Persistent 'myth' justified taking of Indian lands (11/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community sued for same-sex marriage ban (11/27)
Cahuilla Band celebrates new travel center at gaming facility (11/27)
Opinion: Don't break promise to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (11/27)
Native Sun News: Family questions FBI on reservation death (11/25)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Oneida Nation opens first branch location of tribal-owned bank (11/25)
Virginia tribes continue to pay tribute required by 1677 treaty (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Stillaguamish Tribe debuts eatery and microbrewery at casino (11/25)
Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.