indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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 - http://www.niea.org
Office of Indian Education Programs, BIA - http://www.oiep.bia.edu

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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Choctaw Nation Trial:
Former Choctaw Nation employee plans appeal in criminal case (11/24)
Choctaw Nation releases statement after guilty verdict in case (11/24)
Former Choctaw Nation employee found guilty after lengthy trial (11/24)
Trial on Choctaw Nation fraud winds down with final testimony (11/24)
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Cornflakes every Sunday at Indian boarding school (11/24)
Charles Trimble: A time to give thanks -- For whatever reason (11/24)
Mark Trahant: Incoming Alaska governor opens doors to tribes (11/24)
Native Sun News: Four from South Dakota win big at rodeo final (11/24)
Suzan Shown Harjo to receive Medal of Freedom at White House (11/24)
Crystal Willcuts: Keystone XL Pipeline just makes the rich richer (11/24)
PBS: VAWA helps tribes go after non-Indian domestic offenders (11/24)
Chippewa Cree Tribe swears in chairman more than a year later (11/24)
Florida Supreme Court declines Miccosukee child custody case (11/24)
Editorial: BIA fails to resolve Cayuga Nation leadership dispute (11/24)
Mille Lacs Band grows economy with Oklahoma hotel purchase (11/24)
Faction of Chukchansi Tribe walks away from casino mediation (11/24)
Tribal casinos cancel Bill Cosby shows as allegations resurface (11/24)
Editorial: Poarch Creeks control their own destiny with gaming (11/24)
Editorial: Renew Class III gaming compact with Seminole Tribe (11/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux youth to join White House meet (11/21)
Obamas welcome youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to DC (11/21)
House passes bill to address Grand Portage Band per capitas (11/21)
House Natural Resources Committee passes three tribal bills (11/21)
Chaske Spencer: Changing the narrative for our Native youth (11/21)
Winona LaDuke: No one believes in the 'black snake' pipeline (11/21)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tax disparities remain in Indian Country (11/21)
ICT interview with DOI deputy secretary on Cobell buy-backs (11/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe rounds up dogs after deadly attack on girl (11/21)
Leader of Navajo Nation signs bill for higher tax on junk food (11/21)
North Dakota tribe in negotiations for pipeline to curb flaring (11/21)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe passes language to new generation (11/21)
Little Traverse Bay Bands swear in interim leader after recall (11/21)
Blog: Play-by-play of election controversy on Navajo Nation (11/21)
Column: Theories link Thanksgiving to 1637 Pequot massacre (11/21)
Editorial: Work with Burns Paiute Tribe on land-into-trust bid (11/21)
Ex-employee of Passamaquoddy Tribe admits to drug charge (11/21)
BIA publishes notice of Karuk Tribe Class III gaming compact (11/21)
Oklahoma reports drop in gaming exclusivity fees from tribes (11/21)
Pala Band gears up for official launch of Internet gaming site (11/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux woman shot and killed by police (11/20)
Mark Trahant: Lakota honor song wasn't out of place in Senate (11/20)
Dog attack blamed for death of eight-year-old girl at Pine Ridge (11/20)
DOI issues status report on Cobell land consolidation program (11/20)
Greg Grey Cloud explains Lakota honor song after Senate vote (11/20)
Steven Newcomb: Disestablishing the doctrines of domination (11/20)
Sen. Mark Begich: Moving forward for the first people of Alaska (11/20)
Bill Richardson: Indian Country feels effects of climate change (11/20)
Smithsonian: Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 won't be forgotten (11/20)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sues South Dakota over sales tax (11/20)
Morongo Band distributes 10K turkeys for Thanksgiving meals (11/20)
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.