Education | Opinion

Charles Roessel: BIE reform plan includes teacher certification






Students at Santa Fe Indian School, a Bureau of Indian Education institution in New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

Monty Roessel, the director of the Bureau of Indian Education, and Ronald Thorpe, the president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, announce partnership for teacher certification:
In his recent visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, President Obama announced an ambitious plan to fulfill the promise of a brighter future for children who grow up in often remote and impoverished Native communities. He set high expectations for success, calling the lack of opportunity available to Native American students “a moral call to action.”

Unlike other groups, Native students have yet to benefit from education reforms over the past decade. Their achievement results have remained stagnant and the gaps separating them from their peers of other races and ethnicities have actually widened. While the U.S. Department of Education recently hailed the news that the nation’s high school graduation rate has surpassed 80 percent, the rate for students in schools run by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is an alarming 59 percent and the dropout rate for Native students stands at twice the national average.

After numerous listening sessions and tribal consultations, today, the Obama administration released a “Blueprint for Reform,” a comprehensive plan to redesign the BIE to achieve one overarching, mutual goal for the BIE and tribes: for tribes to deliver a world-class education to all students attending BIE schools.

Native Americans can have confidence in the administration’s plan because it has as its cornerstone an effort to elevate the factor that contributes most to student success in school—teaching. The BIE is partnering with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to support more BIE teachers in achieving Board certification through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-reviewed process similar to certification in fields such as medicine.

Get the Story:
Charles M. “Monty” Roessel and Ronald Thorpe: Get Smart: Bring World-Class Teaching to Native Schools (Indian Country Today 7/28)

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Reform plan urges billions for Bureau of Indian Education schools (07/09)
Blog: Questions about Bureau of Indian Education reform plans (06/27)
Secretary Jewell announces Bureau of Indian Education reform (06/16)