American IndianEarly Learning

7 Keys to Improving American Indian Student Education

By February 25, 2015 No Comments

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) presented to legislators today 7 recommendations for improving educational opportunities for American Indian students in Minnesota. The recommendations come from the state’s Indian Education Working Group.

Tribal leaders testify 0215Minnesota is last in the nation in the graduation rate of American Indian students. Within the state, AMI students have the lowest graduation rate and the slowest growth in that graduation rate of all ethnic/racial groups. Learn more on this issue.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Indian Education Office Director Dennis Olson presented the recommendations. Tribal leaders (pictured to the right) testified in support.

The recommendations include:

  • Increase funding for Success for the Future program and transition from a competitive formula to a formula driven program. The Working Group supports Governor Dayton’s proposal for increasing annual funding to $4.5 million to fund all Title VII recipients. The group also recommends providing an additional $7.5 million annually to support all districts and schools that enroll American Indian students.
  • Lift the $1,500 cap per pupil in the Bureau of Indian Education Tribal School Equalization formula.
  •  Create a new Early Childhood in Tribal Communities program with an annual appropriation of $1.6 million annually to allow all 11 tribes in Minnesota to access Early Childhood Family Education funding from the state.
  • Sustain the White Earth Race to the Top Transformation Zone. Provide the necessary funds to hold harmless the current funding level of the White Earth Race to the Top Transformation Zone.
  • Examine the current Minnesota charter school statute and create a provision to allow greater flexibility for boards of charter schools operating with Tribal communities to determine their membership and board composition.
  • Create a provision that allows Minnesota to recognize additional alternative high school equivalency test options in addition to the GED.
  • Amend the language in the Indian Education Act of 1988 to strengthen the role and responsibilities of Indian Education Parent Advisory Committees and strongly emphasize school district accountability in meeting the needs of American Indian students through the World’s Best Workforce legislation.

MREA formed an AMI Advisory Committee because 67 percent of Minnesota’s AMI students attend public schools in Greater Minnesota. Representatives of 15 school districts, 4 Tribal Education Directors and one BIA school attended a recent meeting of this Committee.