The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) recently published a new strategic direction for the organization – to be implemented through 2023. The BIE is a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior under the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
The BIE provides funds and manages many functions and policies of 183 schools on 64 reservations in 23 states. The Ahfachkee School on the Big Cypress Reservation is the only BIE school within the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and is one of only two BIE schools in the state. The other is the Miccosukee Indian School west of Miami.
The BIE said the new strategy is being implemented to improve education services and programs. It was prompted by a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that recommended better management and transparency for Indian education programs.
“The BIE recognizes the dynamically changing environment of Indian education and expects to continue developing the direction in response to feedback and new ideas from stakeholders,” a BIE release said.
Officials said they sought the input of parents, teachers, students, administrators, tribal leadership and Indian education advocates.
“I am grateful for the collective efforts given by those who dedicated their time and provided input into this project that supports tribal sovereignty, which is a top priority for tribal communities and the Trump Administration,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, the first Alaska Native and first women in two decades to lead the department.
The new strategic direction is intended to make sure students are given both a high-quality and culturally relevant education. The BIE outlined six goals it expected would ensure that students are prepared for success in their academic life and beyond.
“There is nothing more important to the future of tribal nations than providing our youth a quality education,” Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said in a statement. “We are encouraged that the BIE has taken this step to improve performance at schools that serve our students.”
For more information and to read the new BIE strategy, click here.