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Tribal Assent To Be Sought For B.I.A. School Transfers

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WASHINGTON--The Bureau of Indian Affairs would not be allowed to consolidate or transfer responsibility for any of its schools without tribal approval, under language approved last week by a conference panel.

The provision, part of the omnibus education reauthorization bill, HR 5, now being considered by a House-Senate conference committee, is a response to a B.I.A. plan unveiled in late 1986.

The bureau's proposal called for transferring B.I.A. schools to tribes or school districts.

It would have given tribes the right of first refusal to assume responsibility for schools on their reservations. (See Education Week, Oct. 21, 1987.)

Other provisions adopted by the panelists would:

  • Authorize a White House conference on Indian education, which would be held between September 1989 and September 1991.
  • Create a three-year, $45-million early-childhood-development program for Indian children.
  • Consolidate several existing Indian-education programs into a single, $70-million program.
  • Require the Education Department to give preference to Native Americans when filling positions in the department's office of Indian education.--E.F.

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