The federal agency responsible for the education of American Indian childrenin managing the various schools and programs that are meant to ensure such students perform well academically, says a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Students in Bureau of Indian Education schools perform “consistently below” their American Indian peers in public schools on both state and national tests, the GAO found. The report says administrative weaknesses in the BIE, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, have led to difficulties for some bureau-run schools in administering content tests to students and in acquiring textbooks and other basic educational materials.
The congressional watchdog agency also said the BIE lacks clear procedures for decisionmaking, which has led it to exceed its authority. In 2011, for example, BIE officials allowed several schools to administer alternative assessments that had not been properly reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education. There are 185 BIE schools that serve roughly 41,000 students living on or near reservations.
A version of this article appeared in the October 02, 2013 edition of Education Week as Indian Education