TITLE: Support to Promote the Education of Migratory Children Accountable for Native Students
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the fundamental trust, treaty, and statutory obligations of the United States remain unfulfilled and Native students continue to suffer from great inadequacies and inequities in aspects of their education; and
WHEREAS, in order to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students, including Native students, Title I of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act authorizes programmatic funds to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and assessments; and
WHEREAS, NCLB Title I, Part C – Education of Migratory Children – supports high-quality and comprehensive educational programs for migratory children to help reduce the educational disruptions and other problems that result from repeated moves; and
WHEREAS, compounded with additional issues, Native students suffer from diminished academic achievement due to disproportionately high rates of mobility between the schools systems that serve their communities (public, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), tribal contract and grant, parochial, and charter); and
WHEREAS, statistics are limited on Native students, but a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) analysis recently found that 15.7% of American Indian or Alaska Native students had changed schools in their last two years of high school as compared with only 7% of Caucasian students; and
WHEREAS, experts who study student mobility confirm that children who frequently change schools tend to fall behind academically, suffering from inconsistent teaching methods, curriculum, and daily activities, which often produce long-term behavioral risks and increased high school dropout rates.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI does hereby call for the Department of Education (ED) to specifically include Native students within No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title I, Part C – Education of Migratory Children – to ensure Native students have the same access to resources as other migratory populations and are not penalized by disparities in curriculum, graduation requirements, or state academic content and achievement standards when changing schools; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls upon the National Center for Education Statistics to study Native student mobility in order to increase available data on Native populations and requests that the Department of Education work jointly with the Bureau of Indian Education, NCAI, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Indian Education Association, as well as tribal communities and pertinent stakeholders, to guarantee that funds, definitions/eligibility and supportive services not only address their unique cultural and academic needs but also that such children receive full and appropriate opportunities to meet the same challenging academic content and achievement standards that all children are expected to meet; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the identified partners address this issue at the K-12 and Higher Education levels to ensure Native students receive the comprehensive education and full scope of services for Native migratory children; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.