Supporting Use of Accurate Student Numbers to Create a Sustainable Johnson O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program

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TITLE: Supporting Use of Accurate Student Numbers to Create a Sustainable Johnson O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 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 was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, the National Johnson-O’Malley Association (NJOMA) is the elected advocate representing students, ages 3 through high school who are enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in a federally-recognized tribe and not attending or served by Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, and currently being served from respective tribal jurisdiction boundaries and service areas; and

WHEREAS, NCAI and NJOMA have established a consensus that the academic, social, and economic well-being of our Indian and Johnson-O’Malley (JOM) students are our highest priority; and

WHEREAS, the JOM funding and the certified student count of 278,000 has been frozen at its 1995 level; the current student count of 321,250 was updated by the Bureau of Indian Education in 2012; however, according to findings of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2012, there are 690,000 Indian students in the age group eligible to receive JOM assistance, 93 percent of whom attend Public Schools, which leaves more than 360,000 students with unmet needs; and

WHEREAS, without continued and appropriately assumed levels of annual Congressional funding, JOM programs that foster specialized, culturally sensitive and unique educational programs that develop leadership skills of future tribal leaders necessary to promote positive academic, social and economic changes in Indian communities will slowly cease to exist and

WHEREAS, the United States Congress is not being annually informed of positive impacts and outstanding achievements of the supplemental education programs provided by JOM funds; nor are sufficient steps being taken to ensure the full participation of all eligible Indian students and their public schools.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the National Congress Association of Indians joins the National Johnson-O’Malley Association (NJOMA), the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), and the Tribal Education Departments National Association (TEDNA) in support of using accurate annual student counts that are representative of the true eligible student population and that utilize uniform allocation formula to determine program funding for JOM; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, NCAI supports NJOMA’s efforts to obtain Congressional appropriations for FY 2014 JOM funding level of $36 million, which is the level needed to adequately address the unmet needs of the 43,000 additional students being served by current JOM contract holders, per the 2012 BIE Student Count; and acknowledging the future extension of JOM services to uncounted eligible students and school districts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI joins NJOMA in calling for a Congressional mandate directing the BIA/BIE to submit, as part of the President’s annual budget submission, a report on Johnson-O’Malley program results, accomplishments, and achievements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI joins NJOMA in calling for broader outreach and advocacy aimed at ensuring the participation of all eligible tribes, students, and public school districts in Johnson-O’Malley supplemental educational programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, NCAI welcomes the opportunity to work with NJOMA, NIEA, TEDNA, and others in developing and enacting Congressional legislation that would modernize and position the JOM Supplemental Education Program as a solid, sustainable program whose future funding levels are adequate to assist all eligible future tribal leaders and promote positive academic, social, and economic changes in Indian communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.