“About 90% of Native American students attend traditional public schools. But in many rural communities on reservations, schools managed by the BIE are the only option.
A review of hundreds of documents and dozens of interviews with parents, school employees and tribal officials by The Arizona Republic and ProPublica detail how the agency has either disregarded, ignored or delayed efforts meant to end its pattern of failing Native American children.
For the past three years, the bureau failed to comply with key components of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the nation’s primary education law, which mandates that states and the BIE adopt uniform standards for student learning and accountability and sets requirements for transparency.
As a result, the BIE is the only education system in the country that hasn’t implemented a plan to hold schools accountable for student performance. While its students take standardized tests, the schools have for years administered two dozen different exams, leaving the agency unable to compare scores in different states and monitor systemwide performance. And the bureau doesn’t publish federally mandated school report cards, which provide parents with information from academic scores to teacher qualifications to the frequency and severity of student discipline.
Even more striking, the U.S. Department of Education warned the agency for the past 13 years that it was shortchanging special education students, meaning some children went from kindergarten to graduation without the BIE making changes that could improve their education.“