Friday, January 13, 2017

Native American school fails students, lawsuit says

The federal government has repeatedly acknowledged and even lamented its failure to provide adequate education for Native American children. Now, nine Native children are taking to the courts to force Washington to take action. The children are all members of the Havasupai Nation, whose ancestral homelands are in and around the Grand Canyon. They attend an elementary school that is run by the federal Bureau of Indian Education and is, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday (Jan. 12), hardly recognizable as a school at all. Havasupai Elementary School does not teach any subjects other than English and math, according to the complaint; there is no instruction in science, history, social studies, foreign language, or the arts. There aren't enough textbooks or a functioning library or any after-school sports teams or clubs, according to the complaint. There are so many and such frequent teacher vacancies that students are allegedly taught often by noncertified staff, including the janitor, or they are taught by a series of substitutes who rotate in for two-week stints. The school shuts down altogether for weeks at a time...more

Why don't they run their own schools? 

The Havasupai continued fighting to educate their children in their own community, and in 1976 won the right to reopen and operate a K-8 school in Supai. The tribal-run school emphasized Havasupai language and culture, and by 2006, the Havasupai language was spoken fluently by more than nine in 10 tribal members - a higher rate than most other tribes at the time, according to the complaint. The tribe turned over operation of the school to the federal government in 2002 because it didn't have enough financial resources or technical support to implement the new and sweeping No Child Left Behind Act, according to the complaint.

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