Scandal continues to hinder Bureau of Indian Education efforts
Efforts to reorganize and reform the Bureau of Indian Education continue to falter amid scandals within the agency and disagreements among key members of Congress.
Tensions resurfaced last week when Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved a bill that would allow Indian parents to use BIE funds to send their children to institutions of their choice. Critics of the effort say the federal government should be investing more money in the troubled agency if there is any hope at improving achievement levels among its 41,000 students.
"I do not believe in any program that would divert public education funds to private entities with limited accountability," Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) , the vice chairman of the committee, said at a business meeting before the bill was approved on a party-line vote. "Putting tribal education at the mercy of a voucher program is a sure-fire way to handicap Congressional oversight and take away accountability from the people most impacted by those education systems, which are tribes, Native parents and local communities."