- On September 27, 2016, the Department of Education (ED) announced guidance for Native-majority school districts according to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Under ESSA schools with over 50% Native enrollment must consult with local tribal leaders. The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) applauds the Department for issuing the guidance sent to qualifying districts notifying them that they must consult with local tribes or risk losing federal funding. The guidance demonstrates commitment to complying with the new standards of consultation set forth in Section 8538 of ESSA, a priority that NIEA has long advocated for.
NIEA appreciates the Department of Education's commitment to the clear intent of the law in Section 8538. By extending consultation requirements past those in Title VI, the Department shows dedication to full implementation of ESSA for Native students across the country. While we applaud the Department's work and we offer the following recommendations for both the Department and school districts to make sure Native students are fully considered in the course of consultation:
- NIEA hopes that the Department will encourage local educational agencies to use the consultation guide as a baseline for what should be accomplished.
- NIEA is currently developing a consultation guide for state and local institutions, which will launch at the 2016 NIEA Convention & Trade Show in Reno, Nevada.
- NIEA would like to specifically encourage the administration to require that "meaningful consultation" under Section 8538 of ESSA include in person meetings wherever possible and meaningful dialogue in both the in-person and teleconference settings.
- For NIEA's thoughts on the importance of in person dialogue, please see our comments on the Accountability regulations and Native languages.
Through ongoing advocacy, NIEA is committed to supporting tribes, states, and districts as they pursue excellence in education for all Native students.