Udall Introduces Bill to Improve Tribal Education
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) today introduced a bill to improve tribal education by increasing access to resources in a way that preserves Native American culture in schools.
Graduation rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives are less than 50 percent, which is lower than the graduation rates for all other ethnic groups in the United States.
"Across Indian Country too many tribal school systems are struggling. Native schools are in desperate need of renovations, they're unable to recruit and retain qualified Native teachers and with extremely tight budgets, they don't have enough resources to do their jobs," said Udall, member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. "My legislation would help take an important step forward in addressing these problems."
The Building Upon Unique Indian Learning and Development (BUILD) Act would remove barriers that tribal leaders often encounter in teaching Native languages at schools. It would also create a tribal "Teacher Preparation Initiative" to help increase the number of Native teachers and principals in the school system.
The BUILD Act has a wide range of support including the National Indian Education Association, American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools. In New Mexico, the NM Indian Education Advisory Council, the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Navajo Technical College are also supporters of the legislation.