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We did not get very many comments from the field. I think that the way those regulations were presented and the format was the reason we did not get comments from the field. We made a recommendation, as a Council, to the Department, that in the future any regulations that are extensive should be done in the nature of a substitute.
The CHAIRMAN. May I interrupt again?
The CHAIRMAN. This Presidential Council, I presume has a staff. You are a member of that staff.
Ms. Hunt. Yes; I am the Director and we have three other people.
The CHAIRMAN. How often to you meet with the Secretary of Education?
Ms. HUNT. We have met with him on one occasion. That was October 8 in Anchorage, AK.
The CHAIRMAN. Was that by accident or by plan?
Ms. HUNT. It was by plan in that we had been trying since January to get an appointment with the Secretary.
The CHAIRMAN. In the past 3 years, how often has the Council met with the Secretary?
Ms. HUNT. I do not have the answer to that question, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to find out and supply it for the record. I know that in the past 10 months, it has been once, and that was this month.
The CHAIRMAN. How often have you met with the Director or Acting Director of the Office of Indian Education?
Ms. Hunt. We do that quite often, sometimes by telephone and sometimes in person. Mr. Chairman, I have not had a problem with access to the Acting Director of the Office of Indian Education or the Acting Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education. Both of these gentlemen have been available to me when I needed to talk to them about various things. They have been very helpful administratively in pushing the various pieces of paper that need to be pushed for the Council to perform its activities.
The CHAIRMAN. What role do you play in the promulgation of regulations? Are you asked to provide input?
Ms. Hunt. Like the public, we provide comments after the regulations are published for comment in the Federal Register.
The CHAIRMAN. You are just like the public although you are Presidentially appointed?
Ms. HUNT. Yes sir; that is the way it was this year with the promulgation of these regulations.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you feel that your advice and counsel is heard?
Ms. Hunt. If it is heard, Mr. Chairman, there are not a whole lot of changes made. There have not been changes made because of our recommendations with respect to regulations or vacancy announcements or the Indian preference policy.
The CHAIRMAN. What role have you played in the filling of these vacancies? That seems to be a rather crucial matter here.
Ms. Hunt. There has been nothing that the Council has done other than try to scatter vacancy announcements throughout the country, because we were not involved in the preparation of any of those vacancy announcements and certainly not in the selection of anyone, except for the position of Director of the Office of Indian Education. We commented on the vacancy announcement and a few things were changed because of our comments. Of course, we disseminated that vacancy announcement throughout the country and then went through the process of interviewing the candidates and submitting to the Secretary three names as our list of nominees.
The CHAIRMAN. How long has this Office of Indian Education existed?
Ms. HUNt. It was established under the Education Amendments of 1972, so I would think as of 1973, certainly. This Council has been in existence since 1973.
The CHAIRMAN. The Council has been in existence for 16 years? Ms. HUNT. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. In those 16 years, have we had any Indians serving in mid-management or above?
Ms. HUNT. Mr. Chairman, we have indeed. I do not have that list with me but I will be happy to supply it for the committee. I have a list of the number of people in the office and the number of Indians. It will not give the information you have just requested, but I am sure we can provide that information for you. From my own personal knowledge, there have been a number of Indians in midmanagement positions.
The CHAIRMAN. But not now?
Ms. Hunt. In our annual report there is a list of the directors and the period of time that they served. I will provide that for the record. I would think it is 2 or 3 years at the most.
[Material appears in Ms. Hunt's prepared statement in appendix.
The CHAIRMAN. Please proceed.
Ms. Hunt. One thing that was a little puzzling was that this year with the fellowship applications, we had regulations that had been published for comment. They were not final regulations, yet it appears that the fellowship awards were based on those not yet finalized regulations. I think we probably had some delay in getting those actual dollars out to the students because the regulations were not finalized until July 19.
When you have a program and an award is being made based on regulations that are not yet finalized, you are not likely to get any changes made from comments coming from the public or from this council because everything is already set up to go a certain way. I would hope and the Council would hope that in the future, that kind of thing would not happen; that when an application comes in for any program in the Office of Indian Education, it will come in based on final regulations, not proposed regulations.
The CHAIRMAN. What impact has been felt by the Indian community resulting from this delay in the granting of awards?
Ms. HUNT. We have received a number of calls from individuals who said that their schools were very late in getting started with their Indian education programs this year because of the delay of the formula grant awards. In fact, some schools were indicating that they may lay off personnel.
We have also had comments from discretionary grantees, Indian tribes and Indian organizations, that they were not able to get started with their programs because of the delay. We have had some indication that there were Indian students under the fellowship program who had to make loans while awaiting arrival of the money for their tuition and living expenses.
In Anchorage, we had a number of issues sessions. We had five two-hour issues sessions. In the testimony, Mr. Chairman, you will find a brief summary of various recommendations that came out those sessions from the people themselves.
One that I thought was particularly needed is that the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Education set up a working, ongoing task force to deal with any problems of eligibility or any other issues that might come up in the transferal of money, for example, from Department of Education to Bureau of Indian Affairs and the participation of BIA and tribal schools in Department of Education programs. I think that this might help us with an issue that has come up in the Even Start Program, where tribal schools and BIA schools have been determined to not be able to participate by the Department of Education because they do not meet the definition of LEA, local education agency.
We have some recommendations coming from this panel on that definition, I believe. It is also dealt with in my prepared statement.
Dealing with some of the other programs at the Department of Education-in our issues session in Anchorage, we heard from people that there should be a two percent set-aside in the Adult Education Act for Indians and Alaska Natives. We also got an indication from them that there should be a needs assessment done of the adult education and vocational education needs of Indians and Alaska Natives. This is certainly something that the Department of Education and the Bureau of Indian Affairs could work together on. We got indications that Indian people want vocational education programs kept at the Department of Education and not moved to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
One other comment that was made about the fellowship program at our issues session is that the Office of Indian Education should look toward establishing some uniform guidelines for universities in the universities' dispersal of those funds to students. Apparently, it is November sometimes before the student actually gets money from the university because the funds go from the Office of Indian Education to the university; the university takes its tuition money and whatever institutional costs there are, and then provides the check to the students for their food, room and board, or whatever. There has been some delay in those students getting funds from universities, so that is another area that should be looked into.
I have tried to hit just some of the highlights in the testimony. It is an extensive piece of work, Mr. Chairman. It has a lot of criticism of the Department and the Office of Indian Education, but I think we have been fair in that criticism because what is important to us is that the services get to Indian people. Education services have been delayed by the Office of Indian Education this year, so we think that some criticism is indeed necessary.
I do want to emphasize that they have been very helpful administratively for this Council at the Department. However, the bottom line is getting education services to Indian people, and that is what we are most concerned about.
The only other thing I need to mention is that, in the testimony, there are some recommendations on amendments to the legislation authorizing the White House Conference. These are technical amendments. I will not comment on them here but I wish you would take a look at them. I urge the committee to deal with those recommendations.
Thank you very much for your attention.
The CHAIRMAN. In your October meeting with the Secretary in Anchorage, what was on the agenda?
Ms. Hunt. This meeting came about at the last minute. I had sent over our package of information to the Secretary's office that we would be in Anchorage and would be happy to meet with him at any time. I got a call back saying that he had a lot of things going and was not able to meet with us.
On Saturday evening, our new chairman, Mr. Eddie Tullis, and perhaps some of our other members—I am not sure because I was ill with a problem in my eye and was at the emergency room-handled dealing with the Secretary and his people. They found out where he was staying and made the contact. I was called that evening and told that he would meet with us after his keynote speech and that I should get a room at the convention center, which I proceeded to do.
It was a meeting that was somewhat impromptu, from the direct appeal of our chairman and some of the council members. It did not come about by our working through the Office of the Secretary.
The CHAIRMAN. So you had no agenda?
Ms. HUNT. We had no agenda. He came and talked to us about some of the things he had spoken of in his speech and indicated that he wanted us to provide information to him, which we indeed have been attempting to do this year and will do.
The CHAIRMAN. How long did this meeting last?
The CHAIRMAN. Did you have any clarification on the role that the Council plays with the Secretary? Does the Secretary consider that you do have a role to play?
Ms. HUNT. He seems to consider that we have a role to play, that of providing information, and we are ready to do that. I might say that many of his comments during his keynote speech regarding the need for data on Indian education certainly was in agreement with what is in our current annual report.
The CHAIRMAN. Is anyone on the panel prepared to provide data to this committee on dropouts and things like that? Who is in the best position here?
Ms. BARBERO. Mr. Chairman, I am not personally aware of any nationwide statistics on Indian dropouts, but about 2 years ago, the Bureau of Indian Affairs commissioned what appeared to have been a target study in the Chinle area of the Navajo Reservation. That report was performed by a local contractor from Washington, I believe, and one of the items discussed in that report is the dropout rate at each grade level in the Chinle area of the Navajo Reservation. That is the only study I am aware of that would address that question.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator McCain, any questions?
Senator DASCHLE. Mr. Chairman, I think Ms. Funk had a comment to make.
Ms. FUNK. In response to your question, I do not think there is any reliable national information. The 1980 census will say that of Indian people over age 25, 56 percent have high school diplomas. That is compared to about 67 percent nationwide, but that is 1980 information and not exactly the same thing as a dropout rate. I think it only exists where individual schools or areas do it. I have not seen anything nationwide or comprehensive.
The CHAIRMAN. When the panel is completed, I will be asking one general question to all of you relating to the effectiveness of this program. I would like you to tell us whether you think it is money well spent or wasted or how we can better spend the money.
Did you have any questions, Senator Daschle?
The CHAIRMAN. May I now call on Mr. Bordeaux.
SOCIATION OF COMMUNITY TRIBAL SCHOOLS, VERMILLION, SD
Mr. BORDEAUX. Mr. Chairman, my name is Roger Bordeaux from Vermillion, SD. I am currently a doctoral student in their program of educational administration. I also work part-time as Executive Director of the Association of Community Tribal Schools.
Tribal schools have a little over 12,000 students. By designation as either tribal organizations, Indian-controlled schools, public or private institutions, depending on what definition, they are eligible for a lot of different programs within the Department of Education. We feel that the main problem is, because of these separate designations, we are often stuck at the bottom of the so-called priority list in regard to funding in different areas.
Some programs within the Department of Education come through the Bureau as a set-aside which goes over there, such as chapter 1 and Education for Handicapped funds. There are other programs where we are designated as an Indian- controlled school for title IV set-aside dollars or title V set-aside dollars. In vocational education, there is a 2-percent set-aside, but the majority of those moneys go to the tribe and to adult programs as opposed to the secondary programs we are operating.
What we wanted to say is that the money we get under the Indian School Equalization Program from the Bureau, those basic instructional dollars, should always be considered in everyone's mind as similar to funds that public schools receive from local taxes and from State taxes. That category, basic instruction, could equate to that with everything else in ISEP being categorical funds based on the type of students you have. If a student is handi