WHEREAS, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) was established in 1970 for the purpose of advocating, planning, and promoting the unique and special educational needs of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians; and
WHEREAS, NIEA as the largest national Indian organization of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian educators, administrators, parents, and students in the United States, provides a forum to discuss and act upon issues affecting the education of Indian and Native people; and
WHEREAS, through its unique relationship with Indian nations and tribes, the federal government has established programs and resources to meet the educational needs of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, residing on and off their reserved or non-reserved homelands; and education officials across the nation report teacher shortages and enrollment in teacher education programs has declined 36% since 2009; and
WHEREAS, Native teachers constitute only 0.5% of the educator workforce; and
WHEREAS, teacher shortages are even worse in Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools due to low salaries, insufficient resources, lack of incentives, lack of adequate housing, and poor working conditions; and
WHEREAS, these problems are exacerbated due to the need for culturally competent teachers; and
WHEREAS, tribal leaders report difficulty certifying and hiring effective Native teaching candidates; and
WHEREAS, the best solution to recruiting and retaining Native teachers is the development of a campaign that includes a streamlined process for qualified candidates to become certified through adequate training and develop a community of mentorship.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NIEA work in partnership with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to urge the incoming Administration to convene a working group of government officials, tribal leaders, Native educators, and education advocates within the first 180 days to develop a national proposal for training and employing effective and culturally competent Native teachers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NIEA will work directly with NCAI in ensuring that the Administration begins an implementation plan for the campaign proposal, including congressional action, executive measures, and the development of a policy at the Department of Education and Bureau of Indian Education on building a Native teacher community.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NIEA until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
I do hereby certify that the following resolution was dully considered and passed by the National Indian Education Association on October 7th, 2016 at which a quorum of the membership was present.