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NIEA Executive Director Testifies Before U.S. Department of Education Panel on Implementing and Funding Native Education Reform Efforts



For Immediate Release
Media and Policy Alert
May 3, 2012

Contact NIEA Communications
T: 202.544.7290





DISCUSSES WHAT MUST BE DONE TO IMPLEMENT OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PLAN CONTAINED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER 13592 – and keep at least 250,000 native students on the path to college and career success

Washington, DC – Today, NIEA Executive Director Colin Kippen is giving testimony to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE), the federal panel convened by the U.S. Department of Education, on the steps that will need to be taken in order to achieve the goals of Executive Order 13592. The executive order, signed into law in December by President Barack Obama, aims to advance high-quality education for our American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children in K-12 and higher education, including students attending schools run and overseen by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education, schools and districts outside of the BIE that are overseen by the Department of Education, and the nation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities. Last year, NIEA successfully advocated for the Obama administration to enact the executive order.

In his testimony, Kippen points to the benefits of fully funding the efforts to improve Native education that will come out of fully funding and implementing Executive Order 13592. This includes an additional 250,000 American Indian and Alaska Native students attending and graduating from college, who will then become the professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders Native communities – and America, as a whole – will need in an increasingly global, knowledge-based economy. Declares Kippen: “The President’s bold and decisive action to issue this executive order is only the first step. In order for it to have its intended effect sufficient resources must be budgeted and allocated for it to achieve its purpose.”

Under Executive Order 13592, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar co-chair the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, which will coordinate efforts to help children receive a high-quality education. At the heart of this effort is the need to help all Native students stay on the path to college, technical school, and ultimately, the kind of career success that can help young men and women bring prosperity to themselves, their families and communities. This includes expanding the capacity of the Tribal education departments – which work with the BIE and school districts in states such as Arizona to support student success – and Tribal Colleges and Universities, which like Historically Black Colleges and Universities, play an important role in bolstering higher education opportunities for underserved children and communities.  

But in order for the efforts under Executive Order 13592 to succeed, there must be adequate funding and full implementation of the order across all agencies engaged in Native education, including language and cultural preservation. Declares Kippen: “ great ideas and great plans must be adequately funded to succeed.”

The testimony is available at Reporters can contact NIEA Communications at or at (202) 544-7290 for more information. NIEA’s policy positions and congressional agenda for 2012 can be found at


WHO: NIEA Executive Director Colin Kippen and the association’s 3,000 members and advocates.  

WHAT: Testimony to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) on fully implementing and funding Executive Order 13592: Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Education Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities.

WHY: Fully carrying out the Obama administration plan will help at least 250,000 Native students get the education they need to succeed in the knowledge-based economy.

MEDIA CONTACT: NIEA Communications (


About National Indian Education Association: The premiere organization advocating for educational excellence, opportunity, and equity for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students, the mission of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is to support traditional Native cultures and values; to enable Native learners to become contributing members of their communities; to promote Native control of educational institutions; and to improve educational opportunities and resources for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States. Learn more at