October 13, 2005 by: Rick St. Germaine / Indian Country Today
Education convention opens in Denver
DENVER - Responding to a growing dissatisfaction from Indian educators who complain about damaging impediments resulting from the No Child Left Behind legislation, the National Indian Education Association on Oct. 6 launched a critical broadside at the federal education program with charges that it is actually causing more American Indian students to give up and drop out than it is helping...
... In a rousing speech, interrupted at times with applause, he cited the components of the federal program that are causing the most problems.
''The Indian voice is heard less and less in this discussion as the Native American community is only beginning to understand the impact, the consequences of [discord] between NCLB and Title VII [the Indian Education Act programs],'' warned Beaulieu, as he described the testimony elicited in 11 field hearings sponsored by NIEA in sites from Washington, D.C. to Oklahoma City and Window Rock to Tacoma, and even Honolulu...
... ''Kids are taking the blame for poor [Adequate Yearly Progress] scores and don't even want to come to school,'' he noted, criticizing the focus on testing and on classroom practice for the test. He suggested there should be a love of reading because students are interested in what they're reading. ''There's a focus on the skill of reading, and not what they're reading.''
''NCLB parts don't fit,'' he continued, ''with major disruptions in our schools that directly impact on Native culture-
Beaulieu released 1,000 copies of the summary report from the NIEA field hearings that were held strategically throughout Indian country, charging that the Department of Education ''selectively'' invited NCLB proponents to its field hearings and quashing parts of testimony that were negative...
It doesn't matter what race or nationality you com from. This law is misguided and ill-fit for any and all kids. Help us change it.