Bureau of Indian Education | Indian Education Study Group

Indian Education Study Group

"Every child can learn, and every school can succeed.  We have a moral obligation to ensure that we are providing Indian Children with the quality education that they deserve.  This redesign is a critical step in supporting each Tribe's capacity to educate future generations of students who are prepared for college and a career and know and value their heritage." - Bureau of Indian Education Director Monty Roessel.

In 2013, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan convened an American Indian Education Study Group to diagnose the systemic challenges facing the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and to propose a comprehensive plan for reform to ensure all students attending BIE-funded schools receive a world-class education.

The Study Group drafted a framework for reform based on several listening sessions last fall with tribal leaders, Indian educators and others throughout Indian Country on how to facilitate tribal sovereignty in American Indian education and how to improve educational outcomes for students at BIE-funded schools.

Overall, the Study Group met with nearly 400 individuals and received nearly 200 comments that helped it prepare the draft framework for educational reform that became the subject of four tribal consultation sessions held in April and May of 2014.  The Study Group incorporated feedback it received from tribal leaders and other BIE stakeholders into the final Blueprint for Reform, released on June 13, 2014.

Based on the recommendation contained in the Blueprint for Reform, Secretary Jewell has issued a Secretarial Order that will redesign the BIE from a direct provider of education into an innovative organization that will serve as a capacity-builder and service-provider to tribes with BIE-funded schools.

The Secretarial Order outlines a two-phase process to restructure and redesign the BIE over the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years.  The first phase will improve responsiveness of BIE operational support to schools, including establishing a School Operations Division that will focus on teacher and principal recruitment, acquisition and grants, school facilities and educational technology.  An Office of Sovereignty and Indian Education will be established to support tribal sovereignty by building the capacity of tribes to operate high performing schools and allowing tribes to shape what their children learn about their tribes, language and culture.

The second phase will focus on improving performance of individual schools through School Support Solutions Teams.  The teams will work with individual schools and tribes to help maximize school performance, including "cradle to the classroom" assistance with services such as prenatal care, early literacy, children's health care and counseling.

Indian Education Study Group wants your help.  Read about the Indian Education Study Group and provide your solutions at the following mailbox:  IAEDSolutions@BIA.GOV

November 5, 2013:  Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn sent a letter to Tribal Leaders inviting them to participate in a listening session on Indian Education at the Department of the Interior on Thursday, November 14, 2013.


Activities and Background leading up to the blueprint

  Federal Register Notice published on March 27, 2014 by clicking this link.

  Dear Tribal Leader Letter, dated March 28, 2014. 

  PowerPoint slides are provided here.  Slides were updated on April 17, 2014.

   Draft Report for Purpose of Tribal Consultation - April 17, 2014.  (31 pages)

   Draft Bureau of Indian Education Strategic Plan - 2014-2018.  (41 pages)

  Draft Unified Accountability System for BIE-Funded Schools - April 2014.  (2 pages)


Tribal Consultation Schedule


Time (all times are local

April 28, 2014
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Loneman Day School, Oglala, SD
April 30, 2014
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Riverside Indian School, Anadarko, OK
May 2, 2014
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Muckleshoot School, Auburn, WA
May 5, 2014
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Gila River Head Start Building, Sacaton, AZ


If you are unable to attend one of the consultation sessions listed above, please submit your comments to the following mailbox: 



September 9, 2013:  Convening of the Indian Education Study Group

September 24 - 26, 2013:   NavajoTribal Education Department; Gila River Tribal Education Department; and Isleta Pueblo Tribal Education Department -- Visits to To"Hajiilee Day School and Isleta Elementary School. 

October 30 - November 1:  Rapid City, South Dakota; break out sessions at the National Indian Education Association Meeting -- Visits to American Horse School and Loneman School.

January 10, 2014:  Listening Session  held at Gila Community High School, 465 West Pecos Road, Laveen, Arizona 85337 Additional details can be found by clicking the link found HERE.

March 13, 2014:  Presentation at the NCAI Executive Winter Session in Washington, D.C.