Because graduation rates for Native American students are lower than that of other ethnic groups in the country, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, will introduce legislation to increase f’unding to tribal schools.
“Across New Mexico, too many tribal school systems are struggling,” Udall said in Ruidoso News. “Buildings where Indian students go to school are in desperate need of renovations. School districts are unable to recruit qualified Native teachers. And with extremely tight budgets they don’t have enough resources to do their jobs. As a result, too often Native children aren’t getting the quality educations they need and deserve.”
Udall’s Building Upon Unique Indian Learning and Development Act, or BUILD Act “would remove the barriers tribal leaders often encounter in teaching Native languages at schools. It would also create a tribal teacher preparation initiative to help increase the number of Native teachers and principals in the school system,” he said in Ruidoso News. “Last month the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, a committee I’m a member of, held a hearing on the Native Class Act, a bill to strengthen tribal education which, I’m happy to say, included most of the language of my bill.”
The senator also feels studying the direction of Native American education is an ongoing necessity if graduation rates are ever going to increase for Native American students.
Udall has also co-sponsored a number of other education bills including the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011, the Rural Education Achievement Program Reauthorization Act of 2011, the Safe Routes to School Program Reauthorization Act, the Office of Rural Education Policy Act, and the Promoting Health as Youth Skills In Classrooms And Life Act.
According to his website, he believes in the “trust obligation of the United States government to help provide for the education of Native children.”