A Florida K-12 school funded through the Interior Dept.’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) receives unprecedented flexibility to meet annual Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) mandates that measure how well students are meeting classroom achievement metrics.
The Miccosukee Indian School was granted ED waivers from AYP requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act. The school will be able to use a different definition that meets the students’ unique academic and cultural needs.
As part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative to remove barriers to native youth success, granting flexibility for the Miccosukee Indian School to define AYP specifically for their students is an important step in making the BIE work better. This is the first tribal school to be approved to use a definition of AYP that is different from the state in which it is located and the flexibility is the first of its kind from ED.
“The plan that Miccosukee put forward will support culturally-relevant strategies designed to improve college and career readiness for Native children and youth,” said Secy. Arne Duncan. “We believe that tribes must play a meaningful role in the education of native students. Tribal communities are in the best position to identify barriers and opportunities, and design effective, culturally-relevant strategies to improve outcomes for Native students.”
The flexibility builds on the work that MIS has already accomplished through its transition to higher standards and will allow MIS leaders to further their work to ensure students graduate high school college- and career-ready. MIS serves approximately 150 students in grades kindergarten through 12 and is the only school of the Miccosukee Indian Tribe.
According to recent ED statistics, the graduation rate for American Indian students has increased by more than four percentage points over two years, outpacing the growth for all students. The graduation rate for American Indian students increased from 65% in 2010-11 to 69.7% in 2012-13. Despite these gains, the graduation rate for American Indian students is lower than the national rate of 81%, which itself has seen tremendous gains in recent years.
A 2014 White House native youth report cites BIE schools fare even worse, with a graduation rate of 53% in 2011-12. To address the critical educational needs of these students, the Obama Administration launched a Blueprint for Reform, an initiative of the White House Council on Native American Affairs.