New Mexico Lawmakers Push For Improved Indian Education
To improve Native American education, proponents of the recently introduced legislation are pushing to secure more money for Native students and schools.
It's estimated that 51 percent of Native American students who enter high school actually receive diplomas.
New Mexico's congressional delegation is pushing a bill called the BUILD Act, which aims to tackle those statistics with a heavy emphasis on language preservation and grant money.
The bill would also improve training programs for educators who teach in Indian Country, while heavily investing in curriculum that incorporates and promotes indigenous languages.
New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan said the bill could help to curb staggering dropout rates among Native American students, while protecting tribal sovereignty.
"One thing that we're very aware of and afraid of is once that religion and tradition and culture is lost, than those that object to the protections of living up to the trust responsibilities with tribes can walk away from them," Lujan said. "We don't want that to happen."
Lujan said legislation like the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as efforts to eradicate indigenous languages through education, have not helped to improve sagging graduation rates among the nations Native American population.