Tester outlines education priorities for Indian Country
Senator cites Montana's work as example of needed improvements
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
Senator Jon Tester today outlined his priorities for education in Indian Country.
In a hearing on Capitol Hill, Tester addressed officials from
the U.S. Department of Education and the Bureau of Indian Education on
the particular needs of Indian students in Montana and across America.
Tester praised the work of Montana Superintendent of Schools
Denise Juneau and pointed to steps taken in Montana as an example of
needed improvements in education across Indian Country:
• Close relationships between tribes and public
schools: Tester spoke about the need to make education a community
commitment instead of a government initiative. He specifically cited
Montana's Indian Education for All law, which Tester supported as a
Montana state senator in 1999.
• Wrap-around services in schools: Tester
pushed the need in schools not only for quality teachers, but also for
counselors, social workers, and mental health providers.
• Parent involvement: Tester stressed the need for families to become involved in school communities.
"We need a steady supply of Indian Country's best and brightest
young people to run strong businesses," said Tester, a member of the
Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "To produce the best and brightest, we
need good schools, good teachers and good homes. And we need to
strengthen self-determination for our tribes to make sure they have the
tools they need for hope and opportunity."
Tester added that the most pressing challenge is the "vicious cycle of poverty that plagues Indian Country."