WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit the Beatrice Rafferty School in Perry, Maine, at 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, to discuss ongoing educational reform initiatives to ensure students attending schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education receive a high quality education delivered by tribal nations.
Beatrice Rafferty School, located on the Passamaquoddy Tribal Reservation of Pleasant Point, serves about 100 students, most of whom are American Indians. The K-8 school is partially funded by the BIE and operated by the tribe under contract. Jewell and Duncan will tour the school to see firsthand the need for additional funding for replacement school construction, and will meet with school officials, teachers and students to better understand the shared challenges in delivering educational services.
In 2013, Jewell and Duncan convened an American Indian Education Study Group to assess systemic issues within BIE-funded schools — one of the lowest performing set of schools in the country — and to propose a comprehensive plan for reform to ensure all students attending BIE-funded schools receive high quality education.
The Secretaries’ visit builds on a recent Interior Department Secretarial Order to restructure and redesign the BIE over the next two school years, transforming the agency from a sole provider of education into a capacity-builder and service-provider to tribes with BIE-funded schools.
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