Native American Television



Assistant Secretary Washburn Announces More Than $1.7 Million in Funding to Build the Capacity of Tribal Education Departments and Promote Tribal Control of BIE-funded Schools 

August 28, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin K. Washburn today announced that $1.75 million in funding is being made available to tribes through two Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) initiatives: The Sovereignty in Indian Education (SIE) Enhancement Program and the Tribal Education Department (TED) Grant Program. These programs assist federally recognized tribes with building their tribal education departments and promoting tribal control of their schools.


“Tribes have the best perspective on what their children need to learn and how the schools that serve their communities can become successful,” Washburn said. “I want to thank Congress for providing the funding that ensures tribes will be able to assume total control over BIE-funded schools and guide their children’s cultural and academic learning.”


The SIE enhancement and TED grant programs were established based on a recommendation contained in the Blueprint for Reform – a report that was created with help from tribal governments and key federal and tribal officials – and are in the second round of funding. The program funds fulfill a recommendation in the Blueprint for Reform for BIE to support tribal nations in their efforts to: restructure schools’ governance, assume control over BIE-funded schools, and develop curriculum that is both academically rigorous and culturally relevant to their students.


“When the Blueprint for Reform was released in 2014, the BIE set out a vision for tribal nations and BIE-funded schools that is grounded in high academic standards and tribal culture, language and history. The TED and SIE funding will support and prepare tribes to operate successful schools and shape what their students are learning. Today, this funding announcement moves us one step closer to our goal of allowing tribes to truly structure how they envision what education should look like,” said BIE Director Dr. Charles M. “Monty” Roessel.


The purpose of SIE enhancement funds is to support the tribes’ capacity to manage and operate tribally controlled schools as defined by the Tribally Controlled Schools Act of 1988. These funds support the development of a school-reform plan to improve educational outcomes for students and improve efficiencies in the operation of BIE-funded schools within a reservation. Tribes must have at least one BIE-funded school to be eligible.


SIE enhancement funding range from $100,000 to $200,000 per fiscal year depending on the number of schools involved, student enrollment, the complexity of creating a new tribally managed school system, and the tribe’s technical approach. In year 1 of the program, SIE will support tribes in the research and design of their tribally managed school systems. Year 2 funds, the implementation year, are awarded based on tribe’s approved support of the tribally managed school system plan. These enhancements will provide funds for tribes to:


• Research and define its adequate yearly progress (AYP);

• Develop an implementation plan that will reform a tribe’s current organizational structure towards an expert and independent TED that supports schools and students; and

• Cover the execution of the implementation plan with identified staffing, projected timelines, proposed budgets and activities.


The TED grant program provides funds for tribes and their TEDs for projects defined by the Education Amendments Act of 1978. These funds support the development and operation of TEDs to advance educational outcomes for students and improve the efficiency and effectiveness in the management of BIE-funded schools.


• TED grants will range from $25,000 to $150,000 per fiscal year, for three years or depending on the project, number of educational programs impacted, project design, and expected outcomes. Subject to the availability of appropriated funds, grants will be provided for three years and, depending on performance, may be renewed for additional two-year terms. Grant funds will support program goals for the following areas that promote tribal education capacity-building;

• To provide for the development and enforcement of tribal educational codes, including tribal educational policies and tribal standards applicable to curriculum, personnel, students, facilities and support programs;

• To facilitate tribal control in all matters relating to the education of Indian children on reservations and on former reservations in Oklahoma; and

• To provide for the development of coordinated educational programs on reservations and on former reservations in Oklahoma by encouraging tribal administrative support of all BIE-funded educational programs, as well as encouraging tribal cooperation and coordination with entities carrying out all educational programs receiving financial support from other federal agencies, state agencies or private entities. Eligible tribal governments may apply for SIE and TED funding by responding to the relevant Request for Proposals (RFPs) notices published in the Federal Register. To view them, visit:


Both SIE and TED grant proposals must be submitted no later than 4:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 21, 2015.


In addition to today’s funding announcement, the BIE will hold pre-grant training workshops for SIE and TED applicants. Further information on these programs and pre-grant training workshops can be found on the SIE ( and TED ( websites.


The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs oversees the BIE, which operates the federal school system for American Indian and Alaska Native children from the federally recognized tribes. The BIE director is directly responsible for implementing federal education programs and laws in 183 elementary and secondary day and boarding schools on 64 reservations in 23 states serving over 48,000 students. Of these, 59 are BIE-operated and 124 are tribally operated under Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act contracts or Tribally Controlled Schools Act grants. The BIE also funds or operates off-reservation boarding schools and peripheral dormitories near reservations for tribal students attending public schools.