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Governor Announces Tribal Compacting of Education

Oct 17, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019 (Fairbanks, AK) – Earlier today during an address to the Alaska Federation of Natives 2019 Convention in Fairbanks, Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy announced his support of tribal compacting of education and his intent to introduce legislation to make tribal compacting of education a reality. The announcement follows a recommendation of the Alaska’s Education Challenge to create the option for tribal compacting for the delivery of education.

Governor Dunleavy’s remarks on tribal compacting of education at AFN:

“As mentioned, too many of our children have difficulty reading, writing, and often struggle with math as well. The Alaska Education Challenge stemmed from recognizing the need for meaningful educational changes. One of the five strategic priorities of the Education Challenge is to Inspire Tribal and Community Ownership of Educational Excellence. The committee tasked with developing a recommendation for how to Inspire Tribal and Community Ownership of Educational Excellence, put forward “self-governance compacting” as the strongest mechanism for creating the systemic change needed to improve student outcomes.

“For too long, direct involvement by tribes in the education of young tribal members has not been encouraged. This is unfortunate and needs to change. Tribes are a critical entity in the lives of many Alaskans I believe tribal involvement can help improve educational outcomes in a number of our schools serve tribal members.

“I asked the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education to work with the tribes to facilitate the creation of tribal compacting between the State School Board, tribes and school districts. The State Board of Education has adopted this recommendation and has created the Tribal Compacting committee to develop an avenue for tribes to oversee the education of their children.

“Families and local communities need to be directly involved, making educational decisions for children that are tribal members. My administration will be introducing a bill this coming legislative session that will make tribal compacting for education a reality. I look forward to working with tribes and lawmakers to craft legislation to put tribal compacting of education into law.”

Education compacting is a process through which the State of Alaska and Alaska Native Tribal governments reach an agreement that formally recognizes Tribal governments’ authority to operate and oversee K-12 schools. State Tribal Education Compact Schools (STECs) would operate as public schools, open to all students, and offer a culturally rich combination of Western and millennia-old tribal education models.

Governor Dunleavy, Alaska Education Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson, and the state are committed to working with Tribal governments, the Alaska Legislature, and school districts to create an optional tribal compacting pathway and system for the delivery of public education across the state, and to achieve this objective through robust and innovative partnerships.

Additional information on tribal compacting of education can be found here.

For more information on Alaska’s Education Challenge, click here.