It has been well documented that Tribal Education Departments and Tribal Education Agencies (TEDs and TEAs) work in a variety of areas, including various federal, state, and tribal education programs. See generally Amy Bowers, Tribal Education Departments Report (2011); Dawn Mackety et al., American Indian Education: The Role of Tribal Education Departments (2009). Although there are some resources from the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) that can assist TEAs, it is very challenging to find applicable guidance for TEAs on how to approach each program. Most K‐12 federal programs provide funding to either Bureau of Indian Education (“BIE”) funded schools or to State Education Agencies (“SEAs”) and Local Education Agencies (“LEAs”), i.e. public schools. While TEAs generally have not been directly accounted for in K‐12 federal programs, there are multiple opportunities in many of these programs for TEA participation with BIE funded schools or SEAs and LEAs.

This Decision Making Guide was developed in collaboration with the National Congress of American Indians through a grant provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the key purposes of the Grant was to help strengthen the role of tribal governments in Native education. This Guide is intended to help accomplish that goal by providing Tribes and TEAs with an outline of select K‐12 federal programs in which TEAs can potentially participate and thereby provide options for TEAs to enhance their role in Native education. The Guide focuses on select programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (“ESEA”) as well as other federal laws. While the options presented here are not all encompassing, this Guide gives TEAs a basis for increased participation. Finally, a major goal of this Guide is to bring together TEAs, LEAs, SEAs, and the Department to improve collaboration for Native education.

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