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New Bureau Of Indian Education Leader Named

A troubled federal program that manages nearly 200 schools for Native American students nationwide now has a new leader. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell named Tony Dearman to take the helm at the Bureau of Indian Education (B.I.E.). 

The B.I.E. is dealing with scandals, funding shortfalls and reports of widespread safety hazards at the schools it manages.

Montana’s state school superintendent, Denise Juneau, hopes Dearman is able to quickly reform the agency:

“I would encourage him to reach out and work with tribes right away and to visit the schools. We invite him to take a look at what’s happening in public education and to partner with us; partner with the state education agencies and partner with local communities so we can increase academic achievement in those schools,” Juneau said.

Montana has two B.I.E. funded schools: the Northern Cheyenne Tribal School in Busby and the Two Eagle River School in Pablo. 

Both are managed by local tribes.

School Superintendent Juneau says B.I.E. has failed to live up to its mandated federal treaty obligations; namely providing health, safety and quality education to the schools it manages.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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