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Congressional committee hearing to address Native American school funding

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., will be chairing a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing Thursday to examine the federal government's mismanagement of Native American schools, including in northern Minnesota, according to a release from his office.

"Whether it's in a public school, private school, charter school, homeschool, or Indian school — every child in every school deserves an excellent education," Kline said in the release. "After witnessing firsthand the deplorable conditions in a BIE school last month in northern Minnesota there is no question many BIE schools are failing to meet the needs of their students, and the Administration and Congress need to get to the bottom of this."

Testifying before the full Education and the Workforce Committee will be Dr. Charles M. "Monty" Roessel, Bureau of Indian Education director, and Bill Mendoza, executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education.

Kline visited the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School on the Leech Lake Reservation on April 8 with Education and the Workforce subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita, R-Ind., and Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., whose district is home to the Leech Lake Reservation.

Later in April, the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee held a hearing examining the BIE school system and the challenges facing students in those schools, and highlighted the deplorable conditions of facilities.

To help address the issue, Kline has asked Congress to increase funding for the BIE schools, the release said.

Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig is one of 63 schools listed in poor condition on the national Bureau of Indian Affairs list as of 2014, out of 183 Bureau of Indian Education schools that receive BIA funding.

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