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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 6, 1998



By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in affirmation of the unique political and legal relationship of the Federal Government with tribal governments, and in recognition of the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Goals. The Federal Government has a special, historic responsibility for the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students. Improving educational achievement and academic progress for American Indian and Alaska Native students is vital to the national goal of preparing every student for responsible citizenship, continued learning, and productive employment. The Federal Government is committed to improving the academic performance and reducing the dropout rate of American Indian and Alaska Native students. To help fulfill this commitment in a manner consistent with tribal traditions and cultures, Federal agencies need to focus special attention on six goals: (1) improving reading and mathematics; (2) increasing high school completion and postsecondary attendance rates; (3) reducing the influence of long-standing factors that impede educational performance, such as poverty and substance abuse; (4) creating strong, safe, and drug-free school environments; (5) improving science education; and (6) expanding the use of educational technology.

Sec. 2. Strategy. In order to meet the six goals of this order, a comprehensive Federal response is needed to address the fragmentation of government services available to American Indian and Alaska Native students and the complexity of inter-governmental relationships affecting the education of those students. The purpose of the Federal activities described in this order is to develop a long-term, comprehensive Federal Indian education policy that will accomplish those goals.

(a) Interagency Task Force. There is established an Interagency Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (Task Force) to oversee the planning and implementation of this order. The Task Force shall confer with the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) in carrying out activities under this order. The Task Force shall consult with representatives of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and organizations, including the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), to gather advice on implementation of the activities called for in this order.

(b) Composition of the Task Force. (1) The membership of the Task Force shall include representatives of the Departments of the Treasury, Defense, Justice, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Education, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the National Science Foundation. With the agreement of the Secretaries of Education and the Interior, other agencies may participate in the activities of the Task Force.

(2) Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each participating agency shall designate a senior official who is responsible for management or program administration to serve as a member of the Task Force. The official shall report directly to the agency head on the agency's activities under this order.

(3) The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education of the Department of Education and the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior shall co-chair the Task Force.

(c) Interagency plan. The Task Force shall, within 90 days of the date of this order, develop a Federal interagency plan with recommendations identifying initiatives, strategies, and ideas for future interagency action supportive of the goals of this order.

(d) Agency participation. To the extent consistent with law and agency priorities, each participating agency shall adopt and implement strategies to maximize the availability of the agency's education-related programs, activities, resources, information, and technical assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native students. In keeping with the spirit of the Executive Memorandum of April 29, 1994, on Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments and Executive Order 13084 of May 14, 1998, each participating agency shall consult with tribal governments on their education-related needs and priorities, and on how the agency can better accomplish the goals of this order. Within 6 months, each participating agency shall report to the Task Force regarding the strategies it has developed to ensure such consultation.

(e) Interagency resource guide. The Task Force shall identify, within participating Federal agencies, all education-related programs and resources that support the goals of this order. Within 12 months, the Task Force, in conjunction with the Department of Education, shall develop, publish, and widely distribute a guide that describes those programs and resources and how American Indians and Alaska Natives can benefit from them.

(f) Research. The Secretary of Education, through the Office of Educational Research and Improvement and the Office of Indian Education, and in consultation with NACIE and participating agencies, shall develop and implement a comprehensive Federal research agenda to:

(1) establish baseline data on academic achievement and retention of American Indian and Alaska Native students in order to monitor improvements;

(2) evaluate promising practices used with those students; and

(3) evaluate the role of native language and culture in the development of educational strategies. Within 1 year, the Secretary of Education shall submit the research agenda, including proposed timelines, to the Task Force.

(g) Comprehensive Federal Indian education policy.

(1) The Task Force shall, within 2 years of the date of this order, develop a comprehensive Federal Indian education policy to support the accomplishment of the goals of this order. The policy shall be designed to:

(A) improve Federal interagency cooperation;

(B) promote intergovernmental collaboration; and

     (C) assist tribal governments in meeting the unique educational
         needs of their children, including the need to preserve,
         revitalize, and use native languages and cultural traditions.

     (2) In developing the policy, the Task Force shall consider ideas

in the Comprehensive Federal Indian Education Policy Statement proposal developed by the NIEA and the NCAI.

(3) The Task Force shall develop recommendations to implement the policy, including ideas for future interagency action.

(4) As appropriate, participating agencies may develop memoranda of agreement with one another to enable and enhance the ability of tribes and schools to provide, and to coordinate the delivery of, Federal, tribal, State, and local resources and services, including social and health-related services, to meet the educational needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students.

(h) Reports. The Task Force co-chairs shall submit the comprehensive Federal Indian education policy, and report annually on the agencies' activities, accomplishments, and progress toward meeting the goals of this order, to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Sec. 3. Regional partnership forums. The Departments of Education and the Interior, in collaboration with the Task Force and Federal, tribal, State, and local government representatives, shall jointly convene, within 18 months, a series of regional forums to identify promising practices and approaches on how to share information, provide assistance to schools, develop partnerships, and coordinate intergovernmental strategies supportive of accomplishing the goals of this order. The Departments of Education and the Interior shall submit a report on the forums to the Task Force, which may include recommendations relating to intergovernmental relations.

Sec. 4. School pilot sites. The Departments of Education and the Interior shall identify a reasonable number of schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and public schools that can serve as a model for schools with American Indian and Alaska Native students, and provide them with comprehensive technical assistance in support of the goals of this order. A special team of technical assistance providers, including Federal staff, shall provide assistance to these schools. Special attention shall be given, where appropriate, to assistance in implementing comprehensive school reform demonstration programs that meet the criteria for those programs established by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998 (Public Law 105-78), and to providing comprehensive service delivery that connects and uses diverse Federal agency resources. The team shall disseminate effective and promising practices of the school pilot sites to other local educational agencies. The team shall report to the Task Force on its accomplishments and its recommendations for improving technical support to local educational agencies and schools funded by the BIA.

Sec. 5. Administration. The Department of Education shall provide appropriate administrative services and staff support to the Task Force. With the consent of the Department of Education, other participating agencies may provide administrative support to the Task Force, consistent with their statutory authority, and may detail agency employees to the Department of Education, to the extent permitted by law.

Sec. 6. Termination. The Task Force established under section 2 of this order shall terminate not later than 5 years from the date of this order.

Sec. 7. General provisions. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person. This order is not intended to preclude, supersede, replace, or otherwise dilute any other Executive order relating to American Indian and Alaska Native education.


                                   THE WHITE HOUSE,
                                   August 6, 1998.

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