4 Minnesota lawmakers seek federal money for Indian schools

Four Minnesota Democrats are backing a bill that would allow Indian schools to compete for federal funds designed to incentivize raising education standards.

Rep. Betty McCollum sponsored the bill, while Reps. Collin Peterson, Jim Oberstar and Tim Walz have signed as original cosponsors.

The legislation would set aside a portion of the $4 billion Race to the Top program funds for Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools that McCollum said were accidentally overlooked when the program was designed. There are four such schools in Minnesota.

“Not including BIE schools was an oversight, and we’re trying to fix it,” McCollum said in a statement. “We must prevent the first Americans from becoming an invisible people in the eyes of the federal government.”

Race to the Top is a competitive grant program that requires states that apply to implement large-scale education reforms like linking child performance to teacher evaluations. Minnesota is among 40 states (plus D.C.) that have already applied for the funds.

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