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No Child Left Behind Act is top issue at education summit

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WASHINGTON - The National Indian Education Association is preparing for its 2008 Legislative Summit, and the three-day event's top issue this year will be the No Child Left Behind Act.

NIEA has been persistent about making positive changes to No Child Left Behind, and will have a collaborative impact with the help of its attending participants to reinvigorate the education conversation with Congress. NIEA works with Congress and the administration to support constructive changes to NCLB that reflect its members' views about what works best for the children the organization represents. Meeting annual yearly progress and promoting school improvement and services for students, Native languages and incorporation of Native cultures to NCLB are the top issues by NIEA. It also wants to secure the funding needed to get the job done.

From Feb. 11 - 13, attendees will be provided with the knowledge and authority of specific policy initiatives for NCLB and meet with their respective congressional representatives to inform them of the educational needs of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. NIEA arms attendees with briefing packets and information on what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done.

When properly supported and implemented, NCLB encompasses high expectations for Native people, measures the improvement of Native students' levels of achievement, has increased accountability and resources for school systems serving Native children, and allows the community to have a greater role in ensuring success. NIEA will continue to ask specific questions of policy and practice, which must be answered to fulfill the promise of NCLB for Native children. NIEA intends to work with Congress, states, teachers, administrators and parents to provide schools with the tools to effectively implement NCLB.

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''This is a very important legislative summit for me, and we must look at how we can work together to discuss one of the top issues facing children today - the No Child Left Behind Act,'' said NIEA President Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert in an interview for NIEANEWS, the quarterly publication exclusive to NIEA members. ''We hope that in this summit, we can make positive progress for our children within NCLB and find ways to make culture and language a top priority within this act. With our attendees and valuable membership, we can move mountains or, in this case, change policy. We always have.''

For more information regarding NIEA's position on NCLB and registration to participate in the 2008 Legislative Summit, visit