American Indian Education Oversight Commitee
Annual Report for Calendar Year 2012
Establishment of American Indian Education Oversight Committee
The American Indian Education Oversight Committee (AIEOC) was authorized by Senate Bill 1710 (Senator Dick Ackerman, R-Tustin) signed into law in 2006. SB 1710 requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to appoint an AIEOC to provide input and advice to the SSPI on American Indian education programs. The Committee must be comprised of at least seven educators, four of whom shall be American Indian education center directors and shall possess proven knowledge of current educational policies relating to, and issues faced by, American Indian communities in California. California Education Code (EC) was amended to include: “If the Superintendent is unable to find a qualified individual to fill a vacancy in one of the four positions for center directors within 30 days of the vacancy arising, he or she may fill the vacancy with an educator who is not a center director.” The calendar year 2012 members were: Irma Amaro, André Cramblit, Deborah DeForge, Laura Lee George, Amber Machamer, Kathleen Marshall, Rachel McBride, Russell “Butch” Murphy, Helen Doherty, and Rodney Lindsay. Each member was required to complete an on-line course Assembly Bill 1234 Ethics Training for Local Officials, and submit the signed Public Service Ethics Education Online Proof of Participation Certificate. The members also were required to submit Form 700, Statement of Economic Interests, to the California Department of Education (CDE).
SB 1710 did not provide any funding for this oversight committee; therefore, no honorariums or travel reimbursements are available for committee members. During the 2012 calendar year, the committee met on five occasions—January 25, 2012, March 16, 2012, May 24, 2012, July 18, 2012, and November 14, 2012. Additionally, in coordination with the 35th Annual California Conference on American Indian Education, a Public Hearing was held on March 16, 2012, in Arcata, California.
In November 2011, the CDE realigned the operations of many programs, including the American Indian Education Center Program (AIEC), which is currently housed in the Coordinated Student Support and Adult Education Division under Gordon Jackson, Director. Judy Delgado and Chavela Delp have been working with the AIEOC since it’s inception to accomplish the mission of the committee. All agendas and approved minutes are posted on the CDE American Indian Resources Web page. As part of this reorganization Ms. Delgado has been assigned half time duties as American Indian Educations Program Consultant (it has been previously recommended she be restored to full time), and Ms. Delp has been assigned half-time duties as Associate Governmental Programs Analyst for the AIECs.
Business of the American Indian Education Oversight Committee
Election of Officers
At the January 2012 meeting, the AIEOC voted Laura Lee George, Chair; and Amber Machamer, Vice Chair. André Cramblit was appointed by the Chair as Parliamentarian. The revised Robert’s Rules of Order for parliamentary procedures previously adopted under the Bylaws continue to govern the meetings of the AIEOC.
The AIEOC held a public hearing on Mach 16, 2012, at the 35th Annual California Conference on American Indian Education held in Arcata, California. Members Present: Rod Lindsey, Deb DeForge, André Cramblit, Amber Machamer, Rachel McBride, Kathleen Marshall, and Laura Lee George. Excused: Helen Doherty, Russell “Butch” Murphy, and Irma Amaro.
A total of nine individuals gave input at the hearing. The input, concerns, and recommendations were recorded and considered by the AIEOC during the year. Comments recorded are listed below:
- Laura Lee George—Gave a review of the AIEOC’s role to advise the SSPI on American Indian education issues, and the purpose and procedure of the Public Hearing. The purpose of the AIEOC Public Hearing is to receive community input which will help formulate the AIEOC’s agenda for the coming year.
- Nakia Zavalla, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians—Asked about the status of the State Board of Education (SBE) Commission on American Indians.
- Craig Cheslog—Gave an update of previous week’s meetings and how they are moving forward.
- Ron Rovoich, California Science Center—Is working with the Yurok Tribe and the Maloka Science Museum (Bogota, Colombia) to look at the similarities and differences of the tropical Amazon Rainforest compared to the Temperate Redwood Rainforest in Northern California. There are workshops about rainforest science with a cultural perspective at the 35th Annual California Conference on American Indian Education for students in grades four through eight.
- Steve Pomerantz, Sacramento—Shocked to see college graduation rates of American Indian students and wants to see an effort made to encourage younger students to work hard to achieve success in what they choose to do.
- Betty Alto, Viejas Indian School—Need to start work with four- to five-year-old children to start them down a path towards success as they continue in their education and work with parents so they can help their child with this goal.
- Steve Pomerantz, Sacramento—Believes class size makes a big difference in education. We must work to keep classes as small as possible (under 20 students) so students and teachers can connect.
- Amber Machamer, Associate Vice President, Planning and Institutional Research, California State University, East Bay—Requests that the Governor fill vacancies on the California State University and the University of California Boards.
- Nakia Zavalla, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians—Suggests that the SSPI and the AIEOC work closely with the SBE Task Force to support one another and their mutual interests.
- Dena Magdaleno, Teacher—Feels that the AIEOC is critical to meeting the concerns and needs of our students.
- André Cramblit, Karuk Language Restoration Chair—Keep culture and language on the forefront of issues and part of the curriculum, including the implementation of Common Core State Standards.
- Sarah Supahan, Superintendent—Wants to see support for competency based on performance so students can proceed at their own pace towards proficiency. The Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods is using this model successfully in working with their students. They follow the Chugach model from Alaska, which has demonstrated significant success in helping their students meet state standards while addressing individual needs and abilities.
- Nakia Zavalla, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians—Update on credentialed native language teachers. There are 10 currently certified: 5 Yurok, 1 Karuk, 1 Chukchansi, and 3 Hoopa. There also are three in the process of being certified in Santa Ynez.
The AIEOC agendas included presentations, speakers, and updates on a variety of educational topics. All meeting agendas and minutes are available on the CDE AIEOC Public Meeting Agendas and Minutes Web page. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
A proposal to eliminate100 percent of funding for school transportation was announced this year. This would have a significant impact on American Indian communities as the majority of them are in remote isolated areas and must travel long distances to attend public schools. Additionally, the California Department of Community Services and Development have labeled all American Reservations in the state as pockets of poverty. Families living in these areas do not have the economic wherewithal to provide transportation.
The SBE has announced the intent to establish an American Indian Advisory Commission. This new commission has the potential to have a positive impact on educational services and programs that benefit American Indian students. The AIEOC looks forward to working cooperatively with the new Commission once it is established. It was discussed that there may be a subcommittee formed on curricular issues on which the AIEOC could have a representative.
There is a need to develop or identify culturally relevant curriculum to be used in public schools. Students must explore pertinent subjects and materials in order to feel connected to the academic process and that Native values and ideals are supported by the school system. Additionally, a variety of instructional methodologies must be implemented to actively engage American Indian students in the learning process. The AIEOC has reviewed curriculum over the past year and is examining the possibility of developing a resource list that can be used to identify acceptable materials and teaching models to be used effectively with American Indian students.
The "achievement gap" between American Indian and other students has been an ongoing concern of the AIEOC. American Indian students generally have the highest dropout rates and lowest levels of academic success, as measured by standardized testing, of any sub-group in the state. The AIEOC is interested in being able to easily identify the progress and achievement of American Indian students throughout the state. Examples of Native American Education “Report Cards” and data-gathering efforts were presented to the committee. The potential for developing a statewide report on American Indian Educational Achievement was discussed.
There has been approximately 25 percent reduction in funding to the AIECs over the past five years. This funding is critical to the American Indian students and communities served by these programs. California has the largest population of American Indians of any state in the country. Additional funds must be found to expand the successful programs operated by the CDE.
Three AIECs have been audited for expenditures for fiscal year (FY) 2006. It has been determined that they are required to pay back funds that were either spent on unallowable expenses or did not have the proper documentation to account for expenses. There was a discussion of the AIECs that have challenged the CDE findings and subsequent billings. The American Indian Education, Inc. in San Jose was issued a letter to their Board regarding potential termination of funding. The Capital Area Indian Resources, Inc. had a reduced billing from the original amount. Their initial findings versus reduced penalties for FY 2005–06 was $51,750.14 reduced to $29,770.90; and for FY 2006–07 was $257.36 reduced to $103.25. Allowing the AIECs a maximum charge of 10 percent above each line item justified this reduction. The Foothill Indian Education Alliance, Inc. had a reduced billing from their original amount. Their initial findings versus reduced penalties for FY 2005–06 was $18,821.86 reduced to $6,776.59; and for FY 2006–07 the finding was $8,295.47 reduced to $2,008.78. This reduction was based upon a self-audit. The AIEOC has been following this issue as it relates to concerns regarding accountability and the need for funding to be used for programs that have a proven track record of successfully serving American Indian students.
The use of American Indians as school mascots has been an ongoing issue of concern for American Indian communities, parents, and students. The use of such stereotypical imagery has a negative impact on not only the self-esteem of American Indian students but also affects their general ability to succeed in school. The AIEOC examined the issue in local communities and in other states that have drafted legislation or policy to ban the use of American Indian mascots. An advisory was prepared referring to EC Section 201 linking the use of mascots to creating a hostile learning environment. This advisory was forwarded to the SSPI.
The AIEOC has reviewed operations of the 27 AIECs that now operate under "Maximum Flexibility." While this allows the AIECs to adjust budgets to meet the changing needs and priorities of the communities they serve, it also limits reporting requirements, which reduces the level of accountability the programs have in spending the funds. The AIEOC discussed the need for accountability and reporting of programmatic impacts in order to validate the success of the program. An Advisory was approved and forwarded to the SSPI requesting that that the AIECs be taken out of flexibility.
Because the AIECs operate under "Maximum Flexibility," there are no requirements for them to provide an annual report on programmatic progress towards the goals and objectives identified in their initial application for funding. This is an issue of concern, because the programs must be able to show that the funds used are making a positive impact on the educational problems that confront American Indian students. There has been a report generated independently by several of the AIECs. The AIEOC would like to acknowledge the work of Dr. Niki Sandoval in coordinating the Survey and Resulting Report that highlights the successes of some of the AIECs funded by the CDE.
A total of six Advisories were sent to SSPI Tom Torlakson.