Senators sponsor TCU bill

Feb 24th, 2014 | By | Category: 25-4: Nation Building, Tribal College News

SENATE ALLY. U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (ninth from the left) of Hawai’i met with TCU leaders and students during AIHEC’s winter meeting in Washington, DC.

Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the bipartisan bill, S.1998 this past February. The bill, known as the Native Adult Education Literacy Act of 2014, seeks to help address the lack of adult basic education and GED programming for American Indian and Native Hawaiian adults.

Since 1996, the federal government has failed to fund adult education, literacy, and GED preparation. The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) estimates that thousands of American Indians living on reservations have had no access to such basic education services. Although many tribal colleges and universities offer some programming, AIHEC has found that such efforts cannot meet the demand. And since American Indians have the highest dropout rate in the nation, there is a great need for GED preparation.

With an eye to the continuing partisan gridlock that has dogged lawmakers in Washington, DC, S.1998 does not call for an increase in spending or authorization levels.  Instead, it seeks to reserve 2.3 percent of funds appropriated annually for adult education to TCUs and Native Hawaiian educational organizations as stipulated under the Workforce Investment Act.

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