Gosar School Choice Amendment Passes House—Charter Schools Now Allowed For Indian Tribes

WASHINGTON, D.C. Yesterday the House of Representatives approved an amendment from Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-01) that, if signed into law, would rescind an existing provision that barred federal BIA funding for new charter schools for American Indian school children.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 27, 2011

CONTACT: Hannah Loy   202-225-2315

Gosar School Choice Amendment Passes House—Charter Schools Now Allowed For Indian Tribes                

Yesterday the House of Representatives approved an amendment from Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-01) that, if signed into law, would rescind an existing provision that barred federal BIA funding for new charter schools for American Indian school children.   This critical amendment arose as part of deliberations on H.R. 2584, the Interior Appropriations Bill.

The underlying Interior Appropriations Bill contained a provision that prohibited funds from being used to establish a charter school with Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) funds. The Gosar Amendment neutralized this provision, therefore paving the way for tribes to use these funds for a charter school if they so wish, provided federal law is complied with otherwise.  Congressman Gosar said, “This Congress has stated that we want self determination for tribes.  This amendment is a natural step.  Charter schools should be an available choice to those tribes that want them.  If a tribe chooses not to opt for a charter school approach, that is its decision, but another tribe may want to do so.  It seemed wrong to me that the law took that choice away from Indian school children, but non-Indian school children have charter school choices.   Equality means equality of opportunity.   I’m pleased that my colleagues in the House agreed to expand these privileges in the final bill and I trust those in the Senate will see the merit of this as well.”  

The Interior Appropriations Bill will fund critical programs for Native American tribes, providing for the fulfillment of trust obligations.

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