The U.S. Department of Education today announced the launch of the "State-Tribal Education Partnership" -- or STEP -- pilot program, which will award $1.9 million in competitive grants to tribal education agencies (TEAs) to increase their role in the education of American Indian and Alaska Native students.
"Tribal leaders, teachers, and parents, are best-suited to identify and address the needs of their children," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Adults have a profound obligation to ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive a 21st century education, and tribal communities deserve to play a greater role in providing American Indian and Alaska Natives with the tools and support they need to be successful in school and beyond."
STEP aims to promote collaboration between TEAs and State educational agencies (SEAs), and to build the capacity of tribes as they develop and enhance their roles, responsibilities, and accountability in Indian education. The pilot program will fund projects created through collaborative agreements between TEAs and SEAs that allow for TEAs to perform some State-level functions for certain federal grant programs funded through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act within schools located on tribally controlled lands.
Through these collaborative agreements, SEAs will also have the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students and build their capacity to improve the educational outcomes of these students.
The STEP pilot program application is available at www.grants.gov (search for CFDA number 84.415) and will be due on July 13, 2012. Funding for the program was made available by Congress through FY 2012 Appropriations under the Indian Education National Activities authority.
For more information on the STEP pilot program, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/step/index.html.