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Star Tribune: Kline and Franken provide bipartisan leadership on Indian schools

Minnesota’s congressional delegation merits praise for its full-court press last week to improve the nation’s dilapidated and underachieving Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) school system. Answers, however, are still frustratingly elusive about when schools like Minnesota’s Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School, now housed in a metal pole barn, will be rebuilt.

In this age of highly charged partisanship, the bipartisan charge to tackle this educational crisis is especially admirable — and needed. About 50,000 children in Minnesota and 22 other states attend class in the BIE system, one of two federal K-12 school systems. But graduation rates lag well behind other students, and the school facilities are often in shockingly poor condition, as a 2014 Star Tribune editorial series detailed.

Minnesota’s Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig, located on the Leech Lake Indian reservation, is one of 64 BIE schools rated in poor condition. Recent leadership turnover at the school underscores the need for a safe, modern facility to attract and retain top teachers and leaders.

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