O'Halleran Blasts Bureau of Indian Education over Failures at Havasupai Elementary School

April 11, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01) set a letter urging Tony Dearman, Director of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), to take immediate action to address systematic problems with BIE's management of schools and ensure the safety of students and improve the quality of education at the Havasupai Elementary School in Supai.

"From a mishandled sexual assault case to abysmal educational outcomes, the Bureau of Indian Education has repeatedly failed the Havasupai Tribe, and we ought to be ashamed," said Rep. O'Halleran. "We have an obligation to provide a quality education to these students, to lift them up and give them the opportunity to grow and learn and succeed, but the lack of attention by BIE has resulted in the worst test scores in Indian Country."

Reports by the New York Times, Arizona Republic, and the Associated Press highlight the impact of BIE's mismanagement of the school. The problems include students scoring in the first and third percentile in both math and English -- the only classes available when the school is open, a lack of special education programs, and a twenty percent graduation rate from high school.

"This community's remoteness should not preclude its students from accessing a quality education in a safe environment," continued O'Halleran. "Education is a gateway for students to give back to their communities by finding good-paying jobs and keeping the tribe's rich traditions alive for future generations."

Read the full letter to Director Dearman here.