The ESSA in Indian Country: Problematizing Self-Determination through the Relationships between Federal, State, and Tribal Governments

Hollie J. Mackey
Educational Administration Quarterly
Resource Type
Acquisition Number
Published Date
12-28-2017 2:53 PM
Published Year
Subscription Only
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to (a) analyze the potential effects of the new relationship between state and federal governments on tribal sovereignty and self-determination and (b) problematize the devolution of power back to the states as they are entrusted to use the guiding frameworks of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to ensure educational equity for American Indian and Alaska Native students. Research Methods/Approach: The primary data source is the ESSA supplemented by public reports and resolutions, and recent press releases collected online. The ESSA policy was analyzed through a postcolonial interpretive policy analysis framework informed by Tribal Critical Race Theory. Findings: ESSA amendments improve opportunities in several areas, including State Tribal Education Partnerships and Cooperative Agreements, tribal consultation, Impact Aid, Native language immersion, the Bureau of Indian Education, and Alaska Native education, but these are limited by the lack of tribal self-determination as the law is written. States' interests are prioritized over tribes' interests, and the federal role has been diminished; therefore, fewer safeguards are in place to protect Indian education programs. Implications for Research and Practice: These amendments provide opportunities to conduct policy implementation studies to determine whether or not states are engaging with tribes to strengthen tribal education programs and study leadership perceptions of tribal autonomy and self-determination.
Native American and Alaska Native Children
Federal Policy