Two Obama Cabinet members make visit to Passamaquoddy tribal school

The secretaries of education and the interior convened a study group last year to assess schools funded by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

By The Associated Press

PERRY – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell took a firsthand look at a tribal school as they promoted President Obama’s goals for education reform.

The two members of Obama’s Cabinet on Monday visited the Beatrice Rafferty School, located on the Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point reservation, which serves more than 100 students. They were joined by Bureau of Indian Affairs Director Monty Roessel, along with Pleasant Point Chief Clayton Cleaves and Principal Mike Chadwick.

The two secretaries convened a study group last year to assess issues within Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools, which are among the lowest-performing schools in the country.

Last month, the study group issued a Blueprint for Reform. Goals for the 183 elementary and secondary schools and dormitories that are part of the Bureau of Indian Education include high-speed Internet, additional training for teachers and greater spending flexibility for tribal schools when it comes to meeting education goals.

The Beatrice Rafferty School, which was built in the 1970s, is due for replacement with federal funds. The funding was announced by Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree earlier this year.