Media Contact: Tozier - Interior 4306
For Immediate Release: March 14, 1962

The state of Alaska, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Office of Education have reached a basic understanding on educational goals and responsibilities in the 49th state, the Department of the Interior reported today.

The understanding was developed at meetings in Washington, D. C., attended by representatives of the Alaska state Government and the two Federal agencies.

The conference agreed on the following 13 points:

1. Alaska. Public education in Alaska is a primary responsibility of the State of This responsibility extends to all children within the state.

2. The State government will do all that its resources will allow in order to meet the educational requirements of all its children. In the State's continuing effort to do all that might be expected, close attention must be given local participation in the support of public school operations.

3. The educational effort of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Alaska has been and will continue to be directed toward the attainment of educational goals to which the State and Federal Government are committed but which cannot be attained by the State alone because of financial limitations.

4. It is the mutual goal of the State and Federal Governments to establish for all people in Alaska a single system of public elementary and secondary education.

5. All public schools in the State of Alaska should ultimately be included in the State educational system notwithstanding that Federal financial participation will remain essential for some time.

6. It is agreed that there exists today a serious deficiency in the overall educational program in Alaska particularly with respect to children of high school age who, for lack of facilities, are not in school.

7. It is agreed that a closer coordination will be established between programs of the Federal Government which provide the State with financial aid for education. This will require cooperative planning by the State Department of Education, the U. S. Office of Education, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs intends to operate its schools or otherwise fulfill its commitments to the education of Alaskan natives in a fashion consistent with educational policy as it is developed by the state of Alaska. However, it is agreed that state policy should be formulated with full consideration of the limitations of law which govern Federal activities and financial contributions.

8. Although the Bureau has requested funds for planning new school facilities, the plan of the Bureau may be adjusted to conform as closely as possible to the comprehensive educational programs to be developed by the State.

9. It is agreed that the state of Alaska should formulate an over-all plan with local participation for (a) expansion of present high school educational facilities and (b) transfer of Bureau-operated schools to State management and operation. This planning, of necessity, will include Federal financial participation. 10. Such plan as the State formulates will be the basis for further discussions looking toward agreements which will coordinate Federal and State efforts in the educational field.

11. It is especially to be noted that the Bureau in considering such plans as may be advanced by the State has no fixed objection to the location of high school facilities in any particular community, and it is hoped that state plans for school construction at Nome may be utilized within the over-all program.

12. It is agreed that the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the State of Alaska consider the establishment of regional comprehensive high schools with necessary domiciliary facilities and acceptable approach in providing secondary education.

13. Nothing in this statement is to be interpreted as a commitment by either the State of Alaska or the Bureau of Indian Affairs to a particular approach in meeting the educational problems in Alaska which are of mutual concern. At such times as the State of Alaska provides policy guidelines for discussion with the Bureau of Indian Affairs it is hoped that a commitment to particular actions may be made at both the State and Federal level. The Alaska representatives who took part in the conference were Hugh J. Wade, secretary of state; Dr. Theo Norby, commissioner of education; and Dr. Charles Raye, dean of education at the University of Alaska.

The Indian Bureau participants were Miss Selene Gifford, assistant commissioner for community services; Mrs. Hildegard Thompson, chief, branch of education; and Robert L. Bennett, area director at Juneau.

The Office of Education was represented by Dr. Rall Grigsby and Dr. James Horton.