Indian Education Parent Files Grievance about TPS Indian Education Reorganization

I occasionally use my blog for posts that are from individuals in the community. Since TulsaKids is a monthly publication, it is often difficult to use letters or emails in print in a timely fashion.

The grievance was filed by Aaron Griffith, a Tulsa Public Schools Indian Education Parent.

Mr. Griffith asserts that TPS is not conducting tribal consultations in compliance with Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) guidelines and is willfully ignoring the Title VI by-laws regarding tribal representation in consultations.

Mr. Griffith also made a presentation to the 2018 National Johnson O’Malley conference where he warned about the impact of the increase in district-sponsored charter schools on TPS Indian Education JOM/Title VI counts, “including a discussion of innovative ideas for potential remedies to neutralize, mitigate and reverse stagnant or declining enrollment numbers attributable to such expansions.”

The grievance email is addressed to Heather Cuervo, chairperson of the Tulsa Public Schools Indian Education Parent Committee.

Dear Honorable Chairperson Cuervo,

I am hereby filing an official Title VI grievance in accordance with the By-Laws regarding the sham tribal “consultations” that took place about the recently announced reorganization and subsequently reconsulted, revised reorganization of TPS Indian Education under the federal Title VI grant.

The reported discussions being presented as “consultations” between TPS as LEA and local tribes about the original proposed reorganization and subsequent revision of TPS Indian Education do not meet the formal standard of meaningful consultations by any reasonable or rational measure or stretch of the imagination.

LEAs and tribal leaders are recommended to follow federal 30/60/90 guidelines for tribal consultation: 30 days’ notice of consultation, 60 days for response, and 30 additional days for collaboration if needed.

TPS is utterly deficient in meeting the conditions to credibly or competently conduct meaningful consultations according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) Tribal consultation recommended guidelines about the proposed Indian Ed reorganizations on the following counts:

  1. TPS failed to follow 30/60/90 guidelines for tribal consultation.
  2. TPS failed to post a public notice of the meetings.
  3. TPS failed to prepare agendas for the meetings.
  4. TPS failed to provide a sign-in sheet for the meetings.
  5. Tribal officials and the district have failed to produce a signed a consultation agreement.

Furthermore, Second Chief Del Beaver’s participation in these consultations raises a seriously dark cloud of questions and doubts about the legitimacy or credibility of the results of these sham “consultations” due to the nepotism conflict of interest he has by being related within two degrees of consanguinity to TPS Indian Education Title VI employee Jean Froman (paternal aunt):

I respectfully request that the grievance committee find that TPS failed to meet even the most basic and minimal recommended standards to successfully complete meaningful tribal consultations about this reorganization and therefore recommend that all consultations in question that have occurred recently to discuss this reorganization, in its various iterations, should be declared null, void and be invalidated. I further request that the grievance committee find and recommend that if TPS desires to proceed with any reorganization proposals it should restart the clock and the process to fully comply with all OSDE guidelines within the established 30/60/90 timelines before submitting anything to the TPS Board of Education for their consideration. Furthermore, I respectfully request the Grievance committee recommend that Second Chief Beaver publicly disclose his nepotism conflict of interest in this matter, recuse himself and refrain from participating in any and all future discussions or actions relating to the TPS Indian Education program for as long as this conflict of interest exists.

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