Betting on a School


Ninety miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the San Bernardino Mountains, a school for Native American children peers down onto its main benefactor, a glittering, Las Vegas-style casino and hotel owned and operated by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.

Millions of dollars spent in the casino by gamblers playing the slots, shooting craps, and wagering on poker hands are flowing into the Morongo School and fueling what could be the tribe's most important enterprise yet: taking control over the education of its own children.

The Morongo School, which opened in 2010 on this 35,000-acre reservation tucked into a narrow pass between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains, is the Morongo tribe's biggest bet at the moment. After nearly 20 years of stunning economic development and the virtual elimination of poverty for its 1,000 members, the tribe is investing millions of dollars in education in the hope of reversing decades of low academic achievement, high dropout rates, and low rates of college attendance and graduation for its children...

Resource Type

Maxwell, Lesli A. "Betting on a School." Education Week. Vol. 33, Issue 12: 1, 14-20. December 4, 2013. Article. (, accessed March 8, 2023)

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