The National Congress of American Indians estimates that as many as 450,000 Indian children are in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Only 10% of these children attend BIA schools on reservations, with the remainder mostly attending public schools, half of which are off-reservation.

The number of agreements relating to education that tribes and other sovereigns consummated is difficult to measure, in part because some agreements involve broad state-level directions to local school districts to cooperate as a general matter with area tribes. While Professor Pommersheim reported only two such agreements in 1991, the number of such agreements has grown substantially in the past two decades to include a broad array of specific educational issues.

Education-related agreements address funding, sharing of student data, the provision of culture-specific educational services, truancy, incorporation of tribes into local school boards for contracting and governance, disbursement of Impact Aid funds, programs to increase educational achievement, special education funding and services, transportation, and even tribal sponsorship of sports teams in North Dakota.

In at least one instance, a state has elevated cooperation with its tribes to the level of a constitutional mandate. Montana's Constitution recognizes the unique cultural heritage of the American Indians and declares a commitment to the preservation of their cultural integrity. This objective is reflected in a bill passed in 1999 requiring each school district to work cooperatively with Montana tribes, or others nearby, when providing instruction or when implementing an educational goal or adopting a rule related to the education of each Montana citizen, to include information specific to the cultural heritage and contemporary contributions of American Indians, with particular emphasis on Montana Indian tribal groups and governments.

The Native American Rights Fund reviews a number of cooperative agreements relating to the education of Indian children and provides access to the text of these agreements. Examples include an agreement between a reservation boarding school and the local school district in the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School Cooperative School Agreement, which touches on funding, personnel, curriculum, transportation, and the rights of students.