Achievement of Native youth in schools across the county has remained stagnant and gaps between Native students and their peers have widened.
ICTMN’s Rob Capriccioso’s story on the recent report “The State of Education for Native Students,” release by the Education Trust shows the situation is dire for Native students.
The hard numbers are eye-opening. “In 2011, only 18 percent of Native fourth-graders were proficient or advanced in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), compared with 42 percent of white fourth-graders,” the report states. “In math, only 17 percent of Native eighth-graders were proficient or advanced, and nearly half (46 percent) performed below even the basic level. For white students, the pattern was almost exactly the reverse, with 17 percent below basic and 43 percent proficient or advanced.” NAEP results for Native students improved more slowly between 2005 and 2011 than for any other major ethnic group. “As a result, while Native students were performing better in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math than African American and Latino students in 2005, by 2011 that lead had all but disappeared,” the report finds.
On the higher education front, the report finds that of the Native students who enrolled in a four-year college in the fall of 2004, only 39 percent completed a bachelor’s degree within six years. It was the lowest graduation rate for any group of students.
“Our country’s focus on raising achievement for all groups of students has left behind one important group—Native students,” said Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, in a statement. “To ensure that all Native students succeed, we must do more and better for them starting now.”
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Heather Shotton, president of the National Indian Education Association, said her organization is “troubled” by the achievement statistics highlighted in the report, but it helps to focus on some success stories that illustrate these trends are not irreversible.
“As noted in the report, some states are currently raising Native academic achievement outcomes,” Shotton said. “Among other successes, increased tribal and Native community involvement in Oregon and Oklahoma ensure Native-serving schools include culture-based education and provide resources for language immersion, which as research shows, increases academic outcomes.”
Read the rest of the story and the full report here.