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For those of you who work with Native Americans – Part II

A report issued by the National Center for Educational Statistics:  The Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008 examines both the educational progress of American Indian/Alaska Native children and adults and challenges in their education. This report shows that over time more American Indian/Alaska Native students have gone on to college and that their attainment expectations have increased. Despite these gains, progress has been uneven and differences persist between American Indian/Alaska Native students and students of other racial/ethnic groups on key indicators of educational performance.

Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

During the 2005?06 school year, some 644,000 public elementary and secondary school students, or about 1 percent of all public school students, were American Indian/Alaska Native.  During 2006–07, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools served nearly 48,500 American Indian/Alaska Native students. In 2006, some 14 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children were served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which was a higher percentage than the percentage of children in all racial/ethnic groups. In comparison, 9 percent of the general population was served under IDEA. (Indicator 2.3)  A larger percentage (66 percent) of American Indian/Alaska Native 8th-grade students reported absences from school in the preceding month than 8th-grade students of any other race/ethnicity in 2007 (36 to 57 percent). In 2004, American Indian/Alaska Native students in grades kindergarten through 12 had a lower suspension rate (7 percent) than Black students (15 percent), but a higher rate than students of all other racial/ethnic groups. In 2006, a smaller percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students (75 percent) reported receiving a high school diploma than White (91 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander students (93 percent). In 2006, only Hispanic young adults had a higher status dropout rate (21 percent) than American Indian/Alaska Native young adults (15 percent). Status dropout rates represent the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who are out of school and who have not earned a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential. A smaller percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native 2-year-olds than 2-year-olds in all other groups demonstrated specific cognitive skills in vocabulary, listening comprehension, matching, and counting in 2003–04.  For example, 74 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children demonstrated receptive vocabulary, compared to 84 percent of all children. (Indicator 4.1)  On the 2007 4th- and 8th-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics assessments, American Indian/Alaska Native students generally scored lower than White and Asian/Pacific Islander students but not measurably different from Hispanic students. (Indicators 4.2  A higher percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native high school graduates completed core academic high school coursework in 2005 (36 percent) than in 1982 (3 percent). However, these percentages were smaller than the comparable percentages for the total population of students (52 percent in 2005 and 10 percent in 1982). On the sections measuring critical reading and mathematics of the 2007 SAT college entrance exam, American Indian/Alaska Native students scored lower than the national average, but higher than Black and Hispanic students. In critical reading, American Indians/Alaska Natives had an average score of 497, which was higher than the scores for Black students (433) and Mexican American students (455), but lower than the overall average (502).  In 2007, 78 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native 8th-graders in public schools reported using a computer at home, which was lower than the percentage for 8th-graders of any other racial/ethnic group (82 to 96 percent). In 2007, greater than 25 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children in grades 4 and 8 reported use of a traditional language within the family at least half of the time.

At grade 4, some 31 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students attending high density
schools (in which American Indians/Alaska Natives made up at least a fourth of the
enrollment) had administrators who reported visits by American Indian/Alaska Native
community members to share traditions and culture three or more times during the school
year, compared to 9 percent in low density schools. Higher percentages of American Indian/Alaska
Native students in schools in which American Indians/Alaska Natives made up at least a fourth of the enrollment had administrators who reported specific problems in school climate than did American Indian/Alaska Native students in lower density schools. In 2007, 4th- and 8th-grade students in these high density schools had administrators who reported serious problems with student absenteeism, student tardiness, lack of family involvement, and low expectations. In 2006, some 21 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children between the ages of 12 and 17 reported the use of alcohol in the past month, compared to 11 percent of Black and 8 percent of Asian children who did so.

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