Native American Education in State of Emergency
The White House released a report last week outlining the current state of education for Native students, declaring that they face educational, socioeconomic, and health barriers that are “nothing short of a national crisis.”
The “2014 Native Youth Report” used data gathered in June during the Annual Cannonball Flag Day Powwow at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. The report is intended to develop opportunities for young Native Americans.
Back in June, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle met and spoke with young adults learned things that troubled them enough to order plans for new avenues of opportunity for Native American students. The administration is launching an initiative called Generation Indigenous.
Ahniwake Rose, executive director for the National Indian Education Association, called the president’s efforts “an important first step, and significant progress needs to be made.”
The report states that more than one in three American Indian and Alaskan Native children lives in poverty. Their school graduation rate is the lowest of any racial/ethnic demographic group at 67 percent. Suicide is 2.5 times the national rate and is the second leading cause of death for Native youth between 15 and 24 years of age.
Native American students in our country struggle in the public schools, or attend federally funded schools that don’t have access to the Internet and have limited availability to computers. To see improvements in academic achievement, we need to rejuvenate Native American history in the school curriculum and teach our staff to better reach Native American students. I think and hope that Obama’s initiative will generate the much needed change our Native American youth deserve.