Early last month, Barack Obama made his first visit as president to Indian Country, where he announced plans to revamp the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) in an effort to improve the agency’s federally funded Native American schools. Acknowledging a “crisis” in Native American education, Obama proposed giving local tribes more control over education so that “you can direct your children’s education and reform schools here in Indian Country.”
As it stands, the BIE, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, directly operates 57 schools for Native American students and supervises 126 tribally controlled schools. The BIE schools educate less than 10 percent of Native American and Alaska Native students in the country, but these students tend to perform substantially worse than Native students in regular public schools and public school students in general.
Still, the performance of Native students in regular public schools is no cause for celebration, either. When taken together, Native students in BIE schools and regular public schools are some of the lowest-performing students in the country.
Below we have compiled a series of charts outlining the state of education for Native students around the country in all types of public schools.