This report is designed to help inform the following questions regarding American Indian students:

  • Are American Indian students prepared for college and career?
  • Are enough American Indian students taking core courses?
  • Are core courses rigorous enough?
  • Are younger American Indian students on target for college and career?
  • What other dimensions of college and career readiness should we track?
  • Are American Indian students who are ready for college and career actually succeeding?

American Indian students are less likely than their peers to meet key college readiness benchmarks, even when taking academically rigorous courses in high school, according to a new report released today by ACT and the National Indian Education Association.

The report, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: American Indian Students, examines the academic preparation and postsecondary aspirations of American Indian 2014 high school graduates who took the ACT® test. It is the third in a series of seven reports that focus on demographic groups of ACT test takers from the 2014 high school graduating class.

Among the findings:

  • 55 percent of American Indian students failed to meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, and only one in 10 met all four. Among all students, 31 percent didn’t meet any Benchmarks, and 26 percent met all four.
  • Across all four subjects, the percentage of American Indian students meeting each Benchmark was lower than the proportion who took “core or more” (recommended core curriculum) courses.
  • In English, less than half—43 percent—of American Indian students who took related “core or more” courses met the Benchmark, compared to 67 percent of all students.
  • In reading, 28 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 47 percent of all students.
  • In math, 23 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 46 percent of all students.
  • In science, 22 percent who took “core or more” met the Benchmark, compared to 41 percent of all students.

To read the report, click here. For more information from the ACT website, click here.

Author Marissa Spang cover the issue of “Indigenous ways of knowing are often perceived to be contrary to STEM learning, but they are in fact powerful resources for learning. STEM instruction should be made inclusive for Indigenous students by building connections between Indigenous and Western STEM. There are a set of strategies teachers can use to intentionally incorporate indigenous ways of knowing into STEM learning environments—both in and out of school and in relation to family and community.”

Why It Matters To You

  • Teachers should focus on Indigenous ways of knowing & encourage Indigenous students to navigate between Indigenous & Western STEM.
  • District staff and PD providers should build relationships with Indigenous communities they serve and focus PD on Indigenous STEM, including relations to land.
  • School leaders need to recognize what it looks like for Indigenous students to learn western & Indigenous STEM and ensure approaches are adopted.

Things to Think About

  • How can you change your instruction to “center” it on Indigenous ways of knowing?
  • Who are partners (parents, teachers, systems leaders, students, organizations) that can help you center Indigenous ways of knowing? How can they help your students navigate multiple ways of knowing?
  • Where are some places you can take students to strengthen their connections to their territories and localize knowledge and learning?

To view the entire article, click here.

Federal officials got a firsthand look at one deteriorating Native American school in Minnesota Tuesday–they said it’s one of many suffering similarly throughout the country.

After touring Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School in Bena, Minnesota, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell said it’s just one example of how the country is letting down it’s Native American students.

Employees said at this school about 30 miles west of Grand Rapids, they don’t have many of the daily classroom materials they need. Jewell said the science rooms particularly suffer. Used previously as a bus garage, part of the school is made with metal, and as employees said, that doesn’t lend well to the extreme cold weather the area often faces.

“It needs a lot of work and there are a lot of issues mainly when the whether gets very cold,” Benjamin Bowstring, an employee with the school, said. He said bats often find their home in the school as well.

The school is Bureau of Indian Education funded and also receives some dollars from the Leech Lake Ojibwe tribe, but Jewell said that hasn’t been enough.

There are 183 Native American schools funded through the BIE across the country and more than 60 of those are operating under poor condition. Jewell estimated today it could cost more than $25 million to completely restore the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School and Wasburn guessed it could cost nearly $1 billion more to fix all the others.

“It is important that we make progress, and you’ve got to start in the areas that have the biggest safety issues, where you’ve got supportive people from the tribal standpoint, from a school administration standpoint and this is a great example,” Jewell said.

She said the next step is asking Congress and administration for their support.

“It’s awareness, it’s priority and frankly as a country, you can’t save your way to prosperity,” Jewell said. “You can’t save your way to having well-educated Indian children.”

 

To view the entire article and video, click here.