DC – It is critical for Native advocates and all caring adults to provide
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children with high-quality
teaching and comprehensive, culturally based curriculum. This is the
conclusion the National Indian Education Association has reached in its
analysis of the latest report on Native student achievement released today,
The Nation’s Report Card: National Indian Education Study 2011: The Educational Experiences of American Indian and Alaska Native Students at Grades 4 and 8.
The data, culled
from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP 2011) and
from previous editions of the national test of student achievement, isn’t
shocking to NIEA, and its more than 3,000 members and advocates. In an age
in which knowledge is needed to bring prosperity to – and preserve the
traditions of – Native communities, our children are lagging behind their
- Fifty-three percent of AI/AN 4th-graders
read Below Basic on NAEP 2011, one percentage point higher than in 2005.
This compares poorly to the three percentage point decline in 4th-graders nationwide
reading Below Basic (from 36 percent to 33 percent), the eight percentage point
decline for Hispanic peers, and the seven percentage point decline for
- Thirty-four percent of AI/AN 4th-graders
scored Below Basic in math on NAEP 2011, two points higher than in 2005. This
also compares poorly to the five percentage point decline in 4th graders
nationwide scoring Below Basic (from 23 percent to 18 percent), the four
percentage point decline for Hispanic peers, and the eight percent decline
for African-American 4th-grade students.
- Average scores for AI/AN 8th-graders
increased by only two points between 2005 and 2011, a slower pace of
improvement than either the seven-point increase for AI/AN peers in
middle-class households, and the five-point increase for all students on
free- and reduced lunch nationwide.
- The gap between AI/AN 4th-graders on free-and-reduced
lunch and those not in poverty increased by four points between 2005 and
- AI/AN 4th-graders on free-and-reduced
lunch score 11 points lower than the national average for all students (including
non-Native peers) receiving subsidized school lunch.
- The average AI/AN 8th-grader in a U.S. Bureau of
Indian Education (BIE) school scored 21 points lower than their peer in a
traditional public school. The average BIE fourth-grade AI/AN student
scored 22 points lower than a peer in a traditional public school.
- Meanwhile, the average AI/AN 4th-grader in a
traditional urban, rural, or suburban public school declined
by one percent between 2005 and 2011.
- Oklahoma is the only one of 12 states
surveyed by NAEP in which AI/AN 4th-graders scored higher than the national
average in reading.
- Reading scores for our AI/AN 4th-graders
in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah were
lower than the national average.
- Average reading scores for AI/AN 4th -graders
in two states, Alaska and Montana had declined between 205 and 2011.
“This report is a sobering reminder that
our students are not getting the learning they need to be warriors of
culture and prosperity for their families and communities,” says NIEA
President Quinton Roman Nose. “While there have been some improvements in
conditions of education for American Indian and Alaska Native children, we
are nowhere near giving our communities and families the ability to choose
One solution lies in providing Native students with highly-effective
teachers who are also culturally responsive to their needs and respectful
of their traditions. This also involves providing Native students with excellent,
culturally based education, which has proven to be effective in improving
student success. NIEA is advocating to expand culturally based education through its support of the Native CLASS Act (S. 1262), which would amend Title VII of the No Child Left Behind Act/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB/ESEA).
Says Dawn Mackety, Ph.D., NIEA's Director of Research, Data and Policy: "More attention needs to be made to meet the unique educational and culturally-related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students."
The NAEP report is published by the U.S.
Department of Education to meet requirements of Executive Order 13592, the
federal initiative to improve Native education signed into law last year by
President Barack Obama. NIEA successfully advocated for the law, which how
helps provide Native educators and advocates with data on the quality of
education for the children and communities they serve.
Reporters looking for more information
and analysis on the latest NAEP data can contact NIEA Communications at email@example.com or at (202) 544-7290.
Reporters can also check out NIEA’s research
and policy resources, including
its flagship brief
on its advocacy, research, and advocacy for all Native children.
National Indian Education Association (NIEA) and its more than 3,000 members and advocates.
WHAT: Analysis of The Nation’s Report Card: National
Indian Education Study 2011: The Educational Experiences of American Indian
and Alaska Native Students at Grades 4 and 8.
The latest NAEP data offers sobering news
on what must be done to advance excellent, culturally based education for
all American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children.
CONTACT: NIEA Communications (firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.544.7290)
National Indian Education Association: The premiere organization advocating for educational
excellence, opportunity, and equity for American Indian, Alaska Native, and
Native Hawaiian students, the mission of the National Indian Education
Association (NIEA) is to support traditional Native cultures and values; to
enable Native learners to become contributing members of their communities;
to promote Native control of educational institutions; and to improve educational
opportunities and resources for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native
Hawaiians throughout the United States. Learn more at www.NIEA.org.