Native students’ academic achievement and educational attainment lags far behind that of their white peers. Over the past 10 years, Native students have been the only population to have not improved in reading or math (grades four and eight).(r3) Nationwide, Native youth face some of the lowest high school graduation rates, and even fewer enroll in and graduate from college. On average, less than 50 percent of Native students graduate from high school each year in the seven states with the highest percentage of American Indian and Alaska Native students.(r4)
Providing Native children with a quality education is a central component of the federal government’s trust responsibility to tribes, and this commitment must be upheld. Tribes are deeply invested in improving Indian education, and strengthening tribal control over education is key to Native students’ success. Tribal governments are in the best position to address the unique educational needs of our Native students for a simple but intuitive reason: tribes know their children and communities the best.