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Latest Graduation Rate Report Affirms Native Education Needs Improvement

The Department of Education's latest report shows just how dismal graduation rates for Native American students are and that improvements are needed.
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While Nevada ranked lowest overall among states in the U.S. Department of Education’s latest report of graduation rates at 62 percent, there was one ranking below that—the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) had a graduation rate of only 61 percent.

The report details four-year graduation rate data for 47 states, Washington, D.C., and the BIE and breaks it down by ethnicity for the 2010-2011 school year. Not only did the BIE, which serves seven percent of Native students, rank lowest overall, there were 10 states—Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming—that have graduation rates lower than 60 percent for American Indian and Alaska Native students.

“This graduation data is another sobering reminder that our students aren’t receiving the high-quality education they need to be the future leaders of our tribes and communities,” said National Indian Education Association (NIEA) President Dr. Heather Shotton in a press release. “We must take steps toward improving Native education for all of our children.”

There are only six states on the report—Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas—that have graduation rates above 80 percent or above for American Indian and Alaska Native students.

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“Once again, the data demonstrates that much still needs to be done to ensure that American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children are provided the high-quality teaching and comprehensive culturally based curriculum they need to graduate from high school,” NIEA said in the press release in response to the report.

To review the report in its entirety, visit the