Organizations Supporting Native Education
This month, high school seniors around the country will celebrate the culmination of four years of hard work with a freshly printed diploma and well-earned toss of a tasseled mortarboard. Amid the celebrations, however, is the reality that many Native American students have trouble moving on to college.
Today, only 17 percent of American Indian students continue their education after high school, drastically lower than the 60% of greater U.S. population of high school students who attend college after graduation.
Improving graduation and post-secondary education rates begins with providing the tools needed to make school and learning a positive experience. The following organizations have made it their mission to help improve access to education for Native American youth.
- TeachHub.com supports K-12 educators and the teaching profession as a whole by providing lessons, teaching tools and coverage of pertinent K-12 education topics for their readers. The professional development resources they create and share are made “by teachers, for teachers.” TeachHub also puts an important focus on solutions for diversity and disparities impacting minority students.
- Similarly, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) works to support the needs of Native students in the K-12 school system. They also work closely with Congress to ensure the Native Culture, Language and Access for Success (CLASS) Act is followed and applied in public education throughout the country. The Native CLASS Act recognizes the role of tribal governments as sovereign states in directing the education of Native students, and provides a number of provisions including increased tribal control over the education of tribal citizens, a formula grant program for language immersion schools, and comprehensive wraparound services for Native youth.
- The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) provides a support network of tribal colleges that work to influence federal policies and build programs in American Indian education that are holistic and culturally supportive.
Organizations like TeachHub, NCAI and AIHEC help to build a national support system for Native students, just as PWNA and its American Indian Education Fund (AIEF) program work to improve graduation rates and post-secondary educational opportunities for Native students nationwide.
AIEF provides literacy and school supplies to Native American students, as well as scholarships, grants and emergency funds that help Native students overcome the barriers to attending and completing post-secondary education.
Education is an important cornerstone for self-sufficiency and quality of life and should be accessible to all Americans to ensure bright futures for our children.