Friday, March 25, 2005

Students in, what out? 

Via Joanne Jacobs, this article from a few days before the Red Lake shootings paints a pretty grim picture of education on reservations.
One out of 6 American Indian youths has attempted suicide, according to the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. That group also reports that 25 percent of native Americans live below the poverty line, compared with 12 percent overall in the US. And the teen birth rate is 50 percent higher than for non-Indians.

...a 2003 study by the Manhattan Institute found that a national average of 54 percent of Indian students graduate high school (not including GED recipients). That's roughly on par with Hispanics and African-Americans, but significantly behind whites (72 percent) and Asians (79 percent).

Test scores in reading and math paint another part of the picture. The 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that Indian students' scores are considerably lower than those of their white counterparts. In fourth-grade math, for instance 20 percent of American Indians and Alaskan natives scored at or above proficiency, compared with 44 percent of whites. The gaps in reading are similar for fourth- and eighth-graders, though they tend to outpace African-American students.

The usual suspect -- inadequate funding -- is blamed, but the article also cites the limited usefulness of multilingual education when the language learned only allows students to talk to their grandparents.

This seems to fit the pattern -- low levels of achievement and high levels of frustration lead to increased school violence.