Those who wish to aid Native Americans may want to think “outside the box,” or at least outside the public school system.
“Charter schools have played a growing role in Native peoples’ efforts to gain control over their children’s education,” Tiffany Lee of the University of New Mexico and Teresa L. McCarty of UCLA wrote in a paper which appeared in the book, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies. They looked at one in particular—the Native American Community Academy (NACA) in Albequerque.
“At NACA, students take the state-required courses in math, English reading and writing, science and social studies,” Lee and McCarty report. “Teachers and administrators create a curriculum that integrates Native perspectives through these and other courses while attending to state standards.”
“The Navajo Government course, for example, meets social studies requirements, and the Native literature course enhances reading and writing skills while embedding Native perspectives.”
And the result? “School data indicate that NACA is making progress according to dominant society standards: in 2011-2012, 8th graders demonstrated a 21% increase in their math scores, a 20% increase in their reading scores, and a 9 % increase in their writing scores from the previous year,” Lee and McCarty write. “The student retention rate is above 95%, and students in the first graduating class of 2012 were admitted into a multitude of universities.”