The Department of Education recently reported graduation rates have improved across the country, but Native students still need support.
The report, released on January 22 from the department’s National Center for Education Statistics, presents the number of high school graduates and the dropout rates for grades 9-12 during the 2009-2010 school year at public schools. The report does not include Bureau of Indian Education schools.
The study shows that 78.2 percent of high school students graduated on time during the 2009-2010 school year, a decent increase over the 73.4 percent recorded for the 2005-2006 school year.
The report also shows that the nation’s dropout rate is declining, but as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on a department blog it is still “unsustainably high for a knowledge-based economy and still unacceptably high in our African-American, Latino, and Native-American communities.”
The dropout rate for Asian/Pacific Islander students was the lowest at 1.9 percent; for white students it was 2.3 percent, for black students it was 5.5 percent, and for Hispanic students it was 5 percent. Native American students have the highest dropout rate of all ethnic groups at 6.7 percent.
“The latest graduation data is just a reminder that Native education is in crisis,” National Indian Education Association (NIEA) President Dr. Heather Shotton said in a press release. “Our students aren’t being provided high-quality education to succeed in the knowledge-based economy. This is a slide into inequality that we must reverse.”
"There's no young person who aspires to be a high school dropout," Duncan told the Associated Press. "When someone drops out, it's a symptom of a problem. It's not the problem itself. Something has gone radically wrong."