On average, fewer than half of the American Indian and Alaska Native students in 12 states graduate from high school, says a report released last month by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles of the University of California, Los Angeles. The report examines graduation-rate data from the seven states with the highest percentage of students who are American Indian and Alaska Native, and from five other states in the Pacific and Northwestern regions of the United States.
South Dakota had the lowest graduation rate for Native Americans, with only 30 percent of such students graduating from high school.
The report cites research showing that early acquisition of English and proficiency in students native languages, as well as in English, increase the likelihood of Native Americans staying in school. Other factors are parental encouragement, completion of vocational courses in grades 8 or 9, and attending small schools.
A version of this article appeared in the March 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Native American Graduation Rates