Roundup: Native Dropout Rate; Alaska Enlists Schools in STD Fight

By Diette Courrégé Casey — November 02, 2012 1 min read
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As we close down this week, here’s a brief look at two pieces of rural education news.

National Dropout Prevention Center Highlights High Dropout Rate Among Native Students
The National Dropout Prevention Center recently dedicated its quarterly newsletter to the issue of Native American students, many of whom live in rural communities.

Dawn Mackety, the director of research, data and policy at the National Indian Education Association in Washington, D.C., served as the newsletter’s guest editor.

The newsletter profiles a couple of programs: the Graduation and Academic Improvement for Native Students project, which targets dropout prevention; and the Southwestern Institute for the Education of Native Americans, which seeks to provide comprehensive education to Native students.

Mackety also pens a column in which she pointed out a number of troubling statistics for American Indian and Alaska Natives students, such as the dropout rate being 13.2 percent compared to 5.2 percent for white students and 8.1 percent for the national average. Although she said it’s critical to look at the data by race to ensure that Native student performance is monitored, she questioned whether those numbers were reflective of how Native students were achieving. She said it depends on who is included in those figures.

Rural Alaska Battles High STD Rates
Rural Alaska has some of the nation’s highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, but some of that is improving through a number of efforts.

An article in The Alaska Dispatch in Anchorage, details some of the programs that are helping.

Two of the programs it highlights are done through schools. The state offers a “Fourth R” program, adding “relationships” to “reading, writing and arithmetic”. The program is led by teachers and addresses “bullying, dating, peer and group violence and ‘empowers adolescents to make healthier decisions about relationships, substance use and sexual behavior.’”

The state’s Native Tribal Health Consortium also has an online curriculum geared toward middle school students called “Native It’s Your Game.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.