American Indian and Alaska Native students in Oregon posted more absences during the last school year than any other student group, according to a story by The Oregonian.
About 30 percent of the state’s Native students failed to attend at least 90 percent of school days, compared to the statewide average of 17 percent. In some school districts, up to 40 percent of Native students were chronically absent last year.
Tana Atchley, vice president of the Oregon Indian Education Association, said in a statement to The Oregonian that there are many reasons for the absences, including transportation issues, a lack of funding for rural districts, and a lack of culturally relevant curriculum.
“These complicated issues both compound and simultaneously re-create issues of chronic absenteeism,” Atchley said in the statement. “The trend of chronic absenteeism in Native students is a complex issue that needs to be addressed on multiple levels.”
The article points to a 2014 study by ECONorthwest and the Chalkboard Project that makes some links between achievement and absenteeism. The graduation rate for Native students in Oregon lags the state average, with only 51 percent of Native students graduating within four years during the 2011-12 school year, compared to 68 percent of all students in Oregon. A report released earlier this year found that Oregon’s Native students are less likely than their Asian, black, and white peers to enroll in postsecondary education.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.