Saturday, February 23, 2008

Native student program gets middling grade

Testimony regarding the Anchorage School District's two-year-old Alaska Native Pilot Project makes it clear that Alaska Natives do not have the same high level of scholastic achievement as their Caucasian peers.
The sometimes tearful testimony included accusations of neglect, concern and, in some cases, lingering racist attitudes by the district, which some parents said has not gone far enough to help their children. The problems -- low testing scores and high dropout rates -- are the result of a lack of understanding of Native cultures and unwelcome atmospheres in school, according to Anchorage Faith and Action -- Congregations Together, an association of area churches.
That perception has some validity, and surely racist individuals exist in our community. So it is great to see the discussion continue; and to see solutions identified and tested.

Unfortunately there are many other issues and factors contributing to low test scores and high dropout rates. So closing the Native achievement gap is going to take an lot more than public testimony. How about a Native School Board Member? Will someone who testified please run for school board? Thank you very much.

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