In honor of Indigenous People’s Day, we are taking a deeper look at Indigenous literacy. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that Indigenous students score 19 points lower in reading than their peers. Additionally, these students also perform two to three grades below their peers in reading and math and are two times more likely to drop out. These issues were exacerbated by the pandemic when schools went virtual due to a lack of computer access, internet access, and technical support.
From 2010 to 2018 the Indigenous college enrollment rate decreased by 33%, as one-tenth do not finish K-12 education, and they have the highest dropout rate in the nation for students 16-24. The reason for these shocking statistics is vast. Indigenous children do not have the same access to the internet, computers, reading materials, tutors, and a curriculum that includes their culture, languages, or history. Even though 95% of Indigenous students attend public schools, their identities are not promoted in the classroom and the curriculum rarely includes their cultures and languages.
Unfortunately, few organizations are committed to helping Indigenous students. One of the few foundations is the American Indian Education Fund. They are committed to improving literacy for Indigenous students, especially on reservations. They do this by giving students access to reading material and by promoting reading from a young age. Learn more about the American Indian Education Fund as well as the challenges Indigenous students face, by visiting their website.