New Report Finds Few Gains For NC's Native American Students

Apr 4, 2018

Cherokee students attend a summer class on Eastern Band of Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina.
Credit Gwendolyn Glenn/ WFAE

Fewer Native American public school students in North Carolina are dropping out of school, and more are graduating. But academically, they have made only slight gains in math and reading. That's according to the State Advisory Council on Indian Education’s annual draft report, presented to state school board members on Wednesday. 

According to the report, there are nearly 20,000 American Indian students in the state and just over 600 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Over the past three years, the graduation rate for American Indian students increased to just over 84 percent, almost on par with that of white students. Dropout rates declined slightly. Math and reading scores increased, but there is still a concern over the proficiency rates  of those subjects. Native American students are scoring 40 percent in math and 42 percent in reading -well below the state average of nearly 60 percent.

The report also stated that fewer American Indians are taking advanced placement courses. For those that do take AP courses, their passing rates are up slightly. 

The advisory council recommended that school officials develop goals and activities that specifically focus on improving achievement for Native American students, such as self-paced instruction. The report also called for sensitivity and celebration of Native American history and culture.

State board of education members are expected to approve the report at its monthly meeting on Thursday.