Daily Planet: Closing the Indian achievement gaps in Minnesota
"According to a 2009 report to the State of Minnesota, only two of five American Indian high school students in Minnesota graduate high school within four years, as compared to four out of five white students. That's just one of the statistics on the American Indian student achievement gap, which was the focus of a November 15 conference, sponsored by the Minnesota Humanities Center. In broad terms, the achievement gap is defined as significant disparities between groups of students. The MHC invited parents, community members, teachers, and school administrators to Mounds Park American Indian Magnet school in St. Paul to review the achievement data of American Indian students, especially as described in the report.

The report was compiled by the Advisory Task Force on Minnesota American Indian Tribes and Communities and K-12 Standards Based Reform. Representing the advisory task force at the meeting were Annamarie Hill, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, Brent Gish, Superintendent of Red Lake Schools, Brenda Peltier, Principal of Mounds Park All Nations Magnet, and Jackie Fraedrick, longtime educator and chair of the Advisory Task Force. Each of the educators who served on the Task Force work for districts with significant populations of American Indian students.

Speaking to the findings of the 2009 report, members of the task force described the achievement gap as "persistent" and "one that widens over time." As examples, the report provides statewide data on reading and math scores collected from MCA tests taken by students during the 2007-2008 school year. In the third grade, 66 percent of American Indian students in Minnesota scored at proficient reading levels as compared to 86 percent of white students. By the fifth grade the gap widened as 54 percent of American Indian students were deemed proficient in reading as compared to 80 percent of white students. In junior high and high school the gap widened further as less than half of American Indian students tested as proficient in reading as compared to three-fourths of white students. Math scores were worse, though neither American Indian students or white students could be said to be scoring well in math. By the eleventh grade, 38 percent of white students scored proficient in math, compared to 11 percent of American Indian students."

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Closing the American Indian achievement gap in Minnesota schools (The TC Daily Planet 11/30)