Native student graduation rates show steady improvements

A graduation ceremony at the Santa Fe Indian School in New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

Graduation rates for American Indian and Alaska Native students have improved over the last four school years, according to the Department of Education.

During the 2013-2014 school year, 69.6 percent of Native students finished high school. That's about the same as the rate for the 2012-2013 year so little change was seen there.

But Native students have been showing steady improvements otherwise. Their graduation grates increased 4.6 percent from the 2010-2011 school year, according to the department.

"America's students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year," Secretary Arne Duncan said in a press release.

Still, Native students continue to fall behind the rest of their peers. Their graduation rates were the lowest among all racial and ethnic groups for all the four school years.

The national rate was 82.3 in the 2013-2014 school year, far greater than the one seen among American Indian and Alaska Native students. The national rate is also a record high, according to the department.

Native students in four states with significant tribal populations -- Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin -- exceeded the national average, based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

At the other end of the spectrum, South Dakota ranked the lowest. Only 47 percent of Native students finished high school in the 2013-2014 school year, according to the data. Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and Minnesota also ranked at the bottom of states with significant tribal populations.

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