How Minnesota’s American-Indian students are doing in school

MinnPost photo by Steve Date
The Early Childhood Development Center serving the children of Leech Lake since 1965.

By several measures, American Indian students lag far behind their white counterparts in Minnesota schools, according to The National Indian Education Study published in 2012 by the National Center for Education Statistics. The gap in reading and math scores has persisted despite casino profits that tribes have invested in schools. This study and others also have found that Indian girls surpass the boys academically. Another interesting finding is that Indian students are far more likely than Minnesota students of other ethnic backgrounds to attend schools in small towns and rural areas. Only 27 percent of Minnesota’s American Indian students went to city or suburban schools in 2011.

Casinos on Minnesota ReservationsMeanwhile, a study published in 2010 by the Minnesota Department of Education found that only 44 percent of American Indian kindergartners are ready to learn when they start school. Finally, research published by Minnesota Compass shows that Indian students lagged behind all other ethnic groups in graduating on time from high school during 2011. 

Test scores for Minnesota 8th graders, 2011

(Percent proficient or above)

American Indian/Alaskan Native3011

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

School readiness, 2010, Minnesota kindergarteners

Race/EthnicityPercent meeting measurement target
Black/African American57
American Indian44

Source: Minnesota Department of Education

High school graduation on time, Minnesota 2011

Race/Ethnic GroupPercent
American Indian42

Source: Minnesota Compass

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 12/12/2012 - 10:42 am.

    An Excellent

    series. I was esp. interested in the comments regarding the education of the Native children. By attaching ‘strings’ to the $ these children will get when they reach that certain age, the Elders are exercising responsibility and education over the ‘gifts’ that these children appear to be entitled to.

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