“This report is a welcome departure from so much of what gets written about the Native community, which puts a discouraging focus on problems. By zeroing in on what's working for Native students–and there’s so much that's exciting and innovative–the MinnCAN report is reframing our conversation about the ‘achievement gap’ in a way that will allow us to move forward in a positive way and build on our successes.”
- Kelly Drummer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis-based Tiwahe Foundation
Working together for Native American student success
In 2013 the U.S. Department of Education ranked Minnesota as having the very lowest on-time Native American graduation rate in the country. For many, this is not new information. That same year, however, the North Star State took some important steps to support stronger education for Native students: the permanent statewide position of Indian Education Director, the requirement of ongoing consultation with the Tribal Nations Education Committee, and the expectation that a summit—such as the fall 2013 Native American Education Summit—occur annually. Recognizing these initial steps, it’s critical for the well being of our greater populace and community that Minnesota seek continued action to ensure Native student success.
In the spirit of ongoing consultation and to better learn about what helps Native students succeed, we engaged with local Native educators, parents, students and tribal leaders—and visited schools, and examined research and data. We’re excited to share what we learned in our ‘Native American Student Achievement in Minnesota’ report.
We know there’s more we need to do.
Fortunately, thoughtful exploration by Native educators and other education leaders is pointing the way. The June 2013 report commissioned by the Office of Indian Education in the Minnesota Department of Education, ‘American Indian Education in Minnesota: Analytic Review of Key State and National Documents,’ distills some of the latest and best thinking in tribal nations, Minnesota and the United States. MinnCAN summarizes—and wholeheartedly endorses—the key themes that emerged in the analytic review, which are detailed in the report. Our community-informed report also offers strength-based observations about what’s working in Minnesota, and includes beating-the-odds school profiles and student voices.