Inland Isolation: Native American Disparities in Education

Many American students begin thinking about higher education during their junior and senior years of high school. In a nation where there has been a lack of support for Native American education, a disparity noted as early as elementary school, many indigenous students often struggle pursuing a college-level degree.

Furthermore, according to the National Education Association, Native American students have some of the highest high school and college dropout rates. Suspension and expulsion rates for Native students are second only to those for African Americans.

Megan Raposa of the USA Today Network's Argus Leader reports that He Dog Elementary school, a 90-year-old elementary school in Todd County, South Dakota, was recommended for closure by the Bureau of Indian Education.

“The school is part of Todd County, which was ranked among the poorest in the nation in the last decade,” Raposa reports. “Only 1 in 20 can read at grade level, and 1 in 50 are proficient in math … All are close enough to the federal poverty line to qualify for free lunches.”

Against the backdrop of the Rosebud Reservation in Todd County, 2018 student fellows Brian Munoz and Holly Piepenberg examine the challenges that Native American adolescents face while pursuing degrees in a nation that, according to some, has failed them.