Native American students in Seattle are not graduating at the same rate as non-Native students, according to KUOW’s Phyllis Fletcher, who has been tracking how the Seattle school district spends its money. In her report, she finds that only 44 percent of Native American students graduate compared with 63 percent for all students. A less than two-thirds graduation rate for all students isn’t something to brag about, but the under 50 percent rate for Native kids is distressing, and the irony is the schools do have access to federal funds specifically to educate Native kids. Yet they apparently aren’t using them effectively.
Indian Heritage Middle College High School, established in the 1970s to provide Native students an education, has not received any federal money earmarked for Indian education. In fact, the school district, which does get some of that money, isn’t sure where all of it went, although district officials told Fletcher some of it was used for tutoring and leadership programs as well as staff development. An auditor’s report of the district’s use of Indian money is expected this month.
— Carol Smith