New Report Highlights Alternative Public Education Programs Helping To Close the Achievement Gap for Urban Native American Youth

November 15, 2017
Contact: Janeen Comenote

(206) 551-9933



A newly released report – the first of its kind – highlights the challenges facing urban Native American youth in public schools and showcases seven alternative public education programs that are having a positive impact in addressing these challenges.

The report, Resurgence: Restructuring Urban American Indian Education, was released today by the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC). It tracks the history of the U.S. public education system’s relationship with Native American communities and the on-going disparities that exist within academic achievement data for urban American Indian students, commonly referred to as “the achievement gap.” The report acknowledges that educators and administrators have worked tirelessly with policy officials and the philanthropic community to reform the system to close this achievement gap, but it still persists for all students of color and is especially bleak for urban American Indian students.

The report identifies six major urban centers that have high concentrations of American Indian students who attend local public schools and investigates seven alternative education programs being offered to these students in each place. These alternative education programs leverage traditional indigenous culture as a means of securing academic achievement and have earned respect and wide-spread support by the urban American Indian communities that they serve.

The six major urban centers included in the report: Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; Minneapolis, Minnesota and Los Angeles, California.

According to Dr. Joe Hobot, the report’s author, “We wanted to provide a roadmap for other urban Indigenous communities to follow on behalf of their own students. I hope it will spark further evaluation and discussion by those involved in this arena.”

“Education is an extremely critical area of need and attention for urban Indian communities across the country. The NUIFC is proud to be able to amplify the voices and practices of the phenomenal sites and schools highlighted in this critically needed work.” – Janeen Comenote – Executive Director of the NUIFC

Edgar Villanueva, Vice President of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, one of the sponsors of the report, says, “Policy leaders, philanthropic partners and community leaders must also focus beyond academic achievement to close the opportunity gaps that contribute to inequitable education outcomes.  Closing the opportunity gap is the only way we will make progress toward closing academic achievement gaps that separate most American Indian, Black and Hispanic students from their White peers.

Please visit this link for a copy of the report.

About the National Urban Indian Family Coalition
The National Urban Indian Family Coalition advocates for American Indian families living in urban areas by creating partnerships with tribes , as well as other American Indian organizations, and by conducting research to better understand the barriers, issues and opportunities facing urban American Indian families.


Eddie Sherman