Published on October 24, 2011 by Amy
Due to the new focus on cultural identity, many Native American tribes are re-opening tribal public schools as a way of increasing the cultural awareness of the young people of their nations.
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These schools focus not only on providing top-quality education to these children, but also on teaching native tongues and traditions to the students of the school. The beauty of this awareness is evident when visitors to the school being to recognize how proud the students are of their history; but are there, indeed, some drawbacks to Native American education?
While there are some drawbacks to discuss, lets first take a look at the many benefits of Native American education. Students in these schools have the opportunity to experience immersion in their culture and language that would otherwise not exist. Most high schools, and some elementary schools, teach their native tongues and expect that graduates have some mastery of this language upon graduation. History classes at Native American schools also give special emphasis to the history of their particular nation, and how that relates to the history of the country, and the world, as a whole. Such a holistic environment leaves students with a deep understanding of who they are as a member of a Native American tribe, and is almost impossible to duplicate in a regular high school.
There are some dangers to Native American education that should be addressed in order to make students and their families fully understand their decision to enroll in these schools. Some critics say that segregation of any type in schools may lead to an unwillingness of students to interact with students of another racial or social group.
Native American education generally counteract this detrimental effect by coordinating many events with other local schools, and by teaching a history curriculum full of awareness of interactions among groups of people. Native American educational leaders have also taken care to make sure that the quality of education received at tribal schools is as good, or better, than surrounding school districts. The fact is, the benefits of allowing students to choose to attend one of these tribal schools far outweigh any potential drawbacks.