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Native American Education Essay

931 words - 4 pages

The modern American society is best defined by its education. The “American dream” is founded on going to school, getting a good job, and becoming successful. Ironically, the actual native peoples of this country are actually the least likely to attain this dream. The largest obstacle they face is lack of proper education. The standard educational practices being used for the instruction of Native American peoples is not effective. There are many pieces to this road-block, and many solutions. This can be rectified by having more culturally aware teachers and parents, and by teaching the general population more about the Native American cultures.
Many Native Americans do not graduate from high school. This makes finding an ideal, secure job rather hard. There are many things that cause this. One is simply the students’ families. On the reservations, where alcohol and gambling addictions are problems faced by many families, the gravity of finishing high school is sometimes not communicated properly to either the students or their parents. With this lack of communication, many Native American teens do not understand the consequences of dropping out. Another point is that many face family problems. “Native American families were less likely than other American families to be two-parent household families: 64 percent versus 79 percent” (Thompson 21). Studies have shown that a problematic home environment is very detrimental to success in school. The student could be under a lot of stress, and school is stressful enough, without the added stress of a variety of family problems. Unfortunately, on top of these already-daunting difficulties, there is also a severe culture gap to consider. Several of the values Euro-America holds in high regard are completely opposite for the Native American peoples. While the values themselves can be understood with a little effort, an educational compromise would take quite a bit more. Where planning ahead and thinking of future events is such a commonplace value to most Euro-Americans, it is one foreign to Native peoples’ tradition. They are taught to live “in the now”, and to be thankful for what they have, while they have it. To many of the more traditional native peoples, the excessive planning on modern society’s part is incomprehensible. This makes even the idea of the “American dream” one hard to fully realize.
There are a lot of things that help improve this situation, one of them being an increased awareness of the societal differences, and what can be done about it. One of the biggest problems, which is a lack of information about the educational system in general, can be easily resolved: by teaching the students’ families about it. ...

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