U.S. Senators to tour school on Navajo Reservation looking for answers to American Indian Education crisis

By Kim Martinez
St. Michael Indian School, located in a tiny northeastern Arizona town named Window Rock, is buzzing with the news that they will be visited in two days by two U.S. Senators John McCain and John Barrasso. The Senators who are members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, helped pass legislation last week to bring the first federally-funded education savings accounts to four states with BIE schools. The Navajo families with children attending BIE schools near Window Rock would be some of the families who could benefit from this federal legislation. Those BIE parents would have the option and funds they need to move their child to St. Michael Indian School (SMIS) if they so choose. SMIS is a high-performing private school with a 98 percent graduation rate.
The purpose of the Senators’ tour is to see first-hand a school that is succeeding in a tribal community. In Arizona, 65 percent of Native American students graduate high school. Nationally, only 5 out of 10 BIE students make it to graduation.
To learn more about the shortcomings in education in tribal communities, watch America’s Underdogs: Students in Crisis.


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