Addressing the needs of Indigenous education

Education is a journey for people of all backgrounds. At ASU, we work to create pathways to a degree – and equal access – for all who desire to learn, grow and enrich their lives and communities. Part of our commitment to supporting education for all includes connecting with tribal communities and enabling the success of American Indian students. We continue to foster an environment of opportunity through programs in American Indian Studies, which cover concentrations including American Indian Legal Studies and Indigenous conceptions of justice.

With this in mind, ASU’s School of Social Transformation recently announced the Master of Arts in Indigenous Education degree, offered 100% online, to further support improving the educational achievements of American Indian children, youth and adults. The online program will focus on Indigenous knowledge systems, current issues in American Indian education, the history of American Indian education, issues of Indigenous language and culture, American Indian education policy, American Indians in higher education, and critical Indigenous research methodologies.

Academic experts consider the state of Indigenous education to be a crisis for Native American students. They are subject to discrimination in public schools as they are disproportionately suspended and expelled, and higher poverty rates on Native American reservations continue to impact daily life and create additional barriers to education. Due to these obstacles, statistics have shown that Native American students in both federally funded schools and community public schools are "some of the lowest performing students in the country." The launch of the online Master of Arts in Indigenous Education comes at a critical time for students in these communities. Launching in spring 2019, the program provides a meaningful and much-needed step in the advancement of Indigenous education; students who have a passion for these communities will now have the opportunity to pursue an online degree that enables them to better serve and impact the lives of the children within these education systems.

“We are dedicated to providing pathways for students in tribal nations to achieve a future of their own making,” said Dr. Bryan Brayboy, a key professor in the Indigenous Education program and a Native American faculty scholar recently elected to the National Academy of Education. “Not only does this program provide educators that serve tribal communities a better understanding of the tribal nations in which they live and teach, but more importantly it provides the opportunity to remain in their communities and learn from where they are.”

This unique program is designed to give a voice to Indigenous teachers; it is rooted in the point of view of those educators currently on the ground who have first-hand knowledge of how to work best with their students. Courses are taught by Indigenous faculty or faculty with significant experience in serving Indigenous communities, providing students the opportunity to learn directly from highly qualified educators who are passionate about making an impact.

Ultimately, the Master’s in Indigenous Education program aims to improve the lives of those within tribal communities by equipping teachers with the skills they need to better serve and empower their students.

“We have an opportunity to have an impact and shape communities that are built on the foundations of tribal history,” said Dr. Brayboy.

Potential careers for those who complete this degree include: tribal education director, tribal cultural coordinator, State Office of Native Education director, native cultural and language instructor, and more. Find additional information and apply for the Master of Arts in Indigenous Education program here.

Sources:

●      The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

●      HuffPost

●      TheNation.com

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