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February 2012Vol. 13, No. 1Executive Order on Native Student Education

In December 2011, the White House issued an Executive Order calling for increased educational opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native students and establishing the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. Citing recent reports that show increased dropout rates for this population, President Obama called for increased efforts to close the achievement gap. The Initiative will be cochaired by the Secretaries of Education and of the Interior and will focus on providing Native students with more opportunities to learn their Native American languages, cultures, and histories.

The Initiative also will work to better prepare Native students for college and careers through meeting goals including but not limited to:

  • Increasing the number of early education programs to better prepare American Indian and Alaska Native children for kindergarten
  • Increasing the number of Native American students who have access to high-quality teachers, particularly in the areas of science, mathematics, and technology, by bolstering teacher recruitment efforts in these subjects
  • Reducing the American Indian and Alaska Native dropout rate by improving scholastic environments and implementing dropout prevention programs
  • Providing pathways for reentry to students who do drop out

The Executive Order is available on the White House website: