Steve Moore & Max Williams pen op-ed on improving Native American education
At a time when communities of color are challenged at every level of education, the problems facing Native American communities stand out. The high school graduation rate for Native Americans is barely above 50 percent. Of the few who do attend college, less than 40 percent earn a Bachelor’s degree in six years.
There’s never been a magic fix for Native American issues because each community is unique. What works in Montana might not work in Alaska, and what’s effective in Alaska won’t necessarily be effective in Oregon or Washington. Furthermore, within each community the solution that might seem obvious isn’t always the best solution.
Too often in the past, foundations have dropped into Native American communities, distributed money and left – with very little understanding of the community’s priorities and hoped-for outcomes. That’s why the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and The Oregon Community Foundation(OCF) are pursuing a different strategy. While different in structure – one a private foundation and the other a community foundation – what our two foundations share is the belief that the knowledge of how to change outcomes comes from those on the frontlines.