Historically, the primary purpose of schools serving Native populations in North America was to assimilate and/or isolate Native youth. Multiple reports done in the 1960s concluded that these policies were counter-productive, and that greater Native control and a stronger focus on quality education was needed.
Today, many of the schools on reservations fail to provide beneficial learning environments for students. Inadequate heating and air conditioning, as well as leaking roofs, sewers, and plumbing, have led the Bureau of Indian Affairs to estimate that over half of their school facilities have exceeded their "useful building lives." While it is estimated that $754 million is needed to address poor school facilities, the Congressional Research Service reports that funding has been decreasing for education for Native populations over the past thirty years. Additionally, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has stated that “the Department of Education’s Native American Programs are often funded at the minimum level established by Congress, never the maximum." 
According to the American Indian Education Foundation, only 17% of Native high school students go to college, and of those, only 20% continue college past the first year.
 Statistics from Safe and Healthy Schools, Friends Committee on National Legislation.
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Last updated on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
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