Editorial: Alaska Native dropout efforts failing

"More than 14,500 students took classes in spring 2006. All of those students were eligible to participate in several programs designed specifically for Alaska Native student retention, including Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing and the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program.

The many programs like these, which seem to make sense, are failing to dramatically decrease the dropout rate.

The 2006 U.S. Census reports that 13.1 percent of the 670,053 people in Alaska are Alaska Native or American Indian. About 69 percent of the population is white alone.

If that same number of students at the university is taking 71 percent of the student credit hours, the number of credit hours taken by Alaska Native students should also correspond. It doesn't.

Alaska Natives take 8 percent of the credit hours, but 60 percent fail to succeed past their freshman year at UAA.

Students shouldn't have to pay for another program that has good potential for failure, said experts like biology professor Lil Alessa, who spoke on a panel at the debate.

The university should not consider throwing out a welcome mat that divides a professor's perception of who their students will be with a mandatory, or even voluntary, culture-orientation program."

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Editorial: Proposals to decrease Native dropout rate fall flat (The Northern Light 10/17)

$rl University of Alaska Anchorage - http://www.uaa.alaska.edu

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