Most principals in public schools serving American Indian/Alaska Native students report that basic literacy is one of the most important goals for students to achieve. Over 50 percent of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) teachers report that students' coming to school unprepared is a serious problem in their schools.
In the 1999-2000 school year, 80 percent of principals across all schools reported that basic literacy is one of the most important goals for their students. Differences appeared, however, between principals of public schools and principals of BIA schools regarding other student goals. Although academic excellence and work habits/self-discipline were the second and third most frequently endorsed goals among principals of both BIA and non-BIA public schools, principals of non-BIA public schools (which serve about 90 percent of the American Indian/Alaska Native student population) were more likely than principals of BIA schools to report that these were among their three most important goals for their students. Principals of BIA schools were more likely to focus on personal growth and multicultural awareness than principals of public schools.
Teachers in public schools with large American Indian/Alaska Native populations (public schools with 25 percent or more enrollment of American Indian/Alaska Native students and BIA schools) were more likely to identify serious problems in the school such as students coming to school unprepared, lack of parent involvement, poverty, and student apathy, than were teachers in public schools with less than 25 percent enrollment of American Indian/Alaska Native students. A higher percentage of BIA teachers than public school teachers reported student absenteeism as a serious problem in their school.
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