In the 2005–06 school year, 644,000 public elementary and secondary school students, or about 1 percent of all public school students, including those in Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, were American Indian/Alaska Native (appendix table A-2.1a). Excluding students in BIE schools, the percentage of public school students who were American Indian/Alaska Native has remained fairly constant since 1986–87, varying between 0.9 percent in 1986–87 to 1.2 percent in 2005–06. The percentage of public school students who were either Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native increased from 30 percent in 1986–87 to 43 percent in 2005–06, while the percentage who were White decreased from 70 percent to 57 percent over the same period of time.
The states where American Indian/Alaska Native students composed the largest percentages of the total public school student enrollment included Alaska (27 percent), Oklahoma (19 percent), Montana and New Mexico (11 percent each), and South Dakota (10 percent). BIE schools (located in the South, Midwest, and West regions; data not shown) enrolled 8 percent of all American Indian/Alaska Native students (appendix table A-2.1a).
For public schools, including students in BIE schools, a higher percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students attended schools in rural areas than students of all other racial/ethnic groups. Some 46 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students attended public schools in rural areas, compared with 30 percent of White, 14 percent of Black, 10 percent of Hispanic, and 9 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students. Rural areas located close to or on the fringe of urbanized areas are referred to as "fringe rural," while those located further from urbanized areas are referred to as "distant rural" and "remote rural" (figure 2.1). Approximately one-third (34 percent) of American Indian/Alaska Native students attended schools in distant rural or remote rural areas, compared with 15 percent of White, 5 percent of Black, 3 percent of Hispanic, and 2 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students (appendix table A-2.1b). Some 30 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students attended schools where they accounted for at least 50 percent of the student body (appendix table A-2.1c).
With the exception of Hispanic students, percentages of students enrolled in private schools remained relatively unchanged from 2001–02 to 2005–06. During the 2005–06 school year, 75 percent of private school students were White, 10 percent were Black, 9 percent were Hispanic, and 5 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander. About 1 percent of students enrolled in private elementary and secondary schools were American Indian/Alaska Native. When looking at enrollment in specific types of private schools, a higher percentage of children in private nonsectarian schools were American Indian/Alaska Natives (1.0 percent) than the percentage in Catholic schools (0.7) or other religious schools (0.5 percent).
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