School Environment Listening Sessions Final Report

This report describes work conducted for the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE). In conjunction with tribal leaders and communities, WHIAIANE conducted a series of listening sessions in October and November 2014 across the United States. At these sessions, students, teachers, parents, and community members shared their AI/AN schooling experiences, including insights into the quality of their school environments.

Testimony form AI/AN students, teachers, parents, and community members covers a range of topics, including school climate, institutional policies, and a lack of cultural awareness on the part of schools. Within the report, issues and concerns that arose from speakers are detailed, along with recommendations for addressing each concern. The Executive Summary includes recommendations for meeting the culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students, including actions the federal government, states, districts, and schools should take.

Content Comments 

The purposes of the report are nicely described through an introductory letter and executive summary. While some might question the methodology, most of the data are short testimonials, the depth and consistency of the comments highlight the unmet educational and cultural needs of AI/AN students.

The report's recommendations are reasonable and, if adopted, have the potential to improve AI/AN education and perhaps more importantly, develop greater respect for all AI/AN peoples. Communications quality is quite high, although some sections are a bit government promotional. Evidence of effectiveness is not included, but as previously mentioned, the findings and recommendations could have a positive impact on learning.