Friday, May 16, 2008

Mr. Duey @ Kickapoo Nation School, KS

A Forgotten People

We all know the history. We all know the mistreatment. We all know it wasn't right. What we don't all know is that Native American Indians, especially the children, are all but a forgotten people, left to make ends meet with little in the way of educational means. According to American Indian Education, dropout rates among American Indians are twice the national average - highest of any U.S. ethnic or racial group. Three out of ten American Indians dropout because their needs are not met educationally while others are pushed out for protesting the school's treatment. These problems are universal with no reprieve in site. Kickapoo Nation School, located in Powhatan, KS where students typically come from the Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, Iowa and Potawatomi tribes, has suffered this unenviable fate.
Kickapoo Nation School is underfunded, and with all other schools in the country having a five year head start on the No Child Left Behind guidelines, is now expected to adhere to the national standards. 100% of these children are economically disadvantaged with the median household income close to $13,000 below the state average.
The school is also equipped with functional drinking fountains, but there's a catch; the water is contaminated and deemed not safe for consumption. Busing is another major concern as students are picked up and dropped off as far away as Topeka, KS, which translates into 1 hour and 6 minutes of drive time one way. The amount of money being spent on gas has severely cut the program allowance. Sports have moved from a team theme to individual contests as there is not enough funding or student participation. Sixth graders are routinely seen on high school teams. The lack of funding has even trickled into the arts. Kickapoo has recently had to let go of their music teacher as a result of these issues.
There is a silver lining within this cloud. The teachers are extremely dedicated and help to bring an education as well as a sense of pride in their heritage to these young children. But if kids aren't given the tools and exposure necessary to receive a quality education, what can we expect of them?