How America Is Failing Native American Students


Inside a double-wide trailer on the Warm Springs reservation in central Oregon, nearly two dozen American Indian high-school students sit facing computers, teaching themselves math and history. Rain slaps the roof. Ear buds dangle from one girl’s left ear. Two more students whisper, sharing a joke. Still another student, his face set in a serious expression, stares at the screen before him. The one teacher in the room previously taught third grade; he’s certified to teach high-school continuing education and agricultural science. Nearly all of the young people who study in this trailer—officially called the Bridges Career and Technical High School at Warm Springs—are Native Americans. Bridges is a public school, created as an alternative for teens who aren’t on track to graduate, or who have been repeatedly suspended or expelled from the large, diverse high school in the town of Madras—“up there,” as the residents of the reservation call it.


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