Michigan to Require Tracking of Student Tribal Affiliation
July 28, 2023
All Michigan public school districts and charter schools will be required to collect tribal affiliation data from students and staff, starting in the 2024 - 2025 academic year. Three million dollars is being set aside to make sure that schools are equipped to do this.
This data is important to the twelve federally recognized tribes in Michigan because it will allow them to get a clear picture of Native students’ achievements and graduation rates. Collecting tribal affiliation data will potentially open up federal funds earmarked for Native American education. Currently, students and families only have the option of designating their race or ethnicity on Michigan Department of Education (MDE) forms as “American Indian or Alaskan Native” (AI/AN).
The state recently found that less than a third of the actual figure of Native students is accounted for in the public school system. Over 8,400 Native students are currently counted, but a MDE analysis shows more than 27,000 tribal-affiliated students are estimated to be enrolled in Michigan public schools.