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Wisconsin officials improving education for tribal youth

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s 11 tribes and the state Department of Public Instruction have been working on agreements to improve communication and educational outcomes for tribal youth.

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa signed the first memorandum of understanding with the department last month, Wisconsin Public Radio reported .

The goal is to improve communication and program coordination, said Ashley Maki, director of the tribe’s education department.

“The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction commits to providing ongoing cultural responsiveness training to all of its staff to ensure improved communication, service and understanding in working with the Lac du Flambeau tribe in serving our students,” Maki said.

The tribe has requested more data about graduation rates and test scores, said State schools Superintendent Tony Evers. He said graduation rates of American Indian students in the state have improved in recent years.

The state had an almost 80 percent graduation rate of American Indiana students for the 2016-2017 school year, compared to a less than 70 percent rate in the 2009-2010 school year, according to the Department of Public Instruction’s website.

The agreement also focuses on educating children about the culture, history and sovereignty of Wisconsin’s tribes, Evers said. State law requires all public schools to teach about the state’s tribal nations.

“It’s more about recognition of sovereignty, individual sovereignty of each nation and not only recognizing that but identifying ways that we can help American Indian kids achieve at higher levels,” Evers said.

The state is also working with the tribe on making cultural accommodations for students, according to Evers.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

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