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WSU Research to Help Native American Students


Accepting a challenge from the state’s lawmakers, four Washington State University researchers will report on the best ways to help Native American students succeed, the university announced.

The researchers have only six months to complete the work, which is funded with $131,000 appropriated by the Washington Legislature. They will report to the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs. Craig Bill, office director, said the study will be done in consultation with the Tribal Leader Congress on Education and the Washington State School Directors Association.

In December, the researchers will submit a “call to action” report that will include a detailed analysis of the achievement gap for Native American students; an analysis of progress in developing effective government-to-government relations and adoption of curriculum on tribal history, culture and government; a plan for closing the achievement gap in keep with the goals of the federal No Child Left Behind Act; and measures for monitoring adequate yearly progress toward the goals.

“The Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs is excited to partner with Washington State University and I commend WSU for the great support it has shown from all levels,” Bill said. “I am also delighted by the research team’s commitment to actively engage tribes and community members.”

The project, “Addressing the Educational Achievement Gap of Native American Students in Washington State,” will emphasize potential achievement, rather than the long-standing gap between the accomplishments of those students and their non-native peers, said Michael Pavel an associate professor. 

Pavel, also known by his tribal name, CHiXapkaid, is a member of the Skokomish Nation who is nationally recognized for his research on indigenous education.

Other WSU College of Education professors working on the state project are SusanRae Banks-Joseph, an Arapaho tribal member and associate professor whose expertise is in special education; and Lali McCubbin, associate professor and an expert in multicultural counseling. Ella Inglebret, assistant professor in the WSU Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, also participates in the project.

For further information, contact Michael Pavel at [email protected], 509-335-7075; or Craig Bill at [email protected], 360-902-8827.

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