One-on-One with stellar student-athlete Drew Hatch

Photo: Eighty8images
Photo: Eighty8images


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Many know Drew Hatch from his record-breaking athletic accomplishments on the football field and wrestling mat. For football, he was honored as the Everett Herald Defensive Player of the Year and earned 3A second-team honors on the 2014 Associated Press all-state football teams. For wrestling, he broke record after record on his way to becoming the most winning wrestler in Tomahawk history.

Yet, others know Drew from being a member of the Tulalip Canoe Family. He honors his Tulalip heritage by drumming and singing at community events. Many don’t know that Drew was one of five Marysville Pilchuck students honored with the Moyer Foundation’s annual Kids Helping Kids Award.

He has been an active member in his high school community, while remaining true to his roots as a Tulalip tribal member. Following his graduation from Marysville Pilchuck High School, the time has finally come for Drew to try his talents as both a student and an athlete at the next level, college. In order to do that he will be leaving the confines of the only home he has ever known. He is both prepared and excited to being his next journey.


Photo: Eighty8images
Photo: Eighty8images


When you look back at your high school years, what are some of your favorite memories?

“Most of them will definitely be sports related. Being able to play football and participate in wrestling with my friends and having fun being a part of that brotherhood. Both sports I enjoyed doing, they are what I’m most passionate about.”


You opted to attend Marysville Pilchuck High School (MP) instead of Heritage High School, were there any specific reasons as to why?

“My dad has been a wrestling coach at MP since I was in 5th grade. I practiced with their wresting team from 5th grade to 8th grade, so I had an established relationship with the wrestling coaches and football coaches long before I was high school age. One of my counselors at Totem Middle School was Brian McCutchen. He was also a football coach at MP and was one of my favorite people, so he also had a big influence on me to attend MP and be under his coaching.”

Following the MP shooting you really stepped up and took more of a leadership role at school, on your teams, and in the community. What made you step up like that?

“I saw how many people, friends, family and community members were down about everything. I knew that my whole football team had lost friends or relatives, I did too, but being a captain on the football team I’m responsible for holding that position. I wanted to be the person who had a hand out to help people in any way I could. Whether it was bringing someone to practice or just putting a smile on someone’s face, it’s all part of the healing process.”


What are your immediate plans following high school?

“I’ll be attending Oregon State University to play football and hope to receive a degree in Business Management.”


I’m sure you received a few different offers from colleges. Why did you choose Oregon State?

“I chose Oregon State because it felt the most like home. Corvallis is a small town where everyone knows each other but still offers everything that’s appealing about going to a university. It’s a good fit for me.”


Did you receive a football scholarship from Oregon State?

“I did not receive an official scholarship to play football, but I can earn one though. I’m on the football team as an outside linebacker and will be playing Pac-12 football, just not on a scholarship.”


Do you plan on wrestling at the collegiate level?

“I don’t plan on it. I might step in the room a little bit, but I won’t be committing to wrestling. Between the two sports, football is the one I’m more passionate about. Plus my focus is going to be split already between my studies and football.”


Being a student-athlete, you’ve been able to successfully carry that title. Most people know you from your success as an athlete, but you have remained dedicated to your studies as a student to the point you were recognized as the Male Student of the Year at the 2015 graduation banquet. How were you able to manage school with sports? 

“It not easy that’s for sure. I struggled with my grades the first two years of high school. I was too focused on things away from school, like video games and hanging out with friends. As I matured, I realized I could still do those things but they’d have to come second to doing homework and studying. Once I realized that and made homework the priority and then did everything else after, things got easier. My study habits got better, which made taking tests and completing homework not as challenging.”


Are there any counselors or tribal liaisons who helped you stay the course, keep you motivated, or help you along the way?

“Matt Remle and Ricky B. played huge roles in me succeeding in and out of school. They were always checking on me and making sure I was keeping up my grades. They were always there to keep me in line and help me in any way they could, both academically and sports wise. They opened up doors that I didn’t even know were there, like with learning about tribal funding and tutors. They did a lot for me my entire high school career.”


Drew Hatch gives MPHS Native Liaison Matt Remle a hug at the 2015 Tulalip graduation celebration. Photo: Micheal Rios
Drew Hatch gives MPHS Native Liaison Matt Remle a hug at the 2015 Tulalip graduation celebration.
Photo: Micheal Rios



You’ve recognized already that there will be huge differences from the high school level to the college level. What’s more important, playing college football or getting a degree?

“It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to play a college sport and I hope to accomplish that early on after my first OSU game. Being on that football field for the first time as an OSU Beaver will mean so much to me, but at the same time I know that sports aren’t the world. A degree is far more important because the likelihood of going pro in a sport is really low, but I know if I work hard and keep up my focus I can receive my Business degree and then use that accomplish more goals as an adult.”


Unfortunately, for many Tulalip tribal members their formal education stops at the high school level. You’ve chosen to take advantage of the Tribes ability to pay for your college education. What would be your message to those high school graduates of this year and in years to come in regards to taking full advantage of education after high school?

“I would say the Rez will always be here, your family will always be here. I’m not advocating going away forever, but go experience the world and achieve your goals as an independent adult. Then, when you have achieved your goals and experience life outside of Tulalip, you can come back with the knowledge and brain power to start your life back here. A high school diploma can only get you so far today. Getting an A.A. or B.A. will open so many more doors to you and give you options that wouldn’t otherwise be there.”


Oklahoma State Fans Hold ‘Trail of Tears’ Banner for College GameDay

 Image source:
Image source:



A group of Oklahoma State University football fans have sparked outrage for a sign they created to hold during ESPN’s GameDay football-preview show.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys play the Florida State Seminoles tonight in a game in Arlington, Texas. The fans in question evidently felt that referencing a historical tragedy would be a clever play on the Seminoles’ name, and created a banner that said “Send ‘Em Home #trail_of_tears #gopokes“.

Influential sports blog called it “one of the dumbest GameDay signs you’ll ever see.”

The sign is concerning on a few levels. The Trail of Tears refers to the consequence of the Indian Removal Act of 1830: The forced relocation of American Indians from the southeastern United States to Indian Territory, a region which would later be known as Oklahoma. Between 1830 and 1837, some 46,000 Indians were removed, and many thousands died on the journey west. It’s odd, to put it mildly, that Oklahoma State football fans in particular could create a sign (and it’s not a small sign) that so casually treated a tragedy that is an integral part of their own state’s history. According to 2010 statistics, Oklahoma State graduated the most Native American students of any college in the country, and its student body was 9.2% American Indian or Alaska Native.

RELATED: ESPN Announcer Apologizes for “Trail of Tears” Comment

There’s also something ignorant about a sign that references the Trail of Tears and also says “Send ‘Em Home.” The Trail of Tears wasn’t about sending anybody home — it was about driving Native people from their homes. And in a larger sense, the entire continent was Natives’ “home” until certain uninvited guests showed up, beginning in 1492.

Today is the Cherokee National Holiday; when contacted for comment, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said that the sign was “not going to ruin our holiday. … We’re trying to at least educate our state and other states as well so they truly understand, and we’ve got more work to do.”

From the official @okstate twitter feed, the university addressed the issue with the following statement: “OSU does not condone the insensitive sign shown at today’s GameDay event and have requested that it be removed.”

The general reaction on Twitter has been one of outrage and disappointment, from Natives and non-Natives alike. Mark Charles, Navajo, who tweets as @WirelessHogan, summed up his feelings with the following graphic:





Colleges aim to attract more Native American students

Colleges are introducing new programs targeting prospective Native American students, hoping to show that higher education and their cultural identities can complement each other.

Few Native Americans go to college and most of those who do never graduate. To improve those statistics, more colleges are offering camps where teens from different tribes are exposed to college life. In this image, Native American, Brandon Duran plays during a drum circle before workshop sessions at University of California, Riverside on Thursday, June 26. Photo/ Chris Carlson, AP
Few Native Americans go to college and most of those who do never graduate. To improve those statistics, more colleges are offering camps where teens from different tribes are exposed to college life. In this image, Native American, Brandon Duran plays during a drum circle before workshop sessions at University of California, Riverside on Thursday, June 26.
Photo/ Chris Carlson, AP

By Krysta Fauria, Associated Press

Elijah Watson knows he wants to go to college. He also knows that it will be difficult to leave home on the Navajo reservation if he does.

The 17-year-old was reminded of the tough decision he’ll face next year when he participated in a weeklong celebration in March of his cousin’s Kinaalda, a hallowed Navajo ceremony marking a girl’s transition into womanhood.

“I’m afraid because it’s really hard to leave my family,” he said, noting that college would mean he’d be away from taking part in the same rite for his little sister and participating in other important tribal ceremonies.

To reach students like Watson with higher education aspirations, a growing number of universities are offering programs to recruit and prepare Native American students for a transition to college life that can bring on a wrenching emotional conflict as they straddle two worlds.

Many young Native Americans find themselves divided by their desire for a higher education and the drive to stay close to home to hold onto a critical part of their identity. Sometimes, families discourage children from pursuing college, fearing once they leave the reservation they won’t come back.

That was the case with Watson’s mother — his grandmother encouraged her to stay home and carry on the family tradition of pottery-making.

“These students could be in a classroom with hundreds of kids and no one will be like them so it’s really good for these programs to pull all of these kids together,” said Ahniwake Rose, the director of the National Indian Education Association.

“Moving to college for these kids is taking them so far away from their homes. On top of that, we still have so many first generation students and their parents can’t give them any idea of what college is like,” Ms. Rose said.

Dozens have implemented mini-college boot camps, including the University of California, Los Angeles, Yale, and Duke. Last week, Watson found himself at the University of California, Riverside, where he was joined by other students, including some as young as 12.

The programs challenge the idea that tribal customs and higher education don’t mix, said Joshua Gonzalez, the director of Native American Student Programs at the university 60 miles east of Los Angeles and hundreds of miles from Watson’s home on the Navajo Nation.

Throughout their week at Riverside, students got a taste of the college experience by attending classroom lectures, eating in the cafeteria and sleeping in the dorms. The 30 students also participated in cultural activities like prayer circles and beading workshops.

“We encourage having your culture and traditions as well as academics,” said Mr. Gonzalez, whose program has a roughly 90 percent success rate in getting Native Americans to go to college.

“To be able to know your language, to be able to sing the songs, to know the creation stories — those are things that are really important,” he said.

Upon completion of Riverside’s program, students are given access to the university’s resources and staff to assist with the application process.

Pamela Agoyo, the director of American Indian Student Services at the University of New Mexico, said many programs are introducing kids to the idea of college as early as middle school to give them the time to embrace the possibility and plan for it.

“Institutions are realizing that you don’t start planning for college your freshman year of college,” Ms. Agoyo said, noting that students need to plan and prepare for their experience beforehand.

Rose said the boot camps are critical to college success because they help identify peers and mentors who can guide students through rough patches.

Few go on to college and when they do, most drop out.

Only 12 percent of Native Americans between 25 and 34 have four-year degrees, compared to 37 percent of whites, according to a 2012 report by the National Center for Education Statistics. Of the students who do go to college, less than 40 percent graduate, compared to 60 percent of whites.

Jordan Thomas, a member of the Lummi Tribe, attended Riverside’s program and will be a freshman there this fall. She was born on a reservation in Washington state and at age 2 moved with her family to Southern California because there were more educational opportunities.

Lummi cultural traditions are important to her family — she once missed eight weeks of middle school to attend her grandfather’s burial ceremony — and the Riverside program gave her confidence that she can attend school and not lose her Native American identity.

“I learned that it’s all about balance,” she said. “This program has truly helped me.”

Education Chasing The Elusive ‘Quality’ In Online Education

You can learn jazz appreciation from a computer. But you'll never learn how to be cool like Miles Davis.Getty Images, Hulton Archive
You can learn jazz appreciation from a computer. But you’ll never learn how to be cool like Miles Davis.
Getty Images, Hulton Archive



Jeff Hellmer is an accomplished jazz pianist who has taught music at the University of Texas at Austin for 27 years. He thinks of himself as more than a teacher, though: “What I would like to do with my teaching is be an ambassador for jazz.”

This past spring, in what’s become an increasingly common move, he brought his ambassadorship to a wider audience. He turned his popular introductory course, Jazz Appreciation, into a free 10-week online course.

It’s open to anyone on through a company called edX, and 19,000 people signed up.

Online college is no longer the future. It’s here. According to the Sloan Consortium, more than one-third of all U.S. college students now take at least one course online for credit. That’s 7 million students last year alone. Meanwhile, on platforms like edX (over 2 million users) and Coursera (over 8 million users), people from every country in the world are taking free versions of college courses.

And Starbucks just announced that it will offer over 100,000 employees the chance to take college classes online from Arizona State University.

The news from Starbucks, amid this dramatic expansion of online learning, has reignited a long-running debate about the quality of what’s being offered.

In other words, can 19,000 students, watching a video of Jeff Hellmer on their computer screens, ever hope to learn as much – or learn as well – as the students who’ve sat in a classroom right in front of him for all those years?

To answer that, we need to define and measure “quality” in online education. Which is tricky, because we don’t have a great definition of quality in face-to-face education.

Fortunes—not to mention the education that millions of students will receive —ride in the balance.

The Problem

There’s reason to be cautious.

A meta-analysis by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 showed that students performed modestly better in courses with some online component.

However, a more recent study from Columbia University, focusing specifically on community college students, shows that college students are more likely to withdraw from online courses, that they score lower in these courses when they do finish, and that those who begin college with online courses are less likely to persist and complete their degrees.

The study also found that online courses tend to widen the achievement gap: African-Americans, and those with lower previous grades, do worse in an online environment.

The Columbia researchers, as well as other critics, argue that the reason students so often fail in these classes is because of the way the instruction is designed.

Most online courses, including Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, consist of video snippets of lectures, readings, and multiple-choice quizzes. There’s usually some kind of online forum or discussion page for students to talk over the concepts presented in the course.

Basically, it’s copying the traditional classroom lecture format into the online realm.

The main strength of this approach as that it can be done almost free. That’s exactly what gets people so excited about online education in general, and MOOCs in particular.

Anant Agarwal, the founder of edX, likewise, told me in a recent interview that giving millions around the world of people access to higher education is a key goal of the initiative, which is backed by MIT and Harvard. He makes a comparison to basic infrastructure. “We are building free broad gauge railroad around the world,” he says. “You can think of the content as the carriages.”

The metaphor—comparing the distribution of knowledge with the distribution of, say, coal or sugar—is one that troubles many critics of educational technology.

“Is education content delivery? Is it the same as putting resources online?” asks Audrey Watters, an author and blogger. “We’re starting to frame teaching and learning in terms of language we use to talk about the web and media: ‘content delivery platforms’ and ‘learning management systems.’ “

Instead of the oft-maligned “factory model” of education, she says, what you end up with instead is a “cubicle model”—one person with a laptop, shoveling in information.

Adaptive Learning

There are attempts to use new technology to make online learning more interactive. Some of these efforts show promise – especially in the area of reaching remedial students.

At the University of Texas, Jeff Hellmer partnered with a company called Cerego to translate some of the material he covers in the jazz course into a set of what are often called “adaptive learning” items.

Andrew Smith Lewis, cofounder of Cerego, calls his company’s technology “flashcards on steroids.”

Hellmer created 180 items covering historical facts, technical elements of jazz music, and music clips where the student would have to listen and name the title, artist, and era.

For example, a picture of Art Blakely requires a student to identify the ‘Hard Bop,” era. Or they listen to a snippet of ‘Kind of Blue’ and must answer ‘Miles Davis.’ As you go through the set, the system is predicting how well you know each item, based on how many times you’ve seen it, how recently you’ve seen it, and how often you’ve seen it.

(Here is the full set if you want to test yourself).

Cerego uses an artificial intelligence algorithm, based in part on the science of memory, to decide which item to show you next, and when to show you the same item again. The goal is that you memorize them in an optimal amount of time. The program is also designed to get students to retain the information longer than with traditional methods. You have to identify each item correctly multiple times instead of just cramming to get it right one day on one quiz.

A central feature of adaptive learning is that it varies the presentation of content according to the user’s responses.

The secret sauce of this system? It’s kind of fun, like a video game.

“The mechanics of a successful game are designed to keep you in this band between boredom and frustration,” says Cerego’s Smith Lewis. “We see a nice uptick in engagement and completion.”

The thinking is that students are more likely to stick with Cerego-enhanced courses because it was a thrill to challenge themselves with the flashcard tool.

Millions of students from kindergarten through college are currently using adaptive learning software, both in online-only and blended settings.

Among the most popular are Pearson’s MyMathLab, with 10 million college students, Scholastic’s Math 180, Dreambox Learning, and Khan Academy. Math is the most common subject being taught this way, but the programs can cover any topic with a set of facts to be absorbed.

A leader in these efforts is Arizona State University, which has gone farther than any other large university to bake these concepts into online courses from the get-go.

The university has partnered with Pearson and a company called Knewton since 2011 on dozens of courses. ASU officials say they’ve had especially positive results with their developmental math courses—the exact same type of course that the Columbia University researchers found online students were doing worse in.


Quality” in online education is about more than enhancing content delivery or adding multimedia bells and whistles.

The technology makes it possible to measure student outcomes in unprecedented detail. This is affecting the way we think about quality in all of education.

There’s a wealth of data available, for example, from Jeff Hellmer’s Jazz Appreciation course.

Students on average memorized the basic facts in just 11 hours, using Cerego. And of the more than 20,000 who signed up initially, 2,370 actually passed. That’s a 12 percent pass rate—compared to the 5 percent typical for most MOOCs.

Two-thirds of those who finished did so with a grade over 90 percent. Three-fourths of students agreed that using Cerego’s adaptive learning tools helped them learn the material faster, which the company’s research shows is true in other subjects.

That level of data collection could enable schools to move beyond the traditional definition of quality in higher education, based on selectivity and scarcity. Historically, “top students” got into the most expensive colleges, and that made them “top schools.”

But most students attend public universities and community colleges that accept the vast majority of the students who apply. Therefore selectivity doesn’t apply broadly as a measure of quality. And so, colleges in this sector, with the enthusiastic support of the federal government, are developing new, data-driven measures of quality based on student outcomes, like transfer, graduation, and employment rates.

Arizona State University is a case in point. It’s a giant public institution with over 75,000 students, that accepts 90 percent of those who apply.

In recent years the university has become preoccupied with improving outcomes. Their six-year graduation rate is now at 58.7 percent, compared to a national average of 59 percent (but just 31 percent for open-admission schools like ASU). This is trending up: the number of degrees awarded has increased 60 percent since 2002.

In part, ASU is relying on technology, like an online advising system called eAdvisor, to improve student success. The system helps students navigate the university’s 290 majors and map out the courses they need to reach their goals. ASU Online launched in 2006. President Michael Crow’s vision is to grow online enrollment to 100,000 students. The recent deal with Starbucks is part of that effort.

On some key measures ASU’s current 10,000 online-only students seem to be doing worse than on-campus students: the 3-year graduation rate is just 36 percent (most online students come into the program with some college credits already, which is why they report three-year rates). This jibes with what we see in many online programs.

The Blend

In this drive to define – and achieve – “quality” in online education, as in traditional education, research points to one essential element: interaction with instructors.

It doesn’t have to be face to face. Video chats, phone calls, email and even text messages can all help students stay engaged and motivated. Group work and peer discussions are important too.

But instructor time remains the most expensive resource, and it’s often scarce and rationed, especially in the online realm.

Smith Lewis, along with other ed-tech people I talked to, framed the next generation of computer enhanced learning as a way to free up professors to do what they do best—not to replace them.

Professor Hellmer, for one, was so taken with the Cerego platform that he decided to incorporate it into his live, in-person classes, starting this summer. He sees it as a labor-saving device: the machine will handle the shoveling in of facts, while he does the cultivating of the students’ mental gardens.

“The part I’m looking forward to is spending more time discussing more complicated issues or higher-level thinking,” he said. “I’m hoping that Cerego is going to take care of that foundational learning more efficiently.”

He says the Cerego content will make up “about half” of the grade in the class. Instead of taking quizzes where they might just be guessing the right answer, students will have to study until they get a certain percentage of items into the “green zone” on the Cerego system, meaning the computer is convinced they have seen, repeated, and squirreled these facts away in their brains for the long haul. And not for nothing, those are quizzes that Hellmer and his assistants no longer have to grade.

Anant Agarwal, the founder of the MOOC platform edX, sees many professors making this transition, taking something they’ve developed online back into the traditional classroom setting. Universities are repurposing their own MOOCs on campuses in a variety of ways, as well as adapting the resources produced by others.

In the end, the vision of “quality” in higher education will probably take in a little bit that’s old, and a little bit that’s new.

When College Isn’t Worth It

Save up your pennies ... but shop wisely.Doram/iStockphoto
Save up your pennies … but shop wisely.

By Anya Kamenetz

May 28, 2014


The New York Times highlighted new data yesterday that once again beats the drum: Despite skyrocketing costs, a college degree is a good investment. In fact, MIT economist David Autor writes in the journal Science that the value of a degree is rising. College grads made almost twice as much per hour in 2013 as workers without a four-year degree. And the lifetime value of a diploma is now around a half-million dollars, even after you factor in tuition.

Well, we here at NPR Ed thought we’d play the skeptic and ask: When is college not worth it? Because, lo and behold, sometimes it isn’t. Here are the three broad cases in which a college education, in fact, does not pay.

If … You Don’t Graduate

Lots and lots of people who enroll in college just don’t finish. And, to get an honest accounting of a diploma’s value, these noncompleters (that’s the term of art in the research —”dropouts” is a bit too judgmental) need to be part of the math. Otherwise, it’s like the latest fad diet touting “befores” and “afters” without counting those who didn’t stick with it.

Only 59 percent of people who begin a four-year degree, with all good intentions, actually finish within six years. How many people are we talking about? Some 34 million American adults attended college but have no degree to show for it. That’s huge, compared with the 41 million Americans who have a bachelor’s as their terminal degree.

Keep in mind, noncompleters borrow student loans just as often as those who finish. And, unfortunately, raw knowledge picked up while in college doesn’t do nearly as much to boost earning potential as a diploma does. Folks with some college earn less than those with an associate’s degree. They’re also more likely to be unemployed. In other words: results not typical for college graduates.

If … You Pick the Wrong College

For-profit colleges enroll just under 10 percent of all college students, but they’re notorious for relatively high tuition costs and low graduation rates. Research shows that graduates of these schools have higher unemployment rates and lower opinions of their education long after graduating.

The U.S. Department of Education has just drafted a proposed rule that’s meant to crack down on the for-profits. It’s called the “gainful employment rule” and would cut off federal aid to schools where a) too many students are defaulting on their loans or b) the debt burden of graduates is way out of line with their incomes.

But the for-profits are striking back, pointing out that — by the Education Department’s own statistics — 26 percent of graduates from public four-year colleges and 39 percent of grads from private four-year colleges are not “gainfully employed.” That’s an awful lot of college graduates, across all types of institutions, who have reason to ask: Was college worth it?

If … You Pick the Wrong Degree

What you study matters — a lot. The gap in average earnings by undergraduate major is just as wide as the gap between high school and college grads. They range from a high of $120,000 for petroleum engineers to a low of $29,000 for those who major in counseling psychology. Considering the average student debt burden is $29,400, that’s a big group of graduates whose degrees may not pay off.

Now, we’re not arguing that a college degree is a bad idea. It’s not. Let’s italicize that one: For most students, it’s not. Our point is, when it comes to bold, blanket statements about the value of a college degree and whether it will pay off … words like “always” and “never” aren’t helpful. Or true.

Opportunity Expo returns April 22

Source: Marysville Globe

TULALIP — The Marysville School District’s third annual Opportunity Expo is coming on Tuesday, April 22.

The Expo is a dynamic college and career fair designed to help prepare students for life after high school.

The event will take place at the Tulalip Resort Orca Ballroom and Chinook rooms from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

There will be three sessions for students — 8 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and noon — and one session open to parents, students, staff and community members at 1:45 p.m.

Marysville School District juniors will be bused to the morning sessions.

The Expo is provided through a partnership between the Marysville School District, the Tulalip Tribes, the Marysville Rotary and the Rotary Education Foundation.

More than 120 college, tech, trade, vocational, civic and military representatives will be in attendance, to help students prepare for their futures, and support them in their dreams and goals.

For more information, call 360-653-0800.

Opportunity Expo 2014 Save the Date

New Study Discusses Influencers on Indian Education

Arizona State UniversityHayden Lawn on the Tempe, Arizona campus of Arizona State University. ASU is among the universities named as influential by the recent study.
Arizona State University
Hayden Lawn on the Tempe, Arizona campus of Arizona State University. ASU is among the universities named as influential by the recent study.

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

A new study has put a spotlight on what organizations, universities and people influence American Indian/Alaska Native education the most.

The study, “For Our Children: A Study and Critical Discussion of the Influences on American Indian and Alaska Native Education Policy,” was done by Hollie J. Mackey, University of Oklahoma assistant professor of education, and Linda Sue Warner, special assistant to the president on Indian affairs at Northeastern A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma. Their intent was to “determine and describe the baseline influential studies, organizations, information sources, and people for American Indian/Alaska Native education policy through the lens of indigenous education experts in the field.”

The two studies they found to be most influential were first The Kennedy Report published in 1968 and the Merriam Report of 1928. The study points out how both studies have had an enduring role in Indian education legislation and policy.

“Unfortunately for Indian tribes, these reports, separated by nearly five decades, have similar recommendations. The conclusion would appear that similar problems remain identified and unsolved,” says the study. “The primary similarity between the two is Collier’s intention to promote economic rehabilitation as a means to tribal self-governance.”

John Collier was the Superintendent of Indian Affairs at the time who commissioned the Merriam Report. Congress’s response to the report was the Indian Reorganization Act.

The study found a number of organizations to be influential in Indian education, among them are the National Indian Education Association, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the National Congress of American Indians. All are non-profits.

“It is interesting to note that neither the Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education Programs or the Bureau of Indian Education, both largely responsible for financing Indian education, were included in participants’ responses as influential organizations,” says the study.

Haskell Indian Nations University was among the universities named as influential by the recent study. (
Haskell Indian Nations University was among the universities named as influential by the recent study. (

The study noted six highly influential universities in Indian education as well: Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona; Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas; Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, The Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania; The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

The study noted a number of influential sources of information for Indian eduction including the Journal of American Indian Education and the Tribal College Journal.

Websites and print media outlets were another source of influence noted by Mackey and Warner. The top websites were,, and Influential media outlets included The Gallup Independent, Heartbeat Alaska, Indian Country Today Media Network, Lakota Times, Navajo Times, and the Washington Post.

There was also a category for influential universities as sources of information. Those included Haskell Indian Nations University, Harvard University, The Pennsilvania State University, Stanford University, The University of California-Los Angeles (American Indian Studies Center), The University of Oklahoma. Federal agencies and offices as sources of information included the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Education; the Department of Education, Office of Indian Education; Mid-Continent Regional Education Lab; and the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.

Professor John Tippeconnic, Comanche and Cherokee, has been recognized as one of the most influential people in Indian education. (Arizona State University)
Professor John Tippeconnic, Comanche and Cherokee, has been recognized as one of the most influential people in Indian education. (Arizona State University)

A number of influential people were also named in the study including professors, tribal college administrators, K-12 administrators, political figures and federal employees and organization representatives. Some of those names include John Tippconnic, the Comanche and Cherokee director of the American Indian Studies department at Arizona State University, and Dr. Henrietta Mann, the founding president of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College. Political figures like former senator Byron Dorgan, who established the Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute.

“This study might begin a critical conversation about the education of American Indian and Alaskan Native students that would not only include them in the broader context of American education, but also provide insight into the people themselves; what they value, who they trust, and what is most influential and important to them in terms of the future of their children,” the study says. “It is our hope that our study will provide educators and scholars alike a snapshot of the state of influence in both policy and practice and will provide a catalyst for researchers beginning their careers.”

Read the full study, here.