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Native American Students Receive Broadband Access and Tech Tools from Verizon Partnership

Native American Students Receive Broadband Access and Tech Tools from Verizon Partnership

Verizon Wireless has announced that it will partner with the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide over 1,000 Native American students at ten Bureau of Indian Education managed dormitories with connectivity to keep up with both STEM and their cultural heritage learning.

The announcement comes after an influx of recent concern that Native American children are getting left behind in education.

“[N[ative youth post the worst achievement scores and the lowest graduation rates of any student subgroup. Last school year 67 percent of American Indian students graduated from high school compared the national average of 80 percent. And many of their school facilities have been equally neglected, lacking even basic essentials such as heat and running water,” said US News.

As a result, over the past year, the federal government has made significant efforts to increase the quality of education for native children.

"Lawmakers signed off on a $19.2 million increase in fiscal 2015 for a school replacement and construction project, and also upped funding for tribally controlled schools by more than $14 million,” US News said.

Further efforts including reorganizing the Bureau of Indian Education itself, which oversees 183 schools across 24 states to serve 48,000 students, the article said.

The Bureau has a long history of scattered leadership and ineffective instruction and as a result only graduates 53 percent of the students it oversees.

The BIE’s partnership with Verizon is in an attempt to provide internet access and modern resources to native children to increase student learning and achievement

. Verizon will provide wireless broadband connectivity to eight of the tend dormitories being targeted by the end of this year.

Students will also receive wireless devices to run on Verizon’s provided broadband service through Microsoft; Microsoft will also be providing students with two years of free access to Office 365.

Research has proven tech to be significantly less effective without proper integration and training of teachers, so Verizon will also be partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in conjunction with Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian Country to help provide training and curriculum resources through a grant.

Read more about Verizon’s initiative here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/20/2015

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