Sociology, Department of


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Published in SOCIOLOGICAL FOCUS 39:1 (February 2006), pp. 55-74. Copyright 2006 by The North Central Sociological Association.


Educational research has explored the impact of culture and the linkage of families and communities to schools on student achievement among minority students. Little focus, however, has been placed on the family/community interactions with schools among culturally distinctive populations such as American Indians and students' perceptions of the educational process. This exploratory research examined the state of education from the perspective of American Indian young adults from various tribes in Nebraska. Instead of focusing on educational achievement, the emphasis of most educational research relating to American Indians, this study explored the model of education in existence. Additionally, researchers explored the respondents' interpretations of the role of culture and language in the public school system and its link to the family/community/school interaction. Qualitative thematic analyses of the responses highlight themes of an educational system that largely ignores American Indians' unique cultural and educational needs and represents a separate sphere from the community and family.

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