Energized and hopeful, Blandin Foundation staffers Kyle Erickson and Becky LaPlant returned from “Learning and Teaching with Fire: Lessons from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges (TCU)” bubbling with new ideas for the future of equitable education in Minnesota.
Kyle reflected on his experience in a guest blog for the Minnesota Council on Foundation’s Philanthropy Potluck blog. Here are a few snippets…
Native Americans and African Americans have traveled a very different path through time and place in America. One area of shared experience for the two cultures is a history of governmental and societal policies and systems that have resulted in a largely inequitable educational experience for their young people.
He wrote about how TCUs are greatly improving the educational outlook for Native Americans.
With help from these institutions [TCUs], the number of Native Americans who have earned a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree has increased almost 250% over the last 20 years.
He then pointed out a number of successes TCUs have had in Minnesota.
- Place-based research that allows TCU students to learn while addressing local and regional problems ranging from diabetes treatment and prevention to aquifer management and alternative agriculture systems.
- Degree programs that meet community needs, including nursing, teacher education, and indigenous language studies.
- Creation of a comprehensive data reporting system (AIHEC AIMS) that ensure accountability to communities and funders, and provides a platform for continuous institutional improvement.
These successes and more have been achieved despite the overwhelming obstacles students face.
Nearly all TCU students fall into one or more of the “high risk” categories, and it’s not uncommon for a student to fit all of them, yet these institutions and their students are finding a path to success.
He closed with a hopeful message for the future.
If Minnesota aims to take equity in education seriously, this conversation will be the starting point of a larger, deeper body of work that will benefit Native American and non-Native learners alike.
For the full blog post, visit MCF’s Philanthropy Potluck blog.