ISER Publication - Alaska Native-Focused Teacher Preparation Programs (CAEPR Research Summary)
There are too few indigenous teachers in Alaska, as fewer than 5% of Alaska’s certified teachers are Alaska Native. However, Alaska’s Indigenous students make up 80% of student enrollment in the state’s rural schools, and over 22% of the school population statewide. Moreover, 74 % of teachers hired by Alaska’s public schools come from outside the state. Teachers new to rural Alaska typically remain on the job just one or two years, and high turnover rates in Alaska are strongly correlated with poorer student learning outcomes (Hill & Hirshberg, 2013). Many community and education leaders believe rural schools could benefit from having more Indigenous teachers, because they would likely stay on the job longer, be more familiar with their students’ communities and cultures, and provide more powerful role models for Alaska Native students. This paper discusses why Indigenous teachers are important, and provides an overview of the initiatives from the past four decades aimed at preparing Alaska Native teachers.