Education in Indian Country: Running in Place
Lesli A. Maxwell begins her article with a scene: A 10-year-old boy running. He loves to do it. He is the arc around which she builds her story. Its truer purpose is education on Native American reservations. Many of them end up heavy drinkers and high school dropouts and if they don’t, it’s because they’ve committed suicide. Maxwell, by using Legend, explores the trends and social circumstance that land so many Native Americans in this place.
Maxwell divides the piece into 11 parts. They are separated by bold letters introducing a new section. She includes graphs for visuals and draws comparisons between Native American education trends and those of African Americans and Latinos. The first section: “American Indians Lose Ground” is rife with statistics that explain how four of the five poorest states in the country include Native American reservations. They hold the youngest population and the fewest jobs. The next section outlines trends of a reservation by way of personal accounts. The next section gets even more specific by referring back to Legend and his family. Maxwell writes about Legend’s mother and his asbestos-ridden school.
The turning point and where the solutions come in begin in a section called: “Moving the Needle.” The author analyzes potential solutions and efforts that are already being made. She interviews those who are trying to make those changes. One section outlines past attempts that have failed and why they did. The end of the article circles back to Legend and what and his peers look forward to in the future. This all of course depends on the success of these plans to improve their educations.