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Early Childhood Education Linked to Long-Term Education Attainment

American Indian College Fund
·3 min read

American Indian College Fund to Strengthen Early Childhood Teacher Pipeline with Support from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Denver, Colo., Jan. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Early childhood education can help close the college education attainment gap among American Indians and Alaska Natives—which is currently less than half of other groups at 14.8%—by improving students’ academic achievement, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Thanks to a two-year, $600,000 grant from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the American Indian College Fund will help tribal college communities strengthen and expand the pipeline for Native teachers through its Indigenous Early Childhood Education Systemic Engagement and ECE Learning in Native American Communities program.

Native teachers serve as critical role models engendering the success of young Native American students, while understanding the unique needs of their students. In addition to improving young children’s long-term educational attainment, early childhood education can also reduce the need for special education and increase employment and earnings, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The American Indian College Fund’s two-year systemic engagement program will provide program mentorship between tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and their students and will help increase TCUs’ capacity to address and eliminate barriers for Native American college students seeking a degree in early childhood education. The systemic engagement program will support dissemination of new knowledge and methods of culturally centered early childhood education in tribal college communities. The program began November 1, 2020.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund said, “Native people know that our children come to us from a sacred place and that their socialization is critical to their own well-being and to the well-being of tribal nations. We appreciate our partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation because it results in our TCUs adapting our teachings and practices into modern infrastructure, demonstrating resiliency and commitment to kinship and identity.”

About The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

About the American Indian College Fund—The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 31 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer" and provided $9.25 million in scholarships to American Indian students in 2019-20, with scholarships, program, and community support totaling over $237 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

Journalists: The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use the College Fund.

CONTACT: Dina Horwedel American Indian College Fund 303-430-5350 dhorwedel@collegefund.org