Attitudes and opinions of Navajo students toward Navajo language and culture programs in schools making AYP and those not making AYP
The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes and opinions of Navajo students toward the Navajo language and culture programs within the schools they were attending. Although in the final year of the No Child Left Behind, a majority of the 265 schools on and near the Navajo reservation have not been making Adequate Yearly Progress, a concern for the parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and the Navajo Nation. The study entailed conducting a survey at five schools; three of which were not meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind. The purpose of the survey instrument (27 questions) administered to the students at the five schools was to examine their attitudes and opinions as to participating in Navajo language and culture programs, to determine if the programs assisted them in their academic achievements, and to examine whether these programs actually made a difference for schools in their Adequate Yearly Progress requirement Approximately 87% of 99 Navajo students, 55 boys and 58 girls, ages 9 through 14, Grades 3 through 8, who lived off the reservation in Flagstaff, Arizona and Gallup, New Mexico, and took the survey knew and spoke Navajo, but less fluently and not to a great extent. However, the students endorsed learning Navajo and strongly agreed that the Navajo language and culture should be part of the curriculum. Historically there have been schools such as the Rock Point Community School, Rough Rock Demonstration School, Borrego Pass Community School, and Ramah Community School that have been successful in their implementation of bilingual programs. The question presently facing Navajo educators is what type of programs would be successful within the context of the No Child Left Behind federal legislation. Can there be replications of successful Navajo language and culture programs into schools that are not making Adequate Yearly Progress?