This is another guest post by Jianping (Corey) Yang, an anthropology student from Texas A&M who spent time in the Lybrook area this summer. You can read the introduction to these weekly guest posts HERE.


The school is very small, in terms of both its land area and student population. It is probably less than 180 by 180 feet, and judging from its number of students in each grade, it’s approximate number of students is about 120-150. [actually just over 100 students, grades K-8] Despite its remote location and small scale, the facilities are very good.

The school has a nice library. All the computers in the library are big-screen Apples. The classrooms are equipped with large-screen TVs and projectors. The copy machine is one of the best I have ever seen. There is a nice gym inside, which doubles as the cafeteria. One of things I like about this school is that there are pieces of these kids’ works of art decorating the hallways. To me, they represent the traditions of the native Indians and the innocence of these kids. One of the themes is the eagle, which seems to be an important element in the culture.

With the exception of the high dropout rate of high school students, I have little knowledge of the education of Navajo people. What I have found so far about Navajo education is the following statistics of the Office of Economic Development: “In 1990, there were 41,759 youth enrolled in public schools; 16,442 over 25 had concluded their education with a high school diploma; 41.3% were high school graduates with some additional education; and 3% had at least an undergraduate degree” (White 1998). The school days run Monday through Thursday. Another characteristic about this school is its bilingual education, which reflects the emphasis on the preservation of Navajo culture.

From my communication with the students and teachers, I am convinced that students in this school are as capable as any others in terms of schoolwork. But their future of course is determined by factors more than education itself, such as school location, family, and their interaction with the outside world. My impression, based on both statistics and on conversation with people here, is that it will require an improvement in education in order for the students to have a better future.


Reference: White, Kalvin G. 1998. Navajo Adolescent Cultural Identity and Depression. Ph.D Dissertation, The University of Utah.