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MPR: New Indian education director aims to address disparities

Filed Under: Education
More on: minnesota

"When it comes to discussing education, Dennis Olson has a few statistics memorized; numbers he says are 'unacceptable.' In Minnesota, the statewide high school graduation rate is 76 percent. Among American Indians it's 42 percent. The dropout rate for all students in Minnesota is 4.8 percent. For American Indians it's 18.8 percent.

Olson, a member a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, was named the new director of American Indian Education at the Minnesota Department of Education in September. He previously served as education commissioner for the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe.

Olson said one goal of his new job is to restore trust between Minnesota's 11 tribal communities--four Dakota/Lakota communities and seven Ojibwe bands--and the state education department. That trust was hurt, Olson said, with the absence of any person in his role at the agency for more than five years."

Get the Story:
Addressing disparities among Minn. American-Indian students (Minnesota Public Radio 11/13)

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