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Audit questions New Mexico Indian education act

A legislative audit released on Tuesday questions New Mexico's Indian Education Act.

The act was passed in 2003 to include tribal culture and language in public school curriculum. But the law is "vague, overly ambitious and extremely difficult to implement," the audit by the Legislative Finance Committee states.

At a hearing, state lawmakers said they stood behind the intent of the law. But some questioned whether it placed too much emphasis on tribal culture without focusing on core subjects. They noted that Native student test performance continues to lag.

The audit compares the state to Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, states with significant populations of Native Americans. Native students in these states have higher test scores, fewer Natives in poverty, more tribal colleges and more Natives enrolled in schools.

Montana has its own Indian Education for All Act that is more clear and provides a better framework, the audit states.

Get the Story:
State lawmakers question Indian Education Act (The Farmington Daily Times 3/30)

Get the Audit:
Public Education Department Quick Response Review of Implementation of Indian Education Act (March 28, 2004)

Relevant Links:
New Mexico Public Education Department -

Related Stories:
New Mexico holds Indian education summit (12/20)