Education issues discussed at Native American Summit in Utah
Indian education was a big topic at Utah's fifth annual Native American Summit on Wednesday.

American Indians and Alaska Natives make up about 1.4 percent of the student population in the state. Only 58 percent were proficient in language arts, 42 percent in math and 39 percent in science, according to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Fewer than half of Indian students -- only 45 percent -- finish high school. And 41 percent are labeled "chronically absent," meaning they missed at least 20 days of school, The Deseret News reported.

"I don't want to excuse schools. Schools have a role that is crucial and we have to step forward," Superintendent Larry Shumway said at the summit, the paper reported. "But if we want to totally close the achievement gap, we have to close the engagement gap, where families are fully engaged."

Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who hosts the summit, plans to send a letter to all parents to become more involved in their childrens' education.

Get the Story:
Native American students straddle cultures, struggle in school (The Deseret News 9/2)