The column, "Utah falls short in dealing with at-risk students," by Natalie Gochnour was terrific (April 5). She is right to address a current Utah problem that should give us all cause for concern.

Our high school graduation rate ranks in the bottom half of the country. I have an extensive background in education as a public school teacher, three-time PTA president and on the Salt Lake school board for 12 years. I realize that the solution is difficult but also I believe that we need to make every effort to do more. Our young people absolutely deserve no less than our time and our best effort.

To quote Natalie: "As Utahns, we own these problems. We can pay now or pay a lot more later. These are our kids. These are our future. It's time to make them a priority." Many would agree that without an action plan we will pay later with higher levels of substance abuse, incarceration, unemployment and welfare payments.

Carolyn Kump

Salt Lake City