At its April 19 meeting, the Fairbanks School Board began early consideration of a policy change that would require the district’s superintendent and educational administrators to support teachers who wish to explore controversial issues during classroom discussion.

The move comes on the heels of highly divisive curriculum changes the district has introduced in recent years, pushing LGBTQ themes, explicit sexual education, and many elements of critical race theory philosophy. For those who fail to embrace this agenda, the district has discussed ways of mandating compliance.

“The district supports that students should have developmentally-appropriate opportunities to discuss and study controversial issues which have economic, political or social significance in the adopted curriculum,” the proposed policy change notes. “The superintendent/administrator shall support teachers in developing an awareness of controversial issues in the context of curriculum, and in developing strategies for managing discussion of controversial topics while promoting civil discourse in our classrooms.”

As the district continues to push the most divisive elements of the political and cultural left, many parents have simply pulled their children from the public school system.

In addition to empowering teachers to disseminate controversial topics into the study of history, culture, politics and other topics, the new policy directs the district to “help students learn how to gather, organize and evaluate facts,” and to “discern between facts and opinion.”

In drafting the proposed policy change, the Fairbanks Policy Committee debated the changes for several months. In a recent Curriculum Committee meeting the district’s Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Chane Beam told the committee members that the real aim behind the controversial issues change wasn’t really to teach objectionable material, but just to challenge students intellectually.

Beam claimed the main reason to bring up controversial issues was to acquire critical thinking skills.

“The district supports the whole idea of students looking at controversial issues,” he said at a December meeting. “There’s nothing wrong with it, and the district wants kids to do that.”

“The study of controversial issues isn’t about the controversial issues,” he added. “It’s about the skills that go along with that.”

In truth, the district has been very clear about what it wants students to embrace when it comes to controversial topics, and it is actively engaged in training staff to fully embrace its agenda through district-sponsored Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshops.

As the district continues to push the most divisive elements of the political and cultural left, many parents have simply pulled their children from the public school system. Recently, the district announced that, due to falling enrollment, it had to fire 70 teachers and shutter three schools.

Meanwhile, area homeschooling programs are experiencing a massive surge in enrollment.


— Click here to see a list of state-funded homeschool options available to Alaska families.

— Click here to contact members of the Fairbanks School Board.

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Fairbanks educators want backing to teach ‘controversial issues’ to kids

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • John Ronsonol says:

    I don’t see anything educational about any of this, it looks more like indoctrination disguised as educational material, based on that I am suspect of any educator or school board attempting to force this on a child, it isn’t right especially the sex education curriculum and the pornography books that have been making their way in to other schools nationwide. I applaud the Fairbanks parents for the wisdom to home-school, there is no way in hell would I allow a adult to “teach” sex to my child and if Fairbanks schools allow this then folks better be looking real hard at who is allowing it and their motives.

  • Steve Peterson says:

    It’s becoming an oft heard axiom: “Go woke, go broke.”