It’s true that Anchorage is suffering from below-replacement birthrates and a dwindling population of school-age children, but that does not entirely explain why the school district has lost nearly 5,000 students in five years – going from 48,340 in FY17 to just 43,390 in FY22.
There’s something else afoot, which district leadership cannot or will not admit.
Parents have proactively removed their children from the district due to a litany of festering problems – poor math and reading scores, radical LGBTQ policies, parental rights concerns, and the growing insistence on weaving critical race theory ideas into the overall educational system.
One of the few Anchorage schools to grow over the past five years was the homeschool program – Family Partnership – where parents still have significant control. While the rest of the district lost students, this school nearly doubled in size, going from 672 in 2017-2018 to 1,235 in 2021-2022. Likewise, enrollment in statewide homeschool programs such as Raven, IDEA and others have ballooned with tens of thousands of new students now engaged in homeschooling – many of them are undoubtedly still living in Anchorage.
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Similarly, Anchorage private schools have reported strong enrollment numbers over the past couple of years.
The Anchorage School Board and district leaders need to admit the full diagnosis. If the district remains fixated on woke indoctrination while failing to teach basic reading and math, it will continue to hemorrhage students. Alaska parents have options – and they’re walking.
The views expressed here are those of the author.