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.

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.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

A festering problem Anchorage education leaders won’t acknowledge

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.


  • Sammy Adams says:

    I suspect when the CDC mandates the covid jab for school children, the ASD (and others) will hemorrhage more students.

    • david Boyle says:

      The unfortunate thing is that the low income parents will not be truly informed re the side effects such as myocarditis and will have their kids take the shot.

      • Richard Corbeil says:

        Sure they will. They have computers, a radio in their car, etc. Low-income parents are not homeless people living in a cardboard boxes.

  • Nicolas NB Bradley says:

    How much have Anchorage private schools grown over the past 5 years, or are they seeing similar results as public schools?

    • Richard Corbeil says:

      Good question. Through Raven, I now send my daughter to a private co-op school/home school. She is in class 2 days a week and home-schooled 3 days a week. The result is she is, she has 3 As and a B+ in the 4 core subjects.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    It’s about time that our leaders both in school and Juneau wake up to the fact that we are not wanting what they are demanding of us. The kids are the ones loosing the most. us older people know and deal with things. The mandate now for school kids to have the shot is the last straw. Our schools demand more money and our kids get dumber. They’re not learning anything in schools any longer. Home schooling is the only option for parents. It’s a parent’s right to know and follow their child’s advancement in learning. That just isn’t happening in Alaska any longer. I think the school districts need to reevaluate and change to make our children compete again. As we play this CRT garbage the rest of the world is getting so far ahead of us. I say look at Rome in the early years, they got too big for their britches and fell. Well America is there now. We are becoming that third world country Trump always talked about. On November 8th go vote, and prior to that find out who you’re voting for. Just because that person isn’t in your party doesn’t mean that you should elect a looser that will steal your PFD again. Vote responsibly – get rid of the dead wood.

  • Andy says:

    Let the system collapse, it appears it’s needed and where its headed, full steam ahead.

  • Akdale says:

    totally agree Andy. serves them right.

  • V says:

    Our homeschool family laughed hysterically when the birthrate decline “reasoning” was shared in a public forum. ASD is a joke and continues to spout jokes. Until they take their position in the community seriously, parents will and should continue to embrace following a different educational plan for their children. Homeschooling takes away unnecessary drama, waiting in lines (no joke), excessive paperwork, superfluous “busy work,” and puts the common core curriculum, a family nucleus, a moral compass and many other essential positives back into place for garnering a successful next generation of scholars. If ASD could see what a fast moving train wreck it has become, they would recognize that running full-force into these leftist, socialist ideals offers no enrichment to or for students. The goals of ASD seem to be to wring the local educational system, thus also community, dry – of the fundamental essentials a child needs in order to be respectful, professional, be held to a high academic standard and expected to embody a superlative work ethic. Instead, ASD appears to be focused on creating a robotic group of koolaid-colored, demoralizing goons, who are incapable of thinking for themselves outside of the liberal climate crayon box.

  • Rhonda says:

    I read the chance of a child dying from COVID is 1 in 0.99999 !