All sides of the educational debate are now forced to admit that most government-run schools in Alaska are an abysmal failure. Every new study reinforces the fact that Alaska students continue to languish at the bottom of the pile in terms of basic – yes basic – reading and math.

Exasperated parents have pulled tens of thousands of kids out of traditional public schools in favor of home or private education. They demand alternatives to the calcified and failing status quo.

Alaska’s public teachers’ union – NEA-Alaska – knows it’s in trouble. State-run schools are closing across the state, as students flee and thereby reduce the cash available to the public school apparatus.

As expected, NEA has two tired responses: beg and bully state lawmakers to give public schools more money for fewer students, and make it far more difficult (or impossible) for parents to opt their children out of the disastrous government school system.

As things stand today, parents can still use state correspondence funds to pay for private teachers or private classes for their children. This is a major threat to the massive flow of public funds that the NEA has long enjoyed. In fact, it is fundamentally altering Alaska’s educational landscape.

To stop this trend in its tracks, the NEA is now helping to fund a lawsuit that would severely limit the freedoms Alaska families have when it comes to hiring teachers and enrolling children in private classes that best meet the educational needs of students.

This is nothing less than an aging and wounded beast, desperately lashing out to satiate its inordinate and destructive appetite. We mustn’t capitulate.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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NEA-Alaska’s vision is a tired and disastrous nightmare for our 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.