State Sen. Loki Tobin (D-Anchorage) blasted her fellow lawmakers who are wary of pumping hundreds of millions in additional funding into Alaska’s failing public education system without added accountability measures.

Tobin’s Feb. 13 speech on the Senate Floor echoed teacher union talking points which have have flooded lawmakers phones, emails and offices over the past two weeks. Specifically, they want at least $250 million more in public education spending.

Others, however, point to the latest round of statewide assessments, which show that the vast majority of public school students have failed to master basic reading or math skills. This has spurred lawmakers and education reform advocates to demand greater accountability before any additional money is poured into Alaska’s struggling education system.

“So let’s stop using the false narrative of more accountability in our schools to justify not doing our job.”

Alaska Sen. Loki Tobin (D-Anchorage)

Tobin, who chairs the Senate Education Committee and is a leading advocate behind the controversial education funding bill (SB 52), does not want to hear about more accountability.

“Mr. President, over this past week, we’ve been hearing the need for more accountability before we can adequately fund education,” she said. “It’s a weird rallying cry. What does more accountability actually mean? So far, nobody has really been able to define it. So let me try to unpack it.”

In Tobin’s estimation, accountability is not so much about tying funding to actual performance, as it is making sure lawmakers are accountable to approve additional spending.

She claimed Alaska’s schools are already accountable because they participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as NAEP.

“This data is publicly available, and used by local teachers, principals, superintendents and local school boards because it’s at the local level that these tools have efficacy, Mr. President,” Tobin said.

What she didn’t mention is that NAEP scores reveal that the vast majority of Alaska’s students are not proficient in either reading or math.

While Tobin briefly noted her “disappointment” in the data, she said Alaska already has adequate accountability through the recently passed Alaska Reads Act, which she said is already “chocked full of accountability measures.” Passed last year, the Act has not yet been implemented, but it does contain a number of accountability measures related to reading performance.

Ultimately, though, Tobin said she doesn’t ascribe to the whole notion of assessment tests as a means of holding schools accountable.

“Personally, I don’t like talking about third-grade reading scores on a statewide level,” she said. “I find it disingenuous.”

Ultimately, Tobin thinks those who call for educational accountably are disingenuous.

“When I hear we need more accountability in our public schools, Mr. President, I hear a thinly veiled political talking point that demands we defund education,” she asserted. “So let’s stop using the false narrative of more accountability in our schools to justify not doing our job.”

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AK lawmaker demands more educational funds, while deriding calls for greater accountability

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.


  • JOn and Ruth Ewig says:

    We want our statutory PFD. We cannot afford this extravagance.

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    We heard that many of union members flew down to lobby to take most of our PFD to pay for their failing public schools. We cannot afford to fly down like they did probably using union money to pay for their trip to Juneau. We were our full statutory PFD.

    • Lobo says:

      Another example of why they do not want to move the capitol to the more inland regions .. We might show up, and educate them.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    What you entice them with they come to expect!
    Question for you Loki , we’re you born as an American citizen? Yes or No . If your answer is no then I assume that you legally became a citizen. If this is correct then as an American citizen myself I say welcome here and also your welcome. A wonderful principle of the US is that your work is a large contribution towards your success! And thereby failure should not be rewarded! Hopefully this makes sense and needs to also be applied to a failed public school system!!!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Shaming and trying to make people feel like failures for not going along with the globalist takedown agenda of draining everyone’s pockets is really common among the demorats. Encouraging to hear that senators are hesitant to give more to the failing educational system. But, you watch, in the end, the demorats will get the money and drain more money out of people’s pockets, indoctrinate your children even more and turn out children that cannot read or write.

  • Bob Logan says:

    Our local school had 120 students a decade ago. We parked outside last year on the student count day and it was 34. They say it’s more, but population has increased out here and enrollment has crashed because homeschool is exploding. We don’t do correspondence school, which the school district deceptively calls home school. We don’t get a penny of government dough. Because we do not want to be supervised by people performing at the lowest level nationwide. The kids need permanent funds to invest for college.

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    School Choice is the way to have accountability. Write a bill that allows for state funding to go to the parents through a free market system. What a novel idea. We have a statutory PFD which should not be diverted to legislators and others who do not recognize a serious problem.
    The unelected union leaders NEA and the labor unions get their marching orders from the” Swamp” not from the local communities. The Marxist/Communist way is to demoralize us through brainwashing and tearing down the families?
    Should we be funding the LGBTQ movement? Should we be funding the educators from college on down who are trying to pervert our students? Should we fund the lack of a moral structure being taught? Should we be funding an absence of academics in our government schools? No more funding for education unless it is done under our communitys’ standard, not the NEA bullies lack of standard.
    We want our full statutory PFD.

    • Elizabeth Henry says:

      Ruth – I completely agree and my thoughts as well. We are being forced to fund a host of agendas having nothing to do with academics. School choice, by virtue of competition, allows for better accountability.

  • Theresa says:

    Can anybody make graph which details bonds that passed and money that went into the Public schools alongside the state assessment performance levels? That would be interesting to see. Have performance levels ever improved following an influx of cash?

  • micah6v8 says:

    How about we cut government school funding and encourage charter schools, vocational training and homeschooling?

  • Justin Michesloff says:

    Here’s one to consider, would Ms. Tobin invest her personal money in this fashion? Seriously, when we invest personally, results are vital for us to continue in that investment. If the returns are not there, we quickly and purposefully move our investments elsewhere. School teacher tenure and the lack of result accountability has led us to where we are today. No free market job has toleration for poor performance. Let’s stick to the known financial standard when dealing with state finances as this is the people’s money.

  • Lady Donna says:

    They want PFD money and are failing Anchorage students with their incompetence. Just Say No. I wonder what the lawmakers that support taking PFD money, in order to funnel funds to the criminally incompetent ASD, have to say about the DOJ report that came out this week. Can we get more info on this DOJ investigation on the Anchorage School District?

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      This is pretty shocking to read, “When a student is placed in seclusion for threatening themselves or another person, they go into an empty room that has a door and a lock on the outside and cameras inside. A staff member or administrator is outside the door monitoring the student to ensure their safety. ” Is the school qualified to treat students as behavioral health patients?

      • Lady Donna says:

        Agreed. Especially when what the staff did lead to, “It also found that some students who were put into seclusion harmed themselves and some expressed suicidal thoughts.” So instead of educating students, they are contributing to the suicide rate of students. Therefore rewarding ASD with additional PFD millions – the ASD needs their budget slashed and held fully accountable for the maltreatment of the children in their academic care.

  • Lady Donna says:

    Agreed. Especially when what the staff did lead to, “It also found that some students who were put into seclusion harmed themselves and some expressed suicidal thoughts.” So instead of educating students, they are contributing to the suicide rate of students. Therefore instead of rewarding ASD with additional PFD millions – the ASD needs their budget slashed and held fully accountable for the maltreatment of the children in their academic care.

  • Ed Zehrung says:

    most Democrats and sadly some “Republicans” have been bought and paid for by unions and so of course cannot accept true accountability in anything.

  • Pat Gapinski says:

    ASD wants more money without accountability, yet they can spend taxpayers money to bail out the Teamster Pension Fund. They need to be held accountable with an independant oversite commitee to investigate where all this money they receive goes to and what and if it is truely spent on the students. They want to take money away from people who need it more, it’s time they learn how to budget on less.

  • Teresa says:

    parent’s are pulling their children out of woke public schools @ a very noticable rate.
    we need educators in reading, writing & mathematics, not teachers/schools pushing ” their agenda” on our children.

  • Rebecca L Hinsberger says:

    Accountability, to me, means examining the material that this 250 million is purchasing. One of the main things it is financing is a new unneeded curriculum, being bought for Alaska’s elementary schools, called CKLA which teaches the philosophy of perrenialism to our small children! It’s a reading program with a belief system woven through it. Ever wonder how our kids get taught about gender issues and critical race theory? It’s not just library books, it’s the curriculum, itself! And this one is available in school district offices for viewing. I talked with a local elementary school teacher this weekend who is fighting to keep the current reading curriculum in place, which she says is just fine. No need to spend money on new curriculums! And this CKLA curriculum, whith its perrenial approach says it is fact based on eternal metaphysical and spiritual truths! It teaches that all religions emmanate from the same source. One of the chapters affirms evolution. Race equality, and the list goes on. Who decided Alaska schools need this new philosophy taught through reading curriculums to small children??? This female legislator who is telling us that accountability is an excuse and a smokescreen to prevent providing much needed new material is not telling the truth. The truth is, she wants to re-educate our children to embrace perrenialism, which in itself is a lie! Please parents, go to your school district offices and ask to see this new curriculum. The teacher said to check the assessment part of it, too. She says its a battle only parents can fight and win. She can only inform.