With Democrats controlling the Alaska State Senate, and a narrowly divided State House, activists are mobilizing all their considerable resources to push through Senate Bill 52 which includes a massive $250 million increase for government-run schools.

Peddling the same tired, worn-out arguments, they claim that if we spent millions more, Alaska’s children might actually learn basic reading and math. If only schools had additional administrators, programs, interventions, trainings, nurses, psychologists, teachers, school buildings and an ever-larger overall apparatus, then – and only then – kids might succeed.

They claim that the $20,000 in state, federal and local money which Alaska currently spends on each and every student is simply not enough. Lack of funds is why 77% of public school students fail math, while another 70% can’t read at grade level.

In truth, money is not the problem. Our public schools have simply lost whatever ability they once had to impart an average education. Rather than teaching kids about American history, great literature and rigorous and compelling math and science, career educators spend their time focused on finding ways to expand explicit sex ed, critical race theory, modern psycho-therapy and LGBTQ and equity initiatives. At the same time, they have placed an emphasis acquiring the most rudimentary skills rather than teaching inspired and proven content.

Instead of approving historic increases in new funding, Alaska lawmakers and Gov. Dunleavy should focus on demanding accountability and expanding educational options for Alaskan families. How about increasing charter and homeschool programs or incentivizing boroughs to offer property tax breaks for residents who set aside money to privately educate their children?

We could also attempt to pass a constitutional amendment that allows the state to directly partner with private schools in the delivery of education.

For too long, Alaska has capitulated to the demands of a massive, unionized public educational juggernaut, which deliberately stifles competition and produces dismal results. Pumping hundreds of millions more into this objectively failing system is not, as State Senators Gary Stevens and Loki Tobin claim, a “bold approach” to improving schools. It’s a disastrous recipe for sustained failure.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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OPINION: Alaska’s disastrous public schools need competition, not a $250M bonus

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.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Again I say AMEN! Gary Steven’s shouldn’t even be in Juneau. I remember when he was to go to jail but uncle Ted got him out and then moved him was it Kodiak and out of the lime light till things calmed down some. Well here we are back bowing to the Steven’s Clan. We can’t fix schools without fixing government first. Now, look at all the RINO’s this year. At least district 27 was it tried to through their looser out. What about the rest of them? Ok back on the subject. For years I’ve said throwing good money after a bad investment wasn’t a good plan. Here we are and the school district wants another $250 million. WHEN will it stop? We have a proven record money hasn’t fixed the problem in the past. WHY, keep feeding a fire you can’t get warm from? It’s time to build a new fire or school curriculum. What we have isn’t working people. As I see it. the administration and district get pay raises and everything they want but the teachers get NOTHING. The teachers put up with your unruly kids all day and are expected to teach them something. Most of the crap they teach isn’t worth a hill of beans. Teachers need to teach life skills. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. I can’t get change at Taco Bell or the Dollar store because your kid can’t count. went I ask for a quarter for the hand full of nickles I got for change and told I’m trying to rob the place I’m not a happy camper. I say NO MORE MONEY. Show me a change and we’ll talk about money and NOT BEFORE!

  • Lobo says:

    I agree with that.. I might also suggest changing the title from ‘Public School” to ………………….

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    We want our full statutory PFD. We cannot afford what the union demands.

    • Lobo says:

      I agree, and the union,.. any union,.. should not be involved in the education processes what so ever.

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    Consider that the Leftists/Marxists who have taken over our Senate are giving us their input and Marxists do not have any moral standard and hate the free market and hate God. Karl Marx knew God and hated Him. This means that they will hate School Choice which takes the leftist/Marxist controlled unions out of the equation and puts the parents and families and in control. These atheists do not care about Alaskan citizens just control. Critical Race Theory and LGBTQ are Marxist ideologies and teach our children to hate just as Marxists hate. The senate majority is made up of these ideologues that do not listen to us. We want our full statutory PFD. We cannot afford the union demands no matter how much they get in all of our faces.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    This battle will never be won by obeying the oppositions rules of engagement! I’ll let you all ponder that and then hopefully you will begin to think out side of the box and pursue effective means.
    Hint::::: James Okeef

  • Sharon says:

    School choice for parents

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    I would absolutely not keep my children in the Anchorage School district. If every thinking or caring parent removed their kids, it would be heard. It is stunning that so many just tolerate – ‘oh it will get better’ or they are just completely clueless to what is happening in the district. Maybe paper copies of these gender policies should be handed out on street corners and put on bulletin boards everywhere. It will not get better until parents do something to protect their own kids.

  • Steve Peterson says:

    Public school funding is the Ukraine of Alaska: tons of money poured down a sewer hole only to poison us later.