Money and control are the unspoken reasons behind an ongoing lawsuit that seeks to prohibit the State of Alaska from funding homeschool and private educational opportunities for the thousands of families that are forsaking the traditional government-school model.

This was the message from Gov. Mike Dunleavy during an April 17 press conference.

This conflict is not about genuine concerns that the correspondence program may violate the Alaska Constitution’s prohibition on public money “directly benefiting” private or religious institutions, according to the governor.

No, the foundational issue has to do with the fact that Alaska is undergoing a dramatic sea change with regard to how it delivers publicly-funded education. There are now more than 24,000 children enrolled in the state correspondence program which allows families to use homeschool allotments to secure private tutoring services and myriad courses and classes from private or religious schools and organizations. The failing neighborhood school is no longer the only option.

The reality is that the old guard detests the homeschool and private school movement, which so many more parents have embraced over the past few years.

The correspondence program has proved extremely popular among Alaskan families who, for numerous reasons, are fed up and disillusioned with the miserable state of Alaska’s brick-and-mortar government schools.

Left leaning teachers’ unions and the entrenched educational bureaucracy are now scrambling to maintain control of the money and resources which are now being diverted – by the hundreds of millions – to private organizations, individual families and alternative schooling entities that provide better outcomes and more inspired students. This includes job training, classical literature, music and arts and much more.

Alaska’s public education behemoth refuses to adapt and change with the times. With its considerable financial resources – enabled by a left-leaning media and numerous well-heeled, hard-left activist groups – the educational bureaucracy is fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain its iron-fisted grip on the way Alaska utilizes public funds for the educational benefit of society.

In Dunleavy’s own words: “So really this is a fight about control. There’s no doubt about it. It will be masked as a religious ‘direct benefit’ question, but in the end it’s really about who is going to control the educational programs for the state of Alaska and its kids.”

He then blasted the NEA and other establishment educators for only ever caring about money, while doggedly resisting reform efforts that might require real accountability or foster healthy competition.

“Unless it’s just a discussion on money, there is really no desire by some, including those that filed suit on this homeschool program to really care about how kids are educated,” he said.

Indeed, this entire legislative session has been one long appeal from union bosses, activists and administrators to convince lawmakers to pour unprecedented amounts of new money into our failing public school system – no strings attached.

The reality is that the old guard detests the homeschool and private school movement, which so many more parents have embraced over the past few years.

If the state is going to continue funding education, it needs to create competition. The old guard must feel the consequences of delivering a woke and embarrassingly lackluster product that many families want no part with.

It is our hope that Dunleavy will use the full weight of his office – as he has vowed to do – to fight this desperate attempt to shut down educational choice.

For those who wish to contact the governor as he continues this fight, he can be reached here

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EDITORIAL: In Alaska’s school choice showdown, Gov. Dunleavy says the quiet part aloud

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.


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Whew! Thank you Governor Dunleavy. Please keep standing for the People and the Children!

  • John J Otness says:

    I dont trust this guy as far as I could throw him….. He is a product of the NEA …

    • Elizabeth Henry says:

      Regardless, he is correct on the issue. Power, money and control. NEA and cohorts.

  • TRBorges says:

    Thank you for writing on this — I’ve heard from quite a few local parents who are relying on your incisive reporting perspective, above the fray. The overt implosion of the public school is more imminent with each passing day. Kudos to our Governor for seeing thru the muddled loyalties and bloated public system and addressing the core contention ~ family freedom is s a threat to someone. Loved seeing Senator Hughes’ courage, too – she is ready to defend her constituents.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Money, control, and add power. The activist judge was doing the bidding of the NEA. Truly educating students has little, if anything, to do with it. They, the globalist, elitist left, with a destroy America agenda, cannot stand that there are students they have no control over, and the numbers of those students has been growing. Pop over to Must Read to see the video clip of the invasion of Ecco-extremist students crashing an event in DC today. Products of our PS and university systems.

  • North to Alaska says:

    Praying they get a change in the constitution through the legislature this session so it can get on the ballot this fall. Looks like a good one may be coming out in the House Judiciary Committee. I’m not holding my breath for the senate to cooperate much unless Dunleavy holds their feet to the next election fire. A governor campaigning for your primary challenger is a potent weapon.

  • V says:

    What does he plan to do about it?

    How can we have religious freedom in America when, at a local level, that freedom is being twisted and taken away from us???

  • Kasey says:

    It’s indoctrination pure and simple. Light vs darkness. Who will have control of children’s minds/thinking/world view…the church or the gov’t? As schools decline academically and teach error, we see the result is more families enrolling in home and charter schools. Using the Biblical model, it’s the parents/church’s responsibility to instruct children, not the state. It’s a very obvious agenda, too! Just look at the fruit. One doesn’t want to believe this and I admit it took a long time for me to come around. I went to school in the 70’s and I recall parent’s being concerned THEN!

  • Mongo says:

    Only in government are you rewarded financially for bad performance.

  • Timothy M Cogdill says:

    Absolutely the truth.

    Can’t be any more simple then that, so now change the law and make it Constitutional.

    Thank you Governor.

  • Tracey says:

    My tax dollars should be used to fund religious schools. Send the kids to church, better yet, take them. Most of these kids are probably being bullied

  • Mike says:

    I graduated high school in 1968,almost every pickup in the student parking had a 22 rifle or a shot gun in the back window, there was never any chance of gun violence, we were taught respect for life at home and through out the community, this is an example of educational values. I suggest you take a pencil and paper (for those who know how to operate them) and list the names of the next 10 children you meet here in Alaska, assessment of there knowledge, there show of respect, ability to know right from wrong, and there willingness to choose right over wrong , you won’t need to ask which one’s were home schooled. it will be obvious.

    • Fernand Daussin says:

      We were exporting little gun violence to Southeast Asia at the time (1968) and about to elect a president in a landslide who was not particularly honorable it turned out. But, yes, kudos to those who care so much about their children to make the sacrifices necessary to homeschool.

  • Fernand J Daussin says:

    It’s interesting to see a comparison of the articles written about this subject by Dermot Cole (along with the comments) and this one. Check it out!

    Are you really surprised that everything is political and ideological? That humans are motivated by power and money? we’re capitalists

  • Fernand J Daussin says:

    Papa Pilgrim would have lived the voucher system!

  • Fernand J Daussin says:

    This is a distraction from important bills that need to be made into law, and I’m referring to HB254 and HB264.

  • Fernand J Daussin says:

    Is someone telling you you can’t homeschool your children or that you can’t send them to private school? They’re just saying you have to pay for it, is my understanding. As my excavator says – “it’s just money”. Of course, the authorities might want to see some results, that you’re not raising illiterates like Papa Pilgrim, and that’s where the trouble begins. Well, the best to you. Tough job to raise children proper AND have to teach them the three Rs.

  • Shelia says:

    A good friend of mine raised 5 children, home schooled them, and then found scholarships for them to attend college. All of the five now have advanced degrees and are very productive members of their communities. They have no student debts. She did not like the public schools agenda and so opted out. Parents must continue to have the right to educate their children. If the NEA is victorious, the battle for a just future will be lost. Governor Dunleavy, fight on!