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Parents are petitioning the Anchorage School District for financial help as they take on the task of homeschooling their children this year. The district notified parents last week that schools would not be reopening for at least the first quarter of the upcoming academic year due to COVID-19 concerns. A petition at Change.org is now asking the district to send a homeschool stipend of $2,000 for each elementary student and $2,400 for each high school...

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On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states cannot prohibit tuition grants or scholarships to private religious schools if they award the same grants to secular private schools. The court’s ruling dealt with a state scholarship program in Montana which banned the use of taxpayer funds at religious or sectarian schools. The high court noted that states have the right to decide whether to fund private schools, but if they do, they...

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Much has been said about Alaskan student test scores lately. We now hold the honor of being dead last in literacy rates. That’s right, Alaska holds the red lantern of literacy as measured in the 4th and 8th grade. It’s time to have an honest conversation about education. Many people I know are teachers, whose pay and benefits have not kept up with the rest of the country and whose class sizes are 50% larger...

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Alaska’s high school graduates will be allowed to participate in small, heavily sanitized in-person graduation ceremonies under new COVID-19 health guidelines released from the state. An April 23 notice from the state’s Education Commissioner Michael Johnson lays out specific requirements for school district superintendents across Alaska. This includes virtual events and in-person ceremonies which could include drive-in or walk-through graduations. GUIDELINES FOR ALL EVENTS Groups of less than 20 people may meet with individuals maintaining...

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced April 9 that all of Alaska’s public and private K-12th grade schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year in order to protect students and the general public from the spread of COVID-19. Student learning will continue through distance and home education during this time. “The reason for this is we don’t know what this virus is going to do,” Dunleavy said during his daily press briefing....

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Earlier this month the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District published the final draft of its new policies on transgender students. It was going to be presented officially on March 17, but with the COVID-19 panic the meeting was canceled. It remains to be seen when it will be presented and approved by the board. As I will show below, it reaches a new low for the Fairbanks School District, which says a lot since...

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued his eighth health mandate for the State of Alaska, closing all private, religious and public schools until May 1 in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus. “Given the increasing concern for new cases of COVID-19 around Alaska, the purpose of this mandate is to limit all close contacts (people outside of a family unit) to be farther than six feet from each other to prevent the spread of the...

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In late 2019 Alaskans learned that, despite spending more than 1.6 billion dollars every year on education, our elementary and high school students ranked at the bottom in terms of national test scores, with only 39% proficient in reading and 36% proficient in math. In fourth grade reading, a key benchmark, Alaska ranked dead last among all 50 states. This is a remarkable state of affairs considering Alaska ranks in the top five states for...

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In 1978, the Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), otherwise known as the Hatch Amendment was passed after parents were shocked and outraged to learn that trusted teachers were using the classroom for therapy instead of education. Teachers pried into the private lives of students and their family by asking sensitive information about political, religious and personal beliefs. Little did parents realize that teachers would overstep their bounds once again by asking questions of a sexual nature...

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Governor Mike Dunleavy is highlighting the opportunities Alaskans have to send their children to private, public, charter, religious or home-schools. In observance of National School Choice Week the governor issued a proclamation in support of educational options across the state. “All children in Alaska should have access to the highest-quality education possible,” Dunleavy said in his Jan. 26 proclamation. “We must exercise creativity in providing a multitude of excellent educational options for parents to choose...