Beyond time to get worried
It is beyond time for Alaskans to get worried about education in this state.
The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, completed in 2017, should give us all the shivers. It showed a significant drop in scores, the Alaska Policy Forum reports.
The NAEP is a U.S. Department of Education assessment conducted every odd-numbered year to measure student skills in several subjects over a variety of different school grades throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
While most states test their students in reading, math, civics, geography, music and conomics at fourth-, eighth- and 12th-grade levels, Alaska tests at the minimum level, measuring only fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math levels.
Even at that, the testing showed Alaska posted the largest decline in overall test scores of any state between 2015 and 2017 and was dead last, 51st, in several categories. We are left to wonder what the picture would be if the state tested as thoroughly as other states.
That Alaska’s scores are so bad is hard to imagine. This state spends more than $2.5 billion annually – about $20,000 per student – on K-12 education, near the top of states in such spending. Yet, it always ranks near the bottom in educational outcome. That is a lot of money for not much. Why? is the question. Not enough funding always is the education establishment’s answer. What is wrong with this picture?
The Alaska Policy Forum’s piece is an eye-opening must-read.