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.


4 Responses to Beyond time to get worried

  1. Elizabeth April 28, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Money is certainly not the answer yet our decision makers in Juneau can’t seem to get that as almost every year they vote to increase the largess. Education in Alaska is a racket and even home education has become part of the gravy train as the public school system early on saw benefit in creating homeschool programs that would bring even more dollars into the coffer. Families that home school (the majority very successfully) spend a tiny fraction of the state per student expenditure. Those that do so privately spend their own funds and those that work with one of the public school programs still spend significantly less than the brick and mortar cost, as allotments for each year I believe are still under $3000, yet the district gets the same, or close to the same, funding for those students, hence they make even more money. It seems the cry is always ‘more, more, more’ yet the only thing that seems to change is the increase in cost. Perhaps we need to cut the education budget at least by a third and force some innovation and real change.

  2. Morrigan April 28, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Nothing is wrong with this picture, Mr. Editor.

    Remember, according to Alaska’s very own Labor Department, Alaska has but two growth industries, government and “health care”.

    To nurture the inevitable growth of government, a need for and a dependency on government must be manufactured and sustained.

    Alaska’s education industry, which needs a strong government in order to grow and prosper, is one result.

    Generations of functionally illiterate Alaskan children who depend on a paternalistic government to provide for them what they have not been taught to provide for themselves is another result.

    If one does not like the picture, perhaps one should commission a different artist, no?

  3. John London April 29, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Government will always produce more victims for the Victim Industrial Complex…..VIC (easy to remember)

    Hollywood, the Music and Media complexes are their henchmen and main propagandist. (talk about FAKE news? – How about FAKE world?.

    Now go party some more.

    Full speed ahead thru the icebergs.

  4. A M Johnson April 29, 2018 at 8:26 pm


    It’s been said before and now again 50 percent of students (may even be higher in some cases) are failing or struggling in reading comprehension. Without the ability to read entering the fourth grade the ability to achieve is diminished,. Lack of correct intervention with students or sadly, incorrect intervention curriculum failing in corrections for the struggling or failing usually leads to the practice of passing the student along and out the door if even that is achieved over dropping out
    The sad part is the embed fear or lack of caring that fourth grade and beyond.educators. Do not blow the whistle on K-third grade educators allowing year after year knowingly pass these students on to the next grade for fear of union retaliation.
    Never mind that these struggling and failin students usually end up out of frustration, class trouble makers acting out and in doing so take away valuable learning time from the class as a whole

    Adding tons of tax dollars year after year,always the chant to improve the system does not. It continues to trend in a continued downward spiral

    Woe to the outsider who challenged this desired status quo!!!
    The rath of the NEA and their allies ,the PTA made o
    Up of parents who have and encourage the successful 50 percent if there is a whiff of funding being allocated to the need of the struggling or failing students. Provincial hell will befall this sodden soul making the effort

    A M Johnson-(recalled school board member one of five,having made said effort)



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