Fairbanks has amazing public schools and our community supports them. Alaska’s students and educators must have a say in how education policy works in our state, and I will continue to fight for their voices to be heard over politicians and special interests. I will fight for a public education system that is fully funded, and sets our students up to succeed. We must also restore cuts to our world-renowned university, an important economic and cultural investment. In Juneau I’ll fight for funding, for the voices of our educators, and for our students. I believe that working together, we can solve our problems.
Education in Alaska
I am a proud product of our Fairbanks school system, and today I work for our educators across Alaska at the National Educators Association. I am dedicated to their success, and the success of our students. While working for the NEA, I have traveled across Alaska, from Fairbanks to Utqiagvik, from Galena to Nenana, and I’ve seen the state our schools are in and the affect lower funding has on our rural, urban, and local schools.
Working for Alaska’s educators, I’ve seen the all too rapid turnover of our teachers. Less than 30% of the new teachers hired each year are educated here in Alaska; the rest are from Outside. We must prioritize training our own educators, so that we can stem the turnover, and keep our best and brightest here in our state doing this important work.
Our schools and students are too important to allow them to be a political football.
As legislators we cannot assume that we know all the answers to what is needed in our classrooms. We must ask those who are on the front lines what they need in the classrooms. This includes our educators, parents, and students. From testing requirements, to funding needs to training; if we ask and listen first, we’ll have a great start on giving our children the education they deserve.
While we must work tirelessly to improve our K-12 schools, we also need to recognize that early childhood education is the key to giving our students the start they need. But it doesn’t stop there. Alaska must restore the cuts to our university system so it can continue to be the international leader that it has been and continue to educate generations of Alaskans.