DEMOCRATS WANT ANOTHER $25 MILLION FOR EDUCATION
The results of national student test scores are out, and it was not a good report card for Alaska.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, testing of fourth-graders and eighth-graders, show that Alaska’s students have slipped in both math and reading. Again.
Alaska, long at the bottom in school performance, has slipped further since 2015, the last time the test was administered.
Fourth-grade students were below average in both reading and math. Alaska fourth grade students slipped six points in their math scores, the worst drop in the country. A sample chart of Alaska compared to the rest of the country is shown here:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only national test of what students know and can do. The federal government requires state participation in NAEP reading and mathematics assessments in grades 4 and 8 every other year to establish the common measure of student achievement. Only statewide results are reported.
DEMOCRATS WANT MORE FOR EDUCATION
Although Alaska spends more per student than any other state except New York, Rep. Les Gara and 10 other House Democrats say it’s not enough. They propose raising the base per-student spending.
HB 339 would add $100 per student per year to the education budget, a $25 million increase that would be added to the budget that the House already passed and sent over to the Senate.
The current budget that is under consideration offers flat funding for K-12 education in Alaska.
Proponents of the additional funding say that student enrollment is up and flat funding represents a decrease.
But in fact, in most parts of Alaska, student enrollment is down. Anchorage has lost over 715 students — the equivalent of two elementary schools.
A hearing on HB 339 is scheduled for 1:30 pm Wednesday in House Finance Committee.