A blow to education: Family Partnership principal resigns after school district breaks faith

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By DAVID BOYLE

After being misled by Anchorage School Superintendent Jarrett Bryantt about the future of the most successful school in the district, Dr. Jessica Parker has resigned as principal of the Family Partnership Correspondence School.

Her resignation resulted from several months of being beaten down by the Anchorage School District administration.

It’s a complicated story that began when the school district decided to pull the charter from the school and take it over, converting it to a correspondence school. The administration then decided to change the rules of the game to benefit the district financially, while disrupting students’ education.

Dr. Parker said she had had enough and tendered her resignation. Her last day will be Aug. 25.

Parker said, “It feels free!”

She told MRAK she was “disappointed in the changes made in the private school decision by the district.” 

Due to the district’s unique and new interpretations of the law and the Alaska Constitution, the Anchorage School District only allows a student to be part-time at a private school to receive state funding. If the student is full-time at a private school, the parent loses all the allotment funding.  This makes it costly for parents to choose full-time private school education and has the effect of forcing less wealthy students back into the failing public schools in Anchorage, where proficiency scores are shocking.

The district still counts full-time private school students in its daily attendance count which it sends to the state. And the state still funds the district for that student, who is not attending public school.

Parker will work as the superintendent of the Mountain City Christian Academy, formerly the Anchorage Christian School. She feels that she has the freedom to work with an organization that aligns with her values and can help all students excel in their studies.

As a result of the actions of Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt, the FPCS has lost nearly 600 students of the 1,750 students who were enrolled last year. Another 200 students’ parents are waiting for a decision from the ASD administration to hear about the yearly rollover of their allotment dollars.

Parents have banked thousands of dollars into these rollover allotment accounts so they can help their children get more costly courses when they get to high school.

But the Anchorage School District apparently doesn’t want to communicate with any of the parents. Parents have asked the ASD questions but have received no responses, Must Read Alaska has learned.

The Family Partnership Correspondence School has gone from the charter school with the best private school policy to what some argue is the worst correspondence school.

There is some good news:  FPCS parents can enroll their children in the MatSu Central Charter School and the Raven Correspondence School and still receive non-sectarian classes in private schools.

More than 600 additional enrollments appear to be occurring in that program that is run under the neighboring community’s school policy, which honors the allotment that students are awarded by state law, unlike the Anchorage School District. Full enrollment numbers won’t be known until late September and the final attendance numbers are reported out in October.

The Anchorage School District broke its promise to parents, students, and the Anchorage community. In a letter in April, Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt wrote, “Above all, I want you and FPCS to be successful. Your school offers something special and unique to Anchorage. Dissolving the Academic Policy Committee was an unfortunate but necessary step to double down on student outcomes and learning as our focus.”

It appears Bryantt is instead doubling down on taking the parents’ allotment money.

David Boyle is the education writer for Must Read Alaska.

42 COMMENTS

  1. “There is some good news: FPCS parents can enroll their children in the MatSu Central Charter School and the Raven Correspondence School and still receive non-sectarian classes in private schools.”

    Thank you for pointing this out.

  2. The Alaska Gateway School superintendent went to war against the homeschool kids for a decade. Under the idea that doing so would force kids into the public school where the district receives around $40,000/ year versus $7500 for correspondence. Of course that isn’t the case as homeschool parents know how the public school fails at all things and use some other districts correspondence program, costing the AGSD. But he was very successful. He ran off enough homeschoolers so that it was down to near 25 kids versus near a hundred before he waged his war against kids. But last fall he tried a killing blow to the homeschoolers which led to the president of the school board being recalled and him being fired this last spring.

  3. If there was a cap placed on the salaries of high level administration of ASD, the problem would be solved. And our children would stand a chance of a better education. The whole problem is that it is just a money grab. We need people dedicated to education, not their bank account.

  4. Our “jr” superintendent evidently is not a man of his word.
    Needs to be fired immediately.!

  5. Is there a way to have the State look into what’s going on so that the funding follows the student instead of continuing to fork it over to the ASD? It seems that if the student is not enrolled at ASD, then ASD is not entitled to any funding for said student.

  6. Galena offers a quality homeschool course. Parents in Quinhagak have found out that the purchase of a Starlink Dish and the monthly bill are qualified for purchase with funds through the program.

    • Correspondence schools can and do give parents a great deal of Constitutionally protected leeway in choosing curricula – even Bible classes not paid for by a school district can count as electives toward a State diploma. We homeschooled our son through Raven this way – and he scored very highly on the HSGQE.

    • The AK Constitution prohibition is moot based on the 2020 SCOTUS Espinoza v Montana Department of Revenue. That opinion overturned a similar provision in MT’s state constitution prohibiting use of state funds for private religious schools. It is applicable nationwide. Dunleavy et al and the legislature have chosen to ignore it. Cheers –

      ‘https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-1195_g314.pdf

  7. So, things we’ve learned. Keep in mind, much of this will be redundant.

    -Bryantt is a liar along with being incompetent.

    -the whole purpose of this charade was to crush the only working part of ADS.

    -NEA and most public school teachers are unwilling and incapable of actually educating children.

    -ADS has validated their incompetence by moving against the once school that showed it IS possible to teach.

    -Unions hate competition in education.

    -Public school is one of the worst forms of child abuse in America.

    -Anchorage school board has more contempt for parents than originally thought. This is staggering since they openly hated parents already.

  8. I just don’t get it ! My kids are grown, but I have grandkids. These children are our future ! I am so disgusted with ASD and the apathy of so called supers who have turned their backs on education !! Homeschool your kids mom and dad.

  9. ASD should hang their heads in shame for putting the dollars ahead of students well being!!! They have stooped to another level of stupidity!!!

  10. What can be done? Honestly, not much at this stage. But the things parents can try include;

    -Get your kids out of ASD. Immediately. Private, home school, move out of town if necessary. Yes it’s expensive and you shouldn’t have to do it, but it’s time to face harsh realities.

    -Take a page out of the progressive handbook and go full blown lawfare on ADS, the board, and Bryantt in particular. Sue them as a group for anything and everything under the sun. Doesn’t matter its validity, just sue them.

    -Someone go find our useless Governor’s current safe space and light a fire under his inept backside. What can he do? Probably nothing, but find out by making his life hell. What will he do? What he does best-run and hide again.

    -Take another page from the Progressives handbook. Start bringing out of state attention to this. From Breitbart to Campus Reform to FIRE, spread the word outside. Cockroaches hate light. Shine it all over them.

    -Most of all, get active in your kids schools. Don’t give me “I’m too busy” line so many conservatives like to hide behind. If you’re too busy for your kids, you (not they) deserve what comes next. Flood the PTA, the school board meetings, your local state representatives, even our useless federal officials.

    Most important of all, vote in numbers too big to ignore. There are as many voters in Anchorage who have kids or grandchildren in that failure of a school system as there are childless liberals. Vote like it.

  11. Oh please. Yes ASD admin is breaking their promises, but the reality is that the principal and certain former APC board members were the demise of this school. ASD would have never pulled the charter if it weren’t for the bad dishonest behavior of the schools admin and governing board. .

  12. Do away with all public schooling. They’ve shown their hand. It’s not education anymore it’s about grooming children. Parents know best; parents have always known best. Take your kids out of the public system, and vote to remove all funding for the public system. Tear it all down.

  13. Anchorage school board is a duplicate of the Anchorage assembly and hiring Jharrett Bryantt was exactly what they wanted. Leftists destroy everything.

  14. News reports say that Alaska is the worst in the nation, for student attendance. It sounds like Mr. Texas Wrecking Ball is doing a good job, at wrecking Alaska Education. Send him home.
    Let him go wreck their education in Texas. We got enough people trying to get in the road up here.

  15. Leftists are all about control. No surprise the children…errr… I mean leftists on the School board and ASD are trying to squash charter schools, correspondence schools, and home schooling. They lose control over the students, and the messages the students receive. The funding is really secondary.

  16. The story began with an overwhelmingly dishonest principal who overspent many budget categories on needless fluff, applied excessive “creativity” to interpreting laws for her own benefit, refused to follow guidance and directives from her board and waged war on the board with a fraudulent election putting crony friends in place and continued to blame others for her poor performance. FPCS, as she built it, showed immediate signs of failure when ASD properly applied the law. She feels jilted by not being appointed to the Alaska Education Commissioner position and she’s too arrogant and weak to stay around and clean up the mess she made. Start asking the full breadth of former board members from FPCS and most of that will be immediately verified — except by her crony friends. I suspect having to answer to real authority in the form of ASD was more than she could bear. Look at the way she badmouths and blames them.

    David, it’s time to ask so many other people who have been with the school rather than listening to the abundant lies of this person. She’ll take every opportunity to turn her own disaster into her advantage by scapegoating anyone she can. There is a long list of injured people to back up this assertion. At least you put a picture of her and not the school: it’s always been about her without any regard for anyone else.

    • Insider, as you know, the disagreements between the various factors at the Family Partnership Charter School has been intense and divisive. It is like a civil war. You can find me on FB and can message me there for my number and email. I will be more than happy to discuss and get the “facts”. Thanks for paying attention. And remember, the children are THE most important factor in this discussion.

  17. We need more charter schools so people of all economic status can access education outside of the ASD! Retired teachers, teachers who are fed up with way ASD and the union that “represents” them. I don’t know what it takes to start a charter school and I’m not qualified to teach but I’m willing to help any way I can!!

    • That’s what I was thinking. If they have to hire a babysitter, and do correspondence, they might as well pay retired teachers to teach them instead.
      Rent a building. Businesses can get tax breaks if they offer free facilities. Transportation can be donated thru non profit organizations. Nutritional meals offered thru local restaurants. It’s doable.

    • Read up on MICROSCHOOLS, which kind of occupy a space between homeschooling and private schooling but can usually qualify for public funding.

      These are a great model for students, parents, and retired or disenfranchised teachers, to create options that best suit their students’ needs.

      Here’s a great article from Kerry McDonald for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) on the subject:
      ‘https://fee.org/articles/5-surprising-facts-about-microschooling/

    • Charter schools are under the operational control of the Anchorage School District. Employees have to be hired from the NEA union pool. The administration does not favor charter schools and would prefer to keep kids captive in failing neighborhood schools, where one size fits all. You are correct that all kids from all economic groups should benefit from the better charter schools

  18. David,
    Do your job and seek out more than one source. If you do you will find Principal Parker is the reason the school is no longer a charter. Reach out to former APC members and parents and you will find Principal Parker was dishonest, not experienced enough to be a principal and is currently involved in a lawsuit alongside the district for her behavior.
    Simply put, Principal Parker couldn’t play by the rules now that she had to answer to the District.

    I get you are trying to create clicks and controversy, but at least be honest in your coverage.

    • The principal’s imperfections did NOT cause the demise of the school. It was a political decision and nothing else. If there is a problem with the principal, replace her – don’t close the school.

    • John, I have talked to various parents from the FPCS in the past. Unraveling the FPCS civil war was like unraveling the Gordian Knot. However, this article is about the former principal resigning from FPCS and going to the Mountain City Christian Academy, nothing more. BTW, the district said that the Academic Policy Committee was dysfunctional and I agree. I tried to listen to the committee meetings and it was nearly impossible to discern progress. Robert’s Rules were not even followed so there seemed to be disorganization in total. Also, I am not trying to “create clicks and controversy”; I am attempting to report the facts as I see them.

  19. And maybe the people deserve an apology from the clowns in Juneau that keep spending more, and more to the broken ASD. Someone in the legislature has to know what has been a blatant criminal practice.

  20. “…….It’s a complicated story that began when the school district decided to pull the charter from the school and take it over, converting it to a correspondence school. The administration then decided to change the rules of the game to benefit the district financially…….”
    Yeah. “It’s a complicated story……”
    Suzanne, you might see this as daunting, and it is, but maybe it’s time to begin unraveling the story about “correspondence schools” and its funding lines (follow the money) in Alaska? This makes “subsistence” look like a walk in the park. This Texan superintendent didn’t take long to find the gold vein. Let’s see what the Galena folks think of this…………

  21. I will remind everyone elections have consequences. If everyone upset would work on a campaign of getting voters to vote in mail in election, we would have more than one conservative on the board. Less than 20 percent voted in last spring’s election.
    Perhaps all the people who had children in the school will now do every thing they can to vote out the liberal school board members!!

  22. What a world we have made. Children going to school use to be simple and good educations were common. No look at what we’ve done. Fight over finding all day it’s for the kids. It’s all about control of the education money and who gets it the heck with the children not befitting and having the best options to fit their schooling.

  23. I doubt the principal is any better of a community leader as the ASD board members and superintendent. If she was we’d be looking at a better ASD board. Our state’s community leaders are all the same they dance to the same beat. More likely the principal doesn’t want to share the power she held with other communists. Communists eventually start picking off one another which they are doing now. So who and what is next?

  24. vouchers would give homeschoolers and private enrolled families control over allotments instead of having to go through another public school district under the homeschooling option. But if the state just directly gave the money to families. If the young gen x principal really was useful she would had been helping then-Senator Meyers get Alaskans education vouchers instead of being silent cause her job wasn’t at stake.

  25. And Raven Homeschooling Does Not use allotment for faith-based courses. Its only a matter of time Raven will reveal itself. The families don’t control what they can buy without going through the teacher consultant.

  26. I have a prediction soon we be seeing all the public school leftist teachers heading straight into the homeschooling programs as more American families are opting out of te brick-n-brick public school classroom for online instruction and homeschool both online through sources as zoom and books. What the community need are education vouchers before we find out public homeschooling programs are no different and no less controlling than than the public school we left.

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