By ALEX GIMARC
Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed two pieces of legislation aimed at improving Alaska schools.
The first was aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers via cash incentives. The second was an attempt to codify parental rights and requires school districts to address physical safety and privacy of students in locker rooms and restrooms.
There’s not much discussion on the first one, but much loud and righteous anger over the second one, from all the usual suspects on the political left.
Given the loud, public pushback from the political left, we will take a deeper look at the parental rights legislation, HB 105 and SB 96.
Here in Anchorage, Anchorage School District (ASD) has chased fewer students with more money over the last decade. The approach clearly isn’t working as test scores continue to fall. On the other hand, they are very interested in a variety of new topics that have nothing to do with public education. These include Critical Race Theory, equity, LGBTQWTF, even a return to seclusion and restraint of disabled students.
When parents bring up their concerns, ASD and the Anchorage School Board typically deny they are doing whatever they are accused of doing, bury the investigation and results, hoping the problem quietly goes away. Unfortunately, this approach has worked pretty well in recent years.
End result of this is that few residents trust ASD anymore. This is a sad, completely predictable outcome. And the entire statewide education establishment is back in front of the legislature with their hand out, asking for more money.
Concern over Critical Race Theory hit the fan a couple years ago as parents nationwide found their online students indoctrinated in it. Parents were predictably outraged and demanded ASD eliminate CRT. ASD denied the presence of CRT in Anchorage schools, though 13 current teachers in Alaska (as of 2021) signed an online pledge promising to keep teaching CRT regardless of what they were told to do. Two of them were legislative candidates at the time.
CRT is a loser’s game, as it teaches kids to look backward in life, marinating forever in all the awfulness endured by their forefathers. Rather than teaching a forward-looking approach complete with tools to ensure racism in all its awful forms no longer matters in their lives, our esteemed education establishment is determined to make sure their students never learn how to deal with unpleasantness in life in a positive way.
Next on the list is equity. This is a term meaning equal outcomes. As the left never lifts anyone up, equity means the achievers, the high performers, are pulled down to the lowest possible levels of performance. ASD proudly operates what it calls an Equity Dashboard. The problem is that equity is a loser’s game. The most recent example was the Anchorage School Board hiring an unqualified superintendent last year, whose first action in office was a failure when he did not ensure the bus system was available for the first few months of the fall semester.
Next up is the LGBTQWTF push. Once again, ASD denies it is doing anything other than making sure everyone gets a fair shake. The problem is that books keep on showing up in school libraries that at worst could be described as gay porn and best as instruction manuals for grooming. Every time one of these is discovered, brought to the attention of the administration or the School Board, it quietly disappears without parents knowing how the books got there, who put them there, and who has been checking them out. If the LGBTQWTF world is such a wonderful thing, why is ASD systematically hiding its participation and complicity with it?
For some reason, Planned Parenthood came out loudly and publicly against the parental rights legislation. Why is Planned Parenthood in the public schools? What is it doing with the students that it doesn’t want the parents to know about?
Finally, we have a return to seclusion and restraint for disabled students. This is horrific to parents of disabled students, who generally can’t tell their parents what happened to them at schools. A two-year Department of Justice investigation announced mid-February found it had been going on at ASD for some time.
I get it that disabled students with behavior problems are tough, but everything that happens to them in ASD is defined and controlled by what is written, agreed to, and approved in their Individual Education Plan. Restraint and seclusion never shows up as a solution in IEPs.
HB 105 is intended to get through the wall of silence erected over the years at ASD. It is an attempt to lift up a flat rock and see what scurries out. It is an attempt to shine a little light on what is going on in the public schools. Who knows? If the public schools quit spending so much time on non-academic pursuits, they might even have a bit more time to spend on ‘readin, ‘ritin, and ‘rithmetic. But you have to want to do that, something the Anchorage Education Association clearly doesn’t.
If Democrats, particularly those in the Senate majority, want to have any chance of moving an increase in the foundation formula to the governor’s desk, his proposed parental rights legislation must be equally and honestly considered, as they go hand in hand. At this point in the process, I commend Senate Majority Leader Gary Stevens for not burying it in committee as yet, though Senate Judiciary Chairman Matt Claman will do his level best to find some violation of the Alaska Constitution Privacy Clause as an excuse to kill it, which would be a mistake.
This is a start. It is up to us to help make sure this legislation makes its way fully intact through the process.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and information technology professional.
Save your kids get them out of public schools. Start Neighborhood schools with parents in charge. Every parent could help teach and use weekends to free up weekdays if needed. Think out of the box our schools are a failed laughable example of what happens when the officials take over. Save your kids from big brothers indoctrination.
You imply that teachers have no special skill or education and can be replaced by any parent. That’s disingenuous at best
My wife and I replaced elementary school teachers for several years for my son. Worked great! He actually rose above his grade level for reading/math skills. He never went to jail, grew up normal, and has a family of his own now.
It’s not that teachers have no special training, it’s the fact that most teachers have no special incentive to get the best possible outcome from each child. You know . . . like a parent would.
I have two teachers in my family and both say the same thing the system is broken. There are good teachers and bad teachers but the admin and school board are broken and the results show that. We have spent millions upon millions and the best we can do is 49 th out of 50 tell me how well it works Lucinda.yes parents can teach just as good as teachers.
Lucinda, did you read the whole story? If you did and this is what you got out of the article, you are the one who needs more education. Perhaps talk to a concerned parent. Certainly they would be very educational to one with such a limited view of reality.
It’s not really. Teaching out of a book that has all the answers to in-text book quizzes and exercises does not make one specialized in the field of teaching.
I’m looking ahead about 2 months when the budget needs to pass and the vote bargaining is fast and furious. The BSA dollars and this bill will be the bargaining chips for both sides.
Parental rights, yes.
Bonuses for the worst performing teachers in America? Hell no.
I can’t wait for the day spineless isn’t governor anymore.
Now our legislators can give teachers a bonus? I thought that the teachers unions were the negotiators for contracts. I also thought that a bonus was usually given for exceptional work. Student testing clearly shows that exceptional work is not the reason.
Instead of indoctrination maybe classes in dangers of experimentation in drugs and alcohol would be preferred. The dangers in social media which can be the cause of bullying, grooming, terrorism, and suicides should be addressed. How respect will improve lives of everyone and that free speech will protect against hate.
The reason test scores are dropping in Anchorage public schools is that parents are taking smart kids out of public schools and putting them into private schools, or are homeschooling them. Smart parents don’t want the ASD to teach their kids to be woke communists. So, the best thing the state could do is pass legislation like some other states have that allows for vouchers so that all state funding travels with the kid. If the kids go to private schools, 100% of the state funding should also go to that private school. Let the free market sort this situation out, and pretty soon most public NEA schools will be closed, and you will have a thriving private school system delivering excellence in education.
The scores have been bad for years yet the school district and unions need money “for the kids”.
I definitely thinks the state funding should follow the kids
You are correct and I to have stated the same thing.
Praying hard for this to pass. In the meantime, homeschool or private school. ASD is not reflecting Alaskan Values.
I homeschool my kids so I don’t have to deal with the stupid culture war lies both sides engage in.
No, Chrissy, such implication is not made at all. ‘Teachers’ teach the basic skills of the three R’s, as well as any subject matter that is NOT beholden unto ‘social’ matters, best left unto the parents of the children.
Your version of ‘teaching’ goes far beyond what is needed to learn the basic skills of a true education.
A simple certificate does not mean that one is qualified to teach, nor does a degree.
It is the determination to teach, really teach, that makes the difference.
Therefore, any parent determined to teach their child within the education of the pragmatic three R’s, as well as common sense, shall see their child as a successful result of true education, rather than indoctrination, and therefore, shall educate their child unto better results, than any education so given by the professional teacher that is beholden unto the indoctrination courses therein.
Their courses, and their students shall always fail, as they already do.
Alex G, I love your writing style that brings home the message. KUDOS! For those parents and grandparents who say, “I’m glad my kids are out of public school” and “I pulled my kids out of the public school system” you should be very, very worried. Those kids who remain in the public school system will outnumber your kids with their Marxist values. So, please help those who cannot remove their children from the K12 public school system. For Alaska public schools: You had better return to your core business of educating, not indoctrinating, Alaska children. Or face the music with losing even more of your cash cows.
Parents and everyone / let’s wake up, know the issues and demand the education system teaches the academic subjects and stop the CRT, equity and other social programs.
It’s concerning that HB105 omits language that would differentiate legal custody and natural parenthood. This allows parents that have been removed from a child’s life (abuse, neglect, drugs, etc…) Equal rights in a child’s education and under all aspects of this bill. This is dangerous. The courts can remove custody from a dangerous and abusive parent, but this bill empowers such parents by giving them back a level of control of the child’s life that includes education decisions, records requests, current address, and medical information. This bill easily could have included more careful language to avoid this. Why hasn’t this been addressed?
Alex, great article. Well written and informative.
It brought to mind the ASD’s coverup role in the Bartlett High School sex abuse scandal in 1990. We the people never heard the full truth about that one because the Alaska Supreme Court suppressed the report of the investigatory grand jury. Grand juries have been illegally suppressed ever since.
Now ASD is secluding and restraining our disabled children? Who’s behind that policy and who stands to gain financially? The Feds are often forced to soft-pedal the truth and report only on the symptom. To resolve we must be able to get to the root of the problem through the full truth.
This sounds like something for an Anchorage grand jury to investigate and report on. The political underpinnings of the Alaska Supreme Court and their illegal suppressions of grand jury reports are currently being exposed in the legislature. You shining the spotlight of truth on this subject adds more fuel for the fire. Thank you.