Dan Smith: School board majority gets ‘F’


On Dec. 16, 2021, Anchorage School Superintendent Deena Bishop announced, “I am confident that ASD is able to transition to parent-informed masking when we return to school on January 3. It means parents will consider the risk levels in their family and decide for themselves if they want their child attending school wearing a mask.” 

Read Bishop’s letter to parents here.

In other words, masks would now be optional upon return to school after the holiday break.

To those of us under the impression the superintendent has this authority, we politely thanked her and made happy announcements to our children. Perhaps common sense was still alive, as a faint heartbeat was detectable.

But this was not to be the case. The majority of the ASD Board had other plans.

Apparently, the ASD superintendent is only authorized to act in a totalitarian and tyrannical way on this issue. If at any time the superintendent acts in a freedom-minded or liberty-loving manner or attempts to return medical decisions to their rightful parental prerogative, that authority can be rescinded by the board.

At Monday’s School board meeting there was orchestrated public upheaval. This time, it was in favor of keeping our kids mandatorily muzzled. Almost without exception, those testifying to the board in favor of retaining the face diapers for kids projected their own fears and insecurities onto a defenseless youthful population.

There was one articulate counter-argument by board member Dave Donley, who spoke against continuation of the harmful face farce that is mandatory masking. Donley noted that Anchorage is the last vestige of mandatory school masking in Alaska. Everywhere else, people have come to their senses on this issue. It was clear that the only ASD Board member that did his homework was Donley

The other scared and shivering six have no intention of lifting their boot from the mouths and noses of the children in Anchorage. After return from Christmas break, they want at least two more weeks to flatten an already declining Covid case curve.

The paranoia of the six quivering ASD board members is in regards to a problem we do not have. The new Covid variant is a problem to very few indeed. In South Africa, where it was first discovered a month ago, the Omicron variant has already peaked and is on the decline.

Six of seven Anchorage School District board members receive a failing grade. They were asked to show their work but instead showed only their emotions. They do not possess the necessary qualifications to preside over the health and well-being of our children. This is the role of the parent.

Read: Superintendent Deena Bishop’s Dec. 21 message to parents

As a gesture of solidarity with our students and teachers, I suggest the six board members who voted for this policy extension, wear a mask for 6 to 8 hours a day without removing it. For Board member Donley, masking is optional.

Even the progressive, left-leaning Anchorage Assembly brought an end to their misguided mask mandate on Dec. 7. That was not enough for six.

Congratulations to Superintendent Bishop for exposing the root of the problem. The problem we have is fear and six ASD board members who do not want to give up their grasp of tyranny around the throats of Anchorage children. They are paralyzed by fear and unable to think rationally.

There is a growing realization by many that the Anchorage School Board is too big for its britches (with the exception of Donley) and in a practical sense, just too big to respond appropriately to anything that matters and in a timely manner. ASD is the fully loaded tanker ship that takes five miles and 25 minutes to come to a stop.

The Bligh Reef of declining enrollment, ever decreasing test scores and the resulting degradation of our Anchorage school system lies straight ahead.

It is time to consider breaking up the ASD monopoly and creating several smaller school districts in its place. It is also time to consider another option of creating school board seats based on specific districts and doing away with “at large” elections. Either one or both would be fine.

It takes a change of the municipal charter. That will not be easy, but nothing worth doing is easy. The current situation is intolerable.

Dan Smith is a lifelong Alaskan and Anchorage resident.


  1. I like Mr. Smith’s idea “ As a gesture of solidarity with our students and teachers, I suggest the six board members who voted for this policy extension, wear a mask for 6 to 8 hours a day without removing it. For Board member Donley, masking is optional.” I agree. They should. It certainly appears the ASD board pays little attention to what is working elsewhere, let alone science. The Mat-su board has left masks and such up to individual schools and that has worked well. I think Kenai Peninsula is doing the same? No mass Covid casualties and no greater number of cases than what is occurring in the strong armed Anchorage schools. It sure does seem for the ASD board it is all about control.

  2. quote: “Congratulations to Superintendent Bishop for exposing the root of the problem.” Perhaps that is all she could do, knowing the six members’ desire to perpetuate fear would show their hands. Now they have. They got their cheerleaders to attend and demand that the Board demand their wishes on other parents and children.
    But where were those supporting Bishop? Easy – they were home allowing others to make their own health decisions and wrapping presents. You know, being tolerant of others and their beliefs. Why show up to say you can do your own thing and please don’t tell me what to do? That doesn’t make sense to demand something that doesn’t require demands.

    Ever notice we don’t discuss the efficacy of masks anymore beyond “It words dammit, put it on!”? It is now about compliance, control, and conditioning. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we will realize the small parts we can play when we get the chance.

  3. “Almost without exception, those testifying to the board in favor of retaining the face diapers for kids projected their own fears and insecurities onto a defenseless youthful population.”
    This really is a big part of this entire masking insanity, I am coming to believe — it is just a manifestation of the irrational and exaggerated fears of an easily manipulated, emotionally motivated and hysterical (literally, “thinking with the uterus”) segment of the population. Particularly in the face of all the evidence that conclusively demonstrates that mass mask wearing by the public is ineffective in preventing viral disease transmission.

  4. PS: Who gives or receives an academic grade of “F”? Grades have always been A, B, C, D, and E, in my experience. Is “F” a grade that is even LOWER than a failing “E”?

  5. Obese people who don’t care to lose weight while knowing obesity is a huge factor in poor outcomes don’t care about the health of students, they just want society to protect them from their own gluttony and laziness.

  6. With the exception of Dave Donley, the Anchorage School Board is chattel of the National Extortion, excuse me, Education Association; they represent the teachers’ union, not the citizens of Anchorage. We’ve heard the discussions in other parts of the Country and we’ve seen the major National association representing school boards act to have parents who object to school board actions treated as domestic terrorists.

    The masks are a brazen political statement; a declaration by the teachers political party, excuse me, union that they, not parents, control children. The problem is what to do. With the union bought credentialling, even private schools are forced to hire the products of the Frankfort School Marxist indoctrination of the Ed Schools. Home schooling is the only viable action to prevent your kids from being turned into leftist robots but it represents a great sacrifice in an economy like Alaska’s which almost demands two incomes or significant wealth.

    • And I, Art, had never seen or heard of a failing grade — which should of course logically be “E”, following “D” — being anything other than “E” until moving to Alaska, where I occasionally ran across weird references to kids receiving an “F”, which amused me greatly. I mean, how can you get a grade LOWER than failing? But why would any school use an “F”, when “E” is ‘right there’, so to speak? Again, I had never seen or heard of such a thing until moving to Alaska from Michigan — where even the universities give a failing grade of “E” (I know, because I received an “E” once from the University of Michigan).

  7. Hardly worth my time to comment but the toleration of Anchorage voters for authority-addicted municipal and school board leaders boggles my mind. It takes time but we here in the Valley are making good progress overthrowing the oppressors of individual liberty. You’ve made a good start with your great Mayor Bronson.

  8. Maybe a influx of property tax payers attending school board meetings, might remind them who they actually work for. Look at your annual property tax report. Nearly 60% of your hard earned dollars support this dysfunctional school system.

  9. They are the ones who ran. Maybe if there was 10 non democrat candiates competing for the same seat there been a different outcome

  10. May I suggest a boycott of school? My children will not be returning January 3rd. I hope others will join in the boycott

  11. We did quite a bit of home schooling for our kids. It’s the best choice imo. We would have never consider a school “boycott”, of any sort, because we all worked together. We just called it “home schooling”, and may I say, that some of the smartest kids I’ve ever known, were home schooled. Instead of all the right vs left, we should all be working together, to get things done, and helping our kids to see that example of learning and caring for each other. I see Alaskans as one big beautiful family. Together we can do almost anything. Bickering gets us nowhere. Find the good in people, and let’s continue to grow this beautiful state together.
    Love is always way better than hate. With that attitude, we can do anything.

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