Downing: Dr. Carson doesn’t fit the woke agenda of Anchorage schools



In Alaska, the annual migration of students back to the classroom starts in the middle of August before the first frost covers the windshields. For Anchorage, it’s this week. As in other places in the nation, the return to campus life is filled with trepidation and hope for families. 

One might ask: Which school district in America would pass up the opportunity to have a globally acclaimed Black American neurosurgeon kick off the school year right with an inspirational assembly? 

Who would forgo the chance to have this historic figure inspire young minority students with tales of his transformative journey from poverty to becoming a revered figure in pediatric neurosurgery?

Step forward, Anchorage, Alaska School District, and take a bow.

Dr. Ben Carson, admired by Americans everywhere, was poised to address the students of Mountain View Elementary School, where 91% of the students are minorities. Within these school walls, fewer than 9% of the students demonstrate math proficiency and fewer than 14% are proficient in reading. Check the scores here.

Surely, this would have been a prime setting for Dr. Carson to instill hope and encouragement, because these students mirror his own beginnings seven decades prior. It would cost the district nothing to allow Dr. Carson to speak.

However, Superintendent, Dr. Jharrett Bryantt, newly arrived from Houston, Texas, slammed the door shut on the world-renown surgeon, saying he is not welcome in Anchorage schools. 

Citing vague reasons about students’ focus on starting the academic year and ensuring “safety,” Bryantt turned down the opportunity to be inclusive of someone who can motivate and encourage. 

The precise reasoning leading to this decision remains unclear. Some speculate it may be due to Dr. Carson’s association with the Trump administration, in which he served for four years as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Some speculate it’s Dr. Carson’s increasingly vocal criticism of American education, as found in his most recent book, “Crisis in the Classroom.” Perhaps it’s his pushback on Critical Race Theory with his “Little Patriots Program.” Regardless, the loss of such a golden opportunity for students is undeniable.

Dr. Carson embodies the American Dream, as living proof that America, in all its vastness and diversity, is a land of endless possibilities, a place where, regardless of one’s beginnings, an individual can rise and shine.

But the narrative of the Left, which has taken control of the education systems of America, seems inclined toward divisiveness and polarization, with more emphasis on tribalism and less focus on unity and success. The Left doesn’t want minorities to succeed.

A brief review of Dr. Carson’s achievements might offer some perspective on the values to which the Anchorage superintendent won’t let the children be exposed: Born into poverty and raised by a mother with a third-grade education, young Ben Carson faced numerous challenges: a self-admitted bad attitude, lousy grades, and low self-esteem.

Over time, thanks to the tenacious push from his mother, he transformed his outlook, embraced education, and eventually became the youngest major division director at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. At that point in his life, he was just 33 years old.  He had already performed the first and only successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head.

He retired from medicine in 2013, but that was not the end of his story. Dr. Carson ran for president in 2016.

Now in his early 70s, his accolades are extensive, including the highest honor given by the NAACP, the Spingarn Medal; the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President George W. Bush; recognition by the Gallup Organization as one of the 10 most admired men in the world; and recognition as one of the 89 “Living Legends” of the Library of Congress.

He co-founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which has awarded more than 11,000 scholarships totaling over $8.9 million. The Carson Scholars Fund has also installed more than 270 Ben Carson Reading Rooms around the country.

Dr. Carson is sought as a gifted motivational speaker. He’s been awarded 70 honorary doctorate degrees. He’s authored over 20 books, some of them children’s books, such as “Think Big,” and “Freedom to Bark.”

Alaska had hoped to avoid the woke-ism that has taken over school districts across the country. But alas, the infection has spread.

As they return to classes this week, students won’t get to meet Dr. Carson. Instead, students will be handed a form that asks them to determine their own “gender identity,” information that will be kept secret from their parents, who will not know if their boys are being allowed to use the girls’ dressing rooms or restrooms.

We can see where this is heading: The Left is not interested in actually helping minorities succeed. They are interested in tearing the nation apart and driving it toward tribalism and identity politics.

The American Dream, embodied by Dr. Ben Carson, does not fit the woke agenda of the Anchorage School District.

Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read Alaska.


  1. Very well said. Remember the school district that the Superintendent was at in Texas was taken over by the Texas Education Department due to low academic performance. Is ASD headed that way? Seems so. So sad.

    • If I remember right, Houston had grown tired of this person and wasn’t happy with the school educational results and in the process of letting him leave.. Of course the ASD was in a hurry to get anybody within their “Standards?”.

  2. This is unbelievable! What is wrong with having this mentor of a man talk with minority students. I’m so sick of the WOKE Agenda.

  3. Suzanne, please send a copy of this directly to Jharrett. He needs to hear the truth, even if he can’t understand it.

  4. My grand kids did the Little Patriots Program this summer and it was a wonderful source of history and learning. Thank you Dr. Carson and God Bless

  5. Somebody other then the school district needs to create another meeting with Dr. Carson off-site from ASD to provide an opportunity to present his speech he otherwise would have spoken to all students at Mt View School, and it would have to be free for all SCHOOL CHILDREN. Would it be possible to create such a meeting?.. otherwise the children that NEED it MOST will not be able to hear him..The Republican party gathering is NOT affordable to most of the students that were deprived from hearing someone from their own background.. PLEASE Someone Please think about the missed chances theses students will not be able to hear due to our so-called ASD. AND the fact the most needed students need such an opportunity to turn their futures around.

  6. Our “jr” super is nothing but a sick joke on the good people of Anchorage
    Not qualified for the job and furthering the continuing decline of student performance.

  7. If Jharett Bryantt’s next move is to allow transgenders to organize reading circles or otherwise “perform” at any ASD schools and in front of students, I will personally drive over to his office and demand a conversation with him. I’ll remain at ASD headquarters until I am able to speak with him OR until he manages to sneak out the back door and “high tails it” out of the parking lot. So help me God!

  8. Not to worry: Dr. Jharett Bryantt will fight to his last breath to get the predators, groomers and drag queens into the classrooms. It’s all within his authority.

    • Right on Comment JMARK, preceded by an excellent article from Suzanne.

      The obvious answer to this issue is to REMOVE YOUR CHILDREN AND GRAND CHILDREN from this implosion called Publik Edewekation. Vote with your feet, save the next generation or at least a portion of them from this insanity and flee! Let their corrupt system crash and burn.
      Posterity will thank you tomorrow for your actions today

      • Speak truth Oosik. You don’t really mean “vote with your feet.” You really mean vote with your money. That is, pay $7,500 a year for private school in addition to your property tax funding public schools. All about money; very little about feet. The real truth is few can afford that trade off. They’re held hostage by government.

        • Wayne in opposition to tyranny, I mean exactly vote with your feet, your feet are the surest method of getting away from a threatening situation, even if you are driving an automobile, remember its your feet that operate the accelerator pedal.

          It turns out that when you remove your child from a dangerous school it means that the school receives less money from it’s funding source, this one action if multiplied by thousands of other caring parents puts the squeeze on the failed educational system thereby lessening their ability to further corrupt children and surely will hasten the implosion of their institution.

          There are several options available for parents of modest means whereby to save their children from a corrupted Board of Education. One option might even include home schooling.

          The truth is Wayne, opposing tyranny always involves a personal sacrifice. I am told by my friends in Juneau that you understand this concept and help your grandchildren receive a proper education. I commend you Sir. Let us together focus on helping provide these options to others. The future of our civilization depends upon this.

  9. I’m very glad that I am not the only one who knew what was up when this clown denied Dr. Carson. Thank you SD for accurately expanding mine and so many others’ thoughts.

  10. This mess all started with the teachers unions, who elected the radical left wing school board, who then hired the left wing woke child from Houston.

  11. I’m sorry to hear that folks are speaking of Dr Carson as if he’s an aliquot of cod liver oil. I wonder what he’d think of Anchoragites discussing the merits of whether the pediatric dose is one or two drams.

  12. I feel bad for all of the Mt View Elementary families who probably do want better for their kids but are stuck in a school that is under the awful woke entitlement thumb. It sounds like the school invited Dr. Carson. Obviously they want better also for their students. What a tragedy Anchorage is stuck with such a shortsighted politically imprisoned superintendent.

  13. The Anchorage School District prefers their children to be thoroughly indoctrinated ……thank you very much.

  14. I thought I was going to have something more to contribute to this comment narrative… But not much, everyone has beat me to it. Good job Suzanne. We need to crucify the superloser and paint him for what he is – a racially and politically prejudiced moron who is determined to keep minorities in a state of subjugation to the communist wanna-be-masters. Anchorage citizens, you’re better than this – throw the slop out – give him a one-way ticket to Beijing or Havana or better yet make him the singular focus of everything wrong with the left controlling the schools and elect conservatives at every position THEN ship him off to the salt mines in Siberia. Let’s find that alternate venue for Mt.View kids to hear this great Encourager – ABT, can you arrange for buses to pick up the kids and their parents? Any other meeting hall big enough that could be arranged in a hurry?

  15. Sounds like bigotry is still alive in Anchorage school system, MT View parents should be raising hell.

  16. Bryantt should be fired ! Parents should start a letter writing campaign and get rid of this creep !

  17. I wonder what would have happened if the superintendent didn’t stop the school assembly. I wonder how many progressives that felt their viewpoints challenged would have gone into defcon 5 triggered mode. What I find most intriguing and positive is that Mountain View Elementary accepted the offer. Good on them for doing that much and exposing this superintendent for what he is. My experience with far too many left minded teachers (which there are more of than not) is none of them would have accepted his invite after doing a quick google search.

  18. Maybe MRAK can define what the definition of Woke is? My definition is educating America how white privilege has been used for economic and social gain and discrimination

    • Frank, I’m forced to check the box on the form that say’s “WHITE”, this despite the fact that according to 23 and me, I am 2% African, ( along with Asian genes and a host of other influences, not the least of which is Neanderthal).

      Beyond that Frankie, nobody in my family ever owned slaves. We in fact escaped the Habsburg’s plantation upon which we were serfs( and were treated rather roughly), and came to America seeking freedom. Funny thing is that not long after landing on American shores we were sent back to Europe wearing Doughboy uniforms to fight and kill our former countrymen and to receive wounds from same. We took factory jobs and worked hard in the steel mills and produced immense wealth for this nation despite being ridiculed because of our accents and foreign mannerisms.

      Given the above please elaborate more on this White Privilege notion, I’m just not seeing it? I will say that I am grateful that Gramps came to this great country where we have such a wonderful Constitution that defines OUR RIGHTS and LIBERTIES!
      Thanks Frankie

      • Robert, you are a victim of the perceptual myopia of pseudo-intellectual, self-described elitists. They believe privilege results from skin color rather than wealth. They ignore the countless poor whites who struggled through history, including in America. They ignore the Orientals, Blacks, Hispanics, etc who amassed great accomplishments and wealth in America. Their main focus is an ideology of divisiveness to obtain political power. Their’s is an evil agenda.

        • Wayne, I can assure you old pally that I do not see myself as a victim, on the contrary I see myself as a very privileged person to have been born in the Territory of Alaska and therefore a United States Citizen. I am grateful and blessed. I wanted Frankie to understand this concept, which is why I told the story of a former subject of the Austrian Hungarian Empire who founded a better life for his progeny by immigrating to these United States. The same could be said of the great grandson of a former slave or even, gasp, the son of an Irishman!
          Keep on fighting tyranny Old Friend, and like your man DeSantis has said, Never Back Down!

    • woke /wōk/ informal – US (adj.) A state of awareness only achieved by those enlightened enough to find injustice in everything except their own behavior.

  19. From the article, “One might ask: Which school district in America would pass up the opportunity to have a globally acclaimed Black American neurosurgeon kick off the school year right with an inspirational assembly?”
    In Europe, they would ask, which school district in (England, France, Spain, or Germany, etc) would pass up the opportunity to have a globally acclaimed (English, French, Spanish, or German, etc) neurosurgeon to kick off the school year….? They would not bother with the adjective “Black.” Only in America are we pathetically compelled to add such irrelevant descriptors.

  20. If I were the principal of mt view elementary I’d have him speak anyway.But Dr Carson is a gentlemen and will probably mail the superintendent a signed copy of his book and pray for him. Dr.Carson is a true man of character, humility and brilliance.

  21. To be clear today we learn Wiccan art work is allowed in school, bet that would not extend to Jewish or Christian art work. Then the superintendent shows that he is a Racist that can not allow free speech. Yep keep voting for these marxists.

  22. Yes indeed he’s a total racist not allowing a black man to speak at school . He should get sent back to Tx . However the libs and school board are silent on this . It makes them all racists as well by saying nothing ! I say you’re fired ! I’ll buy his plane ticket back to Houston ! Wake up leftists you bunch of racists ! Can’t deny this one !

    • Amen Dan. Protecting our kids from the most polite soft spoken genius surgeon of our time. A man who loves God, Family & country above all. A man that rose up from absolute poverty to be a humble American success story. A man whose mother’s sacrifice got him threw college working 3 jobs for 10 years. A man whose first objective after he got his first Dr job was to buy his mother her first home.

      Ya why would we want to hear his story when the leftist psychopaths would rather talk about transgender equality and mutilating some 12 year olds genitalia. What kid of a world have we created..?? Lord have mercy.

  23. I encourage everyone commenting on this thread to write the School board and Superintendent Bryantt.
    I did and Margo Bellamy cited “misinformation” and looking out for the students best interests.
    We know that is not true.
    It’s seriously time to muck the stalls of ASD.

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