Evelyn Dutton: Education freedom and the case for school choice in Alaska



From the moment I embarked on the quest for the ideal preschool for my firstborn in 2003 to now, two decades later, as a parent to five biological and two adopted children, and a former foster parent to five more, my journey through Alaska’s educational landscape has been diverse and enlightening.

It’s clear to me: Education is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Each family, with its unique dynamics and complexities, mirrors the world we are preparing our children to enter.

The critical question we face as parents and guardians is: How do we best prepare our children for their future in their first 20 years of life? How do we assess their unique needs and abilities to place them in the right learning environments? The quest for suitable educational avenues is not just a personal journey but a pivotal choice that shapes our children’s future.

As I reflect on my two decades of parenting, I’ve grappled with these questions: What schools and educational approaches are best for my children? What if the public education options don’t align with my child’s needs or our family values? These are questions many of us face, and they underscore the importance of being informed and empowered to make choices.

The desire to provide better for our children than what we had is universal. This journey can be particularly daunting in the face of special circumstances, personality conflicts, or values that we fear may be compromised. We have the freedom to choose and advocate for what’s best for our children. Taking the time to reflect and research better options is not just a responsibility but a commitment to their future – a future we want to craft with minimal regrets.

Looking back, I acknowledge my mistakes and realize that, armed with better information about my children’s educational options, things could have been different. This realization fuels my advocacy for educational freedom.

I urge you to join me in supporting an education system that meets the diverse needs of our youth. The task of shaping our future adults and citizens is monumental and requires our active involvement. It begs the question: who are we entrusting with this critical responsibility? Are we content with the status quo, or do we yearn for more — more voice, more impact, more support, and more options?

In this spirit, I invite you to the “Alaska School Choice Celebration,” co-sponsored by Brave Nation and Americans for Prosperity Alaska. Mark your calendars: Jan. 22, 2024, from 4-7 pm at The Alaska Native Heritage Center. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to come together, discuss, and explore the possibilities that school choice offers. It’s a chance to connect with like-minded individuals and experts, and to learn more about how we can empower our children’s education.

Alaska School Choice is not just a concept; it’s a movement towards empowering parents and guardians to actively shape and tailor their child’s education to align with their family’s specific needs and values. The futures of our children and educational freedom are at stake. I implore you to be a part of this movement. Join us at the Alaska School Choice Celebration and seize the opportunity to explore and embrace the best possibilities for your children’s education. Their futures, and ours, depend on it.

Evelyn Dutton is a mother and advocate with Americans for Prosperity Alaska Chapter


  1. EXCELLENT(!!!) … Every decision maker and influencer should be invited and in attendance to this event. These decision makers need higher scrutiny and scoring by these organizations, holding them accountable for their actions and/or inactions.

  2. We still have a SCOTUS opinion in Espinoza v Montana (2020) that overturns a state constitutional prohibition against using public money for private religious schools. There are two ways to implement it. One would be to use it to change the AK state constitution, which seems to be the direction we are going. That will never be successful. The other is to point to the opinion and act like the prohibition is dead. This forces the left to take the State to court, where they will win in state court, eventually losing in federal court.

    We already have the victory. Time to act like it. Cheers –

  3. Politicians, especially the leftists are all for choice.
    They cannot allow supermarket chains to merge, because that would reduce choice for the consumer.
    They fight against, or overly regulate utilities, pushing instead for more choice.
    If you need your car repaired after an accident, your insurance company cannot require you to use a particular shop (by law) because the end user gets to choose what is best for them.
    Reason they do that, because competition is good. When the average person can weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the alternatives, they can choose what is best for them and their family. It helps businesses as well, because the ones that are doing the right thing by their customers will grow and thrive, and the ones that are not, either need to improve, or they close.
    Well… right up until education. Then the leftists hate choice.
    You must send your children to the school closest to your house. If you do not like it, move or send your kids to a private school. (And subsequently lose the taxes collected for public education.) There is no incentive for the schools to produce a quality education because their budget is 100% assured. Even if the graduates cannot read, write, or even form a coherent spoken sentence, does not matter. Everyone gets paid.
    So, why is choice so good, such a sacrosanct right for spending money everywhere except on education?

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