Fairbanks School Board adds race-based position, as Mat-Su School Board ends youth advisory position

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The Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board has voted to add an advisory position to the board — the person chosen must be a member of the Fairbanks Native Association, which makes it a race-based decision that may be a violation of civil rights and subject to legal challenge. It was a unanimous vote.

Alaska Native students or those with mixed heritage are said to make up about one-fifth of the student population in Fairbanks Public Schools. The board said this is about “equity.”

The board wrote, “in its commitment to providing an excellent and equitable education for all students, unanimously approved a policy change on Tuesday, June 4, to include an appointment of an advisory board member from the Fairbanks Native Association (FNA). The FNA member shall provide input and advise the School Board on all matters that come before the Board, including sharing their unique perspective on how matters under consideration might affect the Alaska Native community and all district students.”

“Over the past few weeks, the Board has received considerable public testimony and numerous emails, all overwhelmingly supporting this policy change,” said Brandy Harty, the Fairbanks School Board president. “We are excited to welcome our first FNA advisory member to the dais this fall when the Board resumes its regular meetings. The Board remains resolute in its commitment to partnering with families and the community to provide all students with an excellent education in a safe, supportive environment. This is best accomplished through listening to diverse voices and perspectives as a vital part of the Board’s deliberative process.”

The matter has been debated for several weeks, with concerns expressed, but also support from the public who attended the meetings leading up to the unanimous vote on Tuesday.

The advisory vote from the FNA will be cast prior to the official school board vote and will not be tallied as pat of the official vote but will be recorded in the board minutes

While Fairbanks leans into race politics, the Matanuska-Susitna School Board has eliminated the youth advisor position on its board.

The MatSu board decision is also about diversity — diversity of perspective. The board intends to allow a more diverse range of student voices to be heard at the school board, rather than just one point of view.

The current trend in public schools has been toward student radicalization, a reflection of what has been seen in campuses around the country, often egged on by teachers.

In the fall, high school students in the MatSu staged a walk out in protest of the board planning to remove the student advisory position.

In April, the Alaska Association of Student Governments called for a walkout at Alaska public schools in protest of the veto of SB 140, a massive spending bill that would have given school districts an unprecedented and permanent increase in their funding without any accountability for how the public money is spent.

7 COMMENTS

      • When my kids were in school I was at every PTA, meet the teacher, meet the principal, all of it. I also made a point of getting to know the school board.

        I was involved at the schools partly so I could see for myself what went on.

        Of all my daughters friends, I rarely saw their parents.

  1. A student representative provides insight into how students feel and are impacted by MSB School Board decisions. Apparently the Board does not care.

    • When education is grooming the next generation of Che Guevara’s, it does matter and it’s something the MSB School Board is making clear they (and the tax payers) will not tolerate. Besides, why do you care “frank”? Pay attention to your own school board in Anchorage.

      • Imagine how sad franks life is, that he comes to this site and provides the site with clicks and money from adds with his low IQ feeble attempts at trolling the conservatives. What a sad little man lol.

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