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Saturday, September 25, 2021
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Free advice for school district

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Among the tin ears that abound in this city’s political circles, it turns out we also may have a problem with myopic public executives.

Take, for instance, the Anchorage School District’s decision to hire a high-power, Seattle-headquartered public relations outfit to handle the fallout from the messy controversy surrounding an incident at Dimond High.

The firm, Strategies 360, touts itself as “a full-service research, public affairs, and communications firm, bringing deep expertise, providing a full range of services, and promising sharp strategic thinking that gets results.” The firm is well known in local circles. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, as late as 2014, was a vice president.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comment

  • Let’s start thinking about a referendum to replace (yes, replace) Anchorage’s education industry.
    We know about American and foreign education organizations who are recognized for providing top-quality, classical education.
    We know these organizations don’t cost as much as Anchorage School District (but if they did, wouldn’t the result be worth the investment?).
    What do you think of a referendum, a City Charter change if necessary, demanding the Assembly contract out ASD management, supervision, and administrative functions, including teaching, to an outside, top-quality education organization?
    We know what our ASD-union-School Board-lobbyist-consultant partnership will say to that idea, but they seem irrelevant now, a noisy overfunded cabal dedicated to self interest instead of children’s education..
    We have an expensive, growing problem to solve. Our ASD-union-School Board-lobbyist-consultant partnership is unqualified to be part of that solution.
    What does that mean? We gave that partnership time and money to create a world-class education system. What we got was a monstrous, metastatic education industry that does a spectacularly bad job of educating children, but does a really good job of getting (and spending) taxpayers’ money, with no accountability to anybody.
    So it’s up to us fix our education industry.
    We can do this. Our children deserve no less.
    Your thoughts, Gentle Readers?

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