Jamie Allard: Washington, Lincoln were trailblazers; it’s time for us to blaze a new trail in education



When I was a little girl, I always thought it was pretty cool that my own birthday was a day before Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. We wrote essays about our favorite president, and I couldn’t help but be drawn to Lincoln. I liked thinking I had something in common with him. We have such active minds as children, and what connects and draws us to others is so amazing. That’s what national holidays and long weekends and school parties and essays about presidents are for: Celebrating the things that connect us and make us Americans, delighting in our common bonds, honoring the past, and looking to the future.

Presidents’ Day celebrates the birthdays and lives of President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln, and honors all of those who have served as our nation’s leader. Widely considered the two best presidents in our nation’s history, Washington and Lincoln were humble, respectful, and wise. Their demeanor won the hearts of the American people. Their leadership guided us through two wars that shaped the identity of our nation and changed the course of world history.

Lincoln gave us one of the most famous and eloquent speeches in U.S. history. Washington gave us a foundation of moral fortitude and the triumph of a common cause in our fight for freedom. These men were trailblazers who fathered our independence and liberty. They are the quintessential role models of leadership and service.

And I find it very interesting that amongst all of their accolades, you won’t find a college degree. From humble means, they both had minimal formal education. And yet no one could argue that they were uneducated. Their thirst for knowledge motivated their life long journeys of self-education.

It wasn’t long ago that a school day in America started with the Pledge of Allegiance. Values like “liberty and justice for all” were the pillars of high quality education and strengthened our communities. Children were taught how to read and write and how to think for themselves, not what to think nor programmed with  ideological indoctrination that violates the rights of parents. Education is the springboard to that American “pursuit of happiness.” It inspires us to reach new heights, like the moon, or the presidency.

Education also reminds us to not repeat the mistakes of the past. A solid foundation can prepare you for life’s inevitable difficulties, and pave the way to a brighter future.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; …whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.” Well, we are noticing.

I think Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln would agree that we have a crisis in our public education system. They might weep at the state of our high school seniors graduating unable to read. A strong nation can be brought to its knees when an entire generation is crippled by a failed education system.

However, across the country there is a movement of parents and students alike who, like Jefferson, recognize the immeasurable value of an excellent education, and know that power is in their own hands.

Public schools are failing. Alaska is nearly dead last in the nation. It is time for us to look for solutions that create real results. Market competition, school choice, accountability for every tax payer dollar spent, reducing bloated administrations and supporting teachers, there are many avenues to explore. But none of the solutions are throwing other people’s money into a hole of problems and expecting different results.

I find the best way to honor those who came before us is to learn from their stories. Washington and Lincoln were some of the most revered and admired men in our history, and they educated themselves.

We can trust parents to know what is best for their children. We can flip school budgets upside down, investing the money where it belongs with school vouchers for students. We can get back to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s time for radical solutions. It’s time to be trailblazers like the great presidents before us, honoring the past, looking to the future.

As you enjoy a day off this holiday weekend, please take a moment to consider…how would you  solve the education crisis? The future of our nation depends on it.

Rep. Jamie Allard serves in the Alaska Legislature on behalf of the people of Eagle River.


  1. Yes we should start by putting them in jail for stealing money teaching porn to minors failing to teach the basics and lying to the parents. That everyone is your school board and it’s results.

    • Questionable books in a library does not equal teaching porn in classrooms. You are a victim of the conservative narrative being pushed in an effort to do away with public education. Your righteous indignation is being created for you and you are lapping it up.

      • Dunno. Gay porn. CRT. DEI. Trans. Last week’s entry was a return to restraint and seclusion of handicappers. Only common thread is that ASD has been and still is lying about all of it. Quite the education system you are defending there, Matt. You must be very proud.

        Solution as always is to put control of the money as close to the student as humanly possible, in the direct hands of their parents / guardians. Yes, this means vouchers. Cheers –

      • When class assignments relate to and have sexual content then most normal people would look at that as inappropriate and not necessary. Yes I am for the public school system to be shut down and I need no further look at conservatives or liberals I just look at the results of endless money and no oversite to see what is the outcome. Alaska 49 th out of 50 states in education and reading levels way below average. By the way Matt I have 2 teachers in the ASD and they agree with me. My righteous indignation is not on trial here it’s the direction of education and the dumbing down of American kids.

        • But most normal people understand the importance of providing sexual health information that those brought up in the church don’t get.

          • Providing sexual health is one thing(sexual diseases, normal puberty information etc) Presenting lewd anti-gender information and cross-over gender misinformation is entirely needs to be left up to the parents..Parents need to provide the information to their children.

        • Children are highly impressionable. Wouldn’t it be better/healthier for them to be protected from this until they are adults before drawings of deviations of reproductive activities are available? Reproductive behavior is instinctive in humans. It should not be taught in schools or libraries (by God denying perverts).

    • (a) United States and Alaska flags shall be displayed upon or near each principal school building during school hours and at other times the governing body considers proper. The governing body shall require that the pledge of allegiance be recited regularly, as determined by the governing body. A person may recite the following salute to the flag of the United States or maintain a respectful silence: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

      (b) A school district shall inform all affected persons at the school of their right not to participate in the pledge of allegiance. The exercise of the right not to participate in the pledge of allegiance may not be used to evaluate a student or employee or for any other purpose.

      Just to clarify, Matt, since it’s obvious you don’t actually read the law, just spout it.

      • It is the law that it take place. If someone wants to abstain that is there choice, as it should be. Don’t think I was too far of there. I taught 20 years in Anchorage and Matsu school districts. I have some knowledge here.

        • Well there you go a teacher defending a system that he helped create. You must be real proud of all the kids coming out of the system with sub par learning degree.

      • You would probably prefer a ‘Woke’ Pledge of Allegiance instead, Maureen.
        “I pledge allegiance to the rainbow flag, of the Disunited States of Self-Perceived Victims, and to the mail-in ballot, Dominion-counted democrazy for which it stands, one diverse non-nation under total government control, with (so-called) equity and social justice for all non-European-descended.

        • Yes thanks Jefferson for keeping Maureen in her safe place. She is so far of base and yes
          indoctrination is going on in the schools.

          • What other nation compels their youth to express a pledge to a flag?

            The inserting of one nation under god during the invented red scare compelled me off it.

            But different folks, different views.

          • Well Maureen why don’t you move to Cuba. The national anthem is one of the things that makes this country great and if you don’t like it, the other thing that makes this country great as you can find another country. We are different from every other country and that’s why everyone is trying to get in.

          • “The inserting of one nation under god during the invented red scare compelled me off it.”
            Stali- 7to10 million starved in Ukraine 1932-33 invented?
            Mao- 45 million people from 1958 to 1962, and likely as many as 65 million invented?
            Pol Pot- 1975 to 1979 2 million invented?
            People who lived through those incidents found them very scary as well as people who found the truth about them as they were happening in spite of The Walter Durantys of the world and their own government.
            What a useful idiot you are. But only if people buy your B.S.

          • Made up power move? Read The Verona Papers. Yeah we see things differently. With that statement I must assume you are sympathetic to a political ideology that thinks it’s ok to slaughter millions. That would make you a,,,,,,, let’s see,,,,,,,,a MONSTER! Or maybe just a troll.

          • I suppose Communism would work if it was done differently. It’s just a matter of EXECUTION.
            There’s more than one holocaust. Which ones do you deny/support?

      • Indeed the pledge is true indoctrination. The only indoctrination actually taking place. This woke indoctrination BS is a myth. Not a single one of you is in classrooms. I challenge you to find a single teachers lesson plans that focus on social topics and not on the basics. The agenda is to do away with public school for voucher system. People think that will magically turn screen addicted children into geniuses. It will only increase the distance between the haves and have nots. It makes me laugh to hear all these folks talk like they know what is happening in classrooms. You simply do not know at all. A couple questionable books I a library are not evidence of some grand indoctrination conspiracy.

      • It’s called Patriotic. Indoctrination is grooming children to think that they are something they are not. Huge difference here Lureen.

      • Not at all. Why is America the only nation not allowed to be proud of itself?

        No one on the left has ever been able to answer that question intelligently.

  2. Representative Allard apparently does not understand when school funding lags actual costs by over 20% in 5 years education outcomes suffer. Governor Dunleavy does not understand that College Graduate median incomes are $20,000/year higher than high school graduate median incomes. Maybe Jamie can provide some specific references of high school graduates that can not read?

    • “Who” cannot read, not “that” cannot read. Get your grammar straight, Rast.

      I think it is hilarious how you think Gov. Dunleavy, a lifelong educator, does not understand that college graduates make more than high school graduates, “who” make more than drop-outs, “who” make more than those “who” never learned anything at all. Get over yourself.

        • And again, as usual, ‘frank’, you are incorrect and wrong.
          “Whom” is the objective case pronoun, “who” is the nominative case pronoun. They are not interchangeable, and neither is properly substituted by “that”. That is, unless your goal is to dehumanize and objectify people. And given the radical leftist political beliefs that you espouse, I would not put that tactic past you at all.

    • NAEP statistics are very clear Alaska is very far behind in reading and math comprehension.

      I’m curious of your claim the “average” college grad makes $20,000 more than someone who has graduated high school. There is serious devil in your details.

      1-many college students graduate with commercially useless degrees ranging from puppetry to various “studies”. Most of them make fine baristas but few ever make an actual living in the field.

      2-are you discounting most people who finish HS who go on to trades or tech schools? The average miner in SE makes significantly more than almost any degreed person in the UA system. Same holds true for almost any established tradesman.

      And don’t forget the staggering debt most college grads have that HS only grads don’t. Levels that actual income level pretty significantly.

      I could go on, but the point is made.

      • According to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the median annual wage for a full-time worker ages 22 to 27 with a high school diploma is $30,000. For a full-time worker with a bachelor’s degree, it’s $52,000.Feb 14, 2022

        College Degree vs High School Diploma: Wage Gap … – Moneyhttps://money.com › wage-gap-college-high-school-grads
        About featured snippets


        • I got news for you frank. Most everyone in the trades, you know construction makes what the degree holders do, as apprentices.

          • I don’t think you understand what “median” means.

            The median is the data point where half fall above and half fall below that point.

            If I list several numbers, the number in the middle is the median, when put highest to lowest or lowest to highest.

            The average or mean is taking all the data points, summing them up and dividing by the total number of data points.

            Example: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. The median is 5. And 5 is the mean or average.

            Basically Frank’s statistics show that exactly half of college graduates earn less than $52k a year and half earn more. They also show that half of non-college graduates earn less than $20k and half earn more.

        • While I appreciate you actually posting a link, there are still difficulties in your analysis. Devil is always in the details. Especially when quoting statistics.

          Primarily, but not at all limited to this.

          No one disputes some people graduating college waltz into high paying careers. True. But most don’t.

          If you are working paper averages alone, let’s do this. Two people graduate college. One makes $100,000. The other is unemployed looking for work in crowded or useless fields. Their “average” is an annual income of $50,000. But only one is actually earning real money. If you look only at stats, far fewer people are making above, say $40,000 than below it.

          Additionally, many people who graduate HS and go into trades have a longer ramp up period. Skills and certifications which need to be earned before starting a career. I worked with a guy who spent 4 years getting his particulars in order before getting his shot at working in the gold mines. He now makes about $90,000.

          Way more than me, and I have two college degrees.

          It is nowhere near cut and dry as it appears you want to make it out to be.

      • Thank you, TMA, for rebutting the perpetual nonsense of ‘frank’, and also for correcting his abysmal flaunting of grammar by using “that” in reference to a person. I am suddenly seeing an explosion of “that” for “who/whom” in recent years, which to me is just another example of the (purposeful?) dehumanization of our culture and our society.

      • I know a bunch of high school educated pilots that are making north of $375.000 a year. I know a bunch of college educated making south of $80.000 a year. Who’s on first. A good number of businesses owners who are highly successful in this country do NOT have a college degree and that’s a fact. College is overpriced and lots of insane classes that are mandatory to remove greenbacks from your billfold.

        My personal opinion is that the gene pool has weakened to a state that 1/2 the earth’s population is dummer than a bag of hammers. I see it demonstrated daily.

    • Frank perhaps you do not understand the level of counter productive top heavy school administration has become over the years….their is no shortage of money in the system the system is broken and needs repair starting at the top!!!

      • Administration is about 4%, here is the link. Does not appear to be top heavy to me. ‘https://www.asdk12.org/cms/lib/AK02207157/Centricity/Domain/4621/FY22%20Preliminary%20Budget%20Book%20FINAL.pdf

      • Frank is a perfect example of our education system. He does not know any difference. This is what is wrong with public education no ability to see the truth just be a sheeple like he was taught.

    • Where does the available funding end up?
      How much of the funding is spent on administrative functions, and not on teaching/classes?
      Cut the bloat, and educate the children, that is what Rep. Allard is talking about when talking funding.

      • Here is where the money goes.

    • Frank
      While not a specific school in Alaska, one would or should agree the following statement qualifies as a response to your challenge assuming agreement on the status of Alaska graduates abilities in reading would be included within this statement/article.

      “The average reading score for high school seniors declined between 2015 and 2019 and remained unchanged in math, while the country’s lowest performing seniors saw their scores drop in both subjects.

      Overall, just 37% of 12th-graders reached or exceeded the academic preparedness benchmarks for both math and reading that would qualify them for entry-level college courses – a figure unchanged since 2015.”


    • Not quite so true Frank. There are many in the trades who are generally high school grads who make far more than the college grads. Sorry but Lineman usually make twice what your average college grad does, unless the grad is a grifter fleecing the public sector, say as a MOA employee.

    • There should be no high school graduates who cannot read. Or write for that matter, which it seems few can anymore. And 20k per student should be beyond adequate to insure a well rounded education. Money is not the problem. The system is broken, needs an injection of competition, parent autonomy, academic choice, expectations and maybe a smaller administration. As for college grads making 20k more than non college grads, I beg to differ. My husband is a journeyman diesel tech and electrical administrator. He is educated in the trades and left an engineering program his junior year to do so. He makes as much money as he would had he finished that engineering degree. More so. Check out how much plumbers make also. The construction trades. These are well paying careers that are now aging out with few coming in. We need more good trade programs as options as well. A four year college degree is not for every student and to think so is very narrow. There is a huge shortage of technicians and craftspeople in all fields.

  3. Public schools in Alaska are losing enrollment as parents choose to homeschool. This is the primary means parents have to combat the woke indoctrination occurring at most public schools. It is my wish that schools either adapt and start teaching consistent with the recommendations of Representative Allard or that they are all closed for lack of students.

  4. I would review the reading lists of my ten year olds. Can they read in Latin, the language of law? Have they read the Illiad in the language it was written in? Have your children read all the books written by George Washington? Can they discuss them intelligently? What were Jamie Madison’s curriculum materials at age ten? That list is available. Yes President Jamie Madison (was
    called Jamie” by family and close freinds and all friends were pretty close in nation building days alot like pre-covid state building days in AK) and he worked hard physically on the family properties at the same time like all homesteaders do. His education was not unlike Washington’s or the Randolph’s, or the Lee’s of Virginia or the Beverly’s or the Dawson’s of Maryland which conveyed for a “capitol” gathering place for Americans to assemble to influence Congress but which has evidently become a foreign enclave for our Senators to frolic joyfully instead as they forget us and our values in among international emmissaries who we compete with for senatorial attentions). I believe the founders did start the first Hebrew school in the United States out of love for the Scriptures and the need for moral foundations. Having studied these things it would be difficult for students to be persuaded or inclined by shallow false ideologies to deface and defame our national archives and unique heritages.

  5. True education is that of learning to problem solve in order to effectively mitigate challenges in order to successfully function within self, family, neighborhood, community, state, country and the world. Education starts well before that first Sippy Cup or training wheels, yet those enabling mechanisms help the learner in their motivation to be successful in their learning quest. Later in life we continue with metaphorical Sippy Cups to enable the learner to eventually master, maintain, and move forward to additional problem solving skills. The challenges with the lack of effective reading, writing, and arithmetic outcomes are two fold. First, curriculum which forgets the Sippy Cup progression rather with grandiosity forges expectation onto neurologically deficient participants with deadlines of completion rather acquisition. Second, it forgoes basic elements of personal motivation and application within the learner. Most teachers hear this phrase too often, “when am I going to use this in real life.”
    We need to get back to application education which has direct impact upon the betterment of the learner rather theoretical gratification on a system. The last two years, as House Representative, I promoted trade school and college education to start at the age of 14, which students actually get nationally accredited industry standard certifications or college credit toward a career (HB 108 – 32 Session). Unfortunately the bill was thwarted. I believe our students in Middle School should be exploring their career considerations and ready to start the process their Freshman year in high school. I believe we have many master level trades people in our communities who can instruct (M-Certification) our students to learn and be motivated in good trades, which students gets dual credit (industry certification and high school). I know that our workforce is yearning for workers and especially those who already reside in Alaska. I believe that Higher Education is “any education that leads to a good career, life, financial wellbeing, and opportunities.” I believe that every student is entitled with equity to pursue Higher Education and it starts with an efficacious (K-12) learning process. Remember, the bragging right of a high school / school district is not in how many diplomas are dispensed but what is the career accomplishments of their alumni, which can start upon industry certification attainment at the age of 17 or 18.
    What motivates you?

  6. We have a crisis in both K-12 and postsecondary education. Regarding K-12, increase funding for the core curriculum and cut non-classroom expenses. As for college, make loan applicants understand how much they need to make to service their student loans and make schools participate in any bad loans.

  7. I was “trained” just like you to think Lincoln was just a few notches below God. We will never know if he had a speechwriter but he did give some good ones. However, his Presidency was the beginning of the end for our country. When you dig a little deeper, you will find all kinds of things that are super distressing. I will only name one–over 50 countries abolished slavery between 1750 and 1880 (approximately). We were the only one in which 700,000+ people were killed in a war over it and millions more died of starvation afterward because of scorched earth policies. He was not that popular in his time but it behooved certain elements in our society to whitewash his image completely. That’s why he is on the penny which was the most used coin in the late 1800’s–so we’d see his image constantly. Sorry to sound so negative–I love his Gettysburg Address.

  8. I get it Jamie! Time for us to take back America from the anti American, anti Alaska, anti man, and anti WOMAN woke mob.
    Take your kids out of school, the money you spend now will be money you save on therapists later on. Get into a home schooling or private schooling situation and be there, help in oprson to educate your own. It takes less time than “in person schools” without all the drama. Your family will thrive. School is now on your schedule, lessons are within your control.

  9. Washington and Lincoln first education was a Bible.
    “all the good from the Savior of the world is communicated through this Book; but for the Book we could not know right from wrong. All the things desirable to man are contained in it.” –abraham lincoln. You know school began by the puritans for teaching the Bible to their kids. Ever since prayer and bible were removed academics declined while immorality increased. However christian education surpasses schools without the Bible. We
    want, again, top schools the bible must return being taught to students.

  10. You should have stood with David Eastman and demanded a fully conservative majority rather than giving up the deciding vote to Bryce Edgmon.

  11. The ‘trail’ to excellence, within itself, is NOT new, but rather a recovery of the past.

    That is, the past whence education was performed so as to ‘educate’ students within the basics of education such as writing, history, arithmetic, reading, and critical thinking as well as problem solving skills.

    Left out were social issues left unto families through parental instruction, such as sex education, social issues, interaction with other individuals, and acceptance of those unlike oneself.

    Education today has nothing to do with the former, but everything to do with the latter, and that is the problem with today’s education, and why students are no longer educated, but rather indoctrinated, and why today’s students are so underserved within supposed education, and why they perform so poorly within real world abilities.

  12. Any school, public or private, each year should asses their curriculum for any classes that need weeding out. Very few classes, even at the high school level need to go beyond the ‘3 Rs’. Civics, basic sciences, and American history are the only subjects I can think that need to be added.
    Then come up with a grading system for the schools ‘product’. If a school’s students average As in reading, writing, and math, then give them full funding. Average grades below A will get less and less funding. If a school consistently loses money, they go out of business and get replaced.

    • Ignorant people are a burden to society, Paul has a great idea. Accountability is everything from our school system. Produce hard working smart young people and I’m happy to shovel money at you. Produce fools and you get no money. This is pretty much how life works.

      • “This is pretty much how life works.” Um, no. There are a 1000 and 1 ways to skin a cat outside the public school system.
        false dichotomy
        A situation in which two alternative points of views are presented as the only options, whereas others are available.

        • There are more than 2 alternatives, but Doug’s money principle is the concept driving this change that will happen

  13. For all the dodging going on, one thing does not get addressed. Ever since Jimmy Carter created the Sec/Education, the quality of US education has gone steadily down.

  14. Solved it, by homeschooling. Don’t have to worry if my kid can make change, my kid is doing calculus in the 8th grade.

  15. Bless you for asking, Jamie. Want radical solutions, these may help:
    1. Ask a couple dozen home-schooling parents why they home-school their children, document what they say in a follow-up article.
    2. Contract out operation and management of Alaska’s Education Department to a foreign education ministry or an American inner-city academy recognized for discipline and academic excellence. Include specific goals and milestones, such as passing the naturalization test made up of English and civics tests with a minimum score of 90%.
    Why blaze a new trail instead of mucking out one which worked quite well before it got all new and improved and woke?
    3. Commission a forensic audit, conducted by an Outside firm, of Education Department finances and management practices, report results to the public. Verify the Anchorage School District policy of awarding million-dollar-plus contracts to union-only shops is not evidence of racketeering or intent to pad contracts to benefit unions.
    4. Reconfigure Alaska’s public-education system into an organization free from unions in general and teachers’ unions in particular.
    5. Require school officials to inform parents of services provided by non-academic employees such as medical and psychological professionals.
    6. Post every textbook and library book title on line for public review; remove pornograhic material immediately.
    7. Post student and school-employee conduct and discipline regulations for public review.
    8. End corporate wokeness and Critical Race Theory indoctrination in Alaska schools and school employees’ professional development; summarily terminate employees and officials who fail to comply. See flgov.com/2022/04/22/governor-ron-desantis-signs-legislation-to-protect-floridians-from-discrimination-and-woke-indoctrination/.
    9. Prohibit cellphone and social-media usage on school grounds during school hours.
    10. Prohibit mask-wearing on school grounds during school hours.
    For starters…

    • But Morrigan, didn’t you read above? THEY’RE UNDERFUNDED! Like every other State agency! How’s about we take the permanent fund and give every Alaskan kid a top notch private education. Solves the problem of the underprivileged. And people could send their little Einsteins to drag queen dancing classes if they so choose.

      • Might be lots of funding if (2), (3), and (4) are worked out properly.
        Not sure about drag queen dancing classes… cute little jiggle of beautiful women waving flags to start loud, powerful cars down the quarter-mile requires dancing class?

  16. Many comments on this one… The one thing that is never discussed in this article is something that the craftsmen and tradesmen of the world clearly understand that apparently many of the higher educated ones don’t, that is, results.

    If a plumber plumbs a house and his work leaks, he will not have a job for long. If a pilot flys in safely or crashes, enough said. If a mechanic works on a vehicle but does not fix the problem, if a welder cannot weld create a sound weld, if a painter cannot cover the walls and make it look good, if a machinist works all day but makes parts that are out of tolerance and unusable, if a salesman can’t sell, we all understand the conclusion.
    However, if a teacher’s results are bad, we give them a raise? Where’s the simple logic. If society would demand results like is demanded of an investment broker, we would all be better off. And this is for all of you English majors in the group…Just sayin’…

    • Great points.
      Conclusions, results get murky if tradesmen are protected by unions with as much clout as teachers’ unions and pilots are hired according to corporate equity policy first and piloting skill second which, by the way, is happening now.
      Broker loses your money, teachers produce illiterate graduates, what do you do? You’re broke, starting over with another broker’s not an option. Your high-school senior’s an illiterate, unemployable wreck, starting over’s not an option. Your woke pilot just ran out of altitude, airspeed, and ideas, starting over’s apparently not an option there either.
      But if current events are any indication, society seems happy with these scenarios.
      What’s a logical person to do?

    • The ‘logic’ is called a union; AKA the NEA it’s a monopoly… the oil companies went through the breakup painfully, but it did happen for the betterment of the country.

  17. I think there are teachers who are doing their best, and that ‘best’ is a good job, but feel they are on the Titanic. Just know that you will be the better paid teachers in and after a transition to our coming revamped schooling. The insanity of more money is running out of life rafts.

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