No National Anthem in school routine, board decides - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, December 15, 2019
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No National Anthem in school routine, board decides

VETERANS TURN OUT TO SUPPORT MEASURE, BUT IT FAILS TO PASS

For now, the Star Spangled Banner and the Alaska Flag Song won’t be incorporated into the school week in Anchorage public schools. School Board member Dave Donley has been attempting to incorporate it into the curriculum for several months.

Instead, the proposed amendment was sent back to committee for further discussion. It’s spent the last eight months in committee without any sign that the board supports it.

The board, with Donley as the only supporter of his amendment, clearly didn’t want to be on the record against patriotism, and so avoided a simple up or down vote. The death-by-committee was just easier.

A dozen military veterans testified in favor of the Anthem at the Anchorage School Board meeting on Tuesday night, which ran well over the 11 pm hour. Also testifying in favor were school board candidate David Nees, Assembly candidate and former board member Crystal Kennedy, and Alaska Board of Education member Bob Griffin, who is also an Air Force veteran.

Other veterans who spoke included Peter Goldberg, home school parent Thomas Williams, grandfather and martial arts instructor Mike Tavoliero, National Guard Reservist Bethany Marcum, Alaska Veterans Foundation Chairman Ric Davidge, Randy Eledge, Don Jones, Michael Chambers, and Lena Lafferty.

Many of the veterans expressed strong emotion, and said the playing of the National Anthem once a week would help forge a bond, and lead to a sense of unity in Anchorage’s exceedingly diverse school community. Portia Noble, pictured above, spoke about the importance of instilling patriotism and said it was a leading factor when she was searching for a preschool for her daughter.

A couple of teachers disagreed with the importance of the National Anthem as a routine.

The head of the Anchorage teacher’s union, Tom Klaameyer, is a veteran himself, but said he opposed the measure and challenged Board member Donley to recite the third verse of the national anthem. About then, School Board President Starr Marsett interrupted and called him out of order.

Klaamayer apologized but explained he was addressing the maker of the amendment. He then said that playing the anthem was similar to a “forced apology that doesn’t mean anything,” and it was “going down a slippery slope to forced marching. As a veteran and teacher, we get much more in developing our students, and protecting their freedom,” he said.

Donley attempted to recite the third verse but was shushed by fellow board member Alisha Hilde, who sits next to him on the school board and was trying to move the proposal back to the Governance Committee.

A teacher, who identified herself as active in the teacher’s union, also opposed the measure because “to mandate it is nationalistic.”

But the vast majority of those testifying were passionate in their support for playing the Star Spangled Banner regularly in schools. Many expressed dismay that some schools did not even have students recite the Pledge of Allegiance, until the superintendent sent out a recent survey that pointed out that it’s district policy to recite the Pledge.

Donley explained that, after eight months of his proposal languishing in committee, the board could have amended it last night, such as making the musical addition to the curriculum occur once a month or daily, but none was in the mood.

The measure went back to the Governance Committee, where it appears likely to languish until Donley cycles off the school board.

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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 comments

  • Shame. Shame. Shame.

    • Withdraw all funding from such schools that will not comply with the will of the people. Let them go out of business. Cease state and local government funding.

  • The pledge of Allig1ance & the Alaska Flag song sound like a good way to start the day. The National Anthem can be tough to sing first thing in the morning, especially all the verses. But if they are feeling like the National Anthem, The Pledge of Allegiance and/or the Alaska Flag Song are too Nationalistic I hope they never have to hear Edelweiss from The Sound of Music. And what’s wrong with a bit of being Nationalistic anyhow.

    Luckily, here is an alternative the school board may want to consider. Its a catchy tune sure to wake the students up and get them in a good mood for the day. The teacher’s union may even like it. For those old enough here who might have listened to shortwave radio for your international news (way before the internet) you may remember this. It was the signature ID call sign for Radio Prague when Czechoslovakia was still in the orbit of the USSR. It’s called “Forward Left, Not One Step Back.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oLltEixR8Y

  • As if saying the National Anthem is harmful! There’s nothing wrong with teaching kids to respect the freedom of their country. There’s everything wrong with NOT teaching it, as this is your chance to teach some history. Wow.

    • Irony is super strong here.

      Of course you meant “nothing wrong with ‘forcing’ kids to respect freedom…”
      Since forcing prayer and worship songs to a piece of fabric doesn’t have anything to do with “teaching.”

      forcing someone to respect freedom is an oxymoron

      • It’s called history. When you learn history, you tend to have respect for those who shed their blood for our freedom. You can’t force respect. You can only teach the history and provide a living example.

        No one is worshipping a piece of fabric. What I would condone is spending a few moments every day or even just once a week remembering, recognizing, and appreciating our freedom.

  • Tom Klaameyer your a Veteran and opposed to the National Anthem I hope like hell you never get around me because I won’t be so obliged not to call you out. This is from a 23 year Combat Veteran who believes in exercising my first Amendment rights. You are a disgrace to all who have worn the uniform and my Brothers and Sisters who died for that FLAG and Anthem

  • I would like to know the names of the Board members who voted against this.

    • I heard Dave Donley on the radio this afternoon. He said he was the only vote for it. Two votes were to not send it to committee, everyone else voted against it.

    • They didn’t vote they sent it back to committee probably to kill it without voting on it

    • What you expect with a Republican as a governor. The teachers union should demand that the National Anthem with standing for the flag is part of education. Based on the opposition for the budget of the Governor, they are only interested in their pay races and not for the rest of the State residents.

  • The shameful leftist parasites have been so successful they are now jeopardizing the life of the host.

  • ASD is filled with corrupt liberals filled with the love of the dark and hatred for the truth. ASD is the most corrupt union in Alaska run by a pure satanic evil largest waste of funds in the state.

  • NAV, I agree wholehartedely! These liberal parasites are here and I wish I knew how to rid ourselves of them! Nothing but unpatriotic, liberal, radical environmentalists, that are the most intolerant people on earth! And narcissistic, biggoted racists as well.

  • No national anthem but instead a LGBT month? Or Planned Parenthood teaching sex education?

  • Not only should the anthem be played, the the meaning and history of the words should be taught. It is a disgrace that the only discussion was not whether or not it should be more than once a week. What is wrong with every day?

  • My Dad was a WW II Veteran and I myself during the Vietnam conflict. I think the history of America and how America was defended for the Freedom For All is not understood, taught or respected in today’s educational system. Those that oppose the national anthem, or pledge of allegiance probably have never served our country in any way shape or form. Rather they just Take what was given for those who died for what they have today. There is no rational thinking to not respecting and knowing that Freedom Was Not Free.

    • Frank first off I want to say Welcome home to you since our Vietnam Brothers did not get the proper welcome home. The thought of someone having a rational thought process when it comes to the Patriotism is a fleeting process anymore. We as Veterans should reach out an ensure today’s youth never forget that brave men and women have died to provide the freedom we have in this country. I have instilled that thought in my own children and will impart that thought into my grandchildren until the day I leave the earthly world.

  • Full disclosure, I am a veteran so I’m biased in favor of playing the national anthem. This is embarrassing and those who oppose the national anthem are despicable individuals. What these liberals fail to see is the big picture. Their lack of patriotism is why there is a rift and divide in this great country. This lack of patriotism in our society is why we can’t unite and agree on common sensical beliefs and has led to a double standard, ie., free speech for me and not for you. If these liberals can’t be proud and contribute, pls leave to which ever country that aligns with your views. Quit trying to change the rest of us who respect and are proud to be a part of this great country.

  • All of this is fixable. Run for school board. If you have time, run for school board. The only way to fix the school board process is to attend the board meetings and run for office. If you’ll notice, almost all school boards are filled with democrats. Knock them out of their elected positions and the outcome will be different.

  • The only way a Conservative can win a position on the school board is to have the candidates run in their own districts. A city wide election for a school board position already puts an individual behind if they are not backed by the AKNEA.

  • I see nothing wrong with saying the pledge and having a flag raising ceremony as well as playing the Star Spangled Banner. In the 1960’s is was part of our schools routine. But I did have a negative experience in the 3rd grade when I asked my teacher why we said the pledge. Her response; ” Young man, you will say the pledge because you are told to do so!” Well it shook me up it did. And when I told my parents they went through the roof. My Dad was a retired disabled Vet. A Major by age 34 and had 4 bronze stars. They had a meeting with my teacher and the principle. The following week all students were given a lecture on the meaning of patriotism and what America stands for. Freedom, responsibility and the right to protest and defend those freedoms, at any cost and to any extreme. I wish I could remember the guest speaker. I think he wrote speeches for Barry Goldwater.

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