Rep. Kevin McCabe: The pervasive sacrifice of truth in favor of an agenda

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By REP. KEVIN MCCABE

Recent events in the Alaska Legislature and in Alaska have brought a new, yet pervasive, problem to light: People will do, or say, anything if it pushes their agenda forward.

It apparently does not matter if you are a teacher, an advocate for Right to Life in Alaska, a school district administrator, a reporter, or one of the many people who are taken in by these comments and pass them along without a thought to their veracity.

The first sacrificed truth is from a diatribe from Alaska Right to Life, attacking Speaker of the House Cathy Tilton for not removing some legislators who the group feels are not as “right-to-life” as they should be.

Alaska Right to Life attacking Speaker Cathy Tilton on social media.

Notwithstanding the sanctimonious hypocrisy of the missive they published, the truth is that it is just not possible without some dangerous repercussions.

Consider that the House Majority is not a binding caucus. Because of this, Speaker Tilton cannot remove a person from any committee by herself. She needs the support of at least 21 members of the House Majority Caucus to do so. So, the truth is that the only way to do what the Alaska Right to Life says they want her to accomplish is to disband the House Majority altogether.

Alaska Right to Life knows this, but is that what Alaskans really want? I am sure you don’t and I know I sure don’t. But I am left wondering about the true agenda of Alaska Right to Life: Why have they sacrificed the truth?

Next up we have watched very senior school administrators, district officials, and even some elected officials, sacrificing the truth for what they call “education funding.”

The truth is that a Base Student Allocation increase is not education funding.

The BSA goes to the school districts, not the teachers or classrooms in any appreciable amount. School districts have variable expenses, such as heat and energy, but how well are they being managed? That should be the question every parent who wants the truth should be asking.

The $1,413-per-student that school districts are demanding is derived from merely entering the last Base Student Allocation increase (from 2006) into an online “inflation calculator.” This amount has no basis in reality and the math is pretty nebulous. The truth is that $1,413 is far above what most school districts need (and they don’t want an audit or even to be transparent for some reason) and this amount is far above what we can afford. 

Among other misinformation, the assertion that we haven’t augmented “education funding” since 2006 is quite disheartening. 

You can see that, contrary to this sacrificed truth, the Legislature has allocated nearly $450 million dollars toward “education” since 2002. Additionally, the truth is there were hikes in education funding in 2017 and again last year. 

Also bear in mind the truth that a $1,413 increase in the Base Student Allocation will cost almost $400 million dollars. Where is the money going to come from?

The answer is one truth they do not want you to consider. The money will almost certainly come from your Permanent Fund dividend. There is no other pot of money to accomplish this funding. The truth is that even a $300 increase in the Base Student Allocation surpasses the total of all other increases combined. But that doesn’t fit the agenda, so you won’t be told that truth.

Next truth sacrificed is the idea that teachers do not want bonuses and that bonuses “don’t work.” The truth is that bonuses have consistently proven to be effective in incentivizing retention and hiring throughout the world. This holds true in the military, aviation industry, and virtually every other business or career field at one time or another. Many careers in the state right now, such as bus drivers, CDL and equipment operators, medical professionals, and others receive hiring and retention bonuses.

Why are the alphabet soup groups surrounding education telling everyone that teachers are an exception to this, and would not appreciate or benefit from bonuses?

Oh that’s right – they have an agenda so the truth does not matter.

Why would school districts, teachers’ unions and others sacrificing the truth about charter schools. Is their agenda to protect the neighborhood schools? Do they want to limit parental choice to use a charter school? Is their agenda only to meet enrollment quotas for additional state funding? Parents should ask if school districts are primarily a business, or are they an entity dedicated to delivering high-quality education?

The truth is that a school districts paramount concern should be empowering parents with the option to choose the best educational environment for their children. The truth is that our dialogue should not be about preserving district interests or sustaining neighborhood schools at all costs. It should be about the quality education of our most precious resource. 

Next on the chopping block of truth comes the idea that we are experiencing a huge “outmigration” of students. This is also false. Families are not leaving the state in droves.

Instead, the data shows that parent are making choices to homeschool or charter school their kids; school districts should ask themselves why.

As a closing thought, one should note that the Mat-Su School District, which has long committed to prioritizing students and effective teaching, has the lowest cost per student in the state, and the yet their student outcomes have experienced significant improvement in the last two years.

This truth can be attributed to the school board and district leadership’s unwavering dedication to education and placing emphasis on the students rather than money. Why don’t we hear about that truth?

Rep. Kevin McCabe is the House of Representatives member from Big Lake, House District 30 (formerly District 8.) He is a retired 747 captain and is retired from the U.S. Coast Guard.

49 COMMENTS

  1. As is McCabe’s habit he’s missing the point that the caucus let those dems have power and decision making that they never should have had. Could someone PLEASE edit his rants? They’re onerous to plow through.

      • Yes and most of us know the politicians will lie every chance they get.
        To many false statements and secrets being conducted by those who think they know better.
        Don’t trust any public employee or department as they only have their agenda to deal.
        The taxpayer has no recourse now.

    • McG, hiding behind a pseudonym, falsely characterizing and accusing his target. If you had so much trouble plowing through Rep. McCabe’s article, why did you read it? Feel good to vent your spleen, troll?

  2. No, Tilton and the House made the choice to put democrats in charge of the finance committee, so we’ll get the same as we got last year, nothing worthwhile. The majority caucus in the House known as the “surrender caucus” will just give in again on the budget and not stand their ground. They won’t stand for life. They always just play to appease and to look good to their opposition.

  3. 70% of the ASD budget is for employee salaries, saying that increasing the BSA to match inflation will not go to teachers is ridiculous. You get what you elect

    • Okay Frank, then let’s tell the whole story.
      Since 2000 the positions of non-teaching administrators went from 48 to 252 in 2019 that is a 427% increase in positions making large salaries and benefits. The clerical staff numbers almost doubled. These individuals do not teach any child. Today most school districts in this state have MORE non-teaching personnel than teachers.
      So the question for you is simply this: Are school districts jobs programs or educational institutions? From where I am sitting it sure looks like the former. There is plenty of funding, it just gets all sucked up by bureaucrats and our kids get the very short end of the stick.
      (Numbers from the Alaska Policy Forum, 2023)

      • You are correct. Furthermore, Anchorage has a superintendent that was hired in spite of failing to meet the job requirements due to his alignment of ideals with the self absorbed, liberal Anchorage school board majority. Additionally, the same ASD has stashed a huge amount of cash somewhere that it received under the CARES act and the new superintendent revoked charter school status from one charter school in order to access that money it had in accounts. The ASD is among the most egregious when it comes to failure to steward funds. And the product being produced by schools is terrible. The failure to produce successful students is an indicator the problem isn’t lack of funding.

        • Okay…and that means what exactly?
          Mechanics are not ADMINISTRATORS and most of them don’t make the big bucks at the ASD.
          Again we used to have a ratio of more teachers than support staff (which includes mechanics, custodians and lunch ladies etc.) AND administration. ASD is a top-heavy behemoth, more interesting in new programs and social engineering than teaching kids. Money isn’t the problem. Allocation is!

      • What you are describing is a baked in part of a bureaucracy whose job is to self perpetuate. Not to teach.

        While it’s true ever aspect of education is bloated, the bigger issue isn’t the clerical or janitorial staff. It’s the massive blob Assistant this and Vice that which serve no function than to facilitate the moving of paper (even in a digital form) from one stack to another.

      • I see you stated your source, but this is not accurate. We have districts in Alaska with superintendents making less than teachers with one admin assistant who makes payroll, does the accounting, budgets, accounts payable, accounts receivable, mail runs, mail distribution, board secretary – recorder – policies – website updates, and the list goes on and on. I really would like specifics as to where you got your information. My last position as superintendent was over a district the size of Ohio, with seven sites, one homeschool program, and no transportation except by plane, and the salary was $115,000 for a 260-day contract…But not really. Being a superintendent is a 365, twelve-hour day, everyday job! Do the math on that one.

    • The problem with relentlessly trying to keep up with inflation relating to public employees, who’s income & other benefits are set by government, is that those increases will be paid by many others (via forced taxation, the exercise of political power & legislative PFD cuts) who’s income is not necessarily so reliably tied to inflation. If you’re outside of that circle it’s not a good look when the imbalance becomes excessive.

      And on abortion, if people want to eliminate it from Alaska we need to elect a lot more politicians who embrace that concept as a means to be elected, which would make it possible through the exercise of political power. Unfortunately we don’t seem to be there today.

      • Well said Dave.
        My problem with AKRtL (and too many other similar orgs) is that they attack the wrong targets and do nothing to accomplish anything to reduce or eliminate abortion. They are good at perpetuating their own jobs, period. If we solve the right-to-life issue, their organization goes away – as do their jobs. I want to see abortion go away and I want to see life valued throughout our culture. Accusing Cathy Tilton is counter productive – she is solidly pro-life.
        As with the pro-life people, the educrats are simply using the politics of hysteria to get money. There is a reason our whole nation is failing… My soon to be daughter in law is a teacher – makes about $24K/year. Only one administrator is needed per school, and only a few at district level – mass layoffs need to happen and incentivizing productivity critical.

    • Frank, you are being intentionally obtuse. What percentage of the salaries go to teachers and what percentage go to all the other employees? The answer, based on the 2020 numbers, is just under 71% and 29%. However, the latter number has been growing.

  4. Rep McCabe, outstanding article on funding education and where that money goes. The Education Industry cares about the “institution” of K12 education, not the students. We have some very good teachers, some average teachers, and some mediocre teachers. The higher performing teachers pay the costs of retaining poorly performing teachers. We need to reward the best teachers with bonuses; no rewards for the poor performing teachers.

    Another way to save millions of K12 money: Put all K12 school employees on the State’s AlaskaCares health insurance program. Today, the Anchorage School District pays more than $22,000 per year per teacher union member for health insurance. Guess what? The money goes to the teachers’ union, the Public Employee Health Trust Fund. That fund took in more than $31 million in 2022 from AK school districts. In 2022 it had a balance of $5,964,134 and had more than $34 million in net assets.

    (‘https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2022/926/027/2022-926027877-202301359349314020-9O.pdf?_gl=1*jlts8n*_gcl_au*MTE1NjMyOTkzOC4xNzA2NDY4OTc1)

    We need the state to audit the Public Education Health Trust.

    Increasing the BSA will only increase the health insurance costs for the district, state and local taxpayers.

    The K12 education system is not a jobs program except for students.

    • David, I do not understand the support for McCabe that many “conservatives” show. He starts his article off attacking, once again, the right-to-life movement. But, further past in his-story, he pushed for carbon sequestering saying it was going to make the state money. WHO in this state is going to get that money? Not the people of this state. The whole carbon scam is just that, a scam and many countries are moving away from it. Has McCabe acknowledged this mistake of his? I have not heard anything. Dunleavy just keeps pushing forward with the scam. Doesn’t the bible say that money is a root of all evil? So while we die, the globalists will make money.
      Funding education and where the money goes is a concern, but right now I see that money just being used to set up the kids to be groomed as good little globalist line-workers while the rest of us are put in camps and extinguished due to the “lack of gas and oil” that provided us with heat, electricity and fuel for our vehicles and equipment. I see this “focus” of McCabe’s as a distraction that will keep us busy while the globalists keep removing everything that we need to stay alive.
      Ask McCabe if you can go live with him at his off-grid cabin with solar and a woodstove when the globalist minions, including Dunleavy, remove our gas and oil. I am willing to bet that he’s not worried for himself and his loved ones if our gas and oil are removed.

      • Ginny.
        No, the Bible says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. He is not attacking anyone. He is calling out the AK right to life movement for attacking Tilton. They could care less about the right to life and I am ashamed to say I gave them money and signed a petition years ago. That was before I found out that they had been disowned by the national right to life movement for doing exactly what they have done to Tilton. For them it is all about Eastman, who they see as their champion and who they think was harmed by a decision Tilton herself made. That is not how a majority works and McCabe explains it pretty well. As far as the carbon nonsense you wrote, you will have to look pretty hard to find anyone as pro oil and coal development as McCabe and McCay. Have you watched any resource committee hearings? I suspect you are the victim of another set of supposed truths-that-are-not-true concerning the carbon bills in AK

        • DJC, it appears to be that we are quoting verses from different bible versions – same meaning. As for what goes on in those sessions: I am glad that they let us see, at least, some of the sessions online. I have witnessed McCabe acting very unprofessional during those sessions and Speaker Tilton allowing his unprofessional behavior to manifest uncontrolled. As a taxpayer/voter, I was not happy to see – on camera – how my state House presented itself to the entire world. McCabe was sitting behind Eastman in camera view, rolling his eyes and making faces while Eastman was talking. I witnessed McCabe looking towards the Speaker’s bench and making faces, rolling his eyes and hand gesturing. Not once did I hear Speaker Tilton asking McCabe to act more professional – at least while the camera had his face and upper body in view. She doesn’t stop his behavior because she is in on it also. They are attempting to squeeze Eastman out of the building. Removing him from all committees is removing his constituents’ rights to be represented in the House. Does the House have the right to say that a certain group of Alaskans don’t deserve representation in the House? I wish that his constituents would start pressing cases against the state legislature for removing their right to presentation. The “Republicans” handed over the “majority” to the demonrats – you don’t have to explain to me about how it works. Finally as for the carbon crap, McCabe was out there trying to sell us on going along with giving away our rights to live, breath, grow food, have trees, cars, cows, pigs, gardens and so on when he was trying to get our support for the carbon sequestering/storage. There are notable videos with supporting evidence that what he was trying to push was not going to work for us. The rest of the world is figuring out that anything to do with carbon capture, storing it, carbon credits, and ESG is a bunch of hogwash that will kill the people of the world slowly and surely. No one wants to die because of some greedy globalists and globalist minions. The truth is out there – people know. McCabe’s time of sitting on his little throne is counting down. The truth is coming out.

          • Well said, Ginny. Rep. Kevin J. McCabe of Big Lake is the last person who should be talking about the agenda of others, or how some will “say anything” to serve that agenda.

            Has he taken responsibility yet for violating the First Amendment rights of Alaskans? No. Despite an unambiguous court ruling last month, McCabe continues to say he did nothing wrong, all while continuing to smear his victim. He’s also trying to get his hands on public money to pay the legal bills he brought on himself.

            Meanwhile, anyone who points out these obvious truths is accused by McCabe of harassment. He thinks nothing of (ab)using the full force of his position, or using fake social media IDs, to attack and bully anyone who dares to disagree with him. Total snowflake.

            He also remains unapologetic about filing a false ethics report against two fellow legislators. Why the majority let that slide is beyond me. The dude is completely unfit to serve, period. The fact that someone as dishonest and self-serving as him remains on the Legislative Council is a slap in the face to all Alaskans.

        • Was he also not attacking anyone when he filed that bogus ethics complaint against two fellow legislators? How about when he concocted an entire narrative for a dishonest petition for a restraining order against a private citizen he had a disagreement with in 2022?

  5. All of those administrative jobs and yet they still hire many more people at minimum wage without benefits to do the actual work. And force them to pay union dues for the privilege. Simular to the Chinese system.

    • You know, I am not a fan of Mr. McCabe either, however to simply shut down discussion and an unwillingness to at least hear the argument, is counter-productive in a representative republic. Debate is what moves us forward and your and others categorical dismissal, because of the messenger, is unhelpful. I agree carbon sequestration seems like some Voodoo, but it isn’t the topic here.
      So do you have any thoughts on public education or the other issue, or are you just here to dump on Mr. McCabe and leave??

      • A Taxpayer, what did McCabe start out this article with? The first six (short) paragraphs had nothing to do with education.

        • Thank you Ginny, for pointing out my unfortunate word choice. I am aware that the article first deals with abortion and individuals involved in that issue. That being said, I know very little about Mrs. Tilton’s stand on abortion and am not familiar with the AK right-to-life organization and how they operate, as referenced by Mr. McCabe.
          Therefore while I am appalled by the practice of abortion, I did not feel, I had a good enough grasp on the details to comment on that part of the article, so I focused on education.

  6. Thanks for shining a light on the emotional manipulation used by bullies who have an agenda, and use their bully pulpit as a battering ram.

    Although a cause may appear to be worthy of fighting for, such as “saving babies,” “education,” (name your cause), do “the ends justify the means?”

    If individuals and organizations truly wish to champion their named cause, and not just use it as a talking point to advocate for their true agenda, they won’t need to employ lies, deceit, defamation, and malice. When they resort to such tactics, we must question their true motives.

    I see a group of legislators doing the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt. Holding a group of seemingly mismatched people together is no small feat. Dismantling this group as has been advocated would be tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  7. You’ve been around long enough, McCabe, to realize that among party operatives and ideologues “truths” are negotiable, and when necessary they can be disregarded or silenced!

    • Rep. Kevin J. McCabe knows all about disregarding or silencing the truth. That’s why he’s losing the easily avoidable lawsuit he’s involved in. It is laughable for someone of his limited integrity to bemoan alleged lack of attention to truth elsewhere.

  8. Kevin, every time your lips move, your hand writes or types, we can tell you are protecting yourself and your lies.

  9. I cannot disagree with anything Representative McCabe has said here, and I don’t expect to read such clear and concise explanations in the leftward slanting Alaska media. Specifically, I am grateful every day for the current Alaska House Speaker! I am very skeptical that anyone else could do nearly as well as she does at sticking with common sense solutions and avoiding the stupid directions many others in the legislature will take the state if given half a chance. Keeping government as far out of the personal lives of law-abiding Alaskans as possible is always defensible.

    Anyone who wants a Republican House majority with more hegemony had better begin campaigning as early as today for Republican challengers to seats now held by Democrats. This could be a good year for Alaska Republicans up and down the ballot, but it surely won’t be if people don’t show up to work on campaigns.

    I do not believe in deficit spending by government, for a PFD, education, or even repairing repairing roads. Deficit spending always weakens a government and its people. Right now Alaska has people crowding the food stamp roles while we have employers, including state and local government, saying they cannot fill job vacancies. Deficit spending is not the answer, even if smaller schools need to go entirely virtual in order to reduce education spending. Holding students back when they are not ready to advance to the next grade, tracking students by achievement so that each grade level has 2 or more levels, and being completely frank and honest with parents are practices now lacking in public schools: those practices would do far more for Alaska schools than does spending even more money the state really doesn’t have. When has increasing education spending improved student test results?

  10. If the quality of Alaska’s public education is diminished because of the desire for a large PFD, we are in trouble.

    • “Quality of public education” is an oxymoron.
      The kids already score the lowest of all states, sitting at 49th or 50th, even with the millions of dollars we spent already. (8th grad math proficiency at 24% per NAEP and 12% per the AK star testing) At least a full PFD will give their parents the wherewithal to send them to private school or home school for an educational experience that will actually teach them something useful and make them productive members of society with critical thinking skills.
      Oh and the money should really follow the child….

    • Paola, we had far better schools before Prudhoe Bay began dumping oceans of Ca$h into the NEA’s coffers. In fact the more $ poured into the rotten, corrupt public Skools has only led to poorer student outcomes, why?

    • There is zero correlation between the two. Zero.

      You really need to be quiet when adults are talking and try to learn something.

      Deliberately stupid is no way to go through life.

      • MA, there is an indirect correlation.
        The NEA/school administrators/school board lust after the PFD money. It is the one chunk of change they think they can get their hands on, if they just sing “It’s for the children” loudly and often enough.
        Is there a correlation between increased education spending and better student outcomes?
        Absolutely NOT!!
        We are looking at the proof (see above charts).
        It should be further noted that in NONE of the pleas for more money, do they actually promise improved outcomes for student. Why? Because then you could point to that next year and have a reason to deny further funding increases.
        Oh, and the money should follow the child…..

      • MA, apparently you are incapable of understanding a correlation coefficient. In the case of Education spending in Alaska one can easily see that increased spending has only been followed by diminished school performance. In fact the evidence of this abounds, especially when one examines outcomes vs spending in other states in juxtaposition to Alaska. The question remains, why?
        Perhaps you might become just a little curious on the subject, but I guess when is omniscient like your bad cartoon self, well, it’s easier to just insult others, right? Perhaps it is you that should hush.

        BTW, are you a public employee?

        • It’s pretty easy to side with MA on this one when your own “analysis” of the issue is so shallow as to be irrelevant. Perhaps you might become a little more than bumper-sticker curious on the subject, especially if you are a legislator, or work for one.

          BTW, what are you hiding that causes you to cower behind an anonymous ID?

  11. Kevin McCabe, I appreciate your insight and accurate explanations. Please consider running for Governor when Mike Dunleavy term limits out.

    • Rich, really? I don’t share your enthusiasm for this fellow, in fact I can think of at least 550,000 better choices. You see Rich, polished political performances by pontificating pedants in my observation only lead to more of what we got.

  12. If Anchorage ever gets serious about reversing the black hole it fell into, the best place to start is getting actively involved in your local school.

    The next is running for PTA and School Board seats.

    Damn near everything happening now is directly and indirectly related to failed public education. Parental involvement is the first step in reversing the failures

  13. For what its worth, here is my two cents worth.
    The first step in fixing our education system is to kick NEA out of Alaska, teachers can start their own union. ATU, Alaska Teachers Union. NEA is the third largest political lobbying organization in the country and their attorney has made the statement that their only goal is to turn America socialist, and they have three million members paying them to do it. As far as right to life, ask Pat how many babies they have saved. My wife and I have ask him that question, the answer is ZERO. Remember, when you point a finger, there are four more pointing at you, so be careful who you point at.

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