Letters to the Editor: Keep education off the chopping block

Keep education off the chopping block

Alaska’s education mission is ‘to provide an excellent education to every student, every day’. An excellent education gives children a knowledge of the world and life around them. As children encounter life experience, the information learned in school is converted into knowledge that helps form opinions about meaningful things, such as jobs and family. This leads to knowledge-based decision-makers, for both sides of the aisle. This part of education is as necessary in Alaska as anywhere.

Alaska’s public-school funding, previously cut by $25 million from 2015 to 2018, left education already desperate for resources. There’s no more fat to trim. When education is underfunded, we lose good teachers and vital programs, achievement gaps grow, communities fail, local economies flounder as children become dependent adults, and most importantly, we have no promise for the future of Alaska. Therefore, the 2019 proposed $20 million cut from Dunleavy — the “Education Governor” — must be appropriated back to education as promised.

This year, my daughter started attending Soldotna Montessori — a charter school that has brought her from the brink of failure to thriving. Because of the outstanding teachers and the robust academic environment, I know that someday she will be a very productive member of the community. It would be catastrophic for her and many others, should something happen to this or similar schools.

As the state considers funding, they should remember that a budget is always a statement of our priorities and a manifestation of our values. The quality of public education is among the very top considerations of people deciding where they want to live and raise a family. As Alaska’s population is shrinking, we need to consider whether our state is sufficiently committed to our schools.

“Education improvement” is a tried and true campaign promise, precisely because it reflects an important civic value, something most of us care deeply about. But the promise of protecting education in Alaska rings hollow, unless those elected on that promise solidly stand behind it.

Please, keep education off the chopping block.

— Angie Clark, Soldotna

More in Opinion

Larry Persily (File)
A permit without a prospect

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Alaska LNG application at its May 21 meeting.

With a grim financial picture ahead, the University of Alaska Southeast, seen here on Monday, May 25, 2020, could be merged with one of the other two schools in the system. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Opinion: University Board of Regents will face tough choices in June

Like the virus, this budget challenge is real, painful and demands that we take swift action.

Sen. Peter Micciche (courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: Get back to the drawing board on 911 system

Micciche: 911 centralization plan laced with wasteful redundancy, inefficiencies.

Willy Dunne is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. (Courtesy photo)
Vote by mail is safe, fiscally responsible

All registered borough voters would receive a ballot in the mail a few weeks ahead of election day.

It’s time for a real living wage

The federal minimum wage was last increased in 2009.

Alaska Voices: Oil taxes, what oil taxes?

Alaska needs a fair share from the sale of oil to economically recover and have a meaningful future.

Opinion: Finding the intrinsic beauty of sadness

Knowing sadness can be a healthy thing.

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson testifies before state senators during a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Juneau. (Becky Bohrer | Associated Press File)
Clarkson: Even during pandemic, there is help for domestic violence victims

As a community we have a responsibility to care for and seek to protect our most vulnerable.

Dave Reaves (courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: The time to invest in Alaska is now

We call on Gov. Mike Dunleavy to help move job creating infrastructure projects forward.

The last strand of elodea on the Kenai Peninsula was found during a survey in May 2019. This fragment is brown and brittle, signs of dying from having been treated with herbicide since 2017. (Photo by Matt Bowser/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge).
Alaska Voices: Can Elodea be eradicated?

Infestations have been found on the Kenai Peninsula, around Cordova, and in the Fairbanks area.

COVID-19 harms children in seen and unseen ways

There has been an alarming decrease in all routine health care, including routine vaccinations.

Pay PFD now, make long-term fiscal plan for Alaska

The Ship of State, our government, has lost direction.