Former Anchorage legislator Andrew Halcro, who has never been known to mince words, took his disagreements with the education task force, of which he is a member, to Facebook on Friday. He called the task force, a “poorly organized charade,” and said that the only intention of the group was to “weaken education.”
The Alaska House of Representatives’ Sustainable Education Task Force has been meeting for four months to come up with education funding and other recommendations to bring to the governor and the Legislature, which is scheduled to convene on Jan. 21. It was comprised of Halcro, four other community members and three Republican House members: Tammie Wilson of Fairbanks, Lynn Gattis of Wasilla and Charisse Millett of Anchorage.
Halcro is the president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Among the other public members were lawyer and oil and gas consultant Brad Keithley, who has been talking about running for governor on a fiscal conservative platform.
The overall conclusion was that the state was going to have to cut education funding. Halcro, however, disagreed.
Here’s Halcro’s Facebook post in full:
“The truth is that this task force was never intended to reach any other conclusion than to weaken education. Ironically, all of the recommendations reached would require additional funds, which the committee then said we couldn’t afford to make. This was a four month, poorly organized charade. Out of the eight committee members, only two of us actually have a direct role in hiring graduates. The rest of the committee was comprised of a former educator who after 28 years in the system had no productive ideas on how to improve education, a lawyer who has only been registered to vote in Alaska for the last three years and as far as I can tell has no experience in hiring graduates…and three current lawmakers who by their own admission have spent us into deficits. A four month charade.”
- The group urged the state to begin thinking about the following:
- Invest in technology that is compatible with local infrastructure.
- Establish regional residential education centers to enhance secondary education.
- Expand public choice in education opportunities to include: boarding, charter, virtual, homeschool and neighborhood schools.
- Evaluate the current level of facility cost sharing between the state and localities. Consistent with local control, increased local contribution may not only be necessary but a better way to ensure that facilities are built and maintained efficiently.
- Standardize school facilities, with the goal of reducing overall construction and maintenance costs using “recognized best practices.”
- Analyze the potential benefit of school district consolidation and shared services between school districts and other entities.
- Review and eliminate unnecessary regulations.
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