Another nail in the school-choice coffin

From an editorial in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, not known as a hotbed of progressivism:

When rigid ideology and party allegiance drive our legislative process, honest debate and the public interest are too often the casualties. Such could have been the case with a misguided proposal being pushed in Juneau this legislative session that could have opened the door to public education funds being channeled to private schools. Hatched by Outside ideologues who have no concern for what’s best for Alaska, the idea was being pushed here under the feel-good misnomer school choice.

As the paper notes, the bill is in Senate Rules, where it will likely stay for the session. The paper is “thrilled.” I’m not so sure. Legislators, many of whom tout support for school choice to their constituents, should be on record, say nothing of the public.

Continue reading for its take-down of Valley President Charlie Huggins and Sen. Mike Dunleavy, both of whom support choice. Neither of whom, last I checked, were “Outside ideologues.”


4 thoughts on “Another nail in the school-choice coffin

  1. Linda W.

    I had concerns and questions about the school choice issue; however, since talking with members of the Valley delegation, I believe it is the right thing to do. Throwing more dollars at the problem isn’t the fix. Proud of our delegation leading the way. The Frontiersmen’s editorial stance is not reflective of its readership. I suspect more people read the editorial in your blog than from the paper. Their readership is in decline.

  2. Lynn Willis

    They should have debated the real issue which is the establishment and funding of a school voucher program in Alaska. Any time you are going to transfer public wealth to the private sector parsing an issue by being coy is not a smart tactic. The only reason for this Constitutional Amendment is to create payment vouchers which is fine if we can afford these vouchers and afford to operate the very expensive school system we already have. Prove you can fund both while providing a quality education and I will support vouchers.
    As to the influence of outside ideologues many of our legislators are members of ALEC (American Legislative Executive Council). Once these ALEC legislators get this Amendment watch for ALEC model legislation from the ALEC website . Below is the preamble and first part of an ALEC bill where you simply fill in the blanks. Is that what we want from our elected officials – cut and paste legislation with no thought required?
    From the ALEC website:

    School Choice Directory Act


    This legislation requires the state department of education to produce a catalogue of educational options available in the state. The catalogue will provide a brief description of all educational choices for students in K-12 as they apply to the state, including (as applicable) open enrollment, charter schools, vouchers, education savings accounts, homeschooling, and tax credit scholarships.

    Model Policy

    {Title, enacting clause, etc.}

    Section 1. {Definitions}

    In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

    (A) Department” means the department of education.

    (B) “Parent” means a resident of this state who is the parent or legal guardian of a qualified student.

    Section 2. {Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of XXXX:}

  3. Michelle

    I know and support sens. Huggins and Dunleevey. Both are solid fiscal conservatives and honest politicians. I think that our education system needs improvement. Throwing money at it bucket over bucket will not fix our problems or is even a prectical solution given the produuction decline in our oil fields. I would supporrt school choice and changing the constitution if for no other reason that it provides additional flexibility to policy makers to explore some new ideas and approaches. The fear mongering promoted by NEA is simply ridiculous. I think the Frontiersman is off base. Fortunately, its subscription base is getting smaller all the while the area is growing. That says something too.

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