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Memo from Education Commissioner clarifies statutory minimum instruction must be met

A memo obtained by the Alaska Landmine, from Department of Education Commissioner Michael Johnson, clarifies that school districts in Alaska must meet the minimum statutory instruction time for students. It gives school districts the flexibility to determine how instruction will be delivered, but makes it clear that the minimum number of instruction hours must be met. For example, the Juneau School District has only been teaching classes four days a week since school started. Students are not attending school on Wednesdays. This results in a 20% decrease in student instruction. Per the memo, Alaska statute requires a minimum of 740 hours of instruction for K-3 and 900 hours of instruction for grades 4-12, an approximate equivalent to a 180-day school term.

You can read the full memo here.

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The memo seems to be in response to several school districts falsely believing they were granted a waiver for instruction time. Due to COVID, school districts are struggling with how to best teach students while at the same time keeping students and faculty safe. The memo raises more questions than answers when it comes to how school districts across the state will be impacted. Look for this to be an issue as the school year progresses.

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Lynn Willis
1 year ago

More rubber death? So how exactly does Dunleavy plan to enforce this law.- arrest school boards, teachers, parents, himself?

Lynn Willis
1 year ago
Reply to  Lynn Willis

“rubber teeth” Darn auto correct.

Ray Imel
1 year ago

I hope my calculations are wrong. 900 hours of Zoom/year at .450-2.5 GB/ hour, puts a Juneau family in the unlimited data plans between $800 & $1500/ year for internet. It seems like a school tax?

1 year ago

Is this the same commissioner paying Nikki Tshibaka $200,000 per year , with no experience as a favor to Commissioner to Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka.

Judy Eledge
1 year ago
Reply to  Arthur

What does that have to do with the topic? Alaska has strong local
Control and this is one way for the commissioner can say,
“get back to school!”

1 year ago

So, we have a 1st grader in the Anchorage school district who has 4 hours total per week with actual instruction from their ASD-assigned teacher via Zoom. Four hours for the virtual program, that’s it. Everything else has to be done with a parent or day care worker facilitating the lessons online — ASD is not paying the parents for the additional instruction needed, soooo, how is ASD fulfilling the instruction requirement? Simple: they aren’t.

1 year ago
Reply to  CSinAK

Which school are you speaking of?