The challenges of education in Alaska

In one word, the state of education in Alaska is “pathetic.” Finger pointing, arguing and blaming everything except the structure of the current system will accomplish nothing. The constant cry of a bureaucracy saying “not enough money,” “more money” and “you don’t understand” gets us nowhere while the schoolchildren of Alaska are paying the price and are among the poorest educated in the nation.

The children of Alaska deserve a better education and a future – not an administrative bureaucracy living off the largess of bloated school funding while the actual classroom teachers and their students are left to make due with paltry administrative handouts.

Facts and Results are the important thing. Not the rhetoric of failed administrators and lobbyists closing the eyes of government officials.

Here are few facts:

  • Alaska spends over $18,000 per student per year
  • 54% goes to teachers & students – LOWEST % in the nation
  • 46% goes to administrative overhead – HIGHEST % in the nation

The numbers tell a sad tale. While Alaska school officials tell us they need more money for education, they fail to disclose that a properly managed administrative system would have those funds pay for the needed teacher wage scales and better the education of our students – all without additional funding.

For example: Nationally there are 295 students per administrator. In Alaska that number is 205. Simple math, we have 50% more administrators per student than the national average. There is an old saying “Follow the money”. Well the trail leads to bloated administrative costs.

The simple solution is to enhance the direct education of our children by reducing administrative expenses and invest those dollars in teachers and students.

Result? Better educated students being taught by fairly compensated teachers at a reduced cost per student.

The highest percent of education investment from education budgets across the U.S. in students and teachers is approximately 70%.

Bringing Alaska to 60-65% would make a major change in the ability to serve our students.

  • Will we have better paid teachers? YES
  • Will we have more education dollars directly invested in student education? YES
  • Will our student education standards increase? YES
  • Will our students have a better future because of a better education? YES
  • Will the current administration make the changes? NO
  • Will a new Alaska State administration make the changes?

With Charlie Pierce as your governor, the answer is YES. Team Pierce with Charlie Pierce for governor and Edie Grunwald for lieutenant governor is committed to putting “Alaskans First”. Our children are Alaskans and the quality of their education will be put first.

Support Team Pierce, Charlie Pierce for governor and Edie Grunwald for lieutenant governor and our children, Alaska’s children, will no longer be last, they will be part of “Alaskans First”.

Charlie Pierce is a Republican candidate for governor. He has served as mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough since 2017. 

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Frank Rast
6 months ago

The facts are Alaska has more remote, small school districts than othe states driving up administrative costs. Our Constitutionally mandated public education requirement and legislated BSA has not been adjusted for inflation since 2017. The State would see improved results if Pre-K is funded along with adjusting the BSA for inflation. Conservative Republicans will never acknowledge that quality outcomes require $

Darrell Kincaid
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank Rast

Then it’s beyond time to combine those small, rural districts into larger aggregate districts and decreasing administrative loads. If we can educate kids by zoom and computer we can certainly administrate schools by zoom and computer.

And yes, it’s time to require off-road communities to organize into boroughs, or join one that matches their Native Corporation, and contribute to their own budget just like we “on-roaders” have to. The Kenai Borough collects sakes taxes which go, almost entirely, to the education budget.

Just do it.

Bob Griffin
6 months ago

All good ideas. How would accomplish that with a split legislature?

6 months ago

Thank you Mayor Pierce for exposing where the money goes.

Bob Griffin
6 months ago

Would be interested in seeing the sources from some of the “facts” in this piece. Mont are significantly different from public records.

Solution to reduce administration is pretty simplistic and has been ongoing for sometime and has been blocked by split legislature.

The landmark Alaska Reads Act passed this year will have the most dramatic improvement in student outcomes. Most important education legislation in over 30 years according to Dr Deena Bishop. Big win for the leadership of the Dunleavy administration

6 months ago
Reply to  Bob Griffin

The bill passed could be a win for “do nothing “ governor Dunleavy… Let’s ELECT CHARLIE PIERCE GOVERNOR and see many more great RESULTS not just Rhetoric!

6 months ago
Reply to  Bob Griffin

There are numerous sites both government and private that confirm those statistics. 2 google clicks and you will be there. Tried myself what you asked and way too much of our school budget goes to high paid administrators to oversea teachers. Too many supervisors per teacher.

6 months ago

Just keep shoving the ivermectin up your butt there Charlie….. the old saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink” really applies here…. I have not heard of a child with two loving and involved parents that fails at school because of the administration. Your idiotic disconnect of the real problems facing the school system is laughable… maybe ask why Alaska ranks 45th and lower in all child well being benchmarks… we have the highest rate of child sexual and violent abuse… but yeah blame the schools and ol Horse worm Charlie will fix… Read more »

The Alaska Poaster
6 months ago

Anyone who doesn’t know life beyond the road system, which is readily apparent based on the author/candidate’s biography, shouldn’t be given power to decide what the education system looks like beyond it.

6 months ago

What is wrong with giving those administration dollars to teachers and students? Too many cooks spoil the broth and too many administrators per teacher and student take needed funds from teachers and student needs.

6 months ago

I want to give Charlie some credit – ASD has some serious problems with administration at bith the superintendent level and also with bureacratic bloat at the lower levels. And, the rural school districts have a ton of dysfunction. So, the criticism isn’t crazy. That said, while I can sit here and just offer general complaints- I’m nobody. This dude wants to be our governor – and Landfield gives him a soapbox and the best he can offer is: “The simple solution is to enhance the direct education of our children by reducing administrative expenses and invest those dollars in… Read more »