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Sustainable Education Task Force Releases Draft Recommendations

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, Wasilla, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives’ Task Force on Sustainable Education announce the release of its draft recommendations, as called for in House Resolution 8, which created the task force and set forth its work.

The recommendations, available here, are a culmination of many public meetings, dozens of hours of testimony and discussion, and countless more of study and reflection. They call for the Legislature and state to further examine public K-12 education funding, while also focusing on mission deliverables, through a strategic statewide education plan and a better public dialogue on finances.

Co-chairs, Representative Lynn Gattis, R-Wasilla, and Representative Tammie Wilson, R-Fairbanks, released the following statement:

“The House Sustainable Education Task Force has traveled to many communities touring schools and holding town hall meetings. We have some great teachers and amazing schools, as well as some that are more challenged. As made clear in the Alaska Constitution, education is a core mission of state government. Alaska is facing a challenging fiscal future, which requires new ways of thinking in order to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of education.

“A strategic state education plan should be developed that would include the implementation of new state standards, new assessments, teacher development and the potential utilization of a state curriculum in reading, writing and arithmetic.

“Achieving a sustainable future may include, but is not necessarily limited to, establishing regional residential education centers to enhance secondary education, invest in technology that is compatible with local infrastructure, and expand public choice in education opportunities.

“We face a changing financial future and an in-depth analysis and continued policy calls on what are necessary to stimulate achievement will be required. The Task Force will spend the next year taking a closer look at these issues and a deeper review of the cost to giving every student an opportunity to succeed in the career of their choice.”

The Task Force was made up of Co-Chairs Rep. Wilson and Rep. Gattis, Rep. Charisse Millett and five public members. HR 8, its enabling legislation, called for the task force to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of public education delivery in the state, including standards, outcomes and funding of public education.

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