The League of Women Voters of Alaska has long held the position that the State of Alaska has the responsibility for setting standards for education in Alaska, and financing elementary and secondary schools. We subscribe to the League of Women Voters of the United States national position which emphasizes educational equality for all students as well as quality in education. We have concerns as to whether the goals of such education in Alaska will be supported by the changes to the Alaska Constitution proposed in HJR1/SJR9.
A fundamental necessity of a democratic society is a free and appropriate public education for all youth, as is guaranteed in Alaska’s Constitution. HJR1/SJR9 may lead to a decrease in both quality and equality in the educational outcome for some students by siphoning money away from public schools into private education. We additionally foresee complications in the monitoring of standards and financial accountability in non-public educational settings.
The intent of the writers of the Alaska State Constitution was to support a vibrant, comprehensive, and sufficiently funded public education system for students throughout the State. These programs are constantly creating adaptations, innovations, and modernizations in order to meet the diverse needs of all of Alaska’s youth.
We urge the members of the Legislature to strive to strengthen, fully fund, and encourage the goals and programs of public education in Alaska.
Linda Witt, President
League of Women Voters Alaska