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Congratulations to the Anchorage School Board for its recent unanimous decision to adopt an Alaska history requirement. This action took courage and vision. Anchorage students will now have the educational opportunity to explore the state's many cultures, regions, economies and unique history.
A statewide secondary Alaska history course has been the topic of debate for many years. Most recently the idea was discussed at the 20/20 forums sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum and also at public hearings sponsored by the Governor's Commission on Tolerance, which formally endorsed the requirement in its recommendations to the Governor. 'As chair of the Alaska Historical Commission, another group which endorsed the requirement, I know there are many pieces of Alaska's social and cultural fabric that will be better appreciated and even celebrated, after they are understood. That is what can be achieved through this educational opportunity.
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Mary Kapsner is currently pending in the House Finance Committee that would require high school students statewide to study Alaska history. I am hopeful that the Anchorage School Board's decision to implement the requirement locally will send a positive message to legislators when they deliberate on Kapsner's bill in the upcoming session.
Thanks to the Anchorage School Board, Superintendent Carol Comeau and also to the teachers who will help their students appreciate the history and the future of this amazing state. They know that the time for understanding and mutual respect based on knowledge is here and now.
Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer