Alaska has raised performance expectations for schools and teachers. We have also promised public school students they will meet state academic standards by 2014. We have initiated statewide programs to improve the quality of schools, teachers and administrators. We have set more specific grade level student standards, and led the charge for significantly more dollars so schools can successfully meet these challenges.
As for dollars, Governor Murkowski last year signed legislation to increase school funding by $82 million. The governor in November proposed $126 million more for schools for the next two school years. This proposal set the tone for the legislative session, and the legislature is poised to fund schools at a high level next year.
Governor Murkowski has proposed to increase funding by 29% during his term of office. By contrast, school funding saw only a 1.9% increase between 1999 and 2003.
Do schools need even more dollars? Yes. But by any measure, the governor's commitment to public education is major. And he's made this commitment despite many competing interests for state dollars.
A more complete explanation of the above is on the web at www.eed.state.ak.us/news/bill_packet_0105.pdf.
Alaska Commissioner of Education & Early Development