Letter: Alaska students making strides, but there’s still much to be done

In an effort to provide school districts with the funds they need, Rep. Les Gara has introduced legislation that for the first time in three years would inflation-proof public education funding. 

Alaska’s investment in public education during the last decade had made a difference. In the last 10 years, Alaska’s graduation rate has increased by 10 percent compared to the national graduation rate, which increased by 3.5 percent. Alaska’s graduation rate is 72 percent compared to the national rate of 75.5 percent. In addition, while our 4th grade students underperform on the national assessment test, our 8th graders are at or slightly below the national average. Our students made amazing progress in four short years. Imagine what they could do if Alaska made a significant investment in early childhood education.

The cuts that school districts are making will negatively impact the gains that have been made. Parents and community members need to be engaged and demand more funding. Quality public education has an economic impact on us all. Let’s build on our success.

— Ron Fuhrer

NEA-Alaska president