Letter: Education is the great democratic equalizer

At a recent meeting of the Anchorage Youth Development Coalition, Superintendent Ed Graff shared numerous serious statistics. Currently more than 2,200 students in the Anchorage School District are homeless or in transition. And the percentage of students who are now EDS (Economically Disadvantaged Students) has increased from 26 percent in 2004 to over 45 percent in 2012.

Unfortunately, the percentage-point gap between EDS and non-EDS in reading is 

19.85 percent; in writing is 21.82 percent; in mathematics is 23.57 percent; and in science is 34.27 percent. The ASD, after-school programs, and school-business partnerships among others are working on this. But more resources are truly needed.

Education must be the great equalizer in our democratic society. Education provides our community’s critical elevator of opportunity. As the poverty rate among children grows, properly funded schools, after-school programs, and a supportive community are more important than ever. 

For the sake of the future, we have the need and moral imperative to invest more in our children and youth, while recognizing the significant costs of not doing so.

— Deborah Williams