Letter: Alaska’s graduation rates have improved but still must rise

The ADN reported today that Alaska ranks 47th among the states in high school graduation rates. Alaska must do better. Although we have made tremendous progress in the past 10 years, that progress is unlikely to continue due to poor funding of education.

The graduation rate statewide rose from the low 60s 10 years ago to the high 70s today. In Anchorage, the rate rose from 63 percent in 2007 to 79.5 percent in 2013 for all (including five-year) graduates. We are within reach of our goal of 90 percent by 2020.

Graduation rates rose during the years that the state Legislature substantially increased the base student allocation (BSA), allowing our schools to hire additional instructors, counselors and graduation advisors. The value of the BSA peaked in 2011, and now our graduation success is losing momentum.

Graduation rates correspond to unemployment rates, lifetime pay and self-sustaining jobs, crime rates, prison costs and other important outcomes that reflect the health of a community. Adequate and stable education funding is critical to our children’s future and the state’s economy.  

— Alyse Galvin