The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the April 2 election to the Anchorage School Board to answer a series of questions on issues facing those bodies. We’re publishing select responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style. To see all the responses, click here. For Assembly candidate surveys, click here.
Q: Does Anchorage need better preschool options for children? What steps would you take to increase the availability of preschool education?
Kai Binkley Sims
Studies show how important preschool is in setting students up for success. Children who attend preschool end up acquiring more education, and are less likely to commit crimes. The economic benefits of these statistics are huge. I would love to be able to expand the preschool program if the budget allows. I would look into outside sources of funding for preschool programs.
Yes. I would ask for specific funding from the Legislature.
Yes, in Anchorage most employers do not provide assistance in daycare, including ASD, and it is a major expense for working parents. However, I believe preschool should be provided by the private economy. It is estimated that public-provided preschool in the K-12 system would cost more than $10,000 per child. Research shows that the benefits of preschool are questionable. I firmly believe that the parent(s) are the best preschool teachers and know what is best for their child.
According to Department of Education only 32% of children in Alaska attend pre-K before kindergarten, that leaves 68% with no pre-K. Universal pre-K in Alaska would change our reading proficiency scores. Florida is a great example: Top reading scores in the nation and they have universal pre-K.
Ronald Stafford did not respond to the survey.