Hire superintendent locally

It seems that the Anchorage School Board is in a quandary about how to recognize and find a super superintendent. It asked the public what we see as desired qualities in a superintendent. That request was made after the board did not renew Superintendent Graff’s contract, which would have suggested to reasonable folk that the board knew the answer to the question already and are merely paying lip service to the community.

Since the ASD board is asking for suggestions, we offer the following:

1. If the ASD board is serious when asking for qualities of a superintendent, then have the survey results tabulated and make the list public. The board might be surprised that Mr. Graff fits the bill. Wouldn’t that be an easy fix! Then ASD could use another talented ASD employee to do lobby work. No big money needed.

2. Do not pay for a national search that costs thousands of dollars and in the past has yielded several duds. Instead, take our Alaska talent seriously. The expression “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is crazy” seems appropriate, as the board over and over looks beyond our state for talent, which comes up short.

3. Use Alaska talent. We have highly skilled and experienced educators in this state. How about Shirley Holloway, Mary Johnstone and Esther Cox? They are just three of many outstanding educators who have proven their leadership skills.

4. No matter what, do not have a buy-out clause. If a superintendent selected by the ASD board is as terrible as the outside men have been in the past, they do not deserve anything but a kick in the pants out the door and nothing else: no money, no fake recommendation. And, if the board members again foolishly select a useless leader from Outside, each of them should get the same.

— Carol and Bob Waters

educators in Alaska since 1978


How the tune changes

It did not take long after the death of Justice Scalia for the Democrats to start pointing fingers at Republicans and to hide behind the Constitution.

But many forget and many more weren’t even born when in 1960 the Democrat-controlled Congress passed a resolution against President Eisenhower from appointing a justice to the Supreme Court until the election and a new president (JFK) was sworn in so that he could pick the justice. Then Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2007: Don’t confirm any Bush Supreme Court nominee. And recently Sen. Schumer promised to do “everything in my power” to prevent another Roberts or Alito from being confirmed to the Supreme Court.

My, how quickly the Democrats change their tune. Remember, when pointing fingers don’t be standing in front of a mirror.

— James Rowe


For sake of Alaska's future, fund childhood programs

In the state of Alaska, a major concern that has been making headlines is the budget deficit, along with health care access for both physical and mental health. On Feb. 10, Alaska Dispatch News published the article “Cuts to early childhood care will deepen Alaska’s fiscal crisis” by Jill Burke, which helped highlight why cutting money from early childhood programs could be a potential mistake for Alaska. I agree with Jill Burke’s article and encourage Alaskans to take the time to read it, especially because studies have shown how trauma in early childhood can continue to affect adults later in life.

In a report published by the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, in 2013 the number of Alaska adults over the age of 18 who were tormented regularly from “mental distress” and had a history of traumatic experiences was about 60 percent. It was also shown that almost a quarter of Alaskans who have experienced some sort of trauma during childhood also have “general health” that is “poor,” while more than 30 percent of Alaskans also have “physical health” that is labeled as “poor.”

It is also explained in the article “Adverse Childhood Experiences: How Schools Can Help,” by A.J. Walker and E. Walsh, that prevention in early childhood by teachers and other faculty that come in contact with students can be one of the first preventive measures that a child experiencing trauma comes across. Therefore, if the state of Alaska cuts the amount of funding that goes towards childhood programs, then we may potentially be raising the price of not just mental health care but also health care in general. Due to this, I urge Alaskans to think about how these cuts will affect our children currently and how it may affect them as they reach adulthood before we consider them.

— Liz Wendoloski

Eagle River

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