I think UA President Jim Johnsen would like us to believe that eliminating the UAA School of Education would be in the best interest of the Anchorage community. How would forcing prospective candidates to choose between moving to Fairbanks or Juneau, or pursuing their program through distance delivery, support their pursuing a career in teaching?
Since 1976, the UAA School of Education has graduated hundreds of educators. Research shows that those prepared in Alaska make the best teachers for Alaska’s children and are more likely to be retained. How will losing this program benefit our community when the quality of public education is one major factor in families’ decisions to stay here?
The current interim director, faculty, and staff have now brought the initial licensure programs substantially into compliance with accreditation standards. How is pulling the rug out from under them an example of leadership that acknowledges past mistakes but commits to moving forward? Instead of halting this forward progress in its tracks, President Johnsen and the Board of Regents should be supporting the school’s effort to regain accreditation and ensure that the Alaska State Board of Education meanwhile continues to grant licensure for its graduates.
— Kate O’Dell, Ph. D.
Professor Emeritus, UAA teacher education
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