Coalition for Education Equity 2/03/17 Update

Legislative Update

We’ve been busy meeting with legislators, DEED and other members of the administration, and our education partners this week. What we’re hearing from the House is a desire to hold education funding steady, increase broadband access for all schools, improve teacher retention, and support pre-elementary programs. However, the Senate Majority is still talking cuts in the education budget (to the tune of $65 million) and consolidation of districts. We have been talking with them about pre-elementary funding and believe we are starting to build consensus that pre-K must stay in the budget. We are seeking to maintain the $2 million for pre-K that Governor Walker put in his budget and increase that amount to $3.2 million in order to continue funding for Moore pre-K sites. We’ve also asked that our Senators support incentivizing district collaboration around administrative and education services, rather than dictating consolidation – there seems to be some openness to this idea. I encourage you all to continue sharing your stories of how you’re already doing this and how incentives would help encourage more.

Of course, we have many other priorities for this legislative session that we also continue to work on. You can see the entire list on our website. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about our progress on these items. Our most recent newsletter from Reggie Joule and Chris Hess is attached.

Pre-elementary programs

I was pleased to attend part of the Pre-Elementary Winter Leadership Meeting in Anchorage last Friday. It was wonderful to hear about the progress each site is making, as well as watch the collaboration and conversation between districts. The Coalition has fought hard every year for these programs and the funding is a direct result of our efforts. We are working to raise awareness among our legislators of the impact and success of these programs, how they address the needs of your communities and encourage partnership and family engagement, and how this grantee program is developing a quality pre-elementary system across our state. I heard many of your districts mention the demand you’re hearing from parents for pre-K programs. I am passing this information on to legislators, but nothing is more powerful than hearing from their own constituents. Please encourage your staff, school board members, parents, and other community members to let your legislators know how important pre-K is in your community. And keep up the great work!

From our statewide education partners, Great Alaska Schools – they tell us that voices are especially needed from our rural and Alaska Native communities:

Call and share with Senator Sullivan how you feel about Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos. It's like a telethon, but there’s no money involved! Just call in with your opinion (one minute limit!) And in a very transparent way, we will keep record and pass the story to Senator Dan Sullivan! Join us for the fun by watching the LIVE BROADCAST on Great Alaska Schools-Alaska’s Facebook page.

Call 907-267-9162 or 907-267-9247 between 1:30 and 6:00 pm

Full Senate vote is expected on Monday morning may be tied UNLESS Senator Sullivan votes NO! EASY ONE MINUTE civic engagement action for ALL ALASKANS!