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December 20, 2014

Parnell’s War on Education

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Our governor gave his State of the Colony speech this week. In it, he tied “school reform” (by which he apparently means amending the Alaska Constitution to allow spending public money on private and religious schools) to raising the state’s contribution to each student’s education. I guess taking hostages is now Standard Operating Procedure for Republican elected officials. And even if those of us who like our constitution just the way it is were to acquiesce, Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed “increase” in education funding wouldn’t come close to replacing what schools have lost to inflation in just the last three…

Legislature Cuts the Brake Lines

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A friend of mine just returned from Juneau. “Shanny, it’s a scary ride down there. The wheels are still on the bus, but the brake lines have been cut.” Elections have consequences, and the result of November’s vote put us all on the same ride. There are multiple bills introduced this session, written up by Outside think tanks funded by John Bircher millionaires. So, besides the lack of brakes, the people driving the bus are under the influence of much more intoxicating influences than their constituents. Now it would seem the bus has decided to go off road and take…

GOP Opens Can of Education Worms

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If you’ve been in Alaska long, you’ve noticed changes. Oh, I don’t mean buildings toppling into the sea or the permafrost forgetting what “perma” means. We seem less tolerant of each other the easier life here becomes. But with the news coming out of Juneau, we may be back on a track to tolerance. Some of the current legislative proposals could really expand Alaska’s cultural and religious diversity! It’s exciting! Republican Rep. Wes Keller has proposed changing Alaska’s Constitution to allow public money to fund private schools. I’m guessing Rep. Keller hasn’t read the notes of Alaska’s constitutional convention delegates’…

Giessel’s Education Spin (VIDEO)

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  Making History As the Anchorage Daily News points out in last Sunday’s profile of a certain state senate race, a successful independent candidacy around these parts takes one back to an Alaskan icon like Jay Hammond. Running unaffiliated, without the trappings of political party infrastructure, certainly means you start out as an underdog. But it doesn’t mean you have to remain one. Combine a candidate’s work ethic—hitting thousands of doors throughout the district over the course of a year—with the fact that the majority of the district’s voters are themselves independent, and the next thing you know the race…

Is Alaskan Agriculture Ready to Feed Our School Children?

by Linda Kellen Biegel Tim Meyers stands at the front of room 306 at the UAA/APU Consortium Library. He’s the next guest presenter for the session: Sustainable Agriculture in Rural Alaska at the Alaska Botanical Garden’s Spring Conference. The title of the Conference is “Extend the Season, Expand Your Mind” in honor of guest gpeaker, former TV gardener and 40-year organic farming rock star, Eliot Coleman. But if Coleman is a national star, Tim Meyers is the hometown hero. Meyers’ cold-weather farming is being studied by the University of Alaska, who have provided him with interns to train in his…

Gov. Sean Parnell – Spinning the Numbers and Sticking it to Alaska’s Kids

By Rep. Les Gara While I look for common ground with our Governor – like our efforts to keep pushing to find ways to build a natural gas pipeline (we agree a large diameter line that exports gas, produces low-cost gas, and brings in revenue is smarter than a small in-state line that brings us very high cost natural gas and no revenue) – I do disagree with him on educational policy. Yesterday we had a hearing on the University of Alaska. Alaska ranks last in the nation in college attendance and graduation. So what’s the Governor’s plan? Well, he…