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September 22, 2021

Music in Our Schools (VIDEOS)

March has been officially designated  as Music In Our Schools Month, and music education has become the focus of schools across the nation. Music in Our Schools Month began in 1973, celebrated only in New York State, but has grown over the decades. In 1985 it became a month long celebration of music in schools. It reminds us of the importance of music education for all children, and that schools are the places where all children have access. It’s the time for music departments in schools to shine, and to share with students, faculty, families, and the community their beautiful…

The Cost of Doing More

By Jeff Friedman The Anchorage School Board has passed its budget, and the state legislature will soon be voting on school funding. It is that time of year when people like to ask “why is education so expensive?” As a parent and school board member, I have been active in education issues at the school, district, state, and national level for nearly 20 years. Like most of you, I also went to school myself as a child. Of course, that was nearly 40 years ago, and a few things have changed since then. When I was in school, algebra was…

Mayor Misrepresents Student Performance

I look forward each week to Sunday’s Alaska Ear column in the Anchorage Daily News, as penned by formerly-anonymous reporter Sheila Toomey. For many years I considered it purely entertainment, until I got involved with the fetid swamp known as Alaska politics. It was then that I discovered the accuracy of The Omnicient Oriface’s information. So it was with great interest that I read this tidbit from Sunday’s column: “. . A couple of weeks ago earwigs reported our new school superintendent, Jim Browder, walked out in protest while Mayor Sullivan made a presentation at some big public meeting. The…

Anchorage Tea Party Embraces Extremes

I decided to pop in and see what was happening over at the Anchorage Tea Party’s candidate forum Monday night, because (believe it or not) that is my idea of a good time. And also so you don’t have to go. You, after all, are a regular person and it is not your idea of a good time. As I worked my way through the drizzly parking lot, I noticed that several candidates were advertising themselves on their cars. They ranged from the “so very Alaskan” duct taped model: To the “OMG I’m a State Senator! Look at ME!” mobile:…

School Board Candidate Wants to Outsource Orchestra Program? **UPDATE**

By Linda Kellen Biegel Observant earwigs noticed a little story in  last Sunday’s Alaska Ear talking about a rather big boo boo perpetrated by the Municipal Clerk’s Office. That office works with the Anchorage Assembly and directly for the Chair, Debbie Ossiander. (She’s one of the Mayor’s “yes” men/women on the Assembly…the group I’ve nicknamed “Team Sully.”) WHAT’S IN A NAME … The muni clerk’s office is apparently confused about which of Starr Marsett’s names is her first name. Looks like it guessed, and got it wrong — at least on the ballot Ear got: Marsett is a candidate for School Board….

Saving Sixth Grade Music in the Anchorage School District **UPDATED**

by Linda Kellen Biegel 2010 Hanshew Middle School Band Not many people in political circles know that I credit music with saving my life. I started playing the piano when I was six-years-old. I often kicked and screamed about practicing, but my mother was determined and I continued through my entire school career. In sixth grade, I discovered the snare drum and concert band. I absolutely loved playing music with a group. That was around the time that I discovered that music was an escape from the insanity of my life at home. Unfortunately in high school, I discovered that…

Kids Under the Bus, and What You Can Do About it.

There’s no doubt about it. Alaska is blessed. Just ask Governor Sean Parnell. These are golden oily days indeed. In his state of the state address last week, he told us that financially, we’re doing just fine, thankyouverymuch But what if…  What if some day we aren’t? We should really start cutting the budget just in case. Besides, swashbuckling with a red pen looks really good, even if you have a patch on both eyes. It can even make a chief executive/oil lobbyist look like a sound-minded fiscal conservative. Don’t look over there where the state is readying itself to…

Mayor Sullivan’s Appointees Don’t Want to Let the School District Spend Their Own Money

On August 3rd, there was a regular meeting of the Municipality Budget Advisory Commission. (You remember, this is the commission that used to be two — the Budget Advisory Commission and the School Budget Advisory Commission. However, when the word “school” made people think twice about the appointment of one of the Mayor’s LGBT-hating wing-nutter friends, he just combined the commissions.) Anyway, this was the first meeting with two of their newest mayoral appointees: — The most-recently-appointed Amy Demboski, who has worked most of her career in dental offices, was appointed by Sean Parnell to The Commission on Judicial Conduct,…

Mayor Dan Sullivan — Playground Bully (by LKB)

Remember THAT kid back in grade school? Remember coming to school and sharing the excitement of how you got the remote control car you wanted for Christmas? THAT kid would talk about his brand new remote control F-15 jet…life-sized. Or, you’d very proudly reveal the balsa wood car you’d carved yourself and painted red to run in the local Pinewood Derby while THAT kid would bring out the super-slick car he claimed he made himself but was secretly made by his daddy’s engineering firm. THAT kid was the one the teachers all thought was a wonderful student when he was…

It seems that the pen IS mightier than the sword

Last week, an incident that had been dealt with several weeks ago at South High School came to a head. As written in the Anchorage Daily News: Violent lyrics written by a South High School student about attacking other students resulted in a felony charge of making terroristic threats and a 45-day emergency suspension from school, according to police and the Anchorage School District. The sophomore now faces expulsion from the School District, Superintendent Carol Comeau said Wednesday. I learned about this issue through the ADN article and then through an email conversation with a South High parent who gave…