State’s priority should be education, not sports

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How come the State of Alaska cannot afford a quality academic or vocational education for our K-12 students but it can afford the inordinate costs of sponsoring almost every interscholastic sport known to man, all over the State, except tiddly winks, AND it can afford to pay for the aviation gas for hunters to kill wolves from their airplanes plus $150 bounty on each wolf taken?

With aviation gas nearing $5 per gallon, there are probably lots of airplane pilot/hunters, who would enjoy having the State pay for their spring flying “recreation”? (Recently), when the Alaska Outdoor Council and Board of Game (AOC/BOG) proposed using State and rented helicopters and State biologists for aerial wolf killing, the estimate was $300,000 to $500,000 just for March and April, 2007. As Yogi Berra used to say, “a few hundred thousand here and a few hundred thousand there, and pretty soon, you’re talkin’ real money.”

With the bounty, a $500,000 month-long program, with a required 382 minimum wolf kill, that’s about $1,550 per wolf -- but my point is -- the State can afford a very expensive wolf kill program but seemingly cannot afford a quality K-12 education program. The essence of this message is -- the State will not adjust its priorities so it can focus on education. Our Governor and her BOG would rather kill our wildlife for the benefit of out-of-state hunters (not subsistence hunters), and sponsor interscholastic sports 9-10 months each year all over the State. It’s no wonder why we are having K-12 education funding problems. In Alaska, we should change the Federal (Leave No Child Left Behind Act) to the Leave No Sports Behind Act. Interscholastic sports appear to be the highest priority programs we have in our schools? And puhleez, don’t tell me sports teaches leadership unless you are also willing to show me the percent of those participating, who pass the exit exams and graduate.

Richard Hahn


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