Elimination of Alyeska school won't solve state budget woes

Posted: Wednesday, April 02, 2003

They call it House Bill 174. I call it folly!

Instead of bragging to the rest of the nation about the superior educational resource he has in Alyeska Central School, Governor Murkowski is trying to abolish it! Why? It is overwhelmingly obvious that HB 174 makes no sense! Alaskans from all over the state have been testifying that closing ACS will not save any money and would be a huge mistake.

For those of you who aren't familiar with ACS, it's the only state-mandated correspondence school. It has been here for sixty-plus years. It is the only fully accredited correspondence school (some of the other schools have recently applied for accreditation, but it's a three-to-five year process, and they don't have it yet).

ACS is also the only correspondence school that has a proven track record with college admissions offices. It's the only correspondence school in Alaska that has a full staff of teachers certified in every subject who provide direct support to students and home teachers. It's the only correspondence school that writes many of it's own courses and sells them to other state schools (check out most of the Alaska Studies courses and Alaska Online Consortium courses, folks) and has won accolades and awards for said courses. It's the only correspondence school that provides summer school -- critical to all those students who need just another credit or two to graduate. It is the only choice for many rural and special needs children. ACS is the only correspondence school that already meets the No Child Left Behind requirements.

HB174 will only leave more children behind. It will possibly put the state into litigation for discrimination and civil rights suits. Closing Alyeska Central School will cost Alaska more money than leaving it open. We'll all pay the price if we lose this precious educational resource. HB174 is ridiculous. It's folly. Tell your legislator to make it fiction!

Sheila Symons


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