Legislation

Local

The Alaska Performance Scholarship
This scholarship provides students who take certain classes, achieve certain grades and standardized test scores, as well as file for FAFSA with descending scholarship amounts according to their level of achievement. The scholarship is in addition to the already existent UA Scholars program, though the size of the scholarship may be reduced if the student has more funding than is needed. It is believed that the scholarship plan will help improve graduation rates and the number of students attending college, though as the program is only in its first year, with the first round of students able to receive the scholarship being the class of 2011, it is unclear whether these goals will be achieved yet. 2,000 graduating seniors received the scholarship in 2011. 

 

State

"P-16 Education Council" (Senate Bill 54)
Referred to Senate Education Committee 1/19/11
This bill calls for the creation of a preschool to postsecondary education council. The council would develop strategies and recommendations to ensure the long-term success of students. The strategies and recommendations would address standards for current and future college and career readiness, including the ability of high school graduates to use critical thinking and technical skills required by postsecondary educational institutions, employers; drop-out and graduation rates in secondary schools; and improved pathways to college degrees; among other things. 

"Alaska Parents as Teachers Act" (House Bill 49)
Referred to House Education Committee 3/16/11
This bill would provide for the development of a statewide parents as teachers program for the benefit of children who are under five years of age. The program would provide a system of early childhood education that is evidence-based, involves parents, and is consistent with available research and best practices for high quality early childhood education.

"Pre-Elementary School Plans Guidelines" (House Bill 154)
Referred to House Finance Committee 3/16/11
This bill would require the state to devise an early childhood education plan for students three and four years of age that incorporates the early learning guidelines that provide for effective and efficient coordination with pre-elementary programs operating in the state, including Head Start. This bill was last referred to the House Finance Committee and is awaiting further action.

 

Federal

No Child Left Behind Act
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, federal school funding for states, school districts, and schools is withheld or disbursed depending on schools' ability to meet certain performance standards. Performance is assessed by standardized tests. There has been much controversy surrounding the standards to which the schools are held. President Obama has made it possible to ask for a waiver provided the state still has a plan for improvement and Alaskan legislators are debating doing so.