Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Education and Sarah Palin

The modern world belongs to the half-educated, a rather difficult class, because they do not realize how little they know. ~William R. Inge

Sarah Palin on education


I’ve also committed to help provide local school districts with more predictability, for better planning by supporting “early funding of education.” I’ll introduce a separate education appropriation bill and ask that it’s passed. Our local school districts deserve to know what they have to work with early enough for them to create efficiencies through planning. (State of the State Address to the 24th Alaska Legislature Jan 17, 2007)


It is our energy development that pays for essential services, like education. Victor Hugo said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” It’s a privileged obligation we have to “open education doors.” Every child, of every ability, is to be cherished and loved and taught. Every child provides this world hope. They are the most beautiful ingredient in our sometimes muddied up world. I am committed to our children and their education. (State of the State Address to the 25th Alaska Legislature Jan 15, 2008)

2008, during the vice presidential campaign:

In February 2009 Sarah Palin decided to opt out of an effort to write nationwide education standards in reading and math. It was reported at the time:

The effort is in its development stages, with state and federal education officials, and others, trying to agree on what the core standards should be. Agreeing to adopt the standards is a step for later. Besides Alaska, the other states that have turned away from the effort are Missouri, South Carolina and Texas.

Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau, who is in charge of nearly half of Alaska's 120,000 public school students, said she was disappointed with the governor's decision. As a parent and educator, she said, she wants to know how Alaska's kids compare.

Alaska has many long standing problems when it comes to education .

Comparisons don't favour the state:

• Alaska's dropout rate, at 8 percent, was double the national average in the 2005-2006 school year, according to the latest figures available from the U.S. Department of Education.

• 38 percent of today's ninth-graders will have no high school diploma 10 years from now, according to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education.

• Alaska ranks 50th, or last, in the number of ninth-graders who will likely have a bachelor's degree in 10 years, according to the commission.

Also in 2009, there was the question of the stimulus funds:

Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau and about 30 other superintendents from urban school districts met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday while they were in Washington, D.C., for an education conference. They met in the Executive Office Building, Comeau said, mostly to talk about how school systems will spend stimulus money.

"It's a significant opportunity for some significant change that's going to impact -- long-term -- kids, especially kids in poverty." Comeau said.

Sarah Palin still hasn't decided how to spend $115 million in what's known as the "state stabilization fund," money that's supposed to help states balance their education budgets.

How did Sarah Palin deal with it?

Gov. Sarah Palin just told reporters that she’s accepting only 55 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska. The governor said that she will accept only about $514 million of the $930 million headed to the state.

“We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government," she said.

The biggest single chunk of stimulus money that Palin is turning down is $160 million for education.

She ended up accepting most of the stimulus money, the Alaska Legislature saw to that. If she could have gone through with rejecting stimulus funds for education just to make her point about growing government, the children of Alaska, so cherished and loved, the most beautiful ingredient in the world, would have been the losers.

How does Sarah Palin regard her own children's education?

Sarah Palin's children missed out (and still do) on a lot of their schooling. Considering the volume of travel expenses claims, Sarah's own statement about spending time with them (when she was governor), the VP campaign, when the children were with her most of the time, the book tours and other travel to the Lower 48 in the past two years, their school attendance is indeed poor.

Track and Bristol never gave college any serious thought. Willow and Piper appear to have many absences from school on a regular basis.

Trig is still to enter the school system, but Sarah Palin didn't exactly champion his future needs when she slashed the budget for special education by 62% in 2008 and 2009.

During her months as governor, federal funding under No Child Left Behind was likely to have been put in peril for school districts with parents who did not comply with state truancy laws and did not permit the school district properly to account for minor children's extended absences. Sarah Palin set a very bad example for parents in Alaska.

No politician or talking head would say that education is a bad thing, it wouldn't sound very good.

But there's an enormous difference between words and actions and in the case of Sarah Palin and her attitudes to education, some of her own words come to mind: She doesn't walk the walk.

Earlier posts about Education and Sarah Palin.

(Clicking on the above link will show all posts, with this very post at the top)

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