The Educational System of Alaska

In Alaska, public education is governed by independent school boards. Over the years, several students have benefited from the schools in Alaska. Over 131,489 students across 53 districts enrolled in 509 schools in the year 2013. With 7,682 teachers employed that year, an average of 17 students were taught by one teacher. While this isn't bad, it is important to note that the national average is one teacher for every 16 students. In that same year, the state recorded a graduation rate of 71.8% while it spent approximately $18.175 on each pupil. However, statistics revealed that the total amount spent on education in Alaska was lower than what was spent in other states on the West Coast.

What You Need To Know About Education In Alaska

If you're moving from any other state to study in Alaska, you need to keep in mind that the weather is usually cold. While some areas have mild climates, others can be extremely cold, especially during the winter. So, if you're coming from states with warmer climate, make sure you put this into consideration. The public schools in Alaska are welcoming to students across races with 16% of the population made up of black students, a quarter made up of Hispanic students and half made up of white students. American Indians also make up for a significant number of the population.

The cost of living for students in Alaska is the same as the cost of living for students in other parts of the United States with little price disparities. It's also important to note that the state doesn't have many post-secondary options for college students. The Alaska education system has over 436 regular schools and 68 alternative schools. Most of these schools are located in suburbs with about 40% of all students attending schools in suburban areas. About 30% of the students attend city schools, 18.7 attend rural schools and 11.5% attend town schools.

New Education Evaluation System In Alaska

In 2017, the ministry of education in Alaska started developing the "System for School Success" evaluation system in line with the "Every Student Succeeds Act". According to the new system, schools that were lagging will be flagged and given opportunities to excel. As soon as it was implemented, the ministry flagged about 105 schools for underperforming. The evaluation system is based on graduation rates, chronic absenteeism, standardized test results and a host of other factors. Whether it's high school or Alaska university, all the affected schools will be able to request for extra funding when qualified.

The schools were rated on a scale of 0 - 100. All those that fell below 5% on the accountability rating have the chance to request for a grant with a maximum limit of $50,000. Also, schools with low graduation rates can request for grants with a maximum of $25,000. Each affected school also gets targeted support. Areas that need improvement were addressed specifically to help boost the quality of education and prepare students for the next level. There are still some other forms of support that will be offered to schools in need. In time, more details about the new system in Alaska will be revealed.

It is important to note that some high ranking officials in the educational system do not support the new accountability rating system as it is much different from the "Alaska Performance Index" which rated schools between 0 and 5 stars. They believe that it does not give an adequate reflection of the performance of public schools in the state. However, one of the key advantages is that schools that don't meet up to set requirements will not be cut off, at least not immediately.

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