September 03, 2008
We've learned much, much over the past week about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (is she really the reason compasses point North?). But Gadfly was left wondering: What have been her stands on education? Thanks to the crack reporters at Education Week, he now knows. Just this past April, Palin worked with the state legislature and teachers' union to overhaul Alaska's education funding system to send more dollars to rural districts. The new scheme will also raise from $26,900 this year to $73,840 in 2011 per-pupil spending on the state's studentswith special educational needs. Palin supports performance pay for school staffs; in Alaska, everyone who works at a school--the principal, teachers, custodians, office workers, etc.--can receive bonuses if that school's pupils make academic progress. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the leader of the largest state in the union also supports school choice and homeschooling. Gadfly was unimpressed with Palin's once-expressed suggestion that creationism be taught (or at least discussed) in K-12 science classes alongside evolution, but he was mollified by learning she hasn't pushed that idea or moved to include creationism in the state science standards. Lastly but least surprisingly, as governor, Palin wanted more flexibility for her state to meet No Child Left Behind mandates. And she once saved the lives of several 8-year-olds by strangling a charging polar bear with her toes.
"VP Choice Backed School Funding Overhaul," by Sean Cavanagh and Alyson Klein, Education Week, August 29, 2008