A Survey of State Initiatives
State school officials in Alaska reported that there is no serious shortage of mathematics and science teachers in their state. "Alaska," said one official, "is one of those states where you always seem to have more applicants than positions open."
The state board of education plans, however, to include an intensive new science and math program in the curriculum of a 500-student boarding school it is taking over from the federal government.
The Mt. Edgecumbe Boarding School, a comprehensive high school for students from all parts of the nation's largest state, was originally administered by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. The bureau transferred control of the school to the state earlier this year. To be closed for repairs next year, it will reopen in the fall of 1984.
"Many of the students who come to the school come from small schools, typically without labs," according to Ernest Polley, director of planning and research for the state education department. "We intend to provide them with that type of experience." He said students at the school will probably be required to complete either three or four units of both math and science in order to graduate.
Mr. Polley also said there "is a very high probability" that the state board will consider increasing high-school graduation requirements in math and science for all students in the state. That action is expected to be taken in the fall.
State officials reported no new major initiatives in the area of high technology. That, they said, is largely because the state has long been a leader in this area.
In 1978, the state education department initiated its Educational Technology for Alaska (ETA) project. According to Edward Obey, the project's assistant director, eta is responsible for instructional television, audio teleconferencing, and computerized instruction.
Mr. Obey's office oversees the "Learn Alaska" program, which provides instructional television and teleconferencing services to all of the state's school districts. Learn Alaska now broadcasts more than 18 hours of live instruction daily.
eta, which has a budget of $1.5 million this year, also provides school systems with an electronic mail service, computer courseware in general core curriculum subjects, and a computerized database of instructional materials and resources for teachers.