Published Online: January 3, 2006

Alaska's State Highlights

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Vital Statistics
Public schools 500
Public school teachers 7,808
Pre-K-12 students 133,933
Annual pre-K-12 expenditures $1.3 billion
Minority students 41.1%
Children in poverty 11%
Students with disabilities 13.3%
English-language learners 14.8%

Summary of Grades

Alaska scores lower than the average state for each of the four graded categories of education policy in Quality Counts.

The state loses points in standards and accountability because the American Federation of Teachers has not rated its English and social studies standards as clear and specific at any grade span. But the state fares better on the accountability indicators. For example, it provides assistance to all low-performing schools, not just those that receive federal Title I money.

Alaska ranks last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for its efforts to improve teacher quality. The state does not require prospective high school or middle school teachers to major or minor in the subjects they will teach. Its teacher assessment requirements are equally sparseā€“it requires only basic-skills tests for aspiring teachers.

Alaska also falters in the area of school climate, where the state is ranked last in the nation. School report cards do not include school safety information, and the state lacks laws related to school bullying and harassment. But it earns points for school size because higher percentages of students attend small schools than in other states.

In resource equity, Alaska receives the best wealth-neutrality score in the nation, which indicates that poorer districts tend to receive more per-pupil funding than do wealthier districts. However, Alaska is also among the lowest-scoring states on the other two equity indicators, resulting in a low overall grade in this category.

State Policy Report Card
Alaska Avg. State Score
Standards and accountability C- B-
Efforts to improve teacher quality D C+
School climate D+ C+
Resource equity D+ C
Overall Grade D+ C+
Quality Counts Grading Breakdown
Standards and accountability Points awardedPoints possible
Standards 27.5 40
Assessment 19.77 30
School accountability 24 30
71 100
Efforts to improve teacher quality Points awardedPoints possible
Teacher education and qualifications 22.75 35
Teacher assessment 17.7 30
Professional support and training 13.2 20
Accountability for teacher quality 9 15
63 100
School climate Points awardedPoints possible
Engagement 9.67 15
School safety 12.42 20
Parent involvement 11.7 15
Choice and autonomy 11.5 20
Class size 6.36 10
School size 7.5 10
School facilities 7.5 10
67 100
Resource equity Points awardedPoints possible
Wealth-neutrality score 33.33 33.3
McLoone Index 16.67 33.3
Coefficient of variation 16.67 33.3
67 100
Note: Details may not sum to totals due to rounding.

Vol. 25, Issue 17

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