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Sullivan Backers Slam Alaska Teachers

DC-Based Chamber Endorses Sullivan, Slams Teachers, Leaves Alaska


ANCHORAGE - In a single day the DC-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce parachuted into Alaska to commit money to Dan Sullivan’s campaign, spurn Alaska chambers and slam Alaska teachers.

The U.S. Chamber accused Alaska teachers of not properly educating Alaska students by ranking Alaska at the bottom of a U.S. Chamber complied list.

“Dan Sullivan isn’t interested in listening to Alaskans, Sullivan is only interested in listening to deep-pocketed groups like the U.S. Chamber who will help him buy a Senate seat. Alaskans don’t even know what Sullivan would do as a Senator, but he clearly supports ant-teacher policies while standing with a group who criticizes Alaska schools and teachers while advocating against public education,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Mark Begich opposes the NCLB and has suggested the need to throw out the entire bill because it doesn’t work for Alaska. Begich also opposed state efforts to radically restructure Alaska’s public education system, saying “public dollars are for public education.”

Dan Sullivan’s multimillionaire brother Frank Sullivan serves on the board of the U.S. Chamber, which has pumped tens of thousands into attack ads in Alaska. Local chambers have been “mad as hell” about the attack ads running ads against Mark Begich.

Halco Said He Was “Mad As Hell” When He Heard About The Ad And Was “Sick And Tired” Of Outside Spending In Alaska. “Anchorage Chamber President Andrew Halcro was ‘mad as hell’ when he heard about the ad. When the U.S. Chamber recently told him in a conference call that it was thinking about getting involved, he implored them to stay away. The Anchorage Chamber is nonpartisan, and this puts it in an ‘untenable situation,’ Halcro said. Besides, he’s ‘sick and tired’ of third-party money coming into the state. Such ads ‘don’t add any value to the discourse, and suffocates any solution to the problems,’ he said.” [Amanda Coyne Blog, 4/29/14]

Sitka Chamber President: “We Don’t Endorse Candidates.” Reported KCAW in June 2014, “Sitka Chamber president Ptarmica McConnell said her board receives questions like this often, especially when the US Chamber visits. “We don’t endorse candidates,” she said. “Even though we’re members of the US Chamber, we’re our own Chamber.’” [KCAW, 6/25/14]

U.S Chamber Of Commerce Supported The Reauthorization Of The Elementary And Secondary Education Act, More Commonly Known As No Child Left Behind. “While the Chamber opposes H.R. 5, we strongly believe that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) needs to be reauthorized as soon as possible. The U.S. Department of Education’s process of reauthorizing ESEA by waivers is not sustainable over the long term, and many of the current waivers contain the same flaws that have resulted in our opposition to this legislation.” [U.S Chamber of Commerce, 7/17/13]

Read the full article below:

U.S Chamber of Commerce gives Alaska public schools bad grades

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report says Alaska schools are not doing enough to prepare students for the real world. But state officials say the national organization does not have the whole story.

Using criteria that gauges performance and policy for K-12 schools nationwide, the report puts Alaska near the bottom of the pack.

But state education and early development commissioner Mike Hanley is taking issue with some of the evaluation. He says Alaska has a plan of action to improve its standards and its students’ performances.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s state-by-state breakdown of progress in public schools shows Alaska’s system is below average and falls short of expectations.

When looking at an Alaska student’s overall academic achievement, post-secondary and workforce readiness, technology, and school choice options, the country’s largest business association is concerned not enough is being done to prepare students for life after graduation.

“They obviously see it from the perspective do they have the educated and skilled workforce to remain competitive in their industry,” said Cheryl Oldham, who is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of education policy.

Improving access to a high-quality education is key for the state of Alaska. Since 2010 educators have worked to create tougher standards, including higher level tests that students in 3rd through 10th grade will see this upcoming spring, said Hanley.

The chamber’s report does not include strong programs that are running statewide, including the variety of neighborhood and charter schools in the Anchorage School District, he said.

“The most important factor of a good education is having that parental involvement and support and that’s why we have more than 130 schools and programs where parents can choose to really see what is the right fit for their child and for their family,” said ASD spokesperson Heidi Embley.

The chamber said the report is about a call to action.

“Your commissioner’s comments about having raised the standards in recent years are important,” said Oldham. “Our hope is always that people take this with the view toward how do we do better next time.”

All of Alaska’s school districts are working energetically to implement new standards, which includes improving digital learning and adding more advanced placement classes, Hanley said.