Comments for Anchorage School District Luncheon for Newly Elected Legislators
I’m here today primarily to listen and to learn. Let me give you a brief resume of part of my background.
After my first tour in the Air Force from 1951 to 1956, I enrolled in the College of Education at the University of Arizona at Tucson. I first entered the classroom as a student teacher in 1958 -5th grade – and received my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1959.
I taught 5 and 6th grades at Westminster and Garden Grove in Orange County in Southern California from 1959 to 1962. During this period, I took graduate classes, and earned my Master of Arts in Educational Administration in 1962 from California State University in Long Beach.
In 1962, I was recalled to active military service. I worked rotating shifts from 1962 to until 1964 – and substitute taught when I was off days: grades 3, 4, 5, 6 at San Bernardino, California. When I was reassigned to the radar site at Kotzebue, Alaska from 1964-1965, I had additional duty as the Education Officer, in addition to being the Operations Officer, and Second-in-Command.
I retired from the Air Force in Southern California, and reentered public education in 1980, this time in Special Education, in Designated Instructional Services – basically a Junior High School resource teacher – at Wells Junior High School in Riverside California. I returned to regular education a couple years later – 5 and 6 grades.at Edgemont Elementary School in Moreno Valley. I returned to Special Education as a Resource Teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in San Bernardinho, and then at Cajon High School, in San Bernardino. During this period, I earned a California Special Education Credential and a California Administrative Credential. I also taught real estate at the Riverside Community College, and have a California Community College Credential.
I had a long standing goal of relocating to Alaska. When I was offered at special position at Romig Junior High School in Anchorage teaching SED (the severely emotionally disturbed), I accepted, and retired from teaching in California. I taught the 1995-1996 school year at Romig, and then left teaching for real estate – and eventually the State Legislature. I have inactive Type A and Type B credentials with a special education endorsement.
Obviously I have both a soft place in my heart for education, as well as some degree of experience and qualification.gained from the reality of the classroom, not from actual administrative or legislative experience.
I have looked at some of your goals and priorities from your web page, and we obviously have a lot in common – though not everything.
I will be happy to sponsor your recommended legislation regarding parental liability for property damage and for assault on school employees. In fact, I have some staff doing some research in Juneau on that, as we speak.
I understand that we have a teacher shortage in Alaska that needs to be addressed. I’m also doing some initial research on student loan forgiveness for Outside teachers who come to Alaska, and perhaps something along the same line for Alaska trained teachers who agree to work here for a specified period. I’m also considering something along the same line to address the nursing shortage. I’m also interested in Alaska studies– so long as the program doesn’t exacerbate cultural conflicts, and divide rather than unite.
Insofar as funding is concerned, including the formulation formula, I’m not prepared to make any promises or commitments until I have a better understanding of the factors involved. I think all of us in the legislature have to make sure that educational dollars give us the “best education for the buck” – and by best education I mean meeting standards and having safe schools. Like many of my constituents, I’m concerned about wasting valuable school dollars - and some already (don’t know if it is true or not) tell me that regular school monitors (in Chugiak I think) have been replaced with flat screen monitors at great expense. I spend a lot of time on my home computer, and have 21 inch monitor – but I can’t afford a flat screen. Yesterday at a Majority retreat, I was advised that the legislators will not have flat screens – yet apparently some school do. Also, I’m told that when high schools need updated computers, the computers are discarded, rather than used in the lower grades. If these things are true, they don’t make increases in funding easier to get.