SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Close Call: Parents and local school districts empowered


July 28, 2016
Thursday PM

(SitNews) - Representative Wes Keller (R-Wasilla) today thanked Governor Bill Walker for giving greater control to parents and local school districts over education delivered to their children.

Keller’s House Bill 156 became law today without the Governor’s signature, but also without the Governor’s veto. HB 156 tells Washington, D.C. that Alaska has no intention of being a U.S. Department of Education experiment. Parents, not bureaucrats have the right to control the content and standards of education for their children. Under HB 156, when there is a conflict between education laws (federal or state) and parental educational choice, parents ultimately must always have the right to determine how to educate their children.

Governor Walker said, “This was a very close call for me. I received a lot of input on this legislation -- from both sides. Given that this bill will have a broad and wide-ranging effect on education statewide, I have decided to allow HB 156 to become law without my signature.”

“HB 156 sends the message that Alaskans are not here to be a ‘rubber-stamp’ of Federal education policy,” Keller, R-Wasilla, said. “It also makes strides to ensure that Alaskans define student assessment, privacy, school designators, teacher evaluation, special education, curricula selection, and education standards.”

The law creates a moratorium on statewide standards based assessments and provides the Department of Education an exemption from the procurement code to ease the burden of acquiring a new assessment tool by 2020.

“There has been much misinformation on what HB 156 does relating to sex education in the public schools,” Keller said. “This law does not block any group or sub group from teaching sex education. The class must be taught by a teacher with a Type A certificate or under the supervision of a teacher with a Type A certificate, and the curriculum must be adopted by the school board and available to parents to review. It does not prohibit sex education. The law is consistent with the philosophy that the local school district should be in control of all curriculum offered in its district. The law does not tell the school board what curriculum to adopt.”


Related Information:

Governor Walker’s transmittal letter (PDF)

Senator Peter Micciche’s letter (PDF)

Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Commissioner Michael Johnson’s letter (PDF)


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of Gov. Bill Walker

House Majority


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