Governor Dunleavy unveils two new education bills

Governor Dunleavy introduced two education bills to the state legislature, aiming to retain teachers while promoting parents' rights.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 5:54 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Governor Mike Dunleavy has introduced two education bills to the state legislature, aiming to retain teachers while also promoting parent’s rights.

The first bill provides a series of three cash payments for full-time teachers who teach for the entire school year.

These payments would be scheduled for disbursement around July 1 of 2024, 2025, and 2026.

The amount of each payment would be 5 thousand, 10 thousand or 15 thousand dollars. Teachers in urban areas would receive the lower amount, while rural teachers would receive more.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough falls in the 5 thousand dollar bracket.

“Shortages of teachers is not a new phenomenon to Alaska, but it’s one that’s long overdue that we seriously have to take a look at and try and address. This is one of the reasons why, back in 2020 and 2021, I commissioned a group and did some research to look into teacher retention and recruitment, and as a result, an action plan was put forth by the folks that we contracted,” said Governor Dunleavy.

The governor, meanwhile, also proposed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which seeks to increase parent involvement in their kids’ schooling.

The bill, if passed by the legislature, would notify parents when classes discuss human reproduction, and require parent’s written permission for their child to participate. According to a press release from the governor’s office, this would include discussing gender identity.

The bill also requires a parent to give written permission for the public school to change the name and/or pronoun used to address their child.

At a press conference today, Tuesday, Dunleavy dismissed comparisons to a recent act in Florida.

Governor Dunleavy remarked, “Nobody knows their kids better than a parent. As a parent of three girls, I can tell you I know my girls better than anyone else, and so any idea that this is a “don’t say gay” bill, or this is anti-anything, it’s not; it’s pro-parent. Engage the parents, let them know what you want to teach their kids in school, how you want to address their children in school, and inform them of what’s happening, and the chances are you may get some parents that agree with that, and want to be part of it. But you also may get parents that don’t agree with that, and their rights should be respected.”

This is a developing story. Newscenter Fairbanks will continue to follow the progress of these bills in the state legislature.