Senator Murkowski firmly believes that education is the engine of Alaska's future. For Alaskans to find and keep good, well-paying jobs, they need to have the knowledge and skills to get the job done. In order to build economic opportunity, Alaska needs people who have the skills to start and sustain new businesses and keep established businesses competitive. Alaska’s schools, job training programs, and universities are the sparks that make Alaska's engine run strong. Just as Alaska Native elders have, for thousands of years, made sure that young people learn the skills they need to survive and adapt in a harsh environment, we must all ensure that each and every Alaskan child has the knowledge and skills they need to keep Alaska strong and vital.
As a mother and former PTA president, education is one of Senator Murkowski's top priorities. Whether you are an educator, a parent, a business owner, or a member of the community, you want to make sure that children leave school prepared to contribute to their communities in a positive and meaningful way. In order to reach that goal, we must ensure that high-quality education is available to every child in every corner of our country, no matter how remote or urban the setting and that our communities are active partners in helping our children grow up strong.
Senator Murkowski has focused her attention on fighting and fixing one-size-fits-all mandates from Washington, D.C., and to ensuring that Congress addresses the problems we encounter due to the state's unique characteristics.
As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murkowski has been in an excellent position to put in place policies and fund programs that work for Alaskan students, educators, parents, and our state as a whole.
That work came to fruition with the enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA in 2015. ESSA returns control over education to Alaskans. It eliminates the No Child Left Behind mandates for “Adequate Yearly Progress” that gave Alaskan schools 31 ways to be labeled a “failure” but no ways to get credit for improvement. It removes “Highly Qualified Teacher” mandates that never worked to identify the truly exceptional teacher. And it includes multiple provisions that Senator Murkowski was able to include to meet the needs of Alaska Native communities, working parents, school administrators, and teachers.