Education

Begich Middle School Wind Turbine Dedication (32)Education is the key to our kids’ – and Alaska’s – future. That’s why I have been a strong supporter of education in the Senate.

Education has been a top priority for me for years and it is important to remember that here in Alaska, we are constitutionally required to adequately fund it. Here are some highlights of what I have supported over the years and will continue to work for:

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

Teachers, parents and students continually express interest in more hands-on vocational education programs for skill building, problem solving and teamwork. That’s why I voted to expand vocational education programs to middle schools.

PRE-K PROGRAMS

read-posterStudies show that students who participate in Pre-Kindergarten programs are more likely to graduate high school, go onto college, and get better paying jobs. These students are less likely to require special education or to repeat a grade, become teenage parents, or commit crimes.

It is clear that the investments we make in Pre-K education today pay big dividends in the future. That’s why in the past, I’ve voted to include Pre-K education in the budget, along with Parents as Teachers, a program to help parents prepare for school during the critical early years of their children’s lives.

SCHOOL MEALS

Bill talking with students (cropped)If our kids are going to school hungry and are unable to focus, the funds
we put into their education are wasted. Yet every day in Alaska, thousands of kids go to school hungry. The research is clear: children who have breakfast at school attend more regularly, perform better on standardized tests, pay better attention, and perform better in math and reading.

Alaska was one of a handful of states in the country that did not contribute to the federal match program for school meals. So in 2011, I sponsored SB 3 to help ensure that every child could count on a healthy, nutritious breakfast and lunch in order to focus on their studies.