Monthly Archives: September 2006

Current Status of SB 141 fiasco

Gayle Harbo Retired after teaching mathematics in Fairbanks for 25 years. She was very good at what she did. In 1989 she was named Alaska Teacher of the Year. She is still very good at what she does, but now she is Secretary of the Alaska Retirement Management Board (ARMB). As such, she is one of nine trustees that have fiduciary responsibility for the billions of dollars of assets of the state’s retirement systems (there are seven different retirement systems!).

Ms. Harbo is also a member of the Alaska Retired Educators Association (AKREA), which is a local affiliate of the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA). In a recent AKREA newsletter, Ms. Harbo wrote an excellent summary of the history and consequences of SB 141, which destroyed the pension system for Alaskan public employees. I am pleased to reprint her excellent article here. Note that additional information on SB 141 and related issues can be found on the ACPP blog under the blog category “Retirement Security.” Read the rest of this entry

Safe Kids. Sound Futures.

Philadelphia Safe and Sound is a unique organization which I believe Alaskans would do well to study as a model for our state. The organization describes itself as “a nonprofit organization that transforms groundbreaking research into best practice initiatives to improve the health and well-being of children and youth in the Philadelphia region.” I am particularly intrigued with the Report Card which measures the wellbeing of children and youth in Philly: Read the rest of this entry

Denali KidCare May have Shortfall: Gov. Murkowski Petitions President to Preserve Program

Alaska Will Have Insufficient Federal Denali KidCare Funding in 2007: Congress Must Act Now to Avert States’ Federal SCHIP Funding Shortfalls.

In the upcoming federal fiscal year 2007, which starts this October 1, at least 17 states including Alaska will have insufficient federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funding to sustain their existing SCHIP programs. According to various estimates by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Congressional Research Service, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the aggregate federal funding shortfall among the states is projected to be $900 million to $950 million, even assuming that unspent SCHIP funds scheduled to be redistributed in 2007 under current law are targeted to these needy states. Governor Murkowski along with several other governors have petitioned President Bush to preserve funding for all threatened SCHIP programs. Read the rest of this entry

Monday: Immigration and Public Policy in Alaska

A forum on US immigration and Anchorage is scheduled for Monday September 18th from 5:30-7:30pm at the UAA Campus Bookstore. All events held at the UAA Campus Bookstore are informal, free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and there will be complimentary parking in the Campus Bookstore lot. Panelists include:

  • Carol Comeau, Superintendent of the Anchorage School District
  • Lina B. Mariscal, Honorary Consul of Mexico
  • Robin Bronen, Director of Alaska Immigration Justice Project
  • Scott Goldsmith, Professor of Economics and researcher at Institute of Social Economic Research, and the recipient of the 2006 Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence
  • Gil Sanchez, a Broadcast Journalist and host of Intercambios. Intercambios is a bilingual radio show can be heard can be heard on KSKA-FM. Read the rest of this entry

Education in Alaska: B- to F

Here is a summary of the Alaska Report for 2006, by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. It does not look good:

Alaska’s underperformance in educating its young population could limit
the state’s access to a competitive workforce and weaken its economy
over time. As the well-educated baby boomer generation begins to
retire, the young population that will replace it does not appear
prepared educationally to maintain or enhance the state’s position in a
global economy. The proportion of 9th graders graduating from high
school within four years is among the lowest in the country. Moreover,
relatively few students who enroll in college earn certificates or
degrees. Since the early 1990s, colleges and universities in Alaska
have become less affordable for students and their families. If these
trends are not addressed, they could undermine the state’s ability to
develop an educated workforce.

The full report is also available online and can be downloaded as a PDF file.

ldw

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