An editorial in the Anchorage Daily News took Governor Sarah Palin to task for missing a statewide conference on the future of Alaska’s educational system last week. Palin, the former Republican candidate for Vice President, skipped the conference to speak in Miami about the future of the Republican Party. The editorial urged her to come home and start focusing on the needs of the state.
While Palin gave her talk about national issues, her home state was in the midst of charting the future of its educational system. For the record, Alaska is one of only 12 states that has no state-funded education system for pre-kindergarten students. One of the goals that came out of last week’s education summit included a committment to offer state-funded preschool to every three, four and five-year-old in Alaska. A plan to evaluate pre-school programs to make sure they are adequately preparing children for school also emerged as a goal during the conference Palin missed.
The goals are just a starting point and still need to be adopted, possibly refined and publicized. Some will also require funding that may not be available. It isn’t clear where Palin stands on any of them.
On the stump as a vice-presidential candidate, Palin, the mother of an infant with Down syndrome, made some proposals about the education of children with special needs. Without giving specifics, she also noted that education “is near and dear to my heart.”