ANCHORAGE -

A major education survey released Thursday sheds new light on some of the problems facing Alaska teachers in the classroom.

The statewide survey, conducted by Northern Economics, questioned nearly 1,200 teachers across the state, as well as 750 members of different households.

According to the results, teachers say there are several major problems hampering their efforts to teach students. One of the biggest is chronic absenteeism.

The teacher's list also includes a student's home environment and prior education experience.

The survey shows teachers have a very different list of concerns when compared to parents at home. They feel issues like community drug and alcohol abuse, student drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence are inhibiting learning.

Jonathan King of Northern Economics says the next step is to delve deeper into the responses to see if one set of problems may be causing the other.

According to King, the biggest take away from the survey is the clear message that teachers want parents and the community to be more involved in schools.

The survey shows 43 percent of urban teachers feel parents are engaged in their children's education, while 34 percent say parents aren't engaged. The number is much lower in rural schools, where teachers there say only 26 percent of parents are involved in school.

Northern Economics conducted the study for the National Education Association Alaska, the union representing teachers in the state. While NEA-Alaska paid for the survey, it was not involved in crafting the questions.

A special steering committee that included members of United Way and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce crafted the questions.