ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska students scored collectively at or near the bottom in the nation for math and reading competency, according to new results produced by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Only Arkansas, the District of Columbia and the territory of Puerto Rico scored worse.
"I think that (the numbers) tell us that our schools are struggling to keep up with the low funding that they've received from the Legislature over the past few years," said Aaron Poe with Great Alaska Schools, an advocacy group for public education. "There really have been some pretty significant cuts over the past few years and I think we're starting to see some of that now with these low test scores."
According to the numbers published by the NAEP which you can find here, both fourth and eighth graders scored at or below 30 percent proficiency in the categories listed.
"It's not the message that I'd want to send to anyone, but it's a reality that we need to face. If we have schools that are constantly fighting and struggling to fill budget gaps, that are up in the air each year because they don't know if they are going to be receiving funding or how much funding they will be receiving, that's really something the legislature could fix," said Poe.
But according to Elisa Snelling, of the Anchorage School Board, it's going to take more than a quick fix from legislators to see positive testing results. Snelling adds that the ASD is working to make sure that the curriculum is one that will raise the education of its students, not fail them.