Gara is the best choice for Alaska students and educators

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Through Jessica cook

Updated: 2 hours ago Posted: 2 hours ago

Living in a resource rich state like Alaska is a privilege. The development of these resources is of the utmost importance as we, the residents of Alaska, look to the future. Our children are one of those precious resources, and I am honored to be an educator for over 20 years with the Anchorage School District teaching our youth. It is up to us, adults and voters, to ensure that this resource is not overlooked. One of the steps to ensure the development of this resource is to elect Les Gara as the next governor of our great state.

Gara has already proven her commitment to Alaskan youth during her tenure in the state legislature. He doesn’t just talk, he puts his words into action. Alaska’s most recent increase in public education funding came in a bill passed by State House in 2018. Thanks to the hard work to reach a compromise, which was led by Gara, this Bill gave way to negotiating a two-year budget increase, allowing Alaska schools to keep pace with inflation in 2019 and 2020. A study released in 2020 reaffirmed previous published evidence validating the position according to where exposure to publicly funded early childhood education, such as voluntary preschool programs, provides students with a solid foundation for school readiness and closing the achievement gap. Gara lobbied for smaller class sizes and a statewide voluntary pre-K program, demonstrating her dedication to Alaskan children and their education.

Besides being a strong voice for education, Gara has also been a constant advocate for young people in the foster care system. It understands first-hand the positive and healthy environment children need to grow and thrive. Having experienced the foster care system as a child, Gara knows that the benefit of supporting students outside of the classroom goes a long way in ensuring desired outcomes in the classroom. During his tenure at Alaska State House from 2003 to 2019, he worked tirelessly to ensure our children had the best start to successful lives that will benefit Alaska as a whole.

What have we seen of the current administration? As state senator, Governor Mike Dunleavy has called for deep cuts to public education funding every year, forcing the State House to block those cuts. Dunleavy’s first budget proposed a cut of more than $ 269 million in public education funds. None of these actions demonstrate the desire of past and present leaders to develop our children and their education.

Alaska needs a governor who will act in the best interests of our children. A governor who will promote the education of our children, which will help ensure that Alaskan graduate students are ready for college, career and life. These children are the future leaders of our state. Their academic, professional and socio-emotional development has to take place now, when they are young, so when they grow up to be adults, our children can and will want to continue to make Alaska a better place. The children of Alaska need Les Gara as their next governor.

Jessica Cook, MS Ed., is a sixth grade teacher in the Anchorage School District.

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