Blog #3: Endicott: Future of AK Native Education

If it is ever finally determined at the State Education and Early Childhood Administration level that Alaska Native Education becomes the primary method of instruction then there should be very significant changes.  This State has struggled ever since it’s push into the villages of assimilation of children into dominant western culture education.  Children were physically taken from the families and forced into boarding schools away from their villages.  History has too numerous registered events recorded inappropriate behaviors happening.  It’s not working, it will not work and it needs to cease, stop all together.

If preservation of the culture is the goal, then schools need to be turned over to local control.  Employ only Yupik speaking teachers and limit outside influence.  Each village will determine it’s education direction and design the curriculum to support the culture.  Require only the language to be used in the village.   Not only should the school be turned over to local control but all the services need to be separately contracted with outside agencies  to fulfill their needs.  That means no Special Education, no required services for Speech, Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy would ever be in the school.

Medical clinic personnel, dental, or vision groups would travel to the villages to provide their products and services under separate contracts of employment outside of the school facility. Currently these organization and services use the school building as their place to provide services to villagers.  A vast majority of these events are absorbed into the schools operating budget.  Few offer to compensate the district for the cost of lighting, heat or water usage in the buildings.  Many of the technicians reside in the school too during their stay.

Maintenance of the school facilities will be turned over to the village office.  Previous funding resource from State, Federal or local grants will become a responsibility of the village.

Each village will design their commitment to the State Education Department for equal assessment and measuring student success program.  In order to participate in programs to receive a funding source (Migrant Education, Title 1) there has to be an agreement of compliance.

Each village will create their own economic program and generate funding for city or village services probably utilizing grant(s) procurement and usage of that funding resource.  Products and services paid with State Taxation funding source would continue as it stays now.  Clean water, electric and sewer services would remain.

By Federal Law, each state is mandated to support citizens with funding or services.  For Alaska, use the Permanent Fund to support the transformation of Education in the rural villages.  Design a program that provides all the services the school system now provides adding designing curriculum and materials for the Yupik Culture.  I think it was Einstein who said “If you want change to happen you have to do things in a different way.”

Families who wish different school environments have the opportunity to move and reside in urban communities.  The State also continues to offer Boarding School for those students wanting alternative learning.

This state has the funding capabilities to make this significant switch in their education plan.  I have no problem if villages make that determination to orchestrate their programs to the needs of their villages.  I would in fact, encourage that very notion.  I am confident the Yupik culture would provide adequate education for their communities.