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### Alaskans Back Education System Reform: Dittman Research Survey

Gov. Mike Dunleavy unveiled the findings of a statewide public opinion survey on education in Alaska, indicating robust backing for augmented education funding. However, Alaskans prioritize “change and reforms to the education system” over solely boosting funding by a ratio of 1.7-to-1.

Dunleavy raised concerns about the dichotomy between those advocating for funding alone and those supporting both funding and educational reform. The survey results followed student-led protests and legislative actions, reflecting a complex landscape of opinions.

While 77% of respondents favor increased BSA funding, a significant 57% underscore the significance of implementing changes and reforms in the education system for enhanced outcomes, surpassing the 33% advocating primarily for increased funding.

Dunleavy emphasized the need for improved school performance in exchange for increased funding, highlighting the community’s desire for a reformed education system that prioritizes student achievement. The survey underscores a call for effective education policies that yield tangible results rather than unrestricted financial support for school districts.

Key insights from the survey indicate strong support for an open enrollment system (75%), public charter schools utilizing excess capacity of other public schools (73%), and a general dissatisfaction with Alaska schools, with 73% grading them a “C” or lower.

Additionally, there is widespread backing for initiatives such as a bonus incentive program for teacher recruitment and retention (71%), increased allocation of funds to public charter schools (64%), and consolidation of undercapacity schools with minimal student impact (56%).

Furthermore, a considerable portion of respondents supports resource allocation for student transportation to their preferred schools (54%), while only a minority endorses using PFD for education funding or maintaining underused school buildings.

The survey, conducted by Dittman Research from March 20-24, 2024, sheds light on the diverse perspectives within the Alaskan community regarding education reform and funding priorities. Matt Larkin, the president of Dittman Research, presented the survey details to journalists in a comprehensive slide presentation.