School Choice and NEA Opposition

Word on the street is that the NEA is desperately stalking the halls of the capitol in Juneau trying to keep a lid on the movement to bring school choice to Alaska. And they have quite a lobbyist on the payroll.

According to State of Alaska public disclosures, Alaska NEA lobbyist John Alcantra makes $57.83 per hour. Assuming a 40 hour work week, that’s more than $120,000 annually. If his listed wage does not include health benefits and retirement, it would not be unreasonable to assume that the total cost for Alcantra tops $150,000 a year. Solidarity, indeed.

But Alcantra and his posse have a reason to be rattled. School choice is an issue that has commanded bipartisan support in other states as well. Study after study shows the benefits of school choice for all the kids, including those from lower income families and ethnic minority groups.

Two separate polls conducted (Braun Research and Dittman Research) show a healthy majority of support for school choice among Alaskans. While Alaska’s education performance continues to lag behind other states, the Senate majority coalition being used by Progressives in the legislature to obstruct good legislation was defeated in the last election cycle.

If you haven’t called your State Representative or Senator to voice your opinion on school choice, be sure to do it. According to reports from Juneau, the Republican caucus will be discussing education in the near future.

There are a number of obstructionists inside of the Majority caucus who will make it their goal to characterize this issue as divisive and toxic. Some are genuinely more concerned with losing a reelection bid than obstructing public policy that is good for Alaska. Others are simply ideologues.

Given the nature of the caucus, and with Mr. Alcantra roaming the halls of Juneau, your help is needed to get this legislation moving. If you would like to see school choice become a reality in Alaska, call or email your representative and senator.