As a father of a high school student, education is an issue near to my heart and will always be a top priority. A quality education and strong work ethic will give young Alaskans the opportunity to succeed in life.
A high-performing public education system requires good teachers, curriculum, and facilities. The Legislature works to set policy and provide the funding needed for Alaskan schools. Education is the state's largest budget item, constituting over $1 billion in spending every year. I've worked to level the playing field for rural school funding and improve vocational-education opportunities. The state needs to support educational models that get results. Charter schools, Mt. Edgecumbe High School, along with innovative programs like the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum are important parts of Alaska's education system.
Post-secondary education is vital for young Alaskans. The University of Alaska trains students for careers and helps meet the needs of our state's top industries. To support this, Alaska needs to adequately invest in the University of Alaska, its rural campuses, and workforce development programs. The Legislature has made substantial investments in the University's facilities, programs, and staff development. These include new buildings for engineering, life sciences, as well as recreation and living facilities. We need to ensure the University continues to refine its mission of educating Alaskans and furthering research in our state. I have also advocated for increased vocational education training, supporting vocational technical facilities in Ketchikan and Sitka.