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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:39 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Oct. 18, 2012

To the editor:

If you have kids in Alaska, you most likely know that we struggle to educate our children on par with the rest of the nation. Let me lay out a few statistics for you and a step in the right direction. We have 7.3 percent of all our high school students drop out of school any given year. Among Alaska Natives, we have 12.2 percent drop out per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

This indicates that schools in our villages are struggling. For example, the Lower Yukon School District lost 13.52 percent in the 2010-2011 school year because of drop-outs, according to the state. The national rate is 4.1 percent. It is no wonder it has been reported that, among ninth graders in Alaska today, 38 percent will not have a high school diploma within the next decade.

While we can accomplish a lot through our families and local communities, it helps to have a friend in the state House working on education issues. I bring this up because there is a uniquely qualified person running for the state House in District 38 to lead the state in its efforts to improve education. This is someone who, after graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has personally been teaching for decades in Alaska’s high schools. He has many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of his own in the state. Having his own family in the school system helps him keeps his eye on the ball. He understands that if we want to be competitive in the national and global labor force, quality education is a must.

Rep. Alan Dick is the education chairman, and, with plenty of skin in the game, he is the right choice for all of District 38. On Election Day, it is time to send Alan Dick back to the capital for the youth of Alaska.

Vera Finley

Fairbanks

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