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 Mayor Sullivan announces “Mayor’s Education Summit” 

 Education initiative brings civic leaders, experts together to identify ways to improve education in Anchorage 

6/1/2011 | Contact: Sarah Erkmann 343-7103
Mayor's Office

ANCHORAGE- Mayor Sullivan announced today the “Mayor’s Education Summit” that will kick off with a two-day event in which up to 100 civic leaders will explore significant innovations, challenging ideas, and education reforms from jurisdictions around the world.

Participants will include key education policy members and stakeholders from business, labor, alternative schools, and parents. 

The Mayor launched the initiative to identify how to improve student performance for all students in Anchorage public schools. Anchorage’s cost per student is high and its school facilities are of high quality, yet too many of Anchorage’s students are graduating without the necessary skills to assume entry-level jobs.

“My decision to examine this issue is based on three key questions,” said Mayor Dan Sullivan. “Are we the best school district in the country? If not, do we want to be? I’m hoping all agree the answer is yes, so how do we get there? These questions will be explored in-depth at the Summit, and I’m eager to hear the discussion.”

The summit’s goal is to raise the achievement bar so that graduates from Anchorage public schools are internationally competitive.

 The reform initiative will proceed in three steps:

  1. A two-day summit Nov. 15-16 involving the aforementioned 100 civic leaders and experts in reform efforts from which several options will be developed
  2. A series of community conversations held in January/February 2012 with the public examining their views and values on the options developed at the summit as well as their own ideas
  3. A capstone summit next April/May in which leaders from the initial summit and some of the citizens from the community conversations review citizens’ comments and use them to develop recommendations for reforms to K-12 education in Anchorage.               

Currently, three sessions are planned for the November summit:

  1. Creating a World-Class Education System: major systemic reform, international benchmarking, big-picture view of curriculum
  2. A Great Teacher in Every Classroom: teacher preparation and evaluation
  3. What Kids Need to Learn and How: curriculum, technology and school choice/alternatives.

Summit organizers are in the process of inviting world-renowned leaders in education reform to serve on the panels for the November summit. Those under consideration include:

  • Dr. Clayton Christianson, Professor, Harvard Business School
  • John Danner, Co-Founder and CEO, Rocketship Education
  • Katie Haycock, CEO, The Education Trust
  • Dr. Rick Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Dr. Tom Kane, Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard
  • Jason Kamras, Former Director of Human Capital Strategy, D.C. Public Schools
  • Timo Lankinen, Director General, Finnish National Board of Education
  • The Honorable Dalton McGuinty, Premier, Ontario Canada
  • Dr. John Medina, Director, Brain Center for Applied Learning Research, Seattle Pacific University and Faulty Member, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Hilary Pennington, Director of Postsecondary Success, Gates Foundation
  • Vicki Phillips, Director of US College Ready Program, Gates Foundation
  • Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO, StudentsFirst
  • Andreas Schleicher, Head of Indicators and Analysis Division, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • David Steiner, Former New York State Superintendent
  • Tom Vander Ark, Partner, Vander Ark/Ratcliff

The Mayor’s Educational Summit has raised private funds to underwrite the costs of the two summits and citizen conversations. They include: ACS, Alaska Airlines, Alaska Regional Hospital, AT&T, Carlile Transportation Systems, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, First National Bank, GCI, Gillam Foundation, Lynden, Northrim Bank, Providence Hospital, Shell and Wells Fargo.


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