• 2009 Alaska Health Workforce Vacancy Study

      Landon, Beth; Doucette, Sanna; Frazier, Rosyland; Wilson, Meghan; Silver, Darla; Hill, Alexandra; Sanders, Kate; Sharp, Suzanne; Johnson, Kristin; DeRoche, Patricia; et al. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-12)
      Alaska continues to experience health professional shortages. The state has long had a deficient “supply side” characterized by insufficient numbers of key health workers whose recruitment, retention, and training have been impeded by Alaska’s remoteness, harsh climate, rural isolation, low population density, and scarce training resources. Alaska is the only state without a pharmacy school and lacks its own dental and physical therapy schools as well. Health professional shortages can be decreased through the start of new training programs, the expansion of existing programs, and the improvement of the effectiveness of recruitment and retention efforts. However, strategic planning and the execution of such programs require valid and accurate data. To this end, stakeholders such as the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA) and Alaskan's For Access to Health Care (ACCESS), along with schools and departments within the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), funded the Alaska Center for Rural Health-Alaska’s AHEC (ACRH) and the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to conduct a comprehensive health workforce study during winter and spring of 2009. This report highlights employers’ needs for employees to fill budgeted positions. This is different from a needs assessment that would take into account population demographics and disease incidence and prevalence. This health workforce study is an assessment of health manpower shortage based on budgeted staff positions and their vacancies in organizations throughout the state. Respondents included part-time positions, which resulted in our counting full-time equivalent (FTE) rather than individuals (“bodies”). In situations where a position was divided among more than one occupation (e.g., Dental Assistant and Billing Clerk), we asked the respondent to count the position under which they considered the position’s “primary occupation.” This was a point-in-time cross-sectional study. Recently filled vacancies or imminent vacancies were not counted. Positions filled by relief/temporary/locum/contract health workers were counted as vacancies only if these workers were temporarily filling a currently vacant, budgeted position. Due to budget and time constraints, we were not able to conduct a trend analysis that is a comparison of this study’s findings and the prior 2007 study. The key questions this study sought to answer were (1) How many budgeted positions, either full- or part-time, existed in organizations providing health services in Alaska? (2) How many of these budgeted positions were currently vacant? (3) What was the vacancy rate? (4) How many of the organizations that employ these occupations hired new graduates of training programs? (5) How many of the currently vacant budgeted positions (#2) could be filled by new graduates of training programs? (6) What were the mean and maximum length of time, expressed in months, that the vacancies have existed? (7) What were the principal, underlying causes of vacancies? The study was designed in consultation with an advisory group that included AMHTA, ACCESS, and UAA. The study targeted 93 health occupations. The unit of analysis was the employment site by organization type, which allowed for the allocation of positions and vacancies by geographic region. For each employer, we identified the staff person most knowledgeable about hiring and vacancies. In large organizations this meant that one employer might provide information about multiple sites and organization types; smaller employers were responsible for only a single site.
    • After Broadband: A Study of Organizational Use of Broadband in Southwest Alaska

      Hudson, Heather E.; Sharp, Suzanne; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-06-01)
      The purpose of this research was to gain a preliminary understanding of how organizations including large and small businesses, Native corporations and organizations, and local and regional governments are using broadband that is now available in much of southwest Alaska. To learn about community access to broadband, interviews were also conducted with library and school staff in communities where broadband had been installed under the OWL (Online with Libraries) program. Further, the study identifies research from other sources that could help to predict what socio-economic impacts the availability and adoption of broadband may have in rural Alaska. Financial institutions use online connections for teller services and credit and debit card processing, and stated that more people in rural communities now have debit cards that they can use for online purchases and bill paying. Large retailers use online services for payroll, for pointof-sale (POS) transactions, and online ordering. Seafood processors rely heavily on connectivity with their head offices (generally in the lower 48) for administrative services including payroll, accounting, shipping and receiving, purchasing, and ERP (enterprise resource planning), and access data base software to track fish tickets. Seafood processors also provide Internet access for their employees, most of whom are seasonal and from other states or countries. Tourism businesses use broadband for online reservation systems and for guests, who increasingly demand connectivity even for remote vacations. Village corporations and tribal councils use online services to help their residents obtain hunting and fishing licenses and fishing permits, to learn about funding opportunities, and to file reports on grants. Local Governments connect online for interoffice communications and for payroll and other administrative functions. Other online applications and services include providing remote desktop access from other agency sites, use of online tools for land management and mapping, training including webinars for workforce development, and providing access to social services for clients. An economic development organization sends newsletters to communities electronically and packets of documents to its board members rather than relying on fax or courier. Websites are important for tourism-related businesses to advertise and promote their businesses and for nonprofits and local governments to provide information about their services. 5 Broadband now plays many roles in rural education. Most students are required to use the Internet for class assignments. High school students can connect to classes in advanced subjects in other communities, and may complete online courses for college credit. Libraries remain important locations for community access, with residents going online to connect with friends on Facebook, as well as to download content for e-books, file income tax, and apply for jobs and government benefits. School and library Wi-Fi provides access inside and near the buildings for residents with smartphones. Despite enthusiasm for broadband and the adoption of many broadband-based applications and services, most organizations interviewed identified problems with broadband, particularly with the pricing, stating that the terrestrial broadband network is too costly for them to take full advantage of online services and applications. While the scope of this study was too limited to estimate long-term benefits, it found that broadband is highly valued and increasingly important to businesses and nonprofit organizations and local governments in southwest Alaska. Broadband helps businesses to be more efficient in their operations and to extend their reach to new customers and suppliers. It also helps to improve the effectiveness of public sector services such as those provided by borough and city governments and extends access to education and training. Broadband is also likely to be an important component of strategies to develop ecotourism and other ecosystem services.
    • Alaska Civic Learning Assessment Project: Final Report and Policy Brief

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane; Fickel, Letitia (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2006-11-01)
      In late 2002, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and Carnegie Corporation of New York, in consultation with the Corporation for National and Community Service, convened a series of meetings involving some of the nation’s most distinguished and respected scholars and practitioners in the area of civic education. The purpose was to determine, based on solid data and evidence, the components of effective and feasible civic learning programs. Representing a diversity of political views, a variety of disciplines, and various approaches, these individuals shared a common vision of a richer, more comprehensive approach to civic education in the United States, notwithstanding some disagreement about aspects of how civic education should be conducted. Their final report, entitled The Civic Mission of Schools, is a compelling statement of the national landscape regarding civic learning and the critical role that schools play in fostering citizenship education. Below is an excerpt from the report’s Executive Summary: For more than 250 years, Americans have shared a vision of a democracy in which all citizens understand, appreciate, and engage actively in civic and political life. In recent decades, however, increasing numbers of Americans have disengaged from civic and political institutions such as voluntary associations, religious congregations, community-based organizations, and political and electoral activities such as voting and being informed about public issues. Young people reflect these trends: they are less likely to vote and are less interested in political discussion and public issues than either their older counterparts or young people of past decades. As a result, many young Americans may not be prepared to participate fully in our democracy now and when they become adults. Recognizing that individuals do not automatically become free and responsible citizens but must be educated for citizenship, scholars; teachers; civic leaders; local, state, and federal policymakers; and federal judges, have with the encouragement of the president of the United States, called for new strategies that can capitalize on young people’s idealism and their commitment to service and voluntarism while addressing their disengagement from political and civic institutions. One of the most promising approaches to increase young people’s informed engagement is school-based civic education. The CIRCLE report identified the following major reasons why schools are ACLAP Final Report & Policy Brief Page 2 important venues for civic education: • It is crucial for the future health of our democracy that all young people, including those who are usually marginalized, be knowledgeable, engaged in their communities and in politics, and committed to the public good. • Encouraging the development of civic skills and attitudes among young people has been an important goal of education and was the primary impetus for originally establishing public schools. • Schools are the only institutions with the capacity and mandate to reach virtually every young person in the country. Of all institutions, schools are the most systematically and directly responsible for imparting citizen norms. • Schools are best equipped to address the cognitive aspects of good citizenship—civic and political knowledge and related skills such as critical thinking and deliberation. • Schools are communities in which young people learn to interact, argue, and work together with others, an important foundation for future citizenship. As a result of the CIRCLE report, the national Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (CCMS) was launched in 2004, funded by the Carnegie Corp and the Knight Foundation (www.civicmissionofschools.org). The CCMS campaign is working with coalition members and advocates across the political spectrum to dramatically elevate civic learning as an educational priority. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to ensure that schools in the U.S. provide each and every student with a citizenship education that allows them to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives. Such citizens are those who: • are informed and thoughtful about the history and processes of American democracy and public and community issues and have the ability to obtain information, think critically, and participate in dialogue with others who hold different perspectives; • participate in their communities through organizations working to address cultural, social, political, and religious interests and beliefs; • act politically using the skills, knowledge and commitment needed to accomplish public purposes such as group problem solving, public speaking, petitioning and protesting, and voting; and ACLAP Final Report & Policy Brief Page 3 • have moral and civic virtues such as concern for the rights and welfare of others, social responsibility, tolerance and respect, and belief in their ability to make a difference. As part of the CCMS campaign, competitive grants were awarded to 18 states for projects to advance civic learning. In September 2004, the Alaska Teaching Justice Network (ATJN), a statewide coalition of public, educational, legal, and judicial organizations and individuals dedicated to advancing law-related education in Alaska, secured a small grant from the campaign to conduct the Alaska Civic Learning Assessment (ACLA) Project. The goal of the ACLA Project is to better understand the current state of K-12 civic learning in Alaska and to assess the civic knowledge and experiences of Alaska's youth. The project has focused on both civics topics common across the United States and those unique to Alaska, with the goal of informing efforts to improve civic education in the state. After a brief overview of national research on civic education, this report presents findings from the ACLA Project research on the current status of civic education in Alaska, the civic knowledge of youth and adults, and the attitudes about civic education held by educators, youth and elders.
    • Alaska High School Graduation Rate Trends

      Tran, Trang; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2019-08-05)
      This paper examines trends in Alaska public high school graduation rates from academic year 2010-11 to 2015-16 and explores differences across demographic groups. We focus specifically on students from public neighborhood high schools. These are publicly-funded schools run by district or Regional Educational Attendance Area school boards serving all residents within school attendance boundaries. These schools represent about 88% of Alaska’s high school students.
    • Alaska High School Graduation Rate Trends

      Tran, Trang; Hill, Alexandra (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 8/5/2019)
      This paper examines trends in Alaska public high school graduation rates from academic year 2010-11 to 2015-16 and explores differences across demographic groups. We focus specifically on students from public neighborhood high schools. These are publicly-funded schools run by district or Regional Educational Attendance Area school boards serving all residents within school attendance boundaries. These schools represent about 88% of Alaska�s high school students.
    • Alaska Native-Focused Teacher Preparation Programs

      Leary, Audrey; Tetpon, Bernice; Hirshberg, Diane; Hill, Alexandra (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-06)
      In Alaska, 80% of rural students are Alaska Native. But fewer than 5% of Alaska’s certified teachers are Alaska Native, and 74% of teachers hired by Alaska’s public schools come from outside the state. Teachers new to rural Alaska typically remain on the job just one or two years. Since 1970, there have been numerous teacher certification programs intended to bring more Alaska Natives and rural residents into classrooms. Many community and education leaders believe rural schools could benefit from having more such teachers, because they would likely stay on the job longer, be more familiar with their students’ communities and cultures, and provide more powerful role models for Alaska Native students. The share of rural teachers who are Alaska Natives or rural residents remains small, but efforts to increase their numbers continue. The programs offered in the past few decades have provided important lessons about how to successfully recruit and prepare Alaska Native and rural-resident teachers. But these lessons are not well documented or consistently used in Alaska’s current teacher certification programs. In this brief, we take a first step toward summarizing the contributions of these programs by describing them, their graduates, and key lessons learned. This brief does not discuss current efforts at the University of Alaska to increase the number of Alaska Native and rural -resident teachers graduating from regular teacher preparation programs. But it’s important to recognize that all three UA campuses enroll Alaska Native teacher candidates in their regular programs, and all include distance -delivered programs, in an effort to recruit and better meet the needs of teacher candidates from rural communities.
    • Alaska Native-focused Teacher Preparation Programs: What have we learned?

      Tetpon, Bernice; Hirshberg, Diane; Leary, Audrey; Hill, Alexandra (2015-08-20)
    • Alaska Native-focused Teacher Preparation Programs: What have we learned?

      Ttepon, Bernice; Hirshberg, Diane; Leary, Audrey; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 8/1/2015)
      There are too few indigenous teachers in Alaska, as fewer than 5% of Alaska�s certified teachers are Alaska Native. However, Alaska�s Indigenous students make up 80% of student enrollment in the state�s rural schools, and over 22% of the school population statewide. Moreover, 74 % of teachers hired by Alaska�s public schools come from outside the state. Teachers new to rural Alaska typically remain on the job just one or two years, and high turnover rates in Alaska are strongly correlated with poorer student learning outcomes (Hill & Hirshberg, 2013). Many community and education leaders believe rural schools could benefit from having more Indigenous teachers, because they would likely stay on the job longer, be more familiar with their students� communities and cultures, and provide more powerful role models for Alaska Native students. This paper discusses why Indigenous teachers are important, and provides an overview of the initiatives from the past four decades aimed at preparing Alaska Native teachers.
    • Alaska Teacher Supply and Demand Update

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2006-04-01)
      Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) has contracted with the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) between 2005 and 2007 to identify and analyze trends in K-12 educator supply and demand in the State of Alaska, including teacher turnover rates. This report is an analysis of Alaskan teacher supply and turnover data from 1999-2004, and projects supply and demand data for the next five years.
    • Alaska Teacher Turnover, Supply, and Demand: 2013 Highlights

      Hill, Alexandra (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013-06-01)
      T he figures in this document show a few findings from the forthcoming report, 2013 Alaska Educator Supply, Demand, and Turnover. They focus mostly on teacher turnover and mobility in recent years. The data show that: Teacher turnover in Alaska has declined slightly in the last few years, but not significantly. Annual teacher turnover rates vary hugely among rural districts, ranging from a low of 7% to over 52%, while urban districts have turnover rates that are generally lower and more similar, from about 8% to just over 10%. Among teachers with less than 10 years of experience, those who prepared to be teachers in Alaska have much lower turnover rates than those from Outside. Among teachers with more than 10 years of experience, turnover rates for the two groups are about the same. ¾ Most—around 80%—of teachers who leave both urban and rural districts leave the Alaska school system entirely. Teachers prepared in Alaska are far more likely to work in urban than in rural districts. On average from 2008-2012, about 64% of teachers hired by districts statewide were from outside Alaska. Almost 90% of teachers in Alaska are White. Alaska Natives and American Indians continue to make up only about 5% of the teacher workforce.
    • Alaska Teacher Turnover, Supply, and Demand: 2013 Highlights

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Dian (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 6/1/2013)
    • Alignment of Alaska’s Educational Programs from Pre-School through Graduate Study: A First Look

      McDiarmid, G. Williamson; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-01)
      Too many Alaska students leave formal education unprepared for their next steps in life. Too many drop out of high school; too few high-school graduates go on to post-secondary education; and too few of those who do enroll in post-secondary education graduate in a timely manner. Employers report that a substantial number of young people who enter the work world directly after graduating from high school (or after dropping out) lack the reading, writing, and math skills necessary for many of today’s jobs, even at entry level. Ideally, the various components of the education system would be structured so that as children or young people complete each step, they would be adequately prepared for the next. In practice, this is often not the case. Students arrive at kindergarten and again at college, vocational training, or work unprepared for the challenges they face and without the skills their teachers, professors, or employers expect. Alaska is not alone in these problems, and many states are focusing on alignment as a possible response. Policymakers and others are studying how students progress through the entire education system—from pre-school through college, graduate study, or career training. As defined above, alignment would coordinate the work of institutions providing different levels of education. Educators in K-12 and early childhood programs would agree on what children should know and be able to do when entering kindergarten (or first grade)—and on how those skills and abilities would be taught and assessed. Likewise, employers, institutions of higher education, and K-12 schools would work together to reach similar agreements on what young people need to know to enter the workforce or college. Alignment efforts bring together policymakers and practitioners from all levels of education to identify what needs to be done to achieve this coordination and to oversee the work. The first section of this report looks at alignment of early childhood programs and K-12 education. Why is it important to begin alignment at the level of early childhood education? Research has demonstrated the strong effect of quality early childhood education on later educational outcomes. Among the best-known research is the High/Scope Perry Preschool study, which followed 120 children from the time they attended that preschool in the 1960s, at ages 3 or 4, until they were age 40.1 Schweinhart, et al. (1993) looked at program participants through age 27 and estimated that the program had produced savings to taxpayers of over $7 for each dollar spent. Program participants were less likely to need special education services throughout their school careers, less likely to commit crimes, and less likely to receive welfare—and they alsoearned more and paid higher taxes than non-participants. Other studies have found that children who participate in quality early childhood education programs are less likely to be retained in grade, placed in special education, or drop out of high school (Schweinhart 1994). In Alaska, public early childhood education is limited to federally mandated special education and federally funded (with state supplemental funding) Head Start programs. These programs together enroll about 16% of 3-year-olds and 22% of 4-year-olds in the state. Many more students in urban areas are enrolled in some form of private pre-school. Head start programs exist in more than 75 Alaska communities and are run by 16 different grantees, which have varying degrees of coordination with their local K-12 districts and with each other. The second focus of this report is readiness of Alaska high-school graduates for post-secondary education or work. Alaska’s colleges and universities find that many of their entering students— even those with good grades in high school—aren’t ready for college-level work. Again, national research affirms that Alaska’s problems are not unique. Callan, Finney, Kirst, Usdan, and Venezia (2006) report “The more difficult challenge for students is becoming prepared academically for college coursework. Once students enter college, about half of them learn that they are not prepared for college-level courses. Forty percent of students at four-year institutions and 63 percent at two-year colleges take remedial education. Additionally, high-school students face an incredibly complex system of placement tests and college admissions requirements.” A national survey of 431 employers about workforce readiness found that “When asked to assess new workforce entrants, employers report that many of the new entrants lack skills essential to job success… Over 40 percent (42.4 percent) of employer respondents rate new entrants with a high school diploma as ‘deficient’ in their overall preparation for the entry-level jobs they typically fill. Almost the same percentage (45.6 percent) rate the overall preparation of high school graduate entrants as ‘adequate,’ but almost no one (less than ½ of 1 percent—0.2 percent) rates their overall preparation as ‘excellent.’ ” 2 Anecdotal information from Alaska employers indicates that many young people entering the workforce in Alaska aren’t prepared for work, either. This report brings together available data on the scope of these problems in Alaska and discusses what other states have tried and what we can tell so far about what has worked. We identify areas that need more research and where there may not even be data to conduct research. Finally, we suggest steps the state can undertake now, while conducting research, to fill in the gaps.
    • Anchorage Housing in 1989

      Leask, Linda; Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1988-12-01)
    • Benefits of Alaska Native Corporations and the SBA 8(a) Program to Alaska Natives and Alaska

      Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage; Haley, Sharman; Fay, Ginny; Ainsworth, Joel; Angvik, Jane; Hill, Alexandra; Martin, Stephanie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07-07)
      Senator Begich’s office asked ISER for assistance assembling information to document the social and economic status of Alaska Natives and the benefits of the 8(a) program. His purpose is to brief Missouri Senator McCaskill and her committee which is reviewing the status of ANC contracts awarded under SBA’s 8(a) program. This review was triggered by a 2006 GAO report recommending increased SBA oversight to 8(a) contracting activity. Highlights of the GAO report are provided in Tab A.1; a letter dated May 15, 2009, from Senators Begich and Murkowski to Sentaor McCaskill, outlining their concerns is provided in Tab A.2. As the Congressional Research Service report (Tab A.3) explains, the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program targeting socially and economically disadvantaged individuals was operating under executive authority from about 1970, and under statutory authority starting in 1978. A series of amendments from 1986 to 1992 recognized Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) as socially and economically disadvantaged for purposes of program eligibility, exempted them from limitations on the number of qualifying subsidiaries, from some restrictions on size and minimum time in business, and from the ceiling on amounts for sole-source contracts. Between 1988 and 2005, the number of 8(a) qualified ANC subsidiaries grew from one to 154 subsidiaries owned by 49 ANCs. The dollar amount of 8(a) contracts to ANCs grew from $265 million in FY 2000 to $1.1 billion in 2004, approximately 80 percent of which was in sole-source contracts. (GAO Highlights, Tab A.1) The remainder of this briefing book is divided in three sections. Section 2 addresses changes in the social and economic status of Alaska Natives from 1970--the year before the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the subsequent creation of the ANCs--to the present. ISER’s report on the “Status of Alaska Natives 2004” (Tab B.1) finds that despite really significant improvements in social and economic conditions among Alaska Natives, they still lag well behind other Alaskans in employment, income, education, health status and living conditions. A collection of more recent analyses updates the social and economic indicators to 2008. There were many concurrent changes throughout this dynamic period of Alaska’s history and we cannot attribute all the improvements to the ANCs, though it is clear that they play an important catalyst role. In the final part of section 2 we attempt to provide some historical context for understanding the role ANCs have played in improving the well-being of Alaska Natives. Section C. documents the growth in ANCs and their contributions to Alaska Native employment, income, social and cultural programs and wellbeing, and their major contributions to the Alaska economy and society overall. Section D. Looks specifically at the 8(a) program. Although there are a handful of 8(a) firms with large federal contracts, the majority are small, village-based corporations engaged in enterprise development in very challenging conditions. A collection of six case studies illustrate the barriers to business development these small firms face and the critical leverage that 8(a) contracting offers them.
    • The Changing Economic Status of Alaska Natives, 1970-2007

      Martin, Stephanie; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07)
      Forty years ago—when the discovery of North Slope oil was about to transform Alaska’s economy— Alaska Natives had among the lowest income, employment, and education levels in the U.S. Today their economic conditions are better, but they still fall considerably below averages among other Alaskans and other Americans. This note first reports how current economic conditions among Alaska Natives compare with U.S. averages, and then looks at changes since 1970 in poverty, employment, income, and education levels among Alaska Natives. We relied mainly on data from federal censuses in 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 and from the annual American Community Survey for 2005 to 2007. We also used the most recent population estimates from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.1
    • Connecting a Disjointed System: A First Look at Aligning Education in Alaska

      McDiarmid, G. Williamson; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-11)
      We’ve heard it before, but it’s still true: too many Alaska students don’t have the skills they need to move on to the next stage of education or to get good jobs. Too many drop out of high school, and too few of those who graduate go on to college or other post-secondary education—and among those who do go on to post-secondary education, many don’t graduate within four or even six years. Employers report that young people entering the work world directly after they graduate from high school (or right after they drop out) don’t have the reading, writing, and math skills necessary for many of today’s jobs, even entry-level ones. Alaska is not alone in these problems, but the high-school dropout rate is higher than the U.S. average and fewer graduates go to college. A third of Alaska’s high-school students don’t even graduate, and only about a third graduate and start college right away (Figure 1).
    • The Economic Contributions of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

      Pitney, Kim; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-06)
      The purpose of this study was to evaluate the economic significance of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District within the Kenai Peninsula Borough. We use an Alaska-specific Input-Output (I-O) model created by Dr. Scott Goldsmith of ISER, which is custom designed for the Alaska economy to “relate changes in spending in a particular industry to total changes in jobs and income in the Alaska economy.1” In the 2009/2010 school year, the school district directly created 1468.4 jobs, and about $109 million dollars was spent in south central Alaska. Based on the results of the model, this created 628.6 jobs, mostly in the borough, but with some located in Anchorage. These figures highlight the school district's role in the private as well as the public sector of the Kenai Peninsula Borough economy.
    • Health Effects of Indoor-Air Benzene in Anchorage Residences: A Study of Indoor-Air Quality in Houses with Attached Garages

      Gordian, Mary Ellen; Frazier, Rosyland; Hill, Alexandra; Schreiner, Irma; Siver, Darla; Stewart, Alistair; Morris, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-06)
      Benzene is a known carcinogen. It affects white blood cells; it causes leukemia and aplastic anemia. It may also affect the immune system which is dependent on white blood cells.1 It has been removed from all household products, but it is still present in gasoline. Alaskan gasoline is particularly high in benzene (>5%). Gasoline refined in Alaska has high concentrations of benzene and other the aromatic compounds as much as 50% aromatics by volume. Leaving the aromatics in the gasoline helps cars start in the cold, but it also puts high concentrations of benzene in both the ambient and indoor air. We already knew from previous work done in Alaska by Bernard Goldstein in Valdez2 and the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services in Anchorage3 that people were exposed to high ambient levels of benzene in the winter, and that there were high indoor benzene concentrations in homes with attached garages if the garage was used to store gasoline or gasoline powered engines. Benzene does not bioaccumulate in the body as dioxin or some pesticides do. But are its effects cumulative? Does a little dose of benzene everyday have the same effect as a large dose over less time? Benzene reduces CD4 cells in a dose-response manner at workplace concentrations less than 1 ppm (OSHA 8-hour exposure limit) in workers.4 People who live in homes with high benzene concentrations may be exposed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There have been no studies of health effects of such environmental exposure to benzene. This study was done to determine three things: 1. What percentage of Anchorage homes with attached garages had high levels of indoor benzene? 2. Were the high levels of indoor benzene affecting the health of the residents? 3. Were residents more likely to develop asthma in homes with high levels of indoor benzene?
    • How much does Alaska spend on K-12 education?

      Defeo, Dayna; Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane (Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 9/30/2019)
      Education funding in Alaska, as in most states, is one of the largest allocations in the state operating budget. In 2017, Alaska�s K-12 per-pupil spending was $17,838, which is 46% higher than the national average. However, a lot of things in Alaska are expensive relative to national averages: healthcare, food, and energy, to name just a few. In this paper we adjusted Alaska�s data from the US Census Bureau 2017 Annual Survey of School System Finances to state and national cost indices, and find that Alaska�s per-pupil expenditures are on par with national averages. As many drivers of Alaska�s education costs extend beyond education policy, we caution against cuts that leave districts with few choices but to diminish the teacher workforce by eliminating positions or hiring lower quality teachers with less competitive salaries.
    • It’s more than just dollars: Problematizing salary as the sole mechanism for recruiting and retaining teachers in rural Alaska

      DeFeo, Dayna; Hirshberg, Diane; Hill, Alexandra (2018)
      Staffing rural Alaska schools with a stable workforce of qualified teachers has been perennially challenging, and the failure to do so harms student achievement. In the spring of 2014, the Alaska Department of Administration contracted with the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research to produce a uniform salary schedule and community cost differentials with the objective of attracting and retaining highly-qualified teachers to Alaskan communities. In this paper, we summarize the findings of that study, including opportunities for significant teacher salary increases. However, we discuss the role of salary in teachers’ decisions to stay or leave rural communities, noting that other working conditions are stronger predictors of teacher attrition. We argue that salaries alone will not ensure a stable and qualified teacher workforce, instead positing that efforts to improve Alaska’s rural schools and teacher retention outcomes will require both adequate compensation and attention to the working conditions.