• Alaska Civic Learning Assesment Project: Final Report and Policy Brief

      Fickel, Letitia; Hirshberg, Diane; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      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. 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.
    • Understanding Alaska State Finances: What Citizens Want to Know and How to Convey that Information Effectively

      Haley, Sharman (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      Fiscal policy is a major dilemma for this state. State oil revenues have been declining since 1982. Despite cuts in the state’s general fund spending--down from a high of $2.9 billion in FY1982 to $2.5 billion in FY2002--the state budget has been in deficit eight of the last ten years. The FY 2002 deficit constituted nearly one third of the state general fund budget. At the current rate, the Constitutional Budget Reserve—the savings account which is being drawn down to cover the deficit—will be exhausted in about two years. Political opinion is so fragmented on the question of what to do that the legislature has been unable to forge a fiscal plan to address the issue. Indeed, the very nature of the problem is contested. Results from a state wide fiscal opinion survey last year (Moore, 2001) suggest that voter attitudes are a major factor in the current policy impasse. While 80 percent feel that some kind of fiscal plan is needed, only one third are very likely to support some kind of plan involving taxes and permanent fund earnings, another one third somewhat likely to support such a plan, and one third not very or not at all likely. Analysis of the data shows that more informed voters, with a more accurate understanding of some basic facts about Alaska’s fiscal structure, are more likely to support a plan involving taxes and permanent fund earnings.