• 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.
    • Alaska Native Graduates of UAA: What Can They Tell Us?

      Erickson, Diane; Hirshberg, Diane (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-03)
      Alaska Natives make up 9% of students at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and the number attending classes on the Anchorage campus is up more than 40% since 2000—from 950 to nearly 1,400. But despite that fast growth, few Alaska Native students go on to graduate. Less than 5% of the students earning bachelor’s degrees at UAA in 2007 were Alaska Native. And as Figure 1 shows, only about one in 10 of the Native students who were freshmen in 2000 had earned bachelor’s degrees six years later, in 2006. Alaska Native students begin leaving at high rates in their second year at UAA. Among those who started in 2005, less than 60% of the Native freshmen but 70% of all freshmen went on to the next year. Still, that was an improvement over 2000, when only about half the Alaska Native freshmen continued on to their second year (Figure 1). The low graduation rates among Native students—not only at UAA but throughout the University of Alaska—are worrisome. Alaska Natives are under-represented in teaching, health care, business, and many other professions—and that won’t change until more Alaska Native students get the educational credentials they need. But what about those Alaska Native students who do succeed in earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctorates? What keeps them going, when so many others don’t make it to graduation?
    • Turnover Among Alaska Teachers: Is It Changing?

      Hill, Alexandra; Hirshberg, Diane (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-07)
      Turnover among Alaska’s teachers was roughly the same in 2007 as it had been in 1999, with about 14% leaving their school districts (Figure 1). Turnover also remained twice as high in rural as in urban districts—about 22%, compared with 10%. That lack of broad change comes after years of efforts by Alaska’s state government, universities, and school districts to reduce teacher turnover, especially in rural areas. The Institute of Social and Economic Research has been tracking Alaska’s progress in reducing teacher turnover since 2004, in partnership with the Alaska Teacher Placement program, the Department of Education and Early Development, and university teacher training programs.