Bush School Prejudice

By Michael Edison, B.S.Ed.

The following was originally a Powerpoint presentation for an Educational Leadership class. Links are in yellow and underlined.


School Funding

NCLB and the Small School

Statewide Assessments



Historical Perspective of School Funding

Let's take a moment and look at four lawsuits which have taken place this past century:

Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)

Molly Hootch vs. State of Alaska (1972)

Molly Hootch Results:

Kasayulie vs. State of Alaska (1999)

Moore vs. State of Alaska (2004)

School Funding has Become the Civil Rights Issue of our Day

Traditionally, school finance lawsuits have been filed on the following grounds:

1. Education is a fundamental right specified in the Alaska state constitution.
2. Equity in education spending is necessary for equal protection under the law.
3. Disparities in funding based on wealth create suspect class discrimination.
4. State education clauses guarantee a universal or adequate education for all.

NCLB and the Small School

Rural schools were never considered during the legislative process ratifying NCLB.

Furthermore, Data and Statistics can be manipulated as well as false and misleading.

And, there are unrealistic expectations of rural educators to meet federal definition of being “highly qualified”.

As well as, Classroom Aides must also meet federal demands of being “qualified”.(Edison, 2004)

Data and Statistics can be Misleading

Rod Paige, US Secretary of Education:

NCLB Data Collection may be Misleading and Time Consuming

Highly Qualified - Teachers

The teacher is expected to demonstrate competency and other intensive requirements in every subject area he/she is teaching. (DOE, 2004)

Small school educators often teach multiple subjects and grades. Some educators in the Alaska bush teach every subject in every grade! (K-12)

How is the small school educator going to meet this requirement?

Highly Qualified - Classroom Aides

Aides must have at least an Associate Degree or two years of college. (DOE, 2004)

Many of our Alaskan villages do not have “qualified” individuals to replace existing aides.

Villages do not have the resources or provide enough adequate compensation for aides to go back to school.

Some districts have already given some aides the “pink-slip”.

Rural Students are the Losers of NCLB

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) should be determined at a local level rather than determined by federally-mandated national norms.

Statewide Assesments

The current testing contractor for the State of Alaska is:

Data Recognition Corporation
Headquarters: Maple Grove, Minnesota (DRC, 2004)

Is it possible, for the sake of maintaining a very profitable corporation, that the tests are designed to sustain this need?

Read the article, Testing Companies Mine for Gold

Statewide Assesments - Cultural Bias

Produced in Minnesota.


  1. Bush Schools are discriminated against by lack of funding by the State of Alaska.
    1. Moore vs. State of Alaska is a class-action suit currently filed.
  2. NCLB discriminates against Bush Schools by:
    1. Discrediting Teachers.
    2. Disqualifying Classroom Aides (firing them!).
    3. Requiring irrelevant and meaningless data collection.
    4. Listing school as failing.
  3. Statewide Assessments discriminate by offering culturally-biased tests in 3 subject areas only in English.
    1. Mathematic questions are English comprehension questions and are not based on numerical ability.

What YOU can DO:

List of References:

Cotton, Stephen E. (2004, Sept/Oct). Thirty Years Later: The Molly Hootch Case. Sharing Our Pathways, 9(4), 4-9
See article: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/sop/SOPv9i4.pdf

AK NEA (2004). A Natural Progression. Retrieved from Nov. 19, 2004, from AK NEA Web site: http://www.ak.nea.org/funding/historical.htm

Jesness, Jerry (2004, Sept). After the Whistle. Edweek, 16(1), 26-29
See article: http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2004/09/01/01whistle.h16.html

Edison, Michael. (2004). NCLB and the Small School. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2004, from Iditarod Education Association Web site: http://www.geocities.com/iditarod_ed_assn/nclb.htm

Department of Education (DOE, 2004) No Child Left Behind, A Toolkit for Teachers, pp. 25-26

Association of Alaska School Boards (Board, 2004). Education Dept. Issues Intent to Award Assessment Contract. Retrieved Nov. 18, 2004, from AASBB Web site: http://www.aasb.org/Enews/enews_Feb12_04.html

Data Recognition Corporation. (DRC, 2004). Home Page. Retrieved Nov. 18, 2004, from DRC Web site: http://www.datarecognitioncorp.com