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Governor Press Release Effort to Bring Budget Challenge to the Classroom

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 15-136
Contact: Katie Marquette, Press Secretary – (907) 269-7447 Aileen Cole, Deputy Press Secretary – (907) 269-7458

Governor Walker Applauds Effort to Bring Budget Challenge to the Classroom October 15, 2015

ANCHORAGE - Gov. Bill Walker is pleased to announce the availability of educational resources to bring Alaska’s fiscal challenge to the classroom. The lesson plans are targeted for middle and high school, and will be presented to 250-300 teachers at an Anchorage School District training on October 16. “I’m excited about this opportunity to engage Alaska students in real-world problems,” Governor Walker said. “The next generation is our best hope and our best inspiration for solving the challenges we face.”

Targeted to Alaska state education standards, the lesson plans center on Alaska’s Revenue and Expenditure Model developed earlier this year by the Alaska Department of Revenue. The interactive model helps users understand the state’s budget challenge and enables Alaskans to “solve” the budget gap through a wide array of choices. The lessons and related materials were developed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks eLearning team in collaboration with the Alaska Council on Economic Education, Anchorage School District, West Valley High School, and the State of Alaska. Project partners donated their time to the project, and the lessons will be available free of charge to all.

“‘Bringing the Revenue Model into the Classroom is an important step in improving economic and financial literacy education in Alaska,” said Greg Huff, Alaska Council on Economic Education program director. The Council’s mission is to advance the economic way of thinking so an informed public understands how economics shapes their lives and advocate for sound personal, local and national economic policies.

UAF Instructional Designer Owen Guthrie said: “At its core, Alaska’s budget challenge seems more about making wise decisions than about a lack of resources. We see common benefit in educating all Alaskans on the range and complexity of economic choices we face in hopes we make the best possible decisions about our collective future.” Teachers will have an opportunity to explore the materials, which can be implemented in three days or three weeks. Teachers can also pick and choose, and select from supplemental materials such as interactive quizzes and games, and online presentations and videos.

Background: Alaska’s current-year budget calls for spending of about $3 billion more than revenues – even after budget cuts of 19 percent. With oil revenues expected to remain low and savings projected to run out by 2018, Alaskans must decide what government services we value, and how to pay for them. 

The Alaska Department of Revenue developed an interactive model that enables users to see the impacts of different spending and revenue choices, and to close the gap their way.

Contacts:

Alaska Council on Economic Education: Greg Huff, (907) 317-7688907

Anchorage School District:

  • Heidi Embley (communications), (907) 742-4158 
  • Pamela Orme (social studies curriculum coordinator), 907-742-4839 

UAF eLearning: Owen Guthrie, (907) 322-3462
Governor’s Office: Rebecca Braun, (907) 465-4022

Curriculum rollout:
What: Anchorage School District social studies training
Where: Bartlett High School
When: Friday, October 16, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
 Plenary session 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. (Auditorium)
1st breakout session 10:15-11:25 a.m. (Room 216B for Bringing the Revenue Model to the Classroom)

Note: Best time for visual media opportunity is 10:15-11:25 a.m. To minimize disruption to teachers in training, please arrive early to set up in Room 216B, or contact Heidi Embley to make arrangements.

Links: Alaska’s Fiscal Future: Educational resources for solving Alaska’s fiscal challenges (note: this is not a State of Alaska sponsored website)

Sustainable Future Website: Alaska Department of Revenue’s model, instructions for its use, and a brief video overview of Alaska’s fiscal challenge

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