Gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy’s support of boarding schools for rural communities as a cost saver and educational opportunity is drawing fire from the Anchorage NAACP.
“Forced separation of children from their families is a racist policy from an era in which the territorial and federal governments were attempting to destroy Alaska Native language and culture,” said Kevin McGee, president of the Anchorage NAACP. “This proposal is repugnant and should be unambiguously retracted by Mike Dunleavy.”
As noted by veteran Fairbanks journalist and blogger Dermot Cole, Dunleavy told a Fairbanks group earlier this year that one way to save money in Alaska and improve education would be to replace small village high schools with regional boarding schools in hub communities.
When asked at a campaign event if he thought some villages will have to go to more regional high schools as costs increase for small schools, he said he felt the end result will be regional schools in Barrow, Kotzebue, Nome and Bethel.
The benefit, Dunleavy said, would be cost savings, and opportunities for high school students that they may not get in a high school with one teacher.
The NAACP said the history of boarding schools in Alaska “goes back to when white settlers and missionaries wanted to separate Native children from their families and exterminate Alaska Native languages. Tragically, boarding schools became epicenter of sexual and physical violence, planting a cancerous seed of inter-generational trauma that still plagues Alaska.”