(Tim Bradner/Anchorage Daily News, 18 December 2010) -- What I want from Santa this year is some good news about anything.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, the economy, Congress, a gas pipeline, our
state's long-term prospects, our education system. Please, Santa, put
some good news about something in my stocking Christmas morning. There is, however, one bit of good news, a present I already know is under the tree. This is in education, and it is the continuing accomplishments, stunning achievements, I think, of an innovative program helping rural students at the University of Alaska Anchorage. This is the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, which helps young Native Alaskans, many from small rural schools, with challenging university programs aiming them toward careers in the advanced technology and scientific professions. I write about ANSEP about once a year in this column, and each year the news gets better. The latest is that this year's group of incoming freshmen, whom ANSEP had been working with in high school, were fully prepared in math and science for their first year of university work. Zero remediation classes were needed, and some students were proficient enough in math to advance immediately to the next level. This is a significant accomplishment. To put it in perspective, consider that the university requires a large number of its freshmen, non-Native and Native alike, to take some form of remedial classes due to inadequate preparation in high school. I've never been able to get the university to tell me what percentage of freshmen they require to do catch-up work, and the fact that administrators are reluctant to talk about it tells me it's not good news. That ANSEP now brings their kids in fully ready, and from rural schools, is no small achievement.
Posted 19 December 2010; 2:29:45 PM. Permalink