Alaska is an interesting state. It's the only state that has a wealth sharing system. Dividends from the state oil revenue are shared on an annual basis with all state residents. That's about one billion dollars a year divided among six hundred thousand residents. Alaska has been doing this for over twenty years.
Teacher certification in Alaska is based on a three tiered certification system.
The initial teaching certificate is valid for three years and is not renewable. Teachers must pass a background check, have a degree from an accredited teacher preparation program, and pass a test in reading, writing, and math by having taken any of the following standardized tests: Praxis I; CBEST; or West-B.
Tier 2 is the professional certification, good for five years. To get this certification, applicants have to have two satisfactory performance evaulations, pass a content area examination, and complete coures in Alaskan history and multicultural education.
Tier 3 is the master's certification and is good for ten years. Teachers must have two satisfactory performance evaluations and achieve national board certification.
The recruiter told me that many of rural schools are generally only accessible by air. There were no connecting roads out in the "bush." All supplies had to be flown in and most families ordered their winter supplies well in advance. Due to heavy snowfall, many communities are also linked by underground tunnels.
Rural villages tend to have small "one room school houses" of perhaps 20 children. In remote villages, students and residents will be predominantly native Americans —Yup’ik or Inupiaq Eskimo, Aleut, Athabaskan, Tlingit, Haida, or Tsimshian.
There are currently 2,368 rural teachers in Alaska. Generally one-third of them are first year teachers compared to 12% employed by urban schools. Turn-over in rural communities is high. 2/3rds of all rural teachers are replaced on an annual basis and most rural teachers are currently recruited from out of state.
One thing that Alaska is doing to help reduce rural turnover is to recruit young people from rural communities for teacher training. As you may imagine, this is a very slow process because the number of young native Alaskans who are interested in becoming teachers is limited.
The state has also implemented an orientation program at Old Minto each summer for in-coming teachers.
For more information about general working conditions in Alaska, visit:
For more information about teaching in Alaska, visit: