Dunleavy plugs 'outcomes' into sentences as a substitute for thinking

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who never mentions the University of Alaska without saying that he is a graduate and his daughters are students, reminded the UA Board of Regents Tuesday that he once worked for the university.

He earned a master’s degree in education at UAF, with an emphasis on cross-cultural education and school leadership.

In 2006, he was hired by the state to be program manager for the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project, an effort to get experienced teachers working with new members of the profession. This was before he was an elected official.

“As the program manager, Mike oversaw the partnerships between the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, the University of Alaska statewide system, and participating school districts throughout the state,” the project website says.

In 2011, he was hired by UA to be director of both the Alaska Teacher Placement program and the Department of K-12 Outreach. At the time he was president of the Mat-Su school board.

Here is a video about the mentor program made more than a decade ago. Dunleavy talks about how the program is doing well and students are doing well and everyone is happy with the rate of progress.

The tone of these remarks is in sharp contrast to almost everything he has said as governor about public education—which is that the system overall is a failure and the only solution is to reduce the number of teachers, administrators and support staff, and cut $330 million from schools.

He has said that after the cuts the state would “work with school districts to rethink existing processes in an effort to achieve better outcomes.”

He loves “outcomes,” one of his go-to words, which he plugs into sentences as a substitute for actual thought.

Predictably, Dunleavy told the regents that he wants better outcomes, which he claims can be achieved by reducing spending on faculty members, administrators and staff. But he didn’t put it that way.

He says that spending on “overhead” is all that he wants to cut. That’s almost as good as cutting waste, fraud and abuse. We haven’t heard from Dunleavy about what academic programs he wants to eliminate to make them better, just more babbling about outcomes.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any disagreement that some of our outcomes could be a lot better,” he said Tuesday of the university.

I’d like to see better outcomes from the governor’s office, which would start with a confession that anyone who says we can improve education in Alaska by cutting $330 million from K-12 and $130 million from the university is lying.

The temporary budget director is also in need of an outcome adjustment. According to Donna Arduin’s view of Alaska education, “continuing to pour money into it is not the solution, but cutting the budget is a solution that we need to have in order to bring stability to school districts,” which is complete nonsense.

In this video from one of his previous jobs, pay attention to the way that Dunleavy defended his little slice of the education system. His comments are at the 11:47 mark on the video.

“Our data, our research, all of our resources, once again in alignment indicate that in fact we are getting the results that the Legislature wanted, that the Department of Education wanted, that the University of Alaska wanted. And so we are making progress, we are impacting teacher practice. We are helping teachers stay within the profession and we are helping students achieve better. So the bottom line is, it works.”

Dermot Cole6 Comments