By Jasmine Estes
States face barriers of different magnitudes when it comes to providing an equitable education and closing achievement gaps. Alaska, the largest state in our country, is geographically different from other states and must approach equity in a different way. CCSSO Executive Director, Chris Minnich, took a trip to Alaska and witnessed how their chief, Education Commissioner Michael Johnson, is working to address the challenges that would hinder students from achieving a high-quality education.
Issues such as distance between schools and how students and teachers access these schools is a top priority that must be addressed. To do this, Johnson and his team must continuously leverage technology and personalized learning methods to meet the needs of all kids and ensure the students in more remote or isolated communities, do not lack access to the same opportunities as kids in larger cities, such as Anchorage or Juneau. One way the state is taking this on is through distance learning, and mostly video-teleconferencing. This allows schools to offer high-quality teaching in parts of the state where you may not get those teachers to live full time and be physically present in a classroom. Strategies will look different from state to state, but the ultimate goal is to provide equal opportunities for each student. Take a look at Alaska's approach.
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