Phase #1: Education Summit

November 15-16, 2011

Over 100 selected civic and community leaders, drawn from education, policy makers, business, labor, neighborhoods, service organizations, faith-based communities, and others, explored significant innovations, challenging ideas, and reforms from other jurisdictions. Participants identified challenges facing Anchorage schools and a range of approaches for improving outcomes that were then tested with the public during the second phase of community discussions. 

Education reform experts from across the country gave the following presentations:

Panel #1: Creating a World Class Educational System

This panel discussed what it means to be a world-class educational system. The panel considered how Anchorage compares to other parts of the US and internationally, including special attention to the Finnish system and what is behind their consistently excellent outcomes.


  • Kati Haycock: Raising Achievment and Closing Gaps Between Groups (PowerPoint)
  • Samuel Abrams: The Finnish Difference (PowerPoint)

View Panel #1’s presentation and discussion.

Panel #2: Ensuring All Children Learn to the Best of their Ability

This panel discussed elements that are essential to encourage the best outcomes for every child, including:

  • Curriculum and what should be taught;
  • Technology as a tool for individualized learning; and
  • Assessment of both teachers and students


  • Joe Willhoft: Ensuring All Children Learn to the Best of their Ability (PowerPoint)
  • Dr. Peter Gorman: Mayor's Education Summit (PowerPoint)

View Panel #2’s presentation and discussion.

Panel #3: Alternatives to Traditional Education

This panel explored charter schools, school choice, and other alternatives to traditional education in the United States, including alternative testing and teacher preparation methods. It also reviewed data on the success of charter and alternative schools and the implications of that data.

  • Dr. Mike Feinberg: On Beyond Zebra (PowerPoint)
  • Dr. Stuart Butler, Brookings Insitutue
  • Dr. Patrick Wolf: The Research Facts About Charter Schools and Vouchers (PowerPoint)

View Panel #3’s presentation and discussion.