Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

51 rural town can provide, if that is where a student is situated. To be effective, this plan requires a state agency or university to coordinate the development and distribution of course offerings. Funding must also be made available to support high-quality courses and to train teachers to deliver course material through distance learning. Avenues for Qualified Teachers One solution for addressing the lack of qualified teachers and teacher turnover is to increase the number of homegrown teachers in the state. These are teachers who are from Alaska, specifically remote areas. Homegrown teachers are more likely to stay at their schools because they are accustomed to some of the challenges that disincentivize out-of-state teachers from staying. The first step would be to bolster the University of Alaska Anchorage’s education program. In Alaska, it is tedious for aspiring educators to take courses from multiple schools to earn their teaching certification. Having the University of Alaska Anchorage, the largest university in the state, reaccredited must be a top priority. Becoming a teacher must be made easy, but it also must sufficiently prepare people for teaching in Alaska classrooms. To increase the number of educators from Alaska, it is also important to look to nontraditional teachers. Establishing a program to identify and support local seniors, Alaska Natives, career-switchers, and others with the time to step into a teaching role should be a state strategy (Godsell, 2021). Having these nontraditional teachers could improve connections with students, if community members are encouraged to take on the roles. Community members already have experience living in the location and an understanding of the culture; what they need is ongoing support to develop and refine their teaching skills. This can be done by the state creating regional teacher support units that provide remote professional coaching on teaching practices, designed specifically for nontraditional teachers. Another strategy that should be considered is expanding the Teach For America program into Alaska. Teach For America is a national program that recruits, trains, and places people in teaching positions in highneeds schools for a two-year contract. While Teach For America does not offer a long-term solution, it may be a fix to acquire more educators in some struggling schools. The goal of Teach For America is to “address the racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps that persist in the public education system.” Teach For America offers an alternative certification program to begin teaching, alleviating some of the barriers of traditional education programs. In addition, the alternative certification offers people with nontraditional backgrounds an opening into the profession. Teach For America is funded by federal, foundation, and corporate money. Teachers are trained through a regional induction program and a summer institute internship. Some researchers have argued that this training is too limited (Edelman et al., 2018). Although the contracts with Teach For America are inadequate to create long-lasting relationships, in the short term, they might alleviate pressure on the shortage of teachers and possibly find those interested in staying long term. Alaska Native Student Education To address the demographic differences in student scores and the homegrown teacher potential, the state should consider educational independence for Alaska Native tribes. In this proposal, the tribes or tribally empowered Alaska Native organizations would “assume the responsibility and associated funding to carry out programs, functions, services, and activities that the State of Alaska would otherwise be obligated to provide” (Alaska Department of Education…, 2017, p. 17). A proposal for educational independence for Alaska Native tribes, called “tribal compacting of education,” entails the state and an Alaska Native tribal entity agreeing that tribal authority will operate and oversee K–12 schools. These schools would be called State Tribal Education Compact Schools (STECs), open to Alaska Natives as well as non-Native students. The schools would be run with a greater emphasis on tribal education models, thereby providing a culturally rich education that may be more applicable than what an outsider could provide. They would reflect “the conviction that local communities are best situated to address the educational needs of their students is foundational to Alaska’s system of education.”