Statistics for literacy among Alaska’s children are dismal. Alaska’s K-12 education system has arguably the worst student outcomes in the nation in the fundamental task of teaching children to read by the all-important age of nine.
The most recent national test results show Alaska lags dramatically behind the U.S. in fourth-grade reading–Alaska’s public schools scored 51st (dead last) in fourth-grade reading for both upper-to-middle-income and low-income students — behind every other state and the District of Columbia. In fact, Alaskan students have been ranked in the bottom ten states in fourth-grade reading scores since test results were first published in 2003.
The achievement gap between Alaskan students and the U.S. average in fourth-grade reading is significant. In 2017, upper- to middle-income Alaskan children were 12 points below the U.S. average and Alaskan low-income students were 18 points below the U.S. average.