Governor Walker applauds effort to bring budget challenge to the classroom


October 15, 2015


The following news release is shared on behalf of Governor Walker’s office. The revenue model will be shared with social studies teachers during Friday’s in-service.


Contact: Katie Marquette, Press Secretary (907) 269-7447
Aileen Cole, Deputy Press Secretary (907) 269-7458


UPDATE 10/23/15

A goal of the recent staff training day was to provide Economics and Alaska Studies teachers the opportunity to learn more about a topic that is real world, relevant, and important to all Alaskans. At this training there were 12 diverse curriculum-focused training choices provided for teachers in three breakout sessions throughout the day. 


In preparation for the training day, ASD’s social studies curriculum coordinator worked with  the Alaska Council of Economic Education provide a learning opportunity for the teachers. Together, we invited various groups to share information regarding the state’s fiscal situation. ISER was invited to attend and share its model but declined due to lack of availability. The Alaska Department of Revenue and UAF’s eLearning Department was available to share its model. The Revenue and Expenditure Model presentation was one of more than 30 breakout sessions available to teachers. Approximately 33 teachers chose to attend the breakout session focused on this model. In the session, teachers were also provided support materials, such as sample lesson plans, created by Joy Kennedy-Grubis and Tom Kennedy, Economics and Alaska Studies teachers, from West Valley High School.


ASD set no expectations and has no intention of adopting the model lesson plan provided. In ASD, Social Studies teachers have robust academic plans that guide their instruction and enjoy looking at various external lesson plans to decide what information, if any, they can glean from the suggestions therein. During the recent training day, teachers were reminded as to the inherent weaknesses in all revenue models such as these and the importance of providing a balanced approach when teaching political issues in the classroom. 


In order to make sure all teachers who attended understand the complexities of this issue, they will be invited to attend a special training focused on the Alaska Department of Revenue model versus the ISER model should they chose to have this conversation with their students. 




October 15, 2015 ANCHORAGE - Gov. Bill Walker is pleased to announce the availability of educational resources to bring Alaska’s fiscal challenge to the classroom. The lesson plans are targeted for middle and high school, and will be presented to 250-300 teachers at an Anchorage School District training on October 16.


“I’m excited about this opportunity to engage Alaska students in real-world problems,” Governor Walker said. “The next generation is our best hope and our best inspiration for solving the challenges we face.”


Targeted to Alaska state education standards, the lesson plans center on Alaska’s Revenue and Expenditure Model developed earlier this year by the Alaska Department of Revenue. The interactive model helps users understand the state’s budget challenge and enables Alaskans to “solve” the budget gap through a wide array of choices.


The lessons and related materials were developed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks eLearning team in collaboration with the Alaska Council on Economic Education, Anchorage School District, West Valley High School, and the State of Alaska. Project partners donated their time to the project, and the lessons will be available free of charge to all.


“‘Bringing the Revenue Model into the Classroom is an important step in improving economic and financial literacy education in Alaska,” said Greg Huff, Alaska Council on Economic Education program director. The Council’s mission is to advance the economic way of thinking so an informed public understands how economics shapes their lives and advocate for sound personal, local and national economic policies. 


UAF Instructional Designer Owen Guthrie said: “At its core, Alaska’s budget challenge seems more about making wise decisions than about a lack of resources. We see common benefit in educating all Alaskans on the range and complexity of economic choices we face in hopes we make the best possible decisions about our collective future.” 


Teachers will have an opportunity to explore the materials, which can be implemented in three days or three weeks. Teachers can also pick and choose, and select from supplemental materials such as interactive quizzes and games, and online presentations and videos.


Background: Alaska’s current-year budget calls for spending of about $3 billion more than revenues – even after budget cuts of 19 percent. With oil revenues expected to remain low and savings projected to run out by 2018, Alaskans must decide what government services we value, and how to pay for them. The Alaska Department of Revenue developed an interactive model that enables users to see the impacts of different spending and revenue choices, and to close the gap their way. 



  • Alaska Council on Economic Education: Greg Huff, (907) 317-7688907
  • Anchorage School District:
    • Heidi Embley (communications), (907) 742-4158
    • Pamela Orme (social studies curriculum coordinator), 907-742-4839
    • UAF eLearning: Owen Guthrie, (907) 322-3462
    • Governor’s Office: Rebecca Braun, (907) 465-4022


Curriculum rollout:

What:          Anchorage School District social studies training

Where:       Bartlett High School

When:         Friday, October 16, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

                     Plenary session 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. (Auditorium)

1st breakout session 10:15-11:25 a.m. (Room 216B for Bringing the Revenue Model to the Classroom)

Note:          Best time for visual media opportunity is 10:15-11:25 a.m. To minimize disruption to teachers in training, please arrive early to set up in Room 216B, or contact Heidi Embley to make arrangements.



Alaska’s Fiscal Future: Educational resources for solving Alaska’s fiscal challenges (note: this is not a State of Alaska sponsored website)


Sustainable Future Website: Alaska Department of Revenue’s model, instructions for its use, and a brief video overview of Alaska’s fiscal challenge



Anchorage School District website accessibility and nondiscrimination notice. The Anchorage School District is an equal opportunity provider.