Tony Knowles on Education

2004 former Democratic Challenger for Senate (AK; previously served as Governor)

Keep alternatives to evolution out of classrooms

The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor’s race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public classrooms. Palin said, “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.”

Democrat Tony Knowles said such alternatives to evolution should be kept out of science classrooms.

In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms.

Knowles was asked Thursday if he believed in a creator and, if so, how he reconciled that with evolution. A campaign spokeswoman responded, “Tony wants to stick by what he said last night -- creationism has no place in public school classrooms as an ‘alternative’ to evolution.”

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: Anchorage Daily News follow-u Oct 27, 2006

No politics in science; no creationism in schools

Q: Should public schools teach alternatives to evolution?

KNOWLES: The answer is no. The reason why is we don’t want politics in our science. We actually want more science in our politics. We don’t want to just teach all things because it may be politically correct. We want to teach the best science there is, and there is overwhelming evidence, there’s almost incontrovertible evidence that evolution is the science that, that we know. And that’s what we should always teach, to never compromise on the principles just because it’s politically popular.

PALIN: Teach both. Don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject--creationism & evolution. It’s been a healthy foundation for me. But don’t be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: KAKM-7 with Michael Carey Oct 25, 2006

No Child Left Behind made our education dream a nightmare

Q: How should Congress and the administration address the challenges created in Alaska by the No Child Left Behind Act?

KNOWLES: The federal No Child Left Behind law turned our education dream into a nightmare. Alaska’s Quality Schools Initiative was working-raising student scores and teacher standards-until the federal government imposed its one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t fit Alaska. We need to repeal these 1,200 pages of micro-management and return education decisions to our teachers, parents and school boards.

MURKOWSKI: Alaska needs flexibility from burdensome federal regulations that do nothing to improve education and threaten local control of schools. I support the goals of NCLB, but states need room to adapt NCLB to local needs-to consider growth-based models to measure yearly progress, to appropriately include disabled students in education, and flexibility in implementing the “highly qualified” teacher provisions.

Source: AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

Fully fund No Child Left Behind

Knowles believes the No Child Left Behind law gives Washington DC too much control over Alaska’s schools - and he will fight to restore that control to the parents, teachers, and students of Alaska. Knowles will go to Washington and eliminate the 1,200 pages of micromanagement in No Child Left Behind and make sure the law is fully funded. Knowles believes that each state should submit a responsible plan for standards, assessment and accountability for all students and schools.
Source: Campaign website, TonyKnowles.com Jun 30, 2004

3 R’s of ed policy: Reform, Resources, and Responsibility

Knowles called on Congress to learn the 3 R’s of education, not the Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmatic we teach our children, but Reform, Resources, and Responsibility that is needed to bring control of Alaska’s schools back to Alaska. “Alaska’s schools are facing a crisis largely because the federal government has wrestled away control of our schools yet is failing to provide its share of support,” Knowles said.

Knowles said the federal “No Child Left Behind” law has undermined the best efforts of Alaskans to provide a quality education. The law is punitive to schools, degrading to teachers and puts undue stress on kids who are constantly preparing for standardized tests. The federal rules impose additional costs on schools already struggling with tight budgets. “These requirements and standards don’t work but end up costing Alaska school districts more than $1 million each year, money better spent educating kids instead of filling out federal paperwork,” Knowles said.

Source: Press release, “Take Back Education” Mar 3, 2004

Improve and invest in public schools.

Knowles is a member of the Democratic Governors Association:

Principles of the Democratic Governors Association:


Democratic Governors are leading the way with highly-trained teachers, strong standards and accountability, increased funding to repair and modernize public school facilities, access to technology and computers, and more discipline and safety in the classrooms. Democratic Governors believe the most important aspect to insure a child’s education is to have the best possible teachers in the classroom. They believe that we must value teachers as professionals, encourage their development to be the best teachers they can be for our children and compensate them accordingly. Democratic Governors favor greater parental choice, but oppose measures that weaken public schools diverting taxpayer dollars to private schools with no accountability for results. Democratic Governors around the country are also forming innovative public-private partnerships to create programs to provide early childhood education, nutrition and health care services to ensure that our children have the best possible start in life.

Source: DGA website, www.DemocraticGovernors.org/ 01-DGA2 on Aug 15, 2001

Other governors on Education: Tony Knowles on other issues:
AK Gubernatorial:
Sean Parnell
AK Senatorial:
Lisa Murkowski
Mark Begich

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (R)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Aug 15, 2011