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Anchorage schools: No monthly anthem, state song requirement

September 19, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage schools will not be required to play the national anthem and state song every month, a report said.

The Anchorage School Board voted 3-4 Tuesday to reject a proposed requirement for district schools to play the songs, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.

Board member Dave Donley proposed the policy, saying regularly playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Alaska’s Flag” would have built unity and instilled more patriotism in students.

Board members who voted against the measure said district policy requiring civics classes and daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is sufficient.

Students and staff who choose not to participate in the pledge “must demonstrate respect and courtesy, whether standing or seated,” according to district regulations.

There is no policy regarding the national anthem and state song, although both are woven into school curricula, officials said.

Some board members said discussion of the proposal wasted time that could have been spent on efforts to improve academics and close achievement gaps.

“It does not advance student learning, we’re not going to help kids get jobs or go to college, this is one little thing,” board member Alisha Hilde said. “The greatest opposition is the amount of time and energy we have invested, and not been focusing on children.”

The proposal was focused on students, Donley said, adding that many people “have a perception that our schools no longer teach patriotism.”

“Along with teaching all the bad things that have happened over the course of the history of the United States, we ought to emphasize some good things also, such as basic culture,” Donley said.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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