This year's performance review of DEED comes out of a 2013 bill that says that every state department and agency must be audited every ten years.
Auditors hired by the state will visit Dillingham City School District this week to ask local teachers and administrators how the Alaska Department of Education is doing.
Ross Alexander is the performance review manager for the Alaska Division of Legislative Audit (DLA). He says the audit team is looking to have open-ended conversations about how state policies affect education at the local level.
"What things can the Department do to provide better outcomes for students? What policies and regulations are burdensome? [We want to] just get a general picture of education in that environment so our review team has a good perspective as they put together their report," said Alexander.
The performance review, which is being carried out by a firm called Public Works, comes out of a 2013 bill that says that each state department must be audited every ten years.
Last year, the DLA looked at the Department of Health and Human Services. The year prior, a review of the Department of Corrections identified systemic problems impacting the quality of inmate health care.
Alexander says this year’s review of the Department of Education will draw from school districts throughout the state, starting this week with Anchorage, Mat-Su, Dillingham, Sitka, and Mt. Edgcumbe:
"And then there will be an additional trip in February, we believe, where they will visit a number of other rural school districts in all different parts of the state," says Alexander. "We’re trying to get a broad perspective – different regions, different school district sizes - so it’s an evenly balanced report."
The audit also sent out surveys to every superintendent in the state.
Over the next couple months, the DLA will schedule public hearings on the Department of Education and Early Development audit in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.
Next year's performance review will cover three different agencies: the Legislative Branch, the Alaska Court System, and the Office of the Governor.