Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

02/11/2009 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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08:03:07 AM Start
08:04:32 AM Overview(s): Department of Health and Social Services (dhss) and Mental Health Trust's "bring the Kids Home" Initiative, the Youth Recovery and Education Interface
08:59:05 AM HB109
09:11:17 AM HB69
10:06:06 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview: DHSS & Mental Health Trust's TELECONFERENCED
"Bring the Kids Home" initiative, the
youth recovery and education interface
Heard & Held
Moved Out of Committee
HB  69-EARLY CHILDHOOD ED: RATING & HOME VISITS                                                                               
9:11:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  69, "An  Act establishing  in the  Department of                                                               
Education  and Early  Development  a  voluntary parent  education                                                               
home  visiting  program  for pre-elementary  aged  children;  and                                                               
establishing a rating system for early childhood education."                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON noted that the  committee packet includes a proposed                                                               
committee substitute (CS), Version 26-LS0281\C, Mischel, 2/9/09.                                                                
9:11:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK, Alaska  State Legislature, speaking as                                                               
one  of the  joint prime  sponsors of  HB 69,  explained that  in                                                               
Version C  the term  "participating family"  was used  instead of                                                               
"participant" throughout the legislation.  On page 2, lines 15-                                                                 
20, the legislation was amended  such that educator parent visits                                                               
are optional  and allow parents  to participate in more  than one                                                               
meeting per month and deletes  references for cost considerations                                                               
for reducing  visits.  On page  4, lines 9-10, the  definition of                                                               
"family" was  added.  On page  4, lines 12-14, the  definition of                                                               
"trained  parent  educator"  was   added.    Representative  Tuck                                                               
informed the  committee that  Version C no  longer has  the pre-K                                                               
program rating  system that was  included in Section  4(a)(18) of                                                               
the  original  legislation,  and   therefore  the  title  of  the                                                               
legislation was changed such that the  language on page 1, line 3                                                               
of  HB 69  stating "and  establishing a  rating system  for early                                                             
childhood education" was deleted.                                                                                             
9:14:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON pointed out that on page 4, paragraph (18) remains.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK explained  that some  portions of  paragraph                                                               
(18) were deleted, though not all of it.                                                                                        
9:15:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER asked  if paragraph  (18) of  the original                                                               
legislation was removed  because it refers to  public and private                                                               
pre-elementary programs.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   replied  yes,  adding  his   intention  to                                                               
introduce the subject of paragraph  (18) as separate legislation.                                                               
The  desire, he  explained, with  Version C  is to  focus on  the                                                               
parents as  teachers (PAT)  program and not  develop a  system to                                                               
oversee all types of pre-K education.                                                                                           
9:15:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  moved  to  adopt  CSHB  69,  Version  26-                                                               
LS0281\C, Mischel, 2/9/09, as the  working document.  There being                                                               
no objection, Version C was before the committee.                                                                               
The committee took a brief at-ease from 9:15 a.m. to 9:17 a.m.                                                                  
9:17:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK reviewed  his involvement  in the  education                                                               
system, which ultimately led to  his seat on the Anchorage School                                                               
Board.  One  of the matters the Anchorage School  Board has tried                                                               
to  address is  in regard  to  how to  introduce pre-K  education                                                               
without it  being a large cost  to the public and  without having                                                               
to provide  more classrooms and the  associated capital expenses.                                                               
This legislation  provides, through  Department of  Education and                                                               
Early  Development  (EED),  parents with  voluntary  support  for                                                               
teaching their pre-K children in  ways to develop learning skills                                                               
for  success.   He opined  that early  education by  parents will                                                               
save Alaskans  money, develop  a strong  workforce, and  make the                                                               
neighborhoods safer.   Representative  Tuck explained that  HB 69                                                               
allows local agencies to apply  for grants administered by EED to                                                               
prepare children  under the  age of  five for  school.   The plan                                                               
includes  personalized meetings  once a  month as  well as  local                                                               
group meetings once  a month.  He pointed out  that having health                                                               
and   developmental  screenings   earlier  on   are  helpful   to                                                               
identify/forecast any developmental learning problems.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK highlighted  the short  title of  HB 69  and                                                               
emphasized   that  the   ultimate  responsibility   of  educating                                                               
children lies with the parent.   This legislation merely attempts                                                               
to provide services to the parents  in order to empower them such                                                               
that they  are better  prepared and more  effective.   The visits                                                               
aren't necessarily home  visits and thus the language  on page 2,                                                               
line 15,  reflects that the  visits can  be at a  mutually agreed                                                               
upon location.   Early education, he  opined, is one of  the best                                                               
investments that  can be  made in  the state.   In  fact, studies                                                               
show  that pre-K  education increases  school readiness,  earning                                                               
power  as  adults,  high school  graduation  rates,  and  college                                                               
enrollment.   He  then  related that  early  education saves  the                                                               
state money,  makes neighborhoods  safer, reduces  the likelihood                                                               
of later criminal  behavior, and instances of  abuse.  Therefore,                                                               
the  benefits  of  early education  are  lower  criminal  justice                                                               
system costs,  reduced welfare costs, savings  for crime victims,                                                               
and savings on  school remedial services.  In  fact, every dollar                                                               
spent  on  pre-K  education saves  the  state  approximately  $7.                                                               
Furthermore, preschool  programs for  at-risk children  save much                                                               
more than  the program  costs by reducing  future crimes.   Early                                                               
screening  for disabilities  or  developmental  delays and  their                                                               
resolution  also result  in cost  savings due  to fewer  children                                                               
being placed  in special education  or remedial classes  or being                                                               
retained in  their grade.   "Research has clearly shown  that the                                                               
early years  are critical  in a child's  development and  lay the                                                               
foundations for success in school and  in life.  So, to invest in                                                               
our  future we  need to  give parents  the education  and support                                                               
they  need   to  promote  their   young  children's   health  and                                                               
development,"  he related.    He  then noted  that  PAT has  been                                                               
utilized  in  47  communities  in  Alaska,  serving  about  3,000                                                               
children statewide.  Although  it's a private-public partnership,                                                               
the  program  is funded  mainly  through  federal grants.    This                                                               
legislation  would make  the program  available statewide  to any                                                               
child or parent interested.                                                                                                     
9:24:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK,  in  response  to  Representative  Gardner,                                                               
reiterated that about  3,000 students are served  statewide in 47                                                               
communities  through  federal  funds.   In  further  response  to                                                               
Representative  Gardner, Representative  Tuck confirmed  that the                                                               
committee   packet  should   include  a   map  specifying   which                                                               
communities utilize the program.                                                                                                
9:24:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  told the committee that  these programs have                                                               
been in the state for 14 years.                                                                                                 
9:25:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MUNOZ    inquired   as   to    the   eligibility                                                               
requirements.  She also inquired as to the details of training.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK specified that any  parent with a child under                                                               
the  age of  5  qualifies.   The specifics  of  how the  agencies                                                               
receive the  grants are  stipulated on  page 3,  lines 6-28.   To                                                               
instruct children up to age 3  requires 37 hours of training.  An                                                               
additional 15  hours of training  is required for those  who want                                                               
to  instruct  children age  3-5.    The aforementioned  hours  of                                                               
training  are for  the existing  PAT program.   This  legislation                                                               
will allow EED to determine the [training requirements].                                                                        
9:26:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON,  referring to page 2,  line 9, of Version  C, asked                                                               
how the  implementation plan  to be submitted  by a  local agency                                                               
will work in a community.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said that the  local agency could be a Native                                                               
Corporation  or  a  school  district.    The  local  agency  will                                                               
announce when and where parent  [training] meetings will be held,                                                               
the number  of children that  can be  served, who the  staff will                                                               
be, and  how they will  be trained.   The local agency  will then                                                               
enter into an  agreement with EED and after the  grants have been                                                               
awarded,  the entity  will enter  into a  collaborative agreement                                                               
with EED.   In further  response to Chair  Seaton, Representative                                                               
Tuck clarified that  the term trained parent  educators refers to                                                               
the individual  who is training  the parents.  He  then confirmed                                                               
that the  training to which  he referred earlier is  the training                                                               
for those who are training the parents.                                                                                         
9:28:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON inquired  as to  the meaning  of the  term                                                               
"indentified" on page 2, line 18.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  related his belief  that the term  should be                                                               
"identified," although  the term "indentified" didn't  come up as                                                               
a misspelled term.                                                                                                              
9:30:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  inquired  then   as  to  what  the  parent                                                               
receives during the once a month visit.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK explained that  the visits begin by educating                                                               
the parent regarding  how the brain functions and  learns as well                                                               
as the developmental stages of  children.  After the education of                                                               
the  parent, the  parent chooses  the curriculum  for his  or her                                                               
child.   He informed the  committee that studies have  shown that                                                               
children  who are  introduced to  another language  early on  are                                                               
able to grasp the language.                                                                                                     
9:31:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON related  his  understanding  that this  legislation                                                               
specifies that  any child  under 5 is  qualified for  the program                                                               
proposed in HB 69.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  replied yes,  adding  that  there are  pre-                                                               
screenings  and  the  parent   educators  can  recommend  further                                                               
developmental  tests   if  a  possible  learning   disability  is                                                               
identified.   In such a case,  No Child Left Behind  (NCLB) comes                                                               
into  play as  there is  a  requirement for  children to  receive                                                               
other services.                                                                                                                 
9:32:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER,  referring to the PAT  Alaska newsletter,                                                               
pointed out  that it seems the  data being used is  from Missouri                                                               
to relate  what the program does  in general.  She  then inquired                                                               
as to the percentage of parents who participate in the program.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK expressed the  need to review the communities                                                               
in which  PAT is being  implemented such that there  is knowledge                                                               
as to  how many  children are  between which  age groups  and the                                                               
percentage  being served.   The  aforementioned hasn't  been done                                                               
9:34:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  directed attention to  EED's indeterminate                                                               
fiscal  note that  specifies  there  is no  way  to estimate  the                                                               
number of additional children that  might be referred as a result                                                               
of  passage of  HB  69.   He  then asked  if there  is  a way  to                                                               
estimate the number of children.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK replied  no, adding  that this  program will                                                               
have  to be  a line  item in  the budget  that EED  will have  to                                                               
introduce.  The  program will serve the children it  can based on                                                               
the budget.   As reports  come in  from the agencies,  the budget                                                               
for the  next year can be  adjusted to ensure the  needs are met.                                                               
This program, he opined, really needs  seed money in order to get                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON related his  understanding that part of the                                                               
difficulty  identifying prospective  participants  is related  to                                                               
the fact that it's a voluntary program.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK replied yes.                                                                                                
9:36:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH  opined that  the  fiscal  note should  also                                                               
include  mention  of  interagency cooperation,  such  as  public-                                                               
private  partnerships and  other available  mechanisms to  reduce                                                               
the costs.                                                                                                                      
9:37:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked  if  all  of  the  existing  sites                                                               
implementing   PAT   use   the  same   definitions   or   program                                                               
specifications or have they developed their own versions.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  answered that  the sites  are all  using the                                                               
national PAT program and curriculum.                                                                                            
9:38:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER inquired  as to what the $7  in savings for                                                               
every $1 spent is based upon.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK responded  that  those  statistics are  from                                                               
Head  Start  surveys.   In  further  response  to  Representative                                                               
Keller,  Representative  Tuck  informed the  committee  that  the                                                               
legislation doesn't  include daycare.   He highlighted  that this                                                               
program  utilizes  agencies  within communities  to  provide  the                                                               
services, which  dovetails with  the philosophy  that it  takes a                                                               
community to raise a child.                                                                                                     
9:40:27 AM                                                                                                                    
JOY LYON,  Representative, Alaska  Association for  the Education                                                               
of Young  Children (AEYC), said  she would first address  why the                                                               
PAT program  would improve high  school graduation rates  and how                                                               
it  will fit  into the  state's  early education  system.   [This                                                               
program]  will  lead  to  every child  being  more  prepared  for                                                               
success in  school, which  leads to  success in  life.   Ms. Lyon                                                               
informed the  committee that  there is a  correlation between  4                                                                
grade reading scores and high  school dropout rates and that same                                                               
correlation  exists  with  the  kindergarten  readiness  program.                                                               
When a student  begins behind, they don't tend to  catch up.  She                                                               
further  informed  the committee  that  some  children arrive  at                                                               
school  with minimal  literacy experiences,  perhaps 20  hours of                                                               
reading  versus  the  average  of  600 hours  of  reading.    The                                                               
aforementioned  information   is  based  on  research   from  Dr.                                                               
Reisling (ph) and  Hart (ph).  When  the gap is so  vast, say 600                                                               
hours, it's difficult  to catch up because  the kindergarten year                                                               
alone is 600 hours of reading.   Furthermore, such a gap makes it                                                               
difficult  to  communicate  with  peers, which  leads  to  social                                                               
problems.   Moreover,  such a  gap means  that the  child doesn't                                                               
have the vocabulary  to be able to understand the  teacher or the                                                               
books  to which  she refers.   The  gap in  vocabulary is  really                                                               
significant  at age  3.    Based on  research  some children  are                                                               
hearing  10  million  words  by age  three,  whereas  others  are                                                               
hearing 40  million words by  age three.  Therefore,  by slightly                                                               
increasing the  numbers of conversations  the parents  are having                                                               
with their children and the number  of books they are reading, it                                                               
tends  to  strengthen  the  family  as  more  nurturing  time  is                                                               
occurring.   Having additional  conversations means  the children                                                               
are hearing more  than directives in their early years.   The PAT                                                               
program  is  the  gold  standard  for  curriculum  to  strengthen                                                               
families and  work on literacy and  social emotional development.                                                               
She noted that the PAT program  has been heavily evaluated and is                                                               
a really strong program.                                                                                                        
9:44:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  LYON  directed  the  committee's   attention  to  a  handout                                                               
entitled "Investing  in Alaska's  Young Children,"  dated January                                                               
2009,  which underscores  that the  PAT program  works with  many                                                               
programs,   such  as   Head  Start   and   quality  child   care.                                                               
Furthermore,  the PAT  program works  for children  whose parents                                                               
are working  and for  children whose  parents are  at home.   Ms.                                                               
Lyon then highlighted the need  to identify children with special                                                               
needs  early on,  which occur  for those  children in  childcare.                                                               
The PAT program could be one  of the referrals for those children                                                               
identified as  having special  needs.   Ms. Lyon  reiterated that                                                               
the PAT  program fits in  the various settings in  which children                                                               
are served with early care and  education.  She noted her support                                                               
[for the PAT program] as well  as the support of the Alaska Child                                                               
Care  Resource  and  Referral Network,  Best  Beginnings,  Alaska                                                               
Association  for the  Education  of Young  Children, Alaska  Head                                                               
Start  Association, Alaska  Infant Learning  Program Association,                                                               
and Alaska AEYC.                                                                                                                
9:45:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  inquired as to  which parents are  taking advantage                                                               
of  the PAT  program,  specifically are  the  parents of  at-risk                                                               
children taking advantage of the program.                                                                                       
MS. LYON  explained that the  intent is to target  those children                                                               
who are at  most risk; the PAT program can  be adapted to achieve                                                               
the aforementioned.  She noted  that the PAT program is delivered                                                               
through  Head   Start  programs  and  other   early  intervention                                                               
programs.   She suggested that  Ms. Pickle could  provide further                                                               
9:47:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  asked if  the PAT program  is the  same as                                                               
the  existing eight  programs in  the state  or is  it different.                                                               
She  questioned  whether  it  would be  better  to  provide  more                                                               
support to the  eight existing programs rather than  create a new                                                               
MS. LYON clarified that all  the programs are working together to                                                               
achieve the vision of early care  and education.  No matter where                                                               
the funds come  from, all the programs are working  together.  In                                                               
fact,  all eight  programs  are working  more  closely than  ever                                                               
9:48:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON observed that  HB 69 is placing definitions                                                               
in statute for important terms  such as "family," "local agency,"                                                               
and "trained parent educator."                                                                                                  
MS. LYON  answered that  she believes  that's correct.   [Placing                                                               
these definitions in statute]  create more consistency throughout                                                               
the state  such that the  same standards, evaluations,  and needs                                                               
assessments are used.                                                                                                           
9:50:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MELISSA PICKLE,  State Coordinator,  Alaska Parents  as Teachers,                                                               
clarified that  she is not  a state  employee as her  position is                                                               
funded  by the  Alaska  Parent Information  and Resource  Center,                                                               
which  is  funded through  a  federal  grant.   Furthermore,  the                                                               
position is located within the  Child Development Division of the                                                               
Rural Alaska Community Action Program  (RuralCAP).  She explained                                                               
that her role is to work with  all of the programs in Alaska that                                                               
utilize the PAT  model.  The PAT program is  a voluntary personal                                                               
visiting  program for  families  with  prenatal to  kindergarten-                                                               
entry age children.   The vision of the program,  as specified on                                                               
the first slide says, "All  children will learn, grow and develop                                                               
to realize their  full potential."  The  second slide illustrates                                                               
that the  PAT program is  an international program  that operates                                                               
in all 50 states as well  as China, Australia, and Great Britain.                                                               
She  characterized the  program as  a well  established and  very                                                               
culturally sensitive  and appropriate  program.  The  PAT program                                                               
has  been in  Alaska  for nearly  15 years.    Those parents  who                                                               
choose to  enroll in the  PAT program work with  certified parent                                                               
educators or family visitors who  have been trained and certified                                                               
in the PAT's Born to Learn  curriculum.  She noted that there are                                                               
two national trainers in the state who can provide the training.                                                                
9:53:58 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PICKLE,   continuing  with   slide  4,  reviewed   the  four                                                               
components  of  the  program:    personal  visits,  parent  group                                                               
meetings,  screenings,  and  resource referrals.    The  personal                                                               
visits  are  offered at  least  monthly,  although some  programs                                                               
choose to  meet more frequently.   The visits occur  wherever the                                                               
family  chooses  and the  focus  of  the  meeting is  to  support                                                               
parents, to  learn about child  development, and to  help parents                                                               
engage  in activities  that promote  the child's  learning.   The                                                               
parent  group meetings  occur at  least once  a month  to provide                                                               
parents the  opportunity to  network with  other parents  and for                                                               
children to  gain social skills through  interactions with peers.                                                               
Again, these are voluntary meetings  and thus no parent is denied                                                               
access to  these services  if the parent  doesn't want  to attend                                                               
these groups.   The  program also  offers screenings  for health,                                                               
hearing,  vision, and  developmental  delays,  which ensures  the                                                               
child's  development  is  on  track.     If  there  are  concerns                                                               
regarding  the  child's  development,   the  program  can  assist                                                               
families.   Therefore, the  PAT staff  works closely  with school                                                               
districts and infant  learning programs.  In fact,  PAT staff are                                                               
often  members  of the  individual  family  service plan  or  the                                                               
individual  education  plan  (IEP)   team  because  PAT's  parent                                                               
educators live  in the communities  in which the  families reside                                                               
and actually see  families on a regular basis,  perhaps even more                                                               
often than  an itinerate  therapist.  Ms.  Pickle then  turned to                                                               
the resource referrals,  which allows the family  to connect with                                                               
other  services, as  appropriate.   The PAT  program is  there to                                                               
help parents know what other resources are available.                                                                           
9:56:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. PICKLE directed  the committee's attention to  slide 5, which                                                               
relates the  mission of PAT  as the  following:  "To  provide the                                                               
information,  support  and  encouragement parents  need  to  help                                                               
their children  develop optimally during the  crucial early years                                                               
of life."   The aforementioned  is often heard,  particularly now                                                               
that  the most  recent brain  research specifies  that the  first                                                               
three  years  of   a  child's  life  is  critical   in  terms  of                                                               
development.    Slide  6  entitled   "Development  of  the  Human                                                               
Cerebral  Cortex" illustrates  the  importance of  the first  few                                                               
years of life.  The number  of connections formed in the cerebral                                                               
cortex during  the first  two years of  life never  occurs again.                                                               
Therefore, it's important  that the first three years  of life go                                                               
well and  [the PAT  program] can help  provide families  with the                                                               
ability to reach  their full potential.  The  next slide entitled                                                               
"Parents as Teachers Program Goals" relates the following goals:                                                                
     1. Increase parent knowledge of early childhood                                                                            
        development and improve parenting practices.                                                                            
     2. Provide early detection of developmental delays                                                                         
        and health issues.                                                                                                      
     3. Prevent child abuse and neglect.                                                                                        
     4. Increase children's school readiness and school                                                                         
MS.  PICKLE said  that the  PAT  program is  really dedicated  to                                                               
meeting the aforementioned goals and  research has shown that the                                                               
program is meeting all those goals.   She then mentioned that the                                                               
committee packet  should contain a document  entitled "Parents as                                                               
Teachers  in  Evidenced-Based   Home  Visiting  Programs,"  which                                                               
illustrates how effective the program is.                                                                                       
9:57:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. PICKLE then directed attention  to the slide entitled "Proven                                                               
Outcomes  for Parents,"  which  highlights a  few  of the  proven                                                               
results of  the PAT  program for  parents.   The reason  there is                                                               
interest in the  impact of an early childhood  program on parents                                                               
is because  parents spend more  time with their children  and are                                                               
the  first and  most influential  teacher.   The  PAT program  is                                                               
there  to support  families in  the aforementioned  role, if  the                                                               
parents choose that  support.  As the slide  relates, parents who                                                               
receive services  from PAT have  been shown to have  an increased                                                               
knowledge  of  child  development and  child  rearing  practices,                                                               
engage in  more language and  literacy promoting  activities with                                                               
their  children, increased  involvement in  children's schooling,                                                               
and  have fewer  documented  cases of  child  abuse and  neglect.                                                               
Therefore,  PAT helps  parents prepare  their children  for their                                                               
next  educational  setting,  whatever  that  may  be.    The  PAT                                                               
program,  as  related  on  slide 9,  has  positive  outcomes  for                                                               
children.    Those  children who  receive  PAT  services  exhibit                                                               
higher  levels   of  kindergarten  readiness  with   these  gains                                                               
maintained through the  3  grade and fewer  special education and                                                               
remedial education placements  in Kindergarten through 3   grade.                                                               
The  aforementioned   saves  schools   money.     Those  children                                                               
receiving PAT services  are also more likely  to display positive                                                               
social and self-help  behaviors and be four to  five months ahead                                                               
in language development  at age 3.  Ms.  Pickle characterized the                                                               
PAT program as providing children a good start in life.                                                                         
10:00:11 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. PICKLE, referring to the  slide entitled "Alaska's Children,"                                                               
informed  the  committee  that  there  are  approximately  65,000                                                               
children 0  to 5 years  of age in  Alaska.  She  further informed                                                               
the committee of the following:                                                                                                 
      Nearly half of Alaskan children entering school are                                                                       
     unprepared to read or learn;                                                                                               
      Among the highest rates of child abuse and neglect,                                                                       
      with approximately 50 percent of reports of harm are                                                                      
     for children 0 to 5 years of age;                                                                                          
     Highest high school drop out rates in the country.                                                                         
MS. PICKLE opined  that the aforementioned is  unacceptable.  The                                                               
next slide  entitled "A  Call to  Action" highlights  three major                                                               
movements in  the state that have  made recommendations regarding                                                               
young  children and  their  families.   The  Ready  to Read  Task                                                               
Force, which is now Best  Beginnings, recommended in-home support                                                               
in order to  increase the engagement of parents  in their child's                                                               
learning.   The Governor's Summit  on Early  Learning recommended                                                               
that  all  parents  have  access   to  home-based  education  and                                                               
support.    The  Alaska   Education  Plan  recommended  preschool                                                               
programs and an increase in  parent involvement.  The PAT program                                                               
can help  meet the aforementioned  recommendations for  an annual                                                               
average cost of $3,000 per  family.  Furthermore, this investment                                                               
can save many thousands of dollars in the future.                                                                               
10:01:42 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. PICKLE  noted that  the committee  packet should  include the                                                               
"Parents   as   Teachers   Alaska   2008  Fact   Sheet."      The                                                               
aforementioned   document  relates   that  31   communities,  809                                                               
families, and  963 children were  served.  These  numbers include                                                               
children  who will  enter the  public  school system  as well  as                                                               
children who  will be home  schooled.   Nearly 80 percent  of the                                                               
children served by the PAT  program in 2007-2008 were in programs                                                               
run by nonprofits.  About 19  percent of the programs were run by                                                               
school districts and  1.5 percent were run  by military programs.                                                               
Ms. Pickle  reminded the committee  that all of the  PAT programs                                                               
in Alaska are  funded through federal grants, which  come and go.                                                               
Therefore, every  year there are  PAT programs in the  state that                                                               
aren't funded.   She related  that she receives phone  calls from                                                               
other early  education programs  that want  to refer  children to                                                               
the PAT  program.   However, the  PAT program may  not be  in the                                                               
area  or there  is a  wait list.   The  PAT program  is extremely                                                               
popular and one loved by  families.  Therefore, the program needs                                                               
the legislature's  help in establishing  a stable  funding stream                                                               
to allow access services that build  a better future.  Ms. Pickle                                                               
said  that the  question isn't  whether the  state can  afford to                                                               
implement  the  PAT program  but  rather  can  it afford  not  to                                                               
implement it.                                                                                                                   
10:04:33 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON announced that HB 69  would be held over with public                                                               
testimony  open.    The  discussion  will  continue  at  Friday's                                                               
[February 13, 2009] meeting.                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
AK PAT 09 Legislature.ppt HEDC 2/11/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/13/2009 8:00:00 AM
BTKH EDUC Leg Presentation FINAL 0209.ppt HEDC 2/11/2009 8:00:00 AM
hb 109 MATERIALS.pdf HEDC 2/9/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/11/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 109
HB 69 Materials I.pdf HEDC 2/11/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/13/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 69
HB 69 Materials II.pdf HEDC 2/11/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/13/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 69
Workdraft CS HB 69.pdf HEDC 2/11/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/13/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 69