Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

02/03/2010 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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08:05:26 AM Start
08:06:29 AM HB297|| SB224
09:57:30 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Location Change --
Joint with Senate EDC
+ Overview: Governor's Performance TELECONFERENCED
Scholarship
*+ HB 297 POSTSECONDARY SCHOLARSHIPS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
               HB 297-POSTSECONDARY SCHOLARSHIPS                                                                            
               SB 224-POSTSECONDARY SCHOLARSHIPS                                                                            
8:06:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR THOMAS announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 297/SENATE BILL NO. 224,  "An Act establishing                                                               
the governor's  performance scholarship  program and  relating to                                                               
the program; establishing  the governor's performance scholarship                                                               
fund  and relating  to  the fund;  relating  to student  records;                                                               
making  conforming amendments;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR THOMAS reminded  the members that since this  is a joint                                                               
meeting,  the  committees are  not  planning  any action  on  the                                                               
legislation, but are hearing testimony only.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:07:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY  LEDOUX, Commissioner,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development (EED),  provided an  outline for HB  297 and  SB 224.                                                               
Commissioner LeDoux  opined the path  to an increase in  the high                                                               
school   graduation  rate   is   to  raise   the  standards   and                                                               
expectations  for  high  school  students.    He  introduced  the                                                               
handout   for  the   Governor's  Performance   Scholarship  (GPS)                                                               
program, titled  "An Invite to  Excellence and Rigor,"  and noted                                                               
that the  program is an  invite and  contract for kids  to excel,                                                               
and a challenge to communities  to demand more of their students.                                                               
The  goals  of   the  program  are:  increase   the  high  school                                                               
graduation  rate;  more  high  school  students  taking  rigorous                                                               
curriculum;  more  course offerings  in  high  school; more  high                                                               
school  students  prepared   for  postsecondary;  more-affordable                                                               
postsecondary; more use of  in-state postsecondary; contribute to                                                               
a   college-going  culture;   increase  the   rigor  of   courses                                                               
statewide.   Commissioner LeDoux stressed that  information about                                                               
college  scholarships must  be readily  available to  parents and                                                               
students;  in fact,  the GPS  program calls  for a  six-year plan                                                               
during which  each child and  his/her parents meet with  a school                                                               
official,   beginning  in   seventh   grade,  to   look  at   the                                                               
possibilities for  college.   Basically, the  scholarship program                                                               
is open to  Alaska high school graduates of  home schools, public                                                               
schools,  and   private  schools.    Three   levels  of  academic                                                               
scholarships and one  level of career and  technical studies will                                                               
be  funded.   The  technical  schools will  be  certified by  the                                                               
Department  of  Labor  & Workforce  Development  (DLWD)  and  the                                                               
college programs will be reviewed  by the Postsecondary Education                                                               
Commission.    He  anticipated   that  this  will  encourage  the                                                               
creation of  educational institutions in the  state, particularly                                                               
in career technology.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISIONER  LEDOUX  noted  that  the  scholarships  offer  eight                                                               
semesters of eligibility  for college and two years  for a career                                                               
technical school.   Qualified  students can  leave the  state for                                                               
part of  their education and  then return to use  the scholarship                                                               
for graduate school, and the  eligibility continues for six years                                                               
after high school  graduation.  A certain grade  point average is                                                               
required  to  maintain eligibility,  and  if  enacted, the  first                                                               
class to benefit will be  students graduating from high school in                                                               
2011.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:18:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX continued  to explain  that the  legislation                                                               
requires the  department to report  the intent of the  program to                                                               
the  legislature, and  to allow  for  changes to  the program  if                                                               
warranted.    He spoke  of  the  recognition  that would  be  due                                                               
students who  have earned eligibility  at graduation, and  of the                                                               
motivation   that  honors   programs  provide.     The   criteria                                                               
established  for  receiving  a  scholarship are  high;  in  fact,                                                               
"young people will meet any standard  we set for them, as high as                                                               
it is  or low, ...  you need  high standards, and  these criteria                                                               
are high."   The  GPS is a  cooperative program  between agencies                                                               
and he  explained the  various roles:  high schools  will certify                                                               
the  students have  met the  criteria;  EED will  be the  primary                                                               
regulatory body; DLWD will certify  career and technical schools;                                                               
the  Alaska Postsecondary  Education Commission  will act  as the                                                               
fiscal agent to ensure adherence to policies.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:20:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX referred  to the  three criteria,  the first                                                               
being  the   applicant  has  to  meet   the  rigorous  curriculum                                                               
required.    Second,  achievement  tests  and  grade  points  are                                                               
critical, followed by assessments.   The assessment to be used is                                                               
American College Testing (ACT).  He  cited that there is a direct                                                               
correlation  to a  student's ability  to perform  in college  and                                                               
his/her ACT  score.  It is  expected that the required  ACT score                                                               
will ensure  that the student  will not  have a need  for college                                                               
remediation  classes.    Additionally, the  ACT  assessment  will                                                               
support applications  from home school, correspondence,  or other                                                               
alternative school  graduates.   For the  vocational scholarship,                                                               
the WorkKeys assessment  will be used to  measure the applicant's                                                               
ability to engage in reading and math.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:23:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  said  the final  criterion  is  curriculum.                                                               
Students  will be  expected to  complete four  years of  English,                                                               
math,  and  science, and  three  years  of social  studies,  with                                                               
options for  rural students such as  distance education, learning                                                               
centers,  and E-learning  opportunities.   This  goes beyond  the                                                               
core  requirements, but  statistics  indicate  that students  who                                                               
apply  themselves  to  this  level  of  study  will  not  require                                                               
remediation classes  in college.   The requirements are  the same                                                               
for  career  scholarships  and   academic  awards.    He  offered                                                               
examples of classes that may  vary depending on a student's goal,                                                               
but  stressed  that  every  class  will be  taught  to  the  same                                                               
standard of rigor.   Within the legislation, an  option exists to                                                               
assist certain  students who may require  an alternative pathway.                                                               
The commissioner's office can provide  waivers to applicants who,                                                               
for reasons beyond their control,  would otherwise not be able to                                                               
participate.  The  waiver does not relieve them  of the standards                                                               
to be  met, but  provides an alternative  pathway to  achieve the                                                               
same goals.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:27:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX reviewed  the  values  of the  scholarships:                                                               
Platinum  academic is  equal to  100  percent of  tuition at  the                                                               
University of Alaska (UA) per year;  Gold academic is equal to 75                                                               
percent of  UA tuition per year;  Silver academic is equal  to 50                                                               
percent of  UA tuition  per year.   Additionally, the  Career and                                                               
Technical awards are actual tuition, up  to $3,000 a year for two                                                               
years.   In  order  to  fund the  legislation,  the bill  directs                                                               
establishment  of  the  governor's performance  scholarship  fund                                                               
consisting of  donations, appropriations, and income  earned from                                                               
the   investment  of   fund  assets.     The   legislature  would                                                               
appropriate  funds  on  an annual  basis.    Commissioner  LeDoux                                                               
opined the legislation is a "great  start" for a program that was                                                               
under discussion for  several months, and concluded  that the GPS                                                               
program will benefit  not only those students who  are already on                                                               
their way to  college, but also those who believe  college is not                                                               
attainable.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:30:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS  confirmed that  students  will  be required  to                                                               
apply for any and all scholarships.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:30:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  explained  that the  Free  Application  for                                                               
Federal  Student  Aid   (FAFSA)  form  will  serve   as  the  GPS                                                               
application.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:30:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  agreed that the  discussion of  higher education                                                               
needs to begin  earlier in school, in order to  give students the                                                               
opportunity  to understand  how education  "can get  [them] to  a                                                               
variety  of occupations,  not necessarily  just  college, but  in                                                               
this case vocational as well."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:31:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX, in  response to  Senator Meyer,  said FAFSA                                                               
establishes how much a student  qualifies for in a federal grant,                                                               
work-study, a subsidized loan, or a Pell Grant.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX,  in  further  response  to  Senator  Meyer,                                                               
confirmed that a GPS is based on merit.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:32:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MEYER  questioned the use  of FAFSA for  the application                                                               
form if income is not a issue.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX explained  the FAFSA  application is  filled                                                               
out by all students, thus is a "good way for students to apply."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:32:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MEYER expressed  his support  for the  program provided                                                               
there is "equal access for all kids throughout the state."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:33:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  acknowledged  that  access  to  a  rigorous                                                               
curriculum   can  be   more  difficult   through  correspondence;                                                               
however, part  of the catalyst of  the program may be  to inspire                                                               
communities to expand offerings at all schools.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:34:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MEYER  pointed  out  several  questions  regarding  the                                                               
curriculum requirements,  such as whether  four years of  math is                                                               
necessary  for an  English major,  and  the lack  of courses  for                                                               
foreign languages and the arts.   He asked whether the department                                                               
would consider adjustments to the curriculum.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:35:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  observed that any legislation  will have the                                                               
mark of  the legislature on it,  and "flexibility is all  part of                                                               
the process."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:36:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON read  a letter  from a  highly regarded                                                               
social studies teacher who  questioned the curriculum requirement                                                               
of only three years of social studies.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  disagreed that four years  of social studies                                                               
is necessary.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:37:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER  pointed   out  that   establishing  the                                                               
scholarship  as   a  percentage   of  tuition  may   encourage  a                                                               
university to  raise tuition rates.   She suggested  changing the                                                               
structure to provide a set dollar amount instead.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX advised  that  the law  stipulates that  the                                                               
scholarship will be based on  UA tuition for the 2010/2011 school                                                               
year, and  this amount will  not change unless authorized  by the                                                               
legislature in reaction to the annual report.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:39:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER then asked  whether a student can complete                                                               
the requirements during a fifth year of high school.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   LEDOUX  clarified   that   the  qualification   is                                                               
graduation from high  school, thus additional time  should not be                                                               
an issue.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:40:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  recalled that the High  School Graduation                                                               
Qualifying Exam (HSGQE)  was "watered down to the  extent that it                                                               
no  longer reflects  what we  expect students  to know  when they                                                               
graduate from high  school."  Because there is  not an indication                                                               
of  the minimum  national score  in the  assessment, which  would                                                               
guard  against   "grade  inflation"  in  Alaska's   schools,  she                                                               
suggested that minimum scores should be set in statute.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX advised that minimum  scores should not be in                                                               
legislation   because  the   benchmarks  and   rubrics  for   the                                                               
assessments change  over time, and  he expressed his  belief that                                                               
EED will "carefully set that  standard, given the requirements of                                                               
this program  to be rigorous."   Thus, if  there was a  change in                                                               
the  assessment, the  department  could respond  in a  regulatory                                                               
fashion.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:42:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  agreed with  Senator Meyer about  the use                                                               
of  the FAFSA  application because  parents may  be unwilling  to                                                               
provide  the required  information.   She asked  whether students                                                               
have any recourse.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX observed  there is no requirement  to use the                                                               
FAFSA, and another application process could be considered.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  commented  that although  part  of  this                                                               
effort is  to engage parents,  ultimately, the GPS is  a contract                                                               
with  a student  and  the  process should  allow  the student  to                                                               
proceed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX agreed.  However,  if a student is to qualify                                                               
for  federal aid,  they  will need  to fill  out  the FAFSA,  and                                                               
schools should provide assistance to parents and students.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:44:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES   CAILLIER,   Executive   Director,   Patrick   F.   Taylor                                                               
Foundation, informed  the committees  neither he, nor  the Taylor                                                               
Foundation, represents New Orleans or  Louisiana.  He noted he is                                                               
a former  college president and  assistant president  of multiple                                                               
universities  and  colleges.     Representatives  of  the  Taylor                                                               
Foundation  have  come  to  testify   at  their  own  expense-the                                                               
foundation is  funded by  Taylor [Energy]-  because they  want to                                                               
improve the educational opportunities of  young people.  The best                                                               
way  to   accomplish  this  is  to   challenge  students  through                                                               
educational  reform  at the  high  school  level.   Mr.  Caillier                                                               
opined that  current high school  courses may not be  designed in                                                               
high school  students' best  interests.   Beginning in  1988, the                                                               
Taylor Foundation  has seen the  need to redesign  America's high                                                               
school  curriculum  to  challenge  students,  not  by  additional                                                               
programs  that are  run by  administrators, but  to meet  certain                                                               
standards  and to  give them  an opportunity  to earn  college or                                                               
postsecondary  tuition in  high school.   This  reform can  bring                                                               
about change,  better prepare  kids for  college, and  reduce the                                                               
need  for college  remediation  classes.   He  stressed that  the                                                               
Taylor  Foundation  supports reform,  not  just  giving money  to                                                               
students,  and noted  that  every state  that  has initiated  the                                                               
Taylor  program has  seen significant  improvement in  assessment                                                               
scores,  grade  averages,   students'  preparation  for  college,                                                               
higher  graduation  rates  from  universities,  and  in  parental                                                               
involvement.   Furthermore, the Taylor program  has also improved                                                               
high school redesign and students'  attitudes toward school.  Mr.                                                               
Caillier  provided an  example of  the improvements  at Louisiana                                                               
State University (LSU), where the  graduation rate has risen from                                                               
39 percent in  1988, to 65 percent today.   In fact, the National                                                               
Collegiate  Athletic   Association  (NCAA)  based   its  academic                                                               
standards on  the Taylor program  and statistics have  shown that                                                               
"kids will meet the bar if you set  the bar ... they want to play                                                               
sports."   He outlined the  target students and opined  that many                                                               
middle income  families cannot afford  college even  though their                                                               
kids  may not  qualify  for  Pell Grants  or  scholarships.   Mr.                                                               
Caillier  indicated  that  the   GPS  requires  similar  academic                                                               
requirements as the  Taylor program model, except  for the Social                                                               
Studies and Foreign  Language units.  However,  the basic program                                                               
can be  established this year  and then modified as  indicated by                                                               
the annual report  to the legislature, because  the ultimate goal                                                               
is reform.   With the  passage of this legislation,  he predicted                                                               
that  fewer  students  will  require   remedial  courses  at  the                                                               
University  of Alaska  (UA), the  graduation rate  will increase,                                                               
and more students will stay in  the state for college in order to                                                               
use  the  scholarships.    He  pointed  out  that  "brain  drain"                                                               
statistics indicate that  80 percent of students  who leave their                                                               
home  state  to  complete  their education  do  not  return.  Mr.                                                               
Caillier  concluded that  the  foundation  endorses the  proposed                                                               
legislation  and  assured  the  committees that  the  state  will                                                               
realize results in four or five years.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:58:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR THOMAS passed the gavel over to Chair Seaton.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:58:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL  SCHILLING,  President,  Wyoming  Business  Alliance/Wyoming                                                               
Heritage Foundation,  noted several similarities  between Wyoming                                                               
and Alaska, including a trust  fund supported by minerals income.                                                               
Mr. Schilling  compared the  importance of  the Hathaway  Plan in                                                               
Wyoming to  the creation of  the trust  fund because it  was also                                                               
one of  the "great  opportunities of  legislation, like  this one                                                               
presented by  the commissioner to  you ... [and]  represents that                                                               
opportunity to  do something that  has a lasting benefit  for the                                                               
great  people  of  this  state."   He  called  attention  to  the                                                               
committee packet  and read  the goals and  outcomes set  forth in                                                               
the Wyoming Hathaway Plan [original punctuation provided]:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Goals                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
       *Permanent Funding                                                                                                       
       *Opportunity for All Students                                                                                            
       *Merit Based/Core Curriculum                                                                                             
       *Income Blind; Needs Based Component                                                                                     
       *Consensus/Stakeholder Views                                                                                             
       *Increase K-12 - Graduation Rates                                                                                        
       *Better College/Tech Preparation                                                                                         
       *Brain Power Exodus                                                                                                      
       *Application Process                                                                                                     
       *Legislative Reporting                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Outcomes                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
       *Proud Citizenry/Student Appreciation                                                                                    
       *Universal Support/Momentum Gain                                                                                         
       *$400 million endowment                                                                                                  
       *Legislative Will/On-going Resolve                                                                                       
       *Increased [Enrollments]/Remedial Decreasing                                                                             
       *University of Wyoming/Community College                                                                                 
           Commitment - Mood Change                                                                                             
       *Easy Application Process                                                                                                
       *Coordinated Rule Making                                                                                                 
       *Solid Reporting Data                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:03:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHILLING referred to the  handout titled:  "The Taylor Plan:                                                               
An  American  Success  Story," and  the  comments  from  students                                                               
regarding the Taylor  Plan (TOPS) program in Louisiana.   He also                                                               
shared his  personal observations from talking  with residents of                                                               
New Orleans about  the impact of the TOPS plan,  and advised that                                                               
"when a marker of extraordinary  positive occurrence takes place,                                                               
they rally  behind that,  and that's what  we've seen  in Wyoming                                                               
and ... in  New Orleans."  He further explained  that Wyoming put                                                               
the  Hathaway  Plan  endowment into  a  constitutional  amendment                                                               
three  years  after  the  program was  created.    Mr.  Schilling                                                               
stressed the increased participation in  the program; in fact, 40                                                               
percent of  Wyoming high school  graduates are  becoming Hathaway                                                               
Plan participants and enrollment at  the University of Wyoming is                                                               
increasing.   Furthermore,  the  need for  remedial education  is                                                               
down.      At   the   introduction  of   the   program,   Wyoming                                                               
administrators were  reluctant to understand how  a program could                                                               
be  merit-based,  but  also facilitate  students  with  financial                                                               
needs.  He  provided reporting data from the  Wyoming program and                                                               
concluded   that   "the   results  have   been   absolutely   ...                                                               
extraordinary ... it's the kids  that are moving the bar upward."                                                               
Lastly, he provided contact numbers to the committees.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:11:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CAILLIER advised,  "If you  took  the $20  million that  you                                                               
generate annually to support the  scholarship program, and if you                                                               
gave it  to education-a combination of  secondary, postsecondary-                                                               
you would  see no significant  differences.   But you give  it to                                                               
the   kids   [and]  you   will   see   some  major,   significant                                                               
differences."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:12:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON noted  the relevance of the  information provided by                                                               
the  Taylor Foundation,  especially regarding  the criteria  used                                                               
for educational reform and restructuring.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:13:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH asked how the program is "income-blind."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHILLING responded that the  program is income-blind in that                                                               
all  students   are  treated  alike,   and  the  granting   of  a                                                               
scholarship  has  nothing to  do  with  their parents'  earnings.                                                               
Also,  after  graduation,  the  amount of  money  granted  has  a                                                               
confidential component based upon the unmet need of the student.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAILLIER emphasized  that the unmet need  component should be                                                               
for   scholarship-eligible   students    only;   otherwise,   the                                                               
scholarship will have  no meaning.  In fact, any  federal aid due                                                               
students because of income should be applied first.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHILLING  added that  the program  treats every  student the                                                               
same,  allowing all  students  to  become part  of  a peer  group                                                               
motivating each other.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:19:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON questioned the different  names used to                                                               
identify the programs.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAILLIER offered that states have a choice.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHILLING  provided  the  history behind  the  name  of  the                                                               
Hathaway Plan in Wyoming.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  concluded  the name  will  not make  a                                                               
difference.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHILLING advised the name should be short.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:22:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked whether  there have been cases where                                                               
students  have  achieved the  course  requirements,  but not  the                                                               
necessary score on the nationally standardized test.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAILLIER acknowledged that does happen.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  further  asked  how  that  situation  is                                                               
addressed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAILLIER recommended  that there should be a  review board to                                                               
consider  extenuating  circumstances.   In  further  response  to                                                               
Representative Gardner, he explained  that a slightly lower score                                                               
on the  American College Testing  (ACT) assessment may  be offset                                                               
by  a   high  grade  point   average  and   course  requirements.                                                               
Furthermore, minority students tend to  score 2-3 points lower on                                                               
the ACT.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:25:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHILLING  observed that the  argument that some  students do                                                               
not  test  well is  true.    But  another disadvantage  to  rural                                                               
students is the  unavailability of ACT review  sites and practice                                                               
testing, except on the Internet.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:27:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DAVIS  advised  that  the  students  can  be  helped  in                                                               
attaining  ACT  or  Scholastic Aptitude  Test  (SAT)  preparation                                                               
work, once  the assessment  for eligibility  is determined.   She                                                               
expressed  her  support for  the  governor's  plan, although  she                                                               
noted she has  many questions for EED about how  some of Alaska's                                                               
districts will offer all of the courses required.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:30:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON agreed the committees  have many questions regarding                                                               
how programs from other states  relate to Alaska; for example, UA                                                               
has open  enrollment, there is  no community college  system, and                                                               
there is a  single system with one tuition rate.   He pointed out                                                               
other differences in assessments and admittance requirements.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:33:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX opined  the research  from within  the state                                                               
indicates that the  GPS proposal will be an  outstanding asset to                                                               
students in Alaska.   The EED budget includes  requests for three                                                               
specialists,  one each  for the  subjects of  math, science,  and                                                               
language arts, to assist in  developing courses for small schools                                                               
and  districts.    Many  distance   and  E-learning  courses  are                                                               
utilized by rural and urban  students, and access will improve as                                                               
communities  work  to  restructure  education.   He  agreed  with                                                               
Senator  Davis   that  setting  aside  $400   million,  available                                                               
throughout the  future, will have  a direct affect on  the dreams                                                               
and goals of children.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:36:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON agreed that there  are many details to be addressed,                                                               
especially regarding funding for a  student's unmet need in order                                                               
to  avoid  eliminating  him/her  from the  program.    He  opined                                                               
committee members desire to have  a needs-based component, not as                                                               
a replacement for merit-based, but as an addition.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:39:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked for  the  average  length of  time                                                               
necessary for vocational students to obtain certifications.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX responded  that  most  career and  technical                                                               
education programs are one to two years in length.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:40:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MEYER  asked for an  estimate on how many  students will                                                               
choose  to go  outside  to college  even if  they  quality for  a                                                               
scholarship.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  said he  was unsure.   He  acknowledged many                                                               
parents support  their child's attendance  at an  outside school.                                                               
Eligibility for a  GPS award will be retained for  six years, and                                                               
the  eligibility for  military members  can be  extended further.                                                               
Therefore,  students can  return at  any time  to continue  their                                                               
education in Alaska.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:42:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MEYER   reminded  the   committee  there   are  courses                                                               
unavailable at UA.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:42:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH  encouraged  the   public  to  realize  this                                                               
program  is  a beginning  of  the  evolution of  the  educational                                                               
system in Alaska.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:43:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER recalled there  are rural schools in Alaska                                                               
with attendance rates as low as  67 percent.  He opined that this                                                               
program  should provide  a financial  incentive  for students  to                                                               
attend school.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:45:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON expressed  his support of the GPS in  that it is not                                                               
a payment for  grades, but provides for access  to an educational                                                               
opportunity.   He then  asked whether  ACT scores  will determine                                                               
the scholarship  level, or  if the amount  of the  scholarship is                                                               
based on a student's grade point average.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX explained  that  each  level of  scholarship                                                               
will have  its own ACT  "cut score"  assigned by EED  through the                                                               
state board of education.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:48:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON underscored  the need to consider  the research that                                                               
indicates that curriculum and class  ranking are the factors most                                                               
highly correlated with college success,  and that test scores are                                                               
a much less  contributing factor.  He questioned  the reason test                                                               
scores will be used to measure GPS eligibility.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:50:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON stated his  concern for students from small                                                               
and  rural schools  that will  be participating  in the  program.                                                               
Although he  has heard  that his  constituents are  excited about                                                               
the proposal, he said some school  districts "are going to have a                                                               
really hard  time with meeting  the curriculum  requirements that                                                               
Senator Meyer spoke about," and  he voiced his intent to question                                                               
EED on this issue.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX said he shares  similar concerns; however, he                                                               
expressed his  belief that the state  "can meet the demand."   He                                                               
described  the  Alaska  Native   Science  &  Engineering  Program                                                               
(ANSEP) as very successful in  spite of challenges.  Commissioner                                                               
LeDoux noted his  message throughout the state is  one of reform,                                                               
and that rural  areas of Alaska can expect  success when students                                                               
"have a  dream."  He said,  "There are people out  there that are                                                               
doing it  right now, and  there are  young people out  there that                                                               
have accepted this challenge, even  without this program, who are                                                               
working  hard,  who  are  taking  the  classes  in  the  smallest                                                               
villages, and are being successful."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:54:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  recalled previous discussion about  virtual schools                                                               
and  proposed  legislation  that will  require  school  districts                                                               
throughout  Alaska  to  provide  appropriate  classes  to  ensure                                                               
success for students in college.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:55:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  pointed out that the  distance delivery of                                                               
curriculum is  becoming an  export product  to countries  such as                                                               
Mexico and India.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:56:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MEYER announced that SB 224 would be held.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON announced that HB 297 would be held.                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 297 GPS Materials.pdf HEDC 2/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
GPS Powerpoint.pdf HEDC 2/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
Hathaway 2007-08.pdf HEDC 2/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
Hathaway 2008-09.pdf HEDC 2/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSP Fall-09.pdf HEDC 2/3/2010 8:00:00 AM