Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/24/2010 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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08:08:05 AM Start
08:08:14 AM Roundtable Discussion State School Board
09:47:23 AM Confirmation Hearing(s)|| State Board of Education & Early Development
09:50:26 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bagels, Coffee and Roundtable discussion TELECONFERENCED
with the Board of Education and Early
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
Board of Education and Early Development
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
Scheduled But Not Heard
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 24, 2010                                                                                         
                           8:08 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Cathy Engstrom Munoz, Vice Chair                                                                                 
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Robert L. "Bob" Buch                                                                                             
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION STATE SCHOOL BOARD                                                                                        
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
State Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                    
     Esther Cox - Anchorage                                                                                                     
     James (Jim) Merriner - Anchorage                                                                                           
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
HOUSE BILL NO. 206                                                                                                              
"An Act establishing a career assessment requirement in public                                                                  
schools; and relating to postsecondary courses for secondary                                                                    
school students."                                                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 393                                                                                                              
"An Act establishing a career assessment requirement in public                                                                  
schools; and relating to postsecondary courses for secondary                                                                    
school students."                                                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
ESTHER COX, Chair                                                                                                               
State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the roundtable discussion.                                                              
GERALDINE BENSHOOF, Second Vice-Chair                                                                                           
State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the roundtable discussion.                                                              
DONALD HANDELAND, Student Advisor Elect                                                                                         
State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the roundtable discussion.                                                              
JAMES (JIM) MERRINER, Appointee                                                                                                 
State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the roundtable discussion.                                                              
BUNNY SCHAEFFER, Member                                                                                                         
State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Kotzebue, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the roundtable discussion.                                                              
PATRICK SHIER, Member                                                                                                           
State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Auke Bay, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the roundtable discussion.                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:08:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PAUL  SEATON called the  House Education Standing  Committee                                                            
meeting to  order at 8:08  a.m. Representatives Munoz,  P. Wilson,                                                              
Edgmon,  Gardner, Buch,  and Seaton  were present  at the  call to                                                              
^Roundtable Discussion State School Board                                                                                       
            Roundtable Discussion State School Board                                                                        
8:08:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                              
a roundtable  discussion  with the  State Board  of Education  and                                                              
Early Development (state board).                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  introduced the  State Board  of Education  and Early                                                              
Development members  Esther Cox,  Geri Benshoof, Bunny  Schaeffer,                                                              
Pat Shier,  Dave Handeland,  and  Jim Merriner.   He provided  the                                                              
protocol to be used for the informal discussion.                                                                                
8:11:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   SEATON   updated   the   state   board   on   the   recent                                                              
accomplishments  of   the  House  Education   Standing  Committee,                                                              
noting   the   bills   addressed,   passed,   and   upcoming   for                                                              
consideration,  including HB 317,  Education Funding:   Basic/Spec                                                              
Needs/Transport, HB  310, School Construction  Debt Reimbursement,                                                              
HB  350,  Public  School  Funding:  Local  Contribution,  HB  147,                                                              
Education   Funding  For   Instruction,   HB  297,   Postsecondary                                                              
Scholarships.  Still  under consideration are HB  206, High School                                                              
Assessment/Postsecondary  Class, and  HB 393,  Charter/Alternative                                                              
School Funding.                                                                                                                 
8:13:16 AM                                                                                                                    
ESTHER   COX,  Chair,   State  Board   of   Education  and   Early                                                              
Development,  Department   of  Education  and   Early  Development                                                              
(DEED),  expressed  excitement  that  the  legislature  created  a                                                              
standing  committee on  education.   She  praised  the work  being                                                              
taken up by the chair and the committee.                                                                                        
8:14:53 AM                                                                                                                    
GERALDINE BENSHOOF,  Second Vice-Chair,  State Board  of Education                                                              
and  Early   Development,  Department   of  Education   and  Early                                                              
Development (DEED)  provided a brief history of  her experience on                                                              
the state board.                                                                                                                
8:15:38 AM                                                                                                                    
DONALD   HANDELAND,  Student   Advisor  Elect,   State  Board   of                                                              
Education  and  Early Development,  Department  of  Education  and                                                              
Early  Development  (DEED),  introduced himself,  noting  that  he                                                              
attends Mt. Edgecumbe High School.                                                                                              
8:16:03 AM                                                                                                                    
JAMES  (JIM) MERRINER,  Appointee,  State Board  of Education  and                                                              
Early Development,  Department of Education and  Early Development                                                              
(DEED),  introduced  himself and  thanked  the committee  for  its                                                              
8:16:18 AM                                                                                                                    
BUNNY  SCHAEFFER,  Member,  State  Board of  Education  and  Early                                                              
Development,  Department   of  Education  and   Early  Development                                                              
(DEED), introduced  herself.   She related her  focus is  on rural                                                              
8:16:44 AM                                                                                                                    
PATRICK  SHIER,  Member,  State   Board  of  Education  and  Early                                                              
Development,  Department   of  Education  and   Early  Development                                                              
(DEED), introduced  himself.  He  provided a brief history  of his                                                              
experience  on the  state  board for  the past  three  years.   He                                                              
related that  he and  his wife home-schooled  their children.   He                                                              
appreciated the  work of  the committee.   He provided  a personal                                                              
anecdote to illustrate  the intent of the state board.   He viewed                                                              
the state board as a facilitator to help school districts.                                                                      
8:20:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  requested the state board  chair provide an                                                              
overview of the state board's mission.                                                                                          
MS.   COX  responded   that  the   state   board  prepares   draft                                                              
regulations,  based  on bills  the  legislature passes,  and  once                                                              
promulgated, for  the department to implement.   Additionally, the                                                              
state board is  working diligently on an Alaska  Education Plan in                                                              
the state.   The Commissioner of  the Department of  Education and                                                              
Early Development  (DEED) has recognized  the state does  not have                                                              
a  pathway for  an  education plan.   Several  subcommittees  were                                                              
formed to  address education,  including quality teaching,  career                                                              
technical education,  virtual school  and distance education,  and                                                              
working to reduce the high school dropout rate.                                                                                 
8:22:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ introduced  herself to  the state board  and                                                              
provided her interest  in supporting education in the  state.  She                                                              
related that  her mother and grandmother  are teachers.   In fact,                                                              
her  grandmother  served  in  the legislature  in  the  1940s  and                                                              
chaired  the  education  committee,  she  stated.   She  said  she                                                              
appreciated the state board's commitment to education.                                                                          
8:23:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  stated   that  while  she  is  not  an                                                              
educator,  she was a  school nurse  for about  9 years  and taught                                                              
many  classes.    Additionally,  her  husband  is  also  a  school                                                              
superintendent, she said.                                                                                                       
8:24:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  introduced himself  to the state  board and                                                              
stated  his  interest  in  working  with  the  state  board.    He                                                              
commented on his interest in the current evolution of education.                                                                
8:25:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  introduced  herself  to the  state  board                                                              
saying  she  is the  only  member  of her  family  who  is not  an                                                              
educator.   She  has  numerous family  members  who are  teachers,                                                              
including  her  grandmother,  mother,  and  three  sisters.    She                                                              
related  that  she  is  thrilled  the  legislature  established  a                                                              
separate committee  for education.   She  offered her  interest in                                                              
learning  the state  board's view  on  the Governor's  performance                                                              
scholarship  bill (GPS),  in terms  of rural  Alaska and  distance                                                              
delivery.   She said  she is currently  unconvinced that  the bill                                                              
could work throughout  Alaska, but is open to learning  how it may                                                              
8:26:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH introduced  himself  to the  state board  and                                                              
expressed  interest in  working with  the state  board.  He  posed                                                              
topics  that  he  would  like  to  discuss,  including  the  state                                                              
board's  views  on  the  difficult   topics,  particularly  as  it                                                              
relates to education in rural Alaska.                                                                                           
8:27:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON praised  the efforts  of the committee.   He  stated                                                              
that given the  federal legislation, the state board  will need to                                                              
advise the committee  how to make education better  in Alaska.  He                                                              
said he  hopes for  an open  ongoing conversation  with the  state                                                              
board.   He  suggested  beginning the  discussion  today with  the                                                              
GPS.   He related the  bill has had  eleven hearings on  the bill,                                                              
as well as a previous bill that was introduced on the topic.                                                                    
8:30:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SHIER observed  that forty percent of Alaska's  retirees leave                                                              
the state since  most people return to their original  state.  One                                                              
thousand teachers  are hired  in Alaska each  year from  the Lower                                                              
48.   He related his  personal experiences  he attended  school in                                                              
Alaska  and remained  in Alaska.   He mentioned  that his  friends                                                              
that attended  college in  other states tended  to obtain  jobs in                                                              
those states.   He further  related that  he convinced his  son to                                                              
spend one  year at the University  of Alaska Fairbanks  instead of                                                              
attending  a Lower  48 college.   His  son fell in  love with  the                                                              
school,  graduated,  and is  currently  employed  in Alaska.    He                                                              
offered  his belief  that if  children and  grandchildren live  in                                                              
Alaska, that it encourages the grandparents to stay, too.                                                                       
8:34:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. COX  asked the committee what  the committee is  hearing about                                                              
delivering  the curriculum in  rural Alaska,  with respect  to the                                                              
Governor's Performance Scholarship (GPS) proposal.                                                                              
8:35:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  opined that her major interest  in the GPS                                                              
is  the requirement  for math  and  science, which  she viewed  as                                                              
critical.  She offered  her belief that this is  not about college                                                              
scholarships, but  is about reforming  K-12, changing  the culture                                                              
of high  school for  kids to value  effort and  hard work.   Thus,                                                              
math and  science are an integral  aspect.  She  expressed concern                                                              
whether  small  schools  in  Alaska   have  meaningful  access  to                                                              
provide four  years of math and  science.  Some subjects  are more                                                              
easily taught  in distance delivery  than other classes.   She was                                                              
unsure how to  teach higher level science classes  without labs or                                                              
equipment.    She reiterated  her  concern  with the  GPS  program                                                              
since  students  have  reported   distance  delivery  courses  are                                                              
viewed as less valuable than an in-person class.                                                                                
8:37:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SCHAEFFER  said   that  she  shares  the   concern  over  the                                                              
difficulty in  providing four years  of math and science  with one                                                              
or two  teachers in  rural schools.   She  also expressed  concern                                                              
with teacher turnover  and training.  She agreed  distance classes                                                              
are  not up  to the  standards  that should  be  required for  GPS                                                              
program.   She  recalled that  some rural  students attending  the                                                              
University  of  Alaska must  fly  to  hubs,  such as  the  Chukchi                                                              
College  in  Kotzebue,  to  take   intensive  labs,  but  not  all                                                              
students  have the  opportunity.   The system  is not  set up  for                                                              
high school students.   She suggested demanding  opportunities for                                                              
rural students  to take labs at  hub high schools if the  GPS bill                                                              
8:38:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER recalled some  prior discussions  on rural                                                              
hubs, which  have been  effective for  vocational education.   She                                                              
commented  that  students  can  take  a block  of  classes.    She                                                              
suggested that  may be a  solution.  She  thought perhaps  the GPS                                                              
may provide  the impetus  for families  and communities  to demand                                                              
the changes.                                                                                                                    
8:39:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BENSHOOF  inquired  as to whether  jobs will  be available  in                                                              
Alaska  for  students who  earn  advanced  degrees.   She  further                                                              
asked  whether  the   state  would  invest  a  lot   of  money  in                                                              
education, only to  discover that jobs are not  available in their                                                              
field in Alaska.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked for  clarification  on what  fields                                                              
she is  referring to since  the legislature hears  shortages exist                                                              
in many fields.                                                                                                                 
MS. BENSHOOF answered  that advanced science and  business degrees                                                              
were the two fields  that came to mind since a  hundred jobs would                                                              
not be available in the fields.                                                                                                 
8:41:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  related  that  she traveled  to  the  North                                                              
Slope in  January.  She  reported that  one of the  managers noted                                                              
that  the average  age of  workers  is 53.   She  recalled that  a                                                              
large  percentage of  the positions  are held  by people who  live                                                              
out of  state.  She  offered her  belief that opportunities  exist                                                              
to  train young  people to  work in  those jobs  as the  workforce                                                              
retires  and to  fill  the positions  with  local Alaskans  rather                                                              
than by non-residents.                                                                                                          
8:42:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  recalled the state  reviewed its retirement  systems                                                              
since  the difficulty  in hiring  people  to fill  the high  level                                                              
jobs was  brought to the legislature's  attention.  He  hoped that                                                              
these things  would go  "hand in  hand" and  as more Alaskans  are                                                              
educated  with  skill  sets  that  jobs will  be  available.    He                                                              
recalled  Mr. Shier's comments  on college  students finding  jobs                                                              
in their  college state.   He stated that  currently Alaska  has a                                                              
poorly educated  workforce  per the statistics  the committee  has                                                              
reviewed.   He said that Alaska  is losing a tremendous  amount of                                                              
its  skilled  workforce since  people  55  and above  have  higher                                                              
college graduation  levels than  those in the  ages of 24-36.   As                                                              
the  older Alaskans  move, it  has  the effect  of decreasing  the                                                              
number of  college graduates in  Alaska's workforce.  Thus,  it is                                                              
difficult to  be competitive  and establish  businesses.   He said                                                              
he is  extremely hopeful that  other businesses will  be attracted                                                              
to the  state in  the event that  this plan  goes through  with an                                                              
increase in  college graduates  and vocational  education.   It is                                                              
difficult  to establish  a business  if an  educated workforce  is                                                              
not available.   At one time Alaska had one of  the highest levels                                                              
of  college  graduates  in  the   workforce  but  that  trend  has                                                              
reversed over time.                                                                                                             
8:45:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MERRINER  said that  he likes  many concepts in  the GPS.   He                                                              
shared the  concern for  delivering education  to rural  Alaskans.                                                              
He  related  that he  worked  in  the lower  Kuskokwim  and  knows                                                              
firsthand some of  the challenges.  He expressed  excitement about                                                              
the  Alaska Virtual  Learning Network.    Although he  grew up  in                                                              
Alaska, he found  challenges in Kipnuk in terms  of everyday life.                                                              
He equated  some teacher turnover  to challenges posed  to someone                                                              
in from  the Lower  48.   He offered his  support for  encouraging                                                              
local young  people to enter the  teaching arena.  He  asked about                                                              
adding a needs-based part to the GPS bill.                                                                                      
CHAIR SEATON  answered that the  bill passed out of  the committee                                                              
contains a  needs-based component.   He explained that  50 percent                                                              
of the unmet need  is covered in the scholarship.   He offered his                                                              
belief   that   the   bill  provides   financial   access   to   a                                                              
postsecondary education.   He recalled that aspect  nearly doubled                                                              
the cost of the program.                                                                                                        
8:49:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH referred  to Mr. Merriner's  resume,  and his                                                              
work in  the Galena School  District.   He asked whether  his work                                                              
was in establishing distance learning.                                                                                          
MR. MERRINER  replied that Interior  Distance Education  of Alaska                                                              
(IDEA)   in  Galena   helped   pioneer  curriculum   choices   for                                                              
homeschool  families.    He  explained  that  this  program  is  a                                                              
statewide correspondence  school program.   He related  that about                                                              
a dozen  programs  exist.   The IDEA  program supports  homeschool                                                              
families in their  efforts to educate their children.   He pointed                                                              
out that  the state  must ensure  that the funds  are not  used to                                                              
purchase religious  materials.  He characterized  the IDEA program                                                              
as  a broker  of curriculum,  while still  providing oversight  to                                                              
8:51:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH asked  for comments  on whether  this was  an                                                              
effective program that enhanced opportunity for education.                                                                      
MR.  MERRINER   related  the  model   used  with   the  homeschool                                                              
community is  different from  what would be  delivered at  a brick                                                              
and mortar  school, primarily due  to the monthly  contact system.                                                              
The Alaska  virtual learning  network would  use highly  qualified                                                              
teachers  will be different.   The  IDEA allows  families  to take                                                              
classes  from  schools  around  the nation,  such  as  classes  at                                                              
Brigham Young University or UA classes.                                                                                         
MR.  SHIER  provided   a  personal  anecdote  of   growing  up  in                                                              
Fairbanks, and how  rural students came to Fairbanks  for boarding                                                              
school.  He related  that he traveled as an auditor.   He observed                                                              
that  the skilled  work was  performed  and traditionally  brought                                                              
into  rural areas,  while local  citizens  provided the  unskilled                                                              
labor.   He explained  how this has  changed via distance  classes                                                              
provided by  visitor industry personnel.   He suggested  that over                                                              
time,  participation   during  the  distance   courses  increased.                                                              
Improvements  are  needed  to  meet   individual  needs,  but  the                                                              
barriers are  beginning to break  down for classes  with technical                                                              
content.     He  offered  the   effectiveness  and   success  rate                                                              
increases when  the distance educator  travels to the  rural sites                                                              
and meets with  students.  He said,  "I think we'll get  better at                                                              
and I think we must, in terms of distance delivery."                                                                            
MR. HANDELAND  offered that  typically students  at Mt.  Edgecumbe                                                              
have  found attending  college  in the  in  the Lower  48 is  less                                                              
expensive.    He  thought  the  GPS  program  would  help  college                                                              
students stay in Alaska.                                                                                                        
8:58:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON brought up  the topic of WorkKeys.   She                                                              
related that  the High  School exit exam  has created  anxiety for                                                              
students.     She  suggested   eliminating   the  exit  exam   and                                                              
initiating WorkKeys  as early as  possible to allow  students time                                                              
to reach their goals.   She asked for the board  members' comments                                                              
on when to offer WorkKeys and on the exit exam.                                                                                 
8:59:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BENSHOOF  returned  to a previous  topic.   She asked  whether                                                              
the intent  of the  GPS is  to provide  scholarships for  advanced                                                              
education  in college  or to  improve the  high school  education.                                                              
The DEED  works diligently  on standards for  K-12.  The  GPS adds                                                              
additional   requirements   to    the   high   standards   already                                                              
established.    She expressed  confusion  on  the purpose  of  the                                                              
bill.  She offered  that high schools have high  standards.  These                                                              
two  elements  are already  supported  by  the high  standards  in                                                              
every high school.                                                                                                              
9:01:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON said  that the  high schools  currently require  two                                                              
years of  math to  graduate.   It has  been determined  that these                                                              
students  end up  in remedial  classes when  they attend  college.                                                              
The  GPS is  an effort  to  incentivize students  to  take a  more                                                              
rigorous  curriculum in  full  preparation  of college,  including                                                              
four years of  math.  If a student  chooses to earn  a high school                                                              
diploma  he/she  does  not  need   to  reach  beyond  the  current                                                              
standards.  The  question remains as to how to  encourage students                                                              
to  attend  college.   However,  the  GPS  standards  will  better                                                              
prepare  them  for  postsecondary  education,  he  stated.    High                                                              
schools need  to offer the course  work for those that  desire the                                                              
more complex math and science.                                                                                                  
9:04:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BENSHOOF observed the GPS has a dual objective.                                                                             
CHAIR SEATON  agreed the bill has  a dual objective.   One purpose                                                              
is to  eliminate the  need for  remedial classes  in college.   He                                                              
stated that there  is concern for rural students,  but the process                                                              
is an  evolving process.   However,  without this stimulus  change                                                              
may not  be forthcoming.   The GPS may  be the catalyst  to effect                                                              
change in the rural communities, he stated.                                                                                     
9:07:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON offered  his belief  that the  bill in  its                                                              
totality is  not just a  scholarship program,  but is a  means for                                                              
education reform  and a way to  provide an incentive  for students                                                              
to perform.   Many legislators do  hold those questions  about the                                                              
GPS.    He stated  that  if  the  bill  does not  pass,  he  would                                                              
advocate  that  the committee  hold  education  committee  interim                                                              
meetings  in rural  areas to gain  a fuller  understanding  of how                                                              
this reform can occur.                                                                                                          
9:10:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  stated that he fully  expects the bill to  pass this                                                              
year,  but  the   education  committee  may  still   benefit  from                                                              
visiting  rural  areas.    He emphasized  the  importance  of  not                                                              
continuing  the status quo.   He  cautioned that  it not  become a                                                              
tug-of-war  of  rural  versus  urban  educational  delivery.    He                                                              
offered that  school districts in  rural Alaska will find  ways to                                                              
accomplish goals,  which may include  distance learning.   He said                                                              
that  a great  math  teacher teaching  a  course through  distance                                                              
learning  could teach  more than  a poor teacher  teaching  in the                                                              
classroom.   Thus,  there are  many means  to solve  what will  be                                                              
needed to  bring students  the education  required to  qualify for                                                              
the  GPS, and  it will  be an  ongoing effort  even following  the                                                              
passage of the bill.                                                                                                            
9:13:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  suggested specialized teachers,  such as a                                                              
biology  teacher,  who  could travel  to  communities  to  provide                                                              
intensive  classes  versus having  the  students  travel to  hubs.                                                              
She  characterized   it  as  similar  to  having   skilled  nurses                                                              
traveling  to communities.   Additionally,  exiting testimony  has                                                              
come  forward that  the  ACT test  scores range  from  18-21.   In                                                              
Wyoming, the  Hathaway program discovered  that 99 percent  of the                                                              
students  are  taking  the  ACT  exam  and  the  scores  are  only                                                              
slightly  lower than  in  Alaska.   She  said,  "That's what  this                                                              
opportunity has done  in Wyoming, and to me that  is so dramatic."                                                              
She thought  that having  99 percent  of the  students taking  the                                                              
exam  and  scoring  nearly  as  high  as  the  best  students  was                                                              
9:15:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  brought forward  Representative Keller's  request to                                                              
discuss charter schools in the state.                                                                                           
9:16:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  suggested  that  today's rural  parents                                                              
are  beginning   to  realize  the   importance  of   exposure  and                                                              
postsecondary  education for  their children,  which may  not have                                                              
existed  in the past.   Parents  taught their  children what  they                                                              
could  do with  the  land  and took  them  to  fish camps  in  the                                                              
summer.  She  pointed out that some parents are  noticing suicides                                                              
and the  need for  change.   The GPS could  provide the  financial                                                              
ability for  educational  opportunities for  their children.   She                                                              
thought the  GPS could  provide hope for  parents and  children at                                                              
the local level for access to higher education.                                                                                 
CHAIR  SEATON  pointed  out  that   the  GPS  would  affect  every                                                              
community in Alaska.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  noted  that  distance  learning  and  cyber                                                              
schooling will be  an aspect of the reform, but  also local talent                                                              
is an  important resource  and should  be encouraged.   She  hoped                                                              
that flexibility  to use  community resources  will be  encouraged                                                              
as  this  process  goes  forward.   She  recalled  a  student  who                                                              
attended  school  with  twelve  students  and one  teacher.    The                                                              
teacher brought in  a mathematician in the community  to tutor the                                                              
students.   That student will  be attending UAF  in the fall  as a                                                              
physics student.                                                                                                                
9:22:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON observed  that students  have  better outcomes  when                                                              
students experience  someone in  the system  who takes  a personal                                                              
interest in  their education.   The importance of  this connection                                                              
has  been  a constant  throughout  the  testimony  and  statistics                                                              
before  the committee.    He related  several  instances in  which                                                              
mentoring  or  advising  students  has  been  the  most  effective                                                              
approach.   He wondered  if this  could be  integrated into  every                                                              
school  for  every  student  to   benefit  the  individual.    The                                                              
personal interest  is imperative and perhaps a  state board policy                                                              
should be implemented.                                                                                                          
9:26:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. COX  related that in  1995 she was  president of  the National                                                              
Association  of  Secondary School  Principals,  who  wrote a  book                                                              
book, Breaking Ranks,  Changing An American Institution.   At that                                                            
time, one topic  illustrated the need to have  a personal advocate                                                              
for every  student.   She recalled  that in  Anchorage student  in                                                              
the  SAVE  program  are  in  the   program  because  they  feel  a                                                              
connection  with someone  and that  someone cares.   She  reported                                                              
that postsecondary  institutions are also experiencing  this need,                                                              
which can  be supported  in various  means, including  via e-mail.                                                              
She commented  on her experience  at an Anchorage high  school, in                                                              
which  she found  that calling  a student  by name  made "all  the                                                              
difference  in  the  world" during  disciplinary  measures.    She                                                              
turned to  the term "rigor"  and how to  apply it,  in particular,                                                              
to rural Alaskan  students is challenging.  She  stated her belief                                                              
that providing  rigor can be brought  forth in a  creative manner,                                                              
such as using a  community resource.  She agreed  the program is a                                                              
statewide program,  but felt promoting  rigor for rural  and urban                                                              
students  is a worthy  goal.   Students, who  might otherwise  not                                                              
have the opportunity,  will be provided educational  opportunities                                                              
by the GPS program.                                                                                                             
9:30:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   BUCH  mentioned  that   the  committee   has  had                                                              
complaints that  people are not  happy with the remedial  rate, or                                                              
the  dropout  rates,  particularly   for  minorities.    Initially                                                              
hearing  the "carrot  and  stick"  approach in  the  GPS plan  was                                                              
exciting  as a  means to  bring reform  and incentivize  students.                                                              
The hope  is that the  parents recognize  the importance  of rigor                                                              
as a  pathway for  student success.   He  offered his belief  that                                                              
the  committee needs  to  address  opportunities  for students  to                                                              
experience  success.  He  recalled that  Mr. Hamilton  stated that                                                              
21 percent of jobs  in Alaska require a college  education, but 75                                                              
percent of the jobs  in Alaska do not require an  academic degree.                                                              
He  stated  that  high  school graduates  need  a  better  way  to                                                              
proceed  and  have better  math  and  science opportunities.    He                                                              
commented that the committee is working on the delivery system.                                                                 
9:33:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  asked the  state  board  to  comment on  the  issue                                                              
related  to  application  for  charter   school  facility  federal                                                              
MS.  COX  deferred  to  the  DEED  regarding  funding  of  charter                                                              
9:36:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MUNOZ   asked  whether   the   state  board   has                                                              
considered  removing the  cap on  the number  of charter  schools,                                                              
which is another part of the bill.                                                                                              
MS. COX answered no.                                                                                                            
9:36:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  related his  understanding  that  matter  is not  a                                                              
state board  issue.  He asked  whether the state board  would like                                                              
to  bring up  any issues  to  the committee  at  either the  state                                                              
board or student advisor level.                                                                                                 
MR.  HANDELAND answered  no,  that  he did  not  have any  student                                                              
issues to raise today.                                                                                                          
9:37:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked him to  describe what is  occurring at                                                              
Mt. Edgecumbe High School.                                                                                                      
MR. HANDELAND  offered that he  is currently taking  college level                                                              
calculus  at Mt. Edgecumbe  High School.   He  stated that  he has                                                              
also taken a  genetics course and some high level  science courses                                                              
as a  junior.  He  commented that he  is also taking  some classes                                                              
at UAS campus.                                                                                                                  
9:38:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SHIER  stated that this  state board  is committed to  work on                                                              
standards that  work for  rural and urban  schools.   He suggested                                                              
that the  shift has  been from "seat  time" to  "do you  know what                                                              
you  really  ought  to  know."   The  state  board  has  discussed                                                              
WorkKeys, "High  Stakes" test,  accountability, and  a willingness                                                              
to examine alternatives.   He offered that many  things are moving                                                              
on parallel tracks and he is excited to be a part of the effort.                                                                
9:40:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether  the state  board considering  "end of                                                              
course" exams rather than a single test.                                                                                        
MS.  COX  replied  that  the  state  board  has  held  preliminary                                                              
discussions.   She offered her  belief that many  questions remain                                                              
to be  answered.  She  understood some  states are moving  in that                                                              
CHAIR  SEATON   asked  the  state   board  to  forward   pertinent                                                              
information to the committee regarding this topic.                                                                              
MR.  SHIER commented  that  education is  about  the students  and                                                              
stressed the importance of removing barriers on their behalf.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON asked  for  ways to  improve  communication                                                              
between the committee and the state board.                                                                                      
MS.  COX related  that  the state  board comes  to  Juneau once  a                                                              
year,  which is helpful.   She  invited the  committee members  to                                                              
the  state board  meetings.   Additionally, the  state board  will                                                              
provide  a  forum for  the  committee  members  on request.    She                                                              
suggested a mandatory  introduction for teachers  coming to Alaska                                                              
from  the Lower  48.  She  commented on  HB 206,  and offered  her                                                              
belief that 12th grade is too late for the WorkKeys test.                                                                       
9:46:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  stated that the  committee has asked  the university                                                              
to prepare  a report regarding  teacher education  and preparation                                                              
that is given specifically for teaching in rural areas.                                                                         
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
^State Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                   
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
          State Board of Education & Early Development                                                                      
9:47:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                              
confirmation hearing the candidates                                                                                             
9:47:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  made a motion to advance  from committee the                                                              
nomination of  Esther Cox  and James (Jim)  Merriner to  the State                                                              
Board of Education & Early Development.                                                                                         
9:48:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON   hearing  no  objection,  the   confirmations  were                                                              
advanced from the House Education Standing Committee.                                                                           
9:48:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. COX said she will make the state board meeting and                                                                          
subcommittee meeting schedules available.  She urged any member                                                                 
or his/her staff to attend whenever possible.                                                                                   
9:50:09 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing meeting was adjourned at 9:50:26 AM.                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 393 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/24/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/29/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/31/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 393
AS 14.03.075.docx HEDC 3/24/2010 8:00:00 AM
Workdraft CS HB 206 Version C March 22, 2010.pdf HEDC 3/24/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
Esther Cox Resume.pdf HEDC 3/24/2010 8:00:00 AM
James Merriner Resume.pdf HEDC 3/24/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 393 Charter School statutes.pdf HEDC 3/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/24/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 393
HB 393 Charter School Background.pdf HEDC 3/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/24/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 393