Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

03/30/2015 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 130(EDC) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 156-SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES; FED. LAW                                                                     
8:19:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  156, "An Act relating to  compliance with federal                                                               
education  laws; relating  to public  school accountability;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
8:19:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  moved to adopt CSHB  156, 29-LS0566\I, as                                                               
the working  document.   Without objection  Version I  was before                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR KELLER passed the gavel to Vice-Chair Vazquez.                                                                            
8:20:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER, as prime sponsor,  suggested that the last 15 years                                                               
have been evidential in determining  whether No Child Left Behind                                                               
{NCLB)  has been  a positive  means  to reform  education in  the                                                               
state.   He offered  the following question  to the  committee to                                                               
consider: "Has test based education  reform worked?  Has, or can,                                                               
education reform effort  we've been focused on for  over 15 years                                                               
... or  roughly 15 years now,  a little less maybe  ... you know,                                                               
can  it improve  education or  has  it improved  education?"   He                                                               
advised  HB 156  is based  upon the  premise that  it is  time to                                                               
admit the legislature  made a mistake after  spending an enormous                                                               
amount of  money and  time attempting  to reform  education using                                                               
the test based  theory.  He opined  it is time to  stop the over-                                                               
testing  taking  place  in  Alaska, stop  the  narrowing  of  the                                                               
curriculum  to enforce  alignment with  standardized tests,  stop                                                               
teaching  to the  test mode,  and stop  the unhealthy  time spent                                                               
getting ready  for the test.   He said his teacher  education was                                                               
completed in 1983,  and he had no inkling of  the concept of test                                                               
based reform because  a test is a teaching tool.   He pointed out                                                               
that test based  reform was "enshrined" in 2002  when NCLB passed                                                               
as it  was a  reenactment of  the Elementary  Secondary Education                                                               
Act  (ESEA) of  1965.   He opined  it was  passed to  address the                                                               
continuing problem of closing gaps  to make education assessable,                                                               
but  NCLB  has  not  made  a difference  for  poor  children  and                                                               
communities  not  being served  with  education.   Initially,  he                                                               
remarked, it  appeared to be  an appropriate means  to understand                                                               
the measurement  of progress.   In  2001, the  Alaska legislature                                                               
did  express support  for  NCLB but  it  was conditional  support                                                               
based upon  the possible advantages  which have not  been proven,                                                               
he pointed  out.  He mentioned  that in 2001, the  resolution was                                                               
HJR 13  and there were 134,358  students, and when HJR  13 passed                                                               
the next year,  third graders were the first group  to be exposed                                                               
to the new idea.   They are now 21 years  old and; therefore, the                                                               
high stakes  tests should  have been  proven by  that generation.                                                               
He opined  that the federal  government entrusted  these Alaskans                                                               
to  the unproven  and ambitious  belief that  children are  to be                                                               
tested  and  teachers held  responsible  for  improving the  test                                                               
scores.     Thereby,  almost  all   of  the  children   would  be                                                               
proficient.  He stated they gave  a promise that by 2014 no child                                                               
would be left  behind.  However, he said by  2014, NCLB could not                                                               
be attained.                                                                                                                    
8:26:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  pointed to HB  156 and said  it is time  to rethink                                                               
this  educational approach  in that  the bill  directs the  state                                                               
school board to allow parents to  opt out of high stakes testing;                                                               
and  it  eliminates all  high  stakes  tests within  three  years                                                               
unless  new legislation  is enacted  to specifically  reauthorize                                                               
the Alaska  testing system in  place in  existing laws.   He said                                                               
sun  setting the  mandated  tests as  opposed  to repealing  them                                                               
would  be  against  federal  law   and  the  bill  establishes  a                                                               
direction for  repeal.  He opined  that the premise for  NCLB may                                                               
have  an  honorable intent,  and  assuming  the honorable  intent                                                               
allows room for renegotiation of  how the state is doing business                                                               
and in  compliance with federal law.   The testing was  pushed by                                                               
two  presidential  administrations  but  it  has  become  a  real                                                               
problem.  He pointed out that  the federal funds, $69 million per                                                               
year, is not an on/off switch  and opined that this bill would in                                                               
no manner  cause the federal  government to throw the  switch and                                                               
determine that  no more money  goes to  Alaska.  He  related that                                                               
firm resistance  is appropriate  to allow  an opportunity  to vet                                                               
the concerns  and issues  of Alaska's  teachers, superintendents,                                                               
and children,  and to  be involved.   He  asked the  committee to                                                               
consider  that there  is a  process coming  into being  that will                                                               
begin to  evaluate teachers  based upon the  test results  of the                                                               
students, and teachers  are told it is federal law.   He referred                                                               
to  a  comment  within  the Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development (DEED),  February 7, 2015  new release that  it would                                                               
make  the  test based  reform  process  be  part of  the  teacher                                                               
training process,  and use high-stake tests  to qualify teachers.                                                               
He  described  a pattern  wherein  legislators  read about  these                                                               
issues in the  press and it soon shows up  in regulation, and yet                                                               
the legislature has  had nothing to say about it.   He summarized                                                               
that it  is past time  to take action  "And what this  bill does,                                                               
the most dramatic thing I think  it does is it deletes this much.                                                               
That's ESEA,  and that's before  NCLB, there is  actually another                                                               
300 pages you can  add to that."  Within this  bill there are two                                                               
sections, "this" must  be implemented and the  legislature has to                                                               
conform to it.                                                                                                                  
8:33:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER passed to the  committee, Sec. 14.03.123 "School and                                                               
district accountability,"  which is one  page "but it's  one page                                                               
plus this.  The bill simply takes  this out.  Okay now, does that                                                               
negate ... does  that say that we're annulling what  the feds are                                                               
doing?   Not at all.   The federal law  exists and stands  and it                                                               
doesn't matter what we  do in state law.  And  I think you'll get                                                               
testimony from  the department and  Department of Law  (DOL) that                                                               
taking  this out  does not,  in  and of  itself ...  any kind  of                                                               
defiance ... legal  defiance here."  He commented  that there are                                                               
1,291 pages that have been added.   He said, "Oh by the way, just                                                               
that bill  ... there's another  ... because  of the fact  that we                                                               
are held responsible to oversee  public education in the State of                                                               
Alaska, there is another factor.   I mean it's not just the 1,291                                                               
pages,  you've got  the waivers,  and you've  got the  agreements                                                               
that happen not  because they want to leave us  out but just that                                                               
we're not  part of  the process."   He stated  the real  issue is                                                               
whether or not the legislature  can comply with the court mandate                                                               
that the legislature  oversees public education.  He  cited a one                                                               
page press  release from  the Council of  Great Urban  Schools "I                                                               
think it  is, and  I think Anchorage  is a member  of that."   He                                                               
mentioned a comment within the  press release, "The council urges                                                               
the states'  to apply for the  new waivers ... NCLB  waivers, and                                                               
work with their  districts on those applications.   If the states                                                               
are reluctant  to proceed, urban districts  should initiate their                                                               
own  application."     He  surmised   it  is  an  appeal   by  an                                                               
organization to  our school districts  to work directly  with the                                                               
federal government if DEED or the legislature does not engage.                                                                  
8:36:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  directed attention  to  the  bill and  advised  it                                                               
offers  an   "opt  out"  process   for  students,   mandates  the                                                               
elimination of  those tests  pending action  and approval  by the                                                               
legislature,  and a  vetting process.    He referred  to page  2,                                                               
lines 7-9, which read:                                                                                                          
               (5) the methodology used to assign the state                                                                 
          public school system a performance designation                                                                    
          that compares the state public school system to                                                                   
          public school systems in other states and                                                                         
CHAIR KELLER referred to a  comment in the fiscal note indicating                                                               
the language  may be incorrect, but  states his intent.   He then                                                               
referred to AS 14.03.123(a),  School and district accountability,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
     (a) By September  1 of each year,  the department shall                                                                    
     assign a performance designation  to each public school                                                                    
     and  school district  and to  the  state public  school                                                                    
     system in accordance with (f) of this section.                                                                             
CHAIR KELLER  continued, it  is law  that the  department assigns                                                               
these public  school systems  "a grade  or give  us some  kind of                                                               
idea of  what is  going on."   He said the  missing piece  is the                                                               
requirement that  they report  the methodology.   He  opined that                                                               
nothing new  is required in  Title 14.03.123(a) as there  is old,                                                               
trustworthy,  and good  information  comparing how  the state  is                                                               
doing which  is the National  Assessment of  Educational Progress                                                               
(NAEP) that  evaluates all  states and provides  a rating  of the                                                               
proficiency of  the students  together with  a comparison  of the                                                               
other states.   He  explained that  he did  not want  to include,                                                               
within AS 14.03.123(c)(5), that  the methodology should be narrow                                                               
and  favored DEED  using  whatever metric  system  it prefers  to                                                               
determine the grade  in rating Alaska against  the other systems.                                                               
He  referred to  AS  14.03.123(c)(4), page  2,  lines 3-4,  which                                                               
     (4)... [AND  WITH FEDERAL LAW; TO  THE EXTENT NECESSARY                                                                    
     TO CONFORM TO FEDERAL LAW,] ...                                                                                            
CHAIR KELLER then referred to AS 14.03.123(f)(1), which read:                                                                   
          (1) [IMPLEMENT 20 U.S.C. 6301 - (ELEMENTARY AND                                                                       
     SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT OF 1965), AS AMENDED:                                                                              
CHAIR KELLER  explained that the  language deletes  the reference                                                               
to the  implementation or conforming  to the federal law,  and it                                                               
does not  delete the state's  accountability system as  it simply                                                               
deletes references to the federal law.                                                                                          
8:39:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER referred  to AS 14.03.123(d), Sec. 2,  page 2, lines                                                               
17-20,  and advised  the section  addresses  the low  performance                                                               
designation for students, which read:                                                                                           
          (d) ... The improvement plan must give preference                                                                 
     to measures  that increase  local control  of education                                                                
     and parental  choice and that  do not require  a direct                                                                
     increase in state or federal  funding for the school or                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  advised it emphasizes  when a school is  in trouble                                                               
(d) doesn't  presume that the  local community cares or  that the                                                               
parents care, but (d) says "if they  do ... and then you have ...                                                               
that's part  of the plan  ... that  has to be  given preference."                                                               
He opined that it is  legitimate, especially for rural schools to                                                               
have that type of input.                                                                                                        
8:40:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER referred  to AS 14.03.123(e), Sec. 3,  page 2, lines                                                               
23-25, which reads:                                                                                                             
          (e) ... , based on the accountability system                                                                      
     under  (f)  of  this   section,  that  demonstrates  an                                                                
     improvement over  the school's  performance designation                                                                
     for the previous year.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  KELLER explained  that (e)  refers  to schools  performing                                                               
well and a mandate that  DEED must establish special recognition.                                                               
The  department included  the improvement  element in  evaluating                                                               
these schools,  which is  excellent, he said.   The  above states                                                               
that schools with high and  special recognition are those schools                                                               
that are constantly improving and removes the high cap.                                                                         
8:41:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER referred  to a new subsection  AS 14.03.123(h), Sec.                                                               
5, page 3, lines 9-18, which read:                                                                                              
          (h) The department shall, by regulation, develop                                                                      
     procedures to                                                                                                              
               (1) allow the parent or guardian of a                                                                            
     student or a student who  is emancipated or is 18 years                                                                    
     of age  or older to  opt out of any  student assessment                                                                    
     used to implement the  accountability system under this                                                                    
     section; and                                                                                                               
               (2) ensure that individually identifiable                                                                        
     data  pertaining  to  a student  collected  under  this                                                                    
     section is  stored securely and  is only  accessible to                                                                    
     the  student, the  student's parents  or guardian,  the                                                                    
     student's teacher,  and other individuals in  the state                                                                    
     with a  legitimate need for the  information to perform                                                                    
     the duties described under this section.                                                                                   
8:41:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  advised that  AS 14.03.123(h)  provides for  an opt                                                               
out segment for  parents and students, and data  collected on the                                                               
students is safe, secure, and  legitimately protected, and is not                                                               
personally identifiable.  He pointed  out that AS 14.03.123(h)(2)                                                               
is  part  of  the reason  the  bill  will  not  be moved  out  of                                                               
committee today  as he would  like the  committee's consideration                                                               
on whether or  not it should be strengthened.   He advised that a                                                               
bill  has   been  requested   for  hearing   from  Representative                                                               
Reinbold, regarding data security.   Subsequent to Representative                                                               
Reinbold's presentation  he would like the  committee to consider                                                               
folding in the elements it prefers into the subparagraphs.                                                                      
8:42:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  pointed  the  committee   to  a  new  section,  AS                                                               
14.03.123, Sec.  6, page 3, lines  19-31, and page 4,  lines 1-9,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
     *Sec. 6.  AS 14.03 is  amended by adding a  new section                                                                  
     to read:                                                                                                                   
          Sec.   14.03.124   Approval   of   standards-based                                                                  
     assessments and teacher  performance standards. (a) The                                                                  
     department  shall establish,  by regulation,  a process                                                                    
     for submitting standards-based  assessments and teacher                                                                    
     performance  standards  to  school  districts  and  the                                                                    
     legislature for approval. The process must include                                                                         
               (1)    school    district   involvement    in                                                                    
     developing,  revising,  and  selecting  standards-based                                                                    
     assessments and teacher performance standards;                                                                             
               (2) an opportunity for school districts to                                                                       
     review  and recommend  approval or  disapproval of  the                                                                    
     standards-based  assessments  and  teacher  performance                                                                    
               (3)   submission   of   the   standards-based                                                                    
     assessments  and teacher  performance standards  to the                                                                    
     legislature  for  approval  if  a  majority  of  school                                                                    
     districts  recommend  approval of  the  standards-based                                                                    
     assessments and teacher performance standards;                                                                             
               (4) procedures for revising standards-based                                                                      
     assessments and teacher  performance standards that the                                                                    
     legislature disapproves under this section.                                                                                
          (b) If the legislature fails to take action on                                                                        
     the standards-based assessments  or teacher performance                                                                    
     standards before the end of  the legislative session in                                                                    
     which  the   standards-based  assessments   or  teacher                                                                    
     performance    standards   are    submitted   to    the                                                                    
     legislature,  or,  if   submitted  during  the  interim                                                                    
     between legislative  sessions, the  session immediately                                                                    
     following    that    interim,    the    standards-based                                                                    
     assessments or  teacher performance standards  on which                                                                    
     the legislature failed to act are approved.                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  said the  section is the  process for  stopping the                                                               
high-stakes tests  unless there is  a process in  the legislature                                                               
that  includes  the  school  district vetting  the  issues.    He                                                               
pointed out that  the working language is AS 14.03,  Sec. 6, page                                                               
4, line 8-9, which read:                                                                                                        
          (b) ... immediately following that interim, the                                                                       
     standards-based  assessments   or  teacher  performance                                                                    
     standards on  which the legislature  failed to  act are                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER   said  "if  after  consideration   and  maybe  new                                                               
legislation  being  presented  in   the  following  session,  the                                                               
standards-based tests and teacher  performance standards on which                                                               
the legislature  failed to act  or approve."  He  summarized that                                                               
if the legislature doesn't act,  and something comes forward from                                                               
the  department  and  school   districts  then  it  automatically                                                               
becomes law.   Whether that is an appropriate trigger  or not, he                                                               
said, he would  ask the committee to determine as  he is somewhat                                                               
uncomfortable with it.                                                                                                          
8:44:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  explained  that  AS  14.07.020(a),  page  4-6,  is                                                               
existing law,  and page  6, lines  10-11 is  a "clean  up," which                                                               
         (B)    ...    AS    14.03.123(f)(1)(A)    [AS                                                                      
     14.03.123(f)(2)(A); and ...                                                                                                
8:44:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER  expressed  general support  and  said  he                                                               
agrees with  deleting conforming to  federal law, and an  area of                                                               
trepidation is the draft new  process for teacher evaluations and                                                               
developing performance standards  that have not been  tested.  He                                                               
referred to  page 3, Sec.  6, wherein the legislature  cannot act                                                               
to repeal  standards and process  as developed by  the department                                                               
through the Alaska State Board  of Education & Early Development.                                                               
He  asked whether  this would  hold  an abeyance  to the  current                                                               
process  until  a  better  formula   is  better  vetted  and  the                                                               
districts  have  an opportunity  to  participate  in the  teacher                                                               
evaluation process.                                                                                                             
CHAIR  KELLER opined  "it  would not"  as it  is  a system  being                                                               
phased in  and he  deferred to  the department  for details.   He                                                               
said from his  perspective, he does not know  what is appropriate                                                               
because the issue has not been vetted.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  commented that he  would like to  hear the                                                               
department's  thoughts.   He suggested  the  committee include  a                                                               
section  that "we  put on  hold the  existing evaluation  process                                                               
until  we have  one that's  more thoroughly  vetted and  involves                                                               
more stakeholder  ... involvement."   He pointed  out there  is a                                                               
large dark  cloud hanging over  educators and the  legislature in                                                               
moving away from condemnation of  failing schools under NCLB when                                                               
reviewing this  type of  reform.   He appreciates  Chair Keller's                                                               
statement  of more  local control,  parental control,  and Alaska                                                               
getting back  control of its  education process and  pealing back                                                               
federal control as much as possible.                                                                                            
8:48:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  recalled debate on a  bill brought forward                                                               
by  the  previous  administration  wherein  the  legislature  was                                                               
looking  at  teacher evaluations  at  50  percent or  30  percent                                                               
evaluation.  He questioned whether  that issue is being revisited                                                               
here because a  number of people were firmly committed  to a much                                                               
higher percentage of the teacher  evaluation being related to the                                                               
performance of their  students.  He noted  that his understanding                                                               
of  the  presentation   was  to  put  in   abeyance  the  teacher                                                               
accountability.   He  said he  was  unsure what  form would  come                                                               
forward  if  there wasn't  the  system  the previous  legislature                                                               
CHAIR   KELLER  said   he  does   not   recall  the   interaction                                                               
Representative Seaton  referred to  or the bill,  but was  not on                                                               
the House Education Standing Committee  at that time.  He offered                                                               
that it  is an issue driven  from the federal government  and the                                                               
legislature may have unrealized options within the 1,291 pages.                                                                 
8:50:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  provided that over the  last several years                                                               
the legislature  dealt with the  idea of low  performing schools,                                                               
taking  over,  and  having  an improvement  plan  in  that  local                                                               
districts with the  full control of their  curriculum, plans, and                                                               
development were called "failing  schools" by Alaska's standards.                                                               
He asked whether  this bill takes Alaska back to  the system that                                                               
local districts will have all  control of curriculum even if they                                                               
are under-performing.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  KELLER  explained that  it  does  not,  as it  leaves  the                                                               
existing  system in  place.    He said,  "I  think  what you  are                                                               
referring  to is  that if  we violated  the waivers  that are  in                                                               
place to NCLB  then there is a possibility that  we would go back                                                               
to the NCLB as  we've just deleted ... an area,  if we go through                                                               
with this bill  ... so under that system, under  the NCLB, then I                                                               
think  we would  be  back to  the old  designators,  and all  the                                                               
criterial.  But, I think, that HB  156 as you have it in front of                                                               
you does  not change  that, it  just kind of  opens the  door for                                                               
reconsideration on it."                                                                                                         
8:52:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  referred to CSHB 156,  Sec. 2, and                                                               
the  added  language  to  AS 14.03.123,  and  asked  whether  the                                                               
sponsor had specific ideas of  measures of improvement they might                                                               
incorporate  that   represent  local  control  of   education  of                                                               
parental choice.  He pointed out  that if the bill is encouraging                                                               
local control  of education,  the sponsor  may want  to prescribe                                                               
measures to  local school districts  to improve that  are trying,                                                               
or not trying, to embrace local control.                                                                                        
CHAIR  KELLER  replied that  the  manner  in  which the  bill  is                                                               
written  is that  the  department would  be  required to  provide                                                               
preference,  or ideas  if  it  saw it  as  appropriate as  DEED's                                                               
duties and responsibilities do not change  in the bill and to pay                                                               
attention to  what the  local districts prefer.   He  referred to                                                               
mentors,  and said  in  the event  a school  creates  a plan  for                                                               
improvement, it would have to be  worked on by the department and                                                               
the community.   He suggested the language indicates  that in the                                                               
event  a community  was against  a mentor  in its  community they                                                               
would have to  consider that as a primary factor  in working with                                                               
the plan  for improvement of  local schools.  He  summarized that                                                               
it puts  emphasis on a  low performing  school and to  discuss it                                                               
with the parents,  local school board members,  and the community                                                               
to determine what  they believe is required for  improvement.  He                                                               
commented that  the failure of  the test based reform  project is                                                               
that Alaska has not stepped  forward with the resources necessary                                                               
to address issues in the local community.                                                                                       
8:56:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON noted  that currently  the legislature  is                                                               
revising the entire  idea of testing so it is  not only computer-                                                               
based but  analytical in concept  as opposed to  regurgitation of                                                               
facts.  He opined that  Chair Keller was appropriately addressing                                                               
the testing regime  of regurgitation of facts that  has proven to                                                               
not assist students in engaging  in long-term learning.  He asked                                                               
whether the  change in testing,  in that  Alaska is now  going to                                                               
testing based  on analytics and  analysis, whether the  reform of                                                               
that regime makes  any difference, or whether it  is a discussion                                                               
regarding all tests within the bill.                                                                                            
CHAIR KELLER  related that  the problem lies  with the  fact that                                                               
Alaska  has made  the results  of the  tests so  high-stakes with                                                               
everyone focused on  a high score on the test,  which it isn't so                                                               
much whether it is computer-based.   He opined the computer based                                                               
element  of the  testing enables  Alaska to  do that  more easily                                                               
than  a paper-based  system.    He noted  that  he questions  the                                                               
process  of making  the test-based  element the  lever to  try to                                                               
force a  better education  system, which  was NCLB  in 2002.   He                                                               
remarked he is calling into  question the entire concept as there                                                               
are other options.                                                                                                              
8:59:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER opined  that NCLB  is a  failed experiment                                                               
that  has become  a major  driver in  the educational  system and                                                               
submitted  that educators  in the  trenches are  stressed by  the                                                               
mandates for testing.  He described  the loss of local control as                                                               
a concern and  would like feedback from the districts  as to what                                                               
they would  do in lieu  of these mandates.   He pointed  out that                                                               
the  high school  exit exam  is  an example  of how  standardized                                                               
testing can  be misdirected.   For example,  he explained,  a few                                                               
years  ago  there  was  testimony  within  the  Senate  Education                                                               
Standing Committee from administrators  and students from Chehak.                                                               
The  administrators  testified  that  their students  were  at  a                                                               
disadvantage  because questions  were asked  on the  standardized                                                               
test ...  for instance, "How  do you get  to the hospital?"   The                                                               
students answered  "airplane," except  the correct answer  on the                                                               
standardized  test was  "ambulance."   He opined  that was  where                                                               
they segwayed into local control.   He described that the meaning                                                               
of  local  control  to  a  community  in  Alaska,  and  the  norm                                                               
necessary for education  and survival may be  much different than                                                               
the nationalized  standard test.  Currently,  districts are under                                                               
pressure because  the teacher evaluations will  be generated from                                                               
the results of  these tests.  He opined that  the bill provides a                                                               
fresh means  of addressing what  may or  may not be  working, and                                                               
how to  provide appropriate  local control  for assessments.   He                                                               
added that  cultural sensitivity  is a  concern as  each specific                                                               
area of Alaska is different.                                                                                                    
9:02:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS directed  the committee's attention                                                               
AS 14.03,  Sec. 1, page 2,  lines 7-9, and requested  the sponsor                                                               
to speak to the intent of the language, which read:                                                                             
               (5) the methodology used to assign the state                                                                 
     public  school system  a  performance designation  that                                                                
     compares  the  state  public school  system  to  public                                                                
     school system in other states and countries.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS added  that his  interpretation is                                                               
that  it would  compare the  Alaska Department  of Education  and                                                               
Early  Development (DEED)  against other  similar Departments  of                                                               
Education around the country.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  KELLER responded  "No,  that  is not  my  intent," as  the                                                               
school system is how Alaska is  performing overall.  He said that                                                               
in reviewing the  law, AS 14.03.123(a), which is not  in the bill                                                               
but provided earlier  by Chair Keller, may  clarify that section,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
        (a) By September 1 of each year, the department                                                                         
     shall assign a performance designation to each public                                                                      
       school and school district and to the state public                                                                       
     school system in accordance with (f) of this section.                                                                      
CHAIR KELLER  went on to  explain that  the reference on  Page 2,                                                               
lines 7-9,  goes back to  the one  element of the  "public school                                                               
system."   He said the intent  of the author was  to identify how                                                               
the department  would give the  school system a grade  and opined                                                               
that  should  he  assign  a  grade, he  would  use  the  National                                                               
Assessment of  Educational Progress (NAEP) as  there are national                                                               
and international  comparisons.   He said his  "first inclination                                                               
was  to  write  that  they   use  NAEP"  which  offers  Alaska  a                                                               
proficiency  rating  in  how  students   are  doing  in  reading,                                                               
writing,  and  arithmetic in  the  schools,  but  if there  is  a                                                               
different methodology to use he wants it identified.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether  the removal  of the                                                               
reference of the  federal statute in Sec.  4, jeopardize Alaska's                                                               
waiver to NCLB,  and whether there are ramifications  in terms of                                                               
loss of federal funding.                                                                                                        
CHAIR KELLER  deferred to DEED, but  he opined that it  will not.                                                               
He previously  reviewed the history,  and research how  it became                                                               
law in the first place.  He then  realized he did not vote on the                                                               
bill,  but was  in the  legislature and  spoke to  the bill.   He                                                               
confessed he has  had a change of heart in  the entire process as                                                               
he is frustrated with the  constant evidences received on the low                                                               
performance of Alaska's schools.   He advised that on the record,                                                               
when the  bill passed, Neil  Slotnick from the Department  of Law                                                               
said there is nothing in the  NCLB that requires it to be encoded                                                               
into state law.                                                                                                                 
9:09:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  referred to  page 2, lines  7-9, regarding                                                               
performance  for  the  school  system,   and  surmised  that  the                                                               
preference is  that the comparative  student performance  is used                                                               
on a test to rate the different school systems.                                                                                 
CHAIR KELLER answered  that NAEP is not a high-stakes  test as it                                                               
is data  collected on the  school system  in general, which  is a                                                               
reason Alaska  went to the  high stakes  testing beyond NAEP.   A                                                               
student  cannot be  identified and  tracked through  schools with                                                               
NAEP as  it gives  a general  overall proficiency  assessment for                                                               
national   comparison.      He   stated  that   the   answer   to                                                               
Representative  Seaton's question  is "yes,"  although it  is not                                                               
fair to say  that Alaska is using  a high stakes test  to get rid                                                               
of the high  stakes test.  He pointed that  the record shows that                                                               
NAEP  costs the  state  zero  dollars, but  does  cost time  when                                                               
testing students.                                                                                                               
9:10:17 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR VAZQUEZ asked what the acronym NAEP stands for.                                                                      
CHAIR  KELLER   deferred  to  the  department.     [The  National                                                               
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)]                                                                                      
VICE-CHAIR  VAZQUEZ  requested  the  definition  of  high  stakes                                                               
CHAIR KELLER  opined that the  failure has consequences  that are                                                               
significant  beyond  just  the  awareness  there  is  a  lack  of                                                               
knowledge, in that  a student may not graduate.   He explained it                                                               
is high  stakes in the sense  that this bill must  pass or Alaska                                                               
will lose federal funding.                                                                                                      
VICE CHAIR VAZQUEZ asked the last  time the NAEP test was used by                                                               
the State of Alaska.                                                                                                            
CHAIR KELLER  advised that NAEP  is an ongoing annual  event, and                                                               
deferred to  the department for details.   He said that  NAEP was                                                               
under  the  original  Elementary   and  Secondary  Education  Act                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ presumed  it  is no  longer  used in  the                                                               
State of Alaska.                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER replied it is ongoing  and a person can go online to                                                               
obtain the NAEP  scores, which is the basis  for comparing Alaska                                                               
with other states currently.                                                                                                    
9:12:56 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  VAZQUEZ asked  whether NAEP can  be provided  to each                                                               
student, not on a sample basis.   For example, she said, a parent                                                               
may request the  performance level of their  child whenever these                                                               
tests  are administered  and  the parents  may  assume their  own                                                               
child is doing well compared to the state and national level.                                                                   
CHAIR KELLER opined  that it is not  an option for NAEP  as it is                                                               
not proctored in that manner.   He reiterated that this bill does                                                               
not  mean that  Alaska quits  tracking its  students with  tests,                                                               
because as a teacher he understood  early on that when teaching a                                                               
group of children  the first thing a teacher must  do is find out                                                               
what they know by testing.  At  the end of the class another test                                                               
is  given to  determine whether  the teacher  succeeded in  their                                                               
efforts.   He described the bill  as a reaction against  the high                                                               
stakes part and  not a reaction against testing  to track student                                                               
locally, at  home, and in the  state, as long as  the tracking is                                                               
performed in a secure fashion.                                                                                                  
9:14:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked whether in  Sec. 5, page 3, lines 11-                                                               
13, the legislation  does not give the parent or  guardian of the                                                               
student the ability to opt out  of assessment.  He noted there is                                                               
only a  certain assessment  that the  legislation allows  them to                                                               
opt out of and  this doesn't give them the ability  to opt out of                                                               
that end of course or end of school year test.                                                                                  
CHAIR  KELLER responded  that the  terminology used  in the  bill                                                               
"allows the option to opt out  of an assessment used to implement                                                               
the accountability  system under this  section."  He  related his                                                               
intent  is that  the state  accountability system  stay in  place                                                               
until the legislature reconsiders  whether the language should be                                                               
more specific  regarding what  can actually be  opted out  of and                                                               
name the  tests.  He reiterated  that, as a teacher,  he wants to                                                               
know where the  students start and where they finish.   He opined                                                               
it is  the parent's  constitutional right to  not have  the child                                                               
participate, and no penalty can be  placed upon them as they have                                                               
the option to not  be there and not take tests,  which is a human                                                               
basic  right.   He suggested  it may  need to  be refined  better                                                               
because the  requirement put  on the  district is  different than                                                               
the basic freedom given the parent.                                                                                             
9:17:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  said she  was somewhat confused  in that                                                               
the test of the proposed law  indicates that students may opt out                                                               
of any  student assessment used  to implement  the accountability                                                               
system   under   this   section,  but   within   Chair   Keller's                                                               
explanation,  a  parent  may  opt  a  student  out  of  any  test                                                               
including  that which  the teacher  gives  at every  step of  the                                                               
process in their  classroom.  She questioned how  a teacher would                                                               
know whether the  students are making progress if  they are opted                                                               
out of every test the parent choses to opt them out of.                                                                         
CHAIR  KELLER responded  that  he was  referring  to the  broader                                                               
sense  of opting  out,  the  parent has  the  right  to have  the                                                               
student there, or  not.  He described his  intent when discussing                                                               
high stake  tests is that  the State  Board of Education  & Early                                                               
Development determines  a process  to allow  the students  to opt                                                               
out.   Currently, in other  states parents are voting  with their                                                               
feet and are  not sending their children.  He  opined there is no                                                               
reason the legislature cannot ask  the State Board of Education &                                                               
Early Development to determine a process  to opt out.  He advised                                                               
that when  he said it is  the parent's right, he  was thinking in                                                               
the most basic and fundamental sense.                                                                                           
9:19:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON requested  a list of the  high stakes tests                                                               
being  administered in  the state  since the  elimination of  the                                                               
exit exam,  other than bill  inserting a  graduation requirement.                                                               
He described the graduation requirement  as a high stakes test on                                                               
a  passage of  a  constitutionalism  element.   He  opined he  is                                                               
unaware of any  high stakes graduation requirements  in the state                                                               
other than passing all of the required number of credits.                                                                       
CHAIR  KELLER  replied that  teachers  in  the State  of  Alaska,                                                               
currently, would list  that AMP and MAP is taking  up their class                                                               
time  that could  be used  for  curriculum and  instruction.   He                                                               
indicated he would provide a list.                                                                                              
9:21:22 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  VAZQUEZ requested the  definition of the  acronyms he                                                               
CHAIR KELLER  said he could not,  but they are tests  required by                                                               
the state  accountability system,  grades 3-10 motivated  by NCLB                                                               
which actually  requires testing from  grades 3-8.  In  the State                                                               
of Alaska its accountability system  has grades 3-10 and 2 tests,                                                               
AMP and MAP, he explained.                                                                                                      
9:22:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON clarified  that he  question was  not what                                                               
tests are required  to be taken, but rather the  designation of a                                                               
high  stakes test  -  meaning  if a  student  does  not obtain  a                                                               
certain test score  they do not pass.  He  questioned whether the                                                               
high stakes terminology is being  used in a different terminology                                                               
than an exit  exam or passing the bar exam  which are high stakes                                                               
tests, whether it is being used in a different context.                                                                         
CHAIR KELLER pointed out that the  high stakes tests are terms he                                                               
"he  has been  throwing around  in discussion"  as the  tests are                                                               
very high  stakes in the  sense that  if Alaska does  not comply,                                                               
there are $69 million federal revenue stream dollars at stake.                                                                  
9:23:48 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID NEES,  testified in support of  CSHB 156, and stated  it is                                                               
time  to review  the  relationship between  the Alaska  education                                                               
system  and the  federal government.   He  advised that  when the                                                               
NCLB  came  in  everyone  said  it would  be  impossible  to  get                                                               
everyone on track by 2014, and  they were correct.  He added that                                                               
the NAEP is an actual test,  but encouraged the committee to take                                                               
a look  at the tests of  adult basic school education  "that pays                                                               
the  test."   It  costs  approximately  $1.25 to  administer  and                                                               
requires  a pencil,  approximately 20  minutes, and  is accurate,                                                               
and  he  pointed  out  is  what all  GED  centers  have  used  to                                                               
determine  whether  student are  behind.    He advised  there  is                                                               
nothing in current  state law mandating DEED  do any intervention                                                               
on  students not  performing well.   He  said one  of the  things                                                               
missing  is assigning  the responsibility  for intervention  on a                                                               
child's education when falling behind.                                                                                          
9:25:48 AM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA  HANEY, advised  she has  a web  page entitled  "Alaskans                                                               
Against Common Core,"  but is testifying on her own  behalf.  She                                                               
commented that the  NAEP test was recently given in  Houston.  In                                                               
the context of  the high stakes tests, she  opined, anytime there                                                               
is  district funding  and accountability  tied to  testing it  is                                                               
high  stakes whether  it  is  high stakes  for  the student,  the                                                               
district, or the  state is the issue.  She  addressed the comment                                                               
of what local control look  like, and encouraged the committee to                                                               
review Mary  Janice's statement at  the February 15,  2015, Lunch                                                               
and  Learn  as within  the  presentation  she discussed  her  own                                                               
upbringing  in the  State of  Alaska in  the 70's  and 80's  when                                                               
there  was  absolute  local  control.   Ms.  Haney  reminded  the                                                               
committee that the  Alaska Statehood Act, Sec. 14,  made it clear                                                               
that  the Alaska  Department of  Education and  Early Development                                                               
(DEED) would  have no  control over  curriculum in  the organized                                                               
districts  as that  right was  extended  to Regional  Educational                                                               
Attendance Area (REAAs) on January 1,  1976.  Since 2005, or 2006                                                               
DEED has  been allowed  to intervene in  areas of  curriculum and                                                               
testing with the local districts.   She advised she applauds this                                                               
bill, but  pointed out that  parents currently have the  right to                                                               
refuse the  test and  referred specifically to  page 412,  of the                                                               
District  Test  Manual.    She  said it  is  her  hope  that  the                                                               
committee  consider the  issue of  redacted testing  as well,  as                                                               
before  this  current  test  was  adopted they  got  rid  of  the                                                               
legislation  (indisc.) testing  in  order  that redacted  testing                                                               
could be  implemented.  She  noted that testing should  sunset at                                                               
the end  of 2016-2017,  and the new  (indisc.) "or  whatever they                                                               
reauthorize"   will  probably   be   known  by   that  time   and                                                               
consequently the  sunset with this and  federal legislation would                                                               
dovetail nicely.   She  pointed out  that within  the methodology                                                               
section of the  bill, if NAEP is used, to  consider the Trends in                                                               
International  Mathematics   and  Science  Study  (IMSS).     Any                                                               
researcher  would take  into consideration  the  problems on  the                                                               
2000 NAEP tests because computers errors  were so bad it can't be                                                               
used by  researchers for benchmarking.   She asked  the committee                                                               
to consider  an index of freedoms,  political considerations, and                                                               
sampling size  in making any state  or international comparisons.                                                               
The Journal of American Statistical  Association and the American                                                             
Statistical  Society recently  published a  review regarding  the                                                               
value  of  student  test scores,  teacher  quality,  and  teacher                                                               
variability.  The  review found that less than  one were actually                                                               
involved  in accountability  for teacher  variability.   Finally,                                                               
there are  laws on the  books regarding spending money  on Common                                                               
Core and, she advised, the  department has done almost nothing in                                                               
that regard and  it is still spending money on  Common Core.  She                                                               
remarked that laws do not have  an impact on DEED unless the laws                                                               
are backed by sanctions or action.   She referred to the Moore v.                                                             
State, Case No.  3AN-04-9756 Civil, decision and  she stated that                                                             
Judge Gleason may  not have understood that one  of the witnesses                                                               
had "skin  in the  game and  had a  testing company."   Generally                                                               
speaking, she said, she is supportive  of the bill but is looking                                                               
for something with  teeth that will end  federal involvement, and                                                               
give  local control  back to  Alaska  that was  given within  the                                                               
Alaska Statehood Act.                                                                                                           
VICE CHAIR VAZQUEZ invited DEED to  work with the sponsor in this                                                               
legislation and announced CSHB 156 would be held over.                                                                          
9:32:15 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at ease.                                                                                             
9:32:32 AM                                                                                                                    
[VICE CHAIR VAZQUEZ passed the gavel to Chair Keller.]                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB130.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
CSHB130 Draft Proposed W.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
HB0130 version A.PDF HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
HB130 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
HB130 Fiscal Note - HB130-DOT-EDC-3-3-15.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
HB130 Supporting Document - Letter Steve Rollins.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
HB130 Supporting Document - Letter Dr. Rosita Worl.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
HB130 Supporting Document - Kashevaroff background.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 130
HB 163 ver A.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 163
HB163 Sponsor Statement 3-25-15.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 163
HB163 Fiscal Note EED-CN-3-26-14.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 163
HB 163 Sectional Analysis.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 163
HB 163 Supporting Documents - Smart Snacks State Agency Fundraising Exemptions.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 163
HB 163 Supporting Documents - Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards and Exempt Fundraisers.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 163
HB 163 Supporting Documents - Smart Snacks in School _ USDA All Foods Sold in Schools Standards.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 163
CSHB156 Workdraft I.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/14/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
CSHB156Fiscal Note.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/14/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156A.PDF HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/14/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 Sponsor Statment.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/14/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 FY 16 proposed ed budget.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/14/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 FED LAW REVISE.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/14/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 Ed Week stories.pdf HEDC 3/30/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/14/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 156