Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

04/08/2015 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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        HB 156-SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES; FED. LAW                                                                     
8:02:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced that the  first 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."  [Having  been adopted without                                                               
objection at  the meeting  of 3/30/15, Version  I was  before the                                                               
CHAIR  KELLER  asked  the  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development to  provide a zero fiscal  note or a clear  record as                                                               
to  the  department's reasoning.    He  pointed to  the  previous                                                               
indeterminate fiscal  note which  was based upon  the requirement                                                               
of providing a  designation to the public system as  a whole, and                                                               
not upon  the potential loss  of federal funds which,  he opined,                                                               
is appropriate.                                                                                                                 
8:05:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER advised  that the first issue is with  regard to the                                                               
requirements within Version I, [AS  14.03.123(c), Section 1, 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 countries.                                                                          
CHAIR KELLER  conveyed that  he has an  amendment to  delete "and                                                               
countries."   He opined  that the fiscal  note analysis,  page 2,                                                               
Section 1, implies there is a  new requirement.  He then referred                                                               
to  AS 14.03.123(a),  School and  district accountability,  which                                                               
          (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 pointed out that the  issue in question is the state                                                               
public school system defined in subsection (g), which read:                                                                     
               (g) In this section,                                                                                             
                    (1) "district" has the meaning given in                                                                     
     AS 14.17.990;                                                                                                              
                    (2) "state public school system" means                                                                      
     the combination  of all  public schools,  public school                                                                    
     districts, and state-operated schools.                                                                                     
8:07:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  said  that  currently   subsection  (f)  does  not                                                               
specifically refer to that designation  or the standards for that                                                               
designation for a  public school system.  He put  forth that CSHB
156 asks the basis of the  designation given to the public system                                                               
as a whole,  which the department has not been  doing.  He stated                                                               
he did  not want to  list the National Assessment  of Educational                                                               
Progress  (NAEP) in  the  bill  as the  department  may desire  a                                                               
broader  or different  metric  for giving  a  designation to  the                                                               
public school system.   He opined that  deleting "and countries,"                                                               
and put  on the  record that  the appropriate  intent is  for the                                                               
Department of Education  and Early Development (EED)  to use NAEP                                                               
in  the  public  school  designation,   which  will  address  the                                                               
indeterminate  fiscal  note  discussion  on  that  section.    He                                                               
advised  the analysis  does not  indicate that  the indeterminate                                                               
fiscal note is  based upon the fact that Alaska  may lose federal                                                               
money.   He opined  that the discussion  is a  fundamental rights                                                               
issue that he does not want to get  into with HB 156 unless it is                                                               
absolutely necessary.   In the  event the federal  government had                                                               
authority under  the United States  Constitution to  tell parents                                                               
and children  that they have  to take  tests, it would  have done                                                               
so.   He  reminded  the  committee that  this  bill deleted  this                                                               
(indicated an  amount of paper) which  is the federal law  out of                                                               
state  law, and  unwittingly there  is one  particular regulation                                                               
which states  that Alaska cannot  systemically allow  students to                                                               
opt  out of  tests.   He  added he  would like  the committee  to                                                               
consider  the discussion  as fundamental  rights  and the  school                                                               
system  is in  a  good  position if  it  can  entice parents  and                                                               
students  to take  tests based  upon the  benefits.   He remarked                                                               
that  he is  calling it  into question  because the  requirements                                                               
that  say Alaska  cannot systemically  exclude any  students from                                                               
these tests  is above and  beyond the input that  the legislature                                                               
has had,  and he is insisting  that the legislature has  a voice.                                                               
He added that the people in  EED and the United States Department                                                               
of Education are sincere and  have the best interests of children                                                               
at  heart,  but this  is  a  fundamental individual  and  state's                                                               
rights issue to be addressed.                                                                                                   
8:11:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  HANLEY, Commissioner,  Department  of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development  (EED),  agreed  that  the  challenge  regarding  the                                                               
indeterminate fiscal  note falls largely around  the component on                                                               
page 2, Section  1.  He advised the department  is not attempting                                                               
to deter this bill based upon  the fiscal note, but the challenge                                                               
is that there are currently  district school, district, and state                                                               
methodologies  and  use   Annual  Measureable  Objectives  (AMOs)                                                               
derived from No  Child Left Behind (NCLB).  He  noted that states                                                               
have their own sets of standards  and now states have applied for                                                               
waivers  from NCLB,  and  there  is a  divergence  from a  common                                                               
adequate early progress model in  NCLB which, in effect, makes it                                                               
more  difficult  to compare  states.    With  regard to  how  the                                                               
systems  are compared,  he  noted, there  are  different sets  of                                                               
standards and different accountability  measures.  He pointed out                                                               
that it  has been a  challenge, particularly with the  removal of                                                               
the  compliance to  federal law,  which  potentially removes  the                                                               
responsibility to take NAEP.  It  is a federal test and he opined                                                               
he  was not  certain how  to adequately  compare Alaska  to other                                                               
states.  He offered that NAEP  is the one tool that is available,                                                               
given on bi-annual basis, to  fourth and eighth graders, which is                                                               
a sample  that cannot  be broken  down into schools  as it  is at                                                               
state level  only, but it does  a decent job of  comparing states                                                               
to states.  He said, "If that  is adequate, we are doing that ...                                                               
I just  am not  sure ...  I wasn't  sure in  regards to  this, it                                                               
seems that  there is  more that  truly allows  us to  compare our                                                               
systems ...  NAEP really  doesn't compare systems  ... I  want to                                                               
make sure that we match up  with what the sponsor's intent is and                                                               
if  there more  than a  comparison such  as NAEP  on a  bi-annual                                                               
basis, we might  have to develop something that will  allow us to                                                               
8:14:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  related  that  NAEP  is  sufficient  for  him  and                                                               
reiterated  that the  option  is  open for  the  department.   He                                                               
offered that  his ultimate comparison  is an  academic comparison                                                               
which is what  NAEP performs, which is limited but  also has good                                                               
credibility.  He said that  should the department prefer the bill                                                               
specifies NAEP, the committee will work on an amendment.                                                                        
8:15:25 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER   HANLEY   asked   whether  the   removal   of   the                                                               
responsibility to comply with federal  law makes this silent with                                                               
regard to compliance with federal law, and not prohibitive.                                                                     
CHAIR  KELLER   replied  "absolutely,"   as  the   United  States                                                               
Department  of  Education,  in  2005  or  2006,  explicitly  said                                                               
federal law was  not required to be incorporated  into state law.                                                               
Also, EED has  stated, and the fiscal note reads,  that Alaska is                                                               
in  compliance with  federal law.    Thereby, by  taking it  away                                                               
leaves Alaska  in compliance  with the federal  law, and  it does                                                               
not go beyond that and suggest  that the legislature defy the law                                                               
in  any  sense  unless  it  gets into  the  area  of  threatening                                                               
individual rights, he said.  He  pointed to Sec. 6, requiring the                                                               
department to  reevaluate, with the  school districts,  where the                                                               
state is  on the  standards based assessment  process.   The bill                                                               
asks that  the legislature is  involved in the process  and offer                                                               
suggested action in  the event laws should be updated.   He said,                                                               
"And if  failing our  legislative action,  everything that  is in                                                               
law stays  in place.  That  is very explicitly said  in this bill                                                               
in Sec. 6."                                                                                                                     
8:17:43 AM                                                                                                                    
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Office  of  the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department   of  Education   and   Early  Development,   recalled                                                               
testifying in  2005 on the  bill establishing  the accountability                                                               
CHAIR KELLER  pointed out that  several members on  the committee                                                               
also watched the process.                                                                                                       
MR.  MORSE advised  that in  2005 it  became clear  what Alaska's                                                               
accountability  system  had  to   be  under  the  Elementary  and                                                               
Secondary Education Act  (ESEA).  At that time, in  state law was                                                               
a  system   called  the  Alaska  Designator   System  for  School                                                               
Accountability and there were conflicts  between the two systems,                                                               
he explained.   It didn't make sense at the  time, he related, to                                                               
have  an   accountability  system   that  said  one   thing,  and                                                               
potentially  another accountability  system  that said  something                                                               
else about the schools.   The department proposed that one single                                                               
accountability system  be built  to meet  both state  and federal                                                               
law.   Since  that time,  he said,  an accountability  system was                                                               
built that  is more  in favor  of the  state's interest  over the                                                               
last two  years.   He  referred to the Alaska  School Performance                                                               
Index  which  is  more  on  the lines  of  the  state's  interest                                                               
discovered  through the  department's  regulatory process  versus                                                               
the Adequate Yearly  Progress (AYP) system.  He noted  that it is                                                               
important to understand  that within Section 1,  it is understood                                                               
the latitude  given to the  department to make a  decision around                                                               
accountability.  Currently, he  remarked, the department performs                                                               
a statewide  accountability system  based upon  annual measurable                                                               
objectives.  However, he pointed  out, it does not compare Alaska                                                               
to  other states,  but  the department's  interest  is that  NAEP                                                               
could  be utilized.    He  noted he  was  uncertain whether  that                                                               
language should be  included within the bill as it  may cause the                                                               
department or  the legislature to be  in a box it  may not prefer                                                               
in  the future.   He  conveyed that  NAEP is  the only  tool that                                                               
would assist Alaska  in a comparison to other states  in the most                                                               
statistically sound manner.                                                                                                     
8:21:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MORSE advised  that NAEP  is proctored  every two  years, in                                                               
specific   grades,  and   covers   English   language  arts   and                                                               
mathematics.    Due  to  Alaska's  population,  approximately  50                                                               
percent of  the student body  takes the assessment  statewide, he                                                               
explained.   He reiterated another  concern of the  department is                                                               
if the  federal compliance was  removed, and if the  state became                                                               
non-compliant with federal law, the  money used to build Alaska's                                                               
accountability system  primarily is federal dollars.   Therefore,                                                               
the cost  to the  state would  be whatever costs  it would  be to                                                               
build an  accountability system that  is separate aside  from the                                                               
federal system.   He advised  the last  time the state  went down                                                               
this path  was building the  designator system just prior  to the                                                               
NCLB  amendments to  ESEA.   The  costs involved  were costs  for                                                               
technical design  of the system, stakeholder  input, and whatever                                                               
it costs  to run  the analytics  to put that  in place.   Federal                                                               
compliance  allows utilization  of the  funds for  continuing the                                                               
system,  and  does  not  prohibit  Alaska  being  compliant  with                                                               
federal law, he explained.  An  unknown cost could be approval of                                                               
the  standards-based and  teacher performance  system because  if                                                               
anything there causes  the state to go in  a completely different                                                               
direction  than now,  there  could be  costs  to switching  those                                                               
processes at  that time,  he stated.   He  said he  was uncertain                                                               
whether  that process  would require  new  legislation as  fiscal                                                               
costs would  be attached.  He  said, "The fiscal note  would then                                                               
be attached to anything that  occurred at that time because there                                                               
were costs  that we anticipated  in some of those  other sections                                                               
if we had  to build a state system  and if we had to  give up the                                                               
federal  money.   And that's  why we  put the  amount of  federal                                                               
money that comes in."                                                                                                           
8:26:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  asked whether  Mr.  Morse  had comments  to  other                                                               
sections  as  he  has  responses  and  questions,  he  asked  the                                                               
committee to join him.                                                                                                          
MR. MORSE said he previously  pointed out the department's issues                                                               
with Section 1, and  there are no issues with Sec.  2-3.  He said                                                               
issues with  Sec. 4, were  put on the  record as it  is receiving                                                               
clarity around compliance  with the federal law.   He referred to                                                               
Sec.  6,  approval  of standards-based  assessments  and  teacher                                                               
performance he previously  cover as there are issues  to be dealt                                                               
with as  it is  different from  the way  the department  runs its                                                               
regulatory process, which  is to put things out  for a regulatory                                                               
review and  seek input.   He  noted the  department will  have to                                                               
work through how  this particular piece works  for the department                                                               
in  addressing soliciting  regulation  response.   He pointed  to                                                               
Sec.  5, and  advised that  the information  obtained within  the                                                               
assessments is good information as  it tells how Alaska's schools                                                               
are doing.   In the event a  large number opts out,  it is harder                                                               
for those  schools to advocate  for their good solid  programs if                                                               
they are missing a large  number of students participating in the                                                               
assessment, he explained.  He  said, "That's the argument to have                                                               
all students assessed, but I also  hear the argument that you are                                                               
making, that  ... in this case  you want people to  have a choice                                                               
around  them and  so  it is  a  decision that  you  have to  work                                                               
through, I guess."                                                                                                              
8:29:53 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER   HANLEY   added   that  he   agrees   with   Deputy                                                               
Commissioner Morse.   He referred to AS  14.03.123(h)(2), Sec. 5,                                                               
page 3, lines 14-18, which read:                                                                                                
               (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.                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  HANLEY  continued  that ensuring  the  individually                                                               
identifiable data  is the  key issue  and is  a concern  he hears                                                               
around assessments.  He explained  that assessments are not being                                                               
taught to the  students, but are lessons  taking place throughout                                                               
the year as a measurement on  the student's progress.  He said if                                                               
the  department  can ensure  that  data  is protected,  he  looks                                                               
forward  to making  informed decisions.   He  expressed his  fear                                                               
that  the department  has come  to a  point where  it is  able to                                                               
obtain  decent data  around  Alaska, and  not  just for  majority                                                               
students or Caucasian students,  but for all aggregated students.                                                               
He  explained  that currently  that  data  goes to  students  and                                                               
families, and  to the schools.   He remarked that  the aggregated                                                               
not  identifiable by  students goes  to the  schools as  a school                                                               
report card,  which goes to the  public.  He related  his concern                                                               
that  in  some of  Alaska's  small  schools  in rural  Alaska  it                                                               
wouldn't take  much for  many students to  opt out  to invalidate                                                               
data and  the state has  masked under-performance in  the ability                                                               
to  help address  those  needs.   He  clarified  that  he is  not                                                               
advocating against  more tests, or  against parental rights.   He                                                               
then  brought  forth  the  approval   of  the  standards  by  the                                                               
legislature, and knowing  what it takes to  develop standards and                                                               
"for the legislature  to approve."  He said he  has confidence in                                                               
legislators, but the legislature  and the infrastructure in which                                                               
it  operates  appears to  be  a  difficult place  to  "adequately                                                               
review the  standards that  we teach our  children."   Offering a                                                               
third grade example,  he said there was a standard  that says, "a                                                               
student can identify  the meaning of a word based  on the context                                                               
of the  sentence and  the paragraph."   He  pointed out  that the                                                               
legislature   would   question    whether   that   standard   was                                                               
developmentally  appropriate,  is  that  measureable,  are  there                                                               
scaffolding   skills   in   second  grade,   first   grade,   and                                                               
kindergarten that  lead up  to that, and  whether that  builds on                                                               
the skill needed  in fourth grade so ultimately when  they are in                                                               
fifth grade  and graduate  they have  the skills  necessary based                                                               
upon  the skills  required at  universities  and career  training                                                               
centers.   He cautioned  that together  with that  example, there                                                               
are many standards and due to  the legislature's time frame of 90                                                               
days it appears to be a large challenge and responsibility.                                                                     
8:33:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER requested the amount of NAEP's cost to the state.                                                                  
MR. MORSE responded  that the cost for  NAEP administration comes                                                               
under federal funding, and the  costs to individual schools are a                                                               
small amount  of time.   He explained that the  principal reviews                                                               
the list  of students required  to take the tests  and determines                                                               
whether  there   is  a  student  with   a  significant  cognitive                                                               
disability, someone sets  up the room, and teachers  have to deal                                                               
with  some  students being  pulled  from  their classroom.    The                                                               
proctors are  not active  class teachers,  but often  are retired                                                               
teachers contracted by NAEP, he remarked.                                                                                       
CHAIR KELLER noted that Mr.  Morse pointed out several times that                                                               
if Alaska is  not in compliance there is a  financial impact, and                                                               
reiterated  that  CSHB  156  does  not  take  the  state  out  of                                                               
compliance with  federal law.   Rather, he explained,  it burdens                                                               
EED with further  responsibility.  He pointed  out that education                                                               
in Alaska  is a  state constitutional requirement  and absolutely                                                               
not a  federal mandate.   Education in  Alaska is a  state driven                                                               
assessment system  and the legislature  wants to be  convinced in                                                               
order  to  convince  parents  as   to  what  is  appropriate  and                                                               
beneficial.   In  effect,  he  opined, this  goes  back to  Judge                                                               
Moore's decision  that the legislature  was not doing its  job in                                                               
overseeing education, a federally  mandated program.  Further, he                                                               
stated, it  is written in such  a manner that the  State Board of                                                               
Education and  Early Development  determines regulations  for the                                                               
opt out provision  and he is open to  passing that responsibility                                                               
to the school  districts and they make it a  matter of policy for                                                               
their districts.   He  opined it is  appropriate that  the policy                                                               
comes from the State Board  of Education and Early Development as                                                               
the board has  the responsibility of setting  policy for Alaska's                                                               
statewide system.                                                                                                               
8:38:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  referred to AS 14.03.124(b),  Sec. 6, page                                                               
4, lines 4-9, which read:                                                                                                       
          (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, the                                                                    
     standards-based  assessments   or  teacher  performance                                                                    
      standards on which the legislature failed to act are                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER noted the  concern of obtaining legislative                                                               
approval,  and  pointed  out  that   they  are  approved  if  the                                                               
legislature doesn't  act.   He asked  whether that  addresses the                                                               
concerns of the department.                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  HANLEY  agreed it  does  help  him as  there  could                                                               
simply  not  be enough  time  and  consequently Alaska's  schools                                                               
would be in limbo.  He  reiterated that with the relatively short                                                               
amount  of   time,  the   challenge  becomes   committee  members                                                               
determining   whether,  within   a  kindergarten   standard,  the                                                               
students should be  able to count to  100, or 85.   He opined the                                                               
committee  may not  want to  go there  but the  challenge becomes                                                               
huge for the legislature.                                                                                                       
8:40:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said he is  unclear how the department will                                                               
establish   regulations,  how   it  submits   something  to   the                                                               
legislature, what  the procedure  is should the  legislature fail                                                               
to act, and asked for clarification.                                                                                            
CHAIR KELLER  suggested Representative Seaton offer  an amendment                                                               
clarifying  that  section  as  the  intent  of  the  sponsor  "is                                                               
legislative  and  ...  beyond  that   dialogue  and  vetting  and                                                               
interaction  ...  you  know,  and  so approval  would  ...  as  I                                                               
understand it  the only thing  we can  do is ...  the legislature                                                               
approve  something is  to  pass  a bill.    So  that's where  I'm                                                               
viewing it right now."                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  questioned  what   would  happen  if  the                                                               
legislature took  action and  the governor vetoes  it, is  it the                                                               
passage of a  law, or the passage  of a bill through  one or both                                                               
CHAIR KELLER advised he sees it as law.                                                                                         
8:42:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MORSE  spoke to  the language  regarding "if  the legislature                                                               
doesn't act then  they are approved," and opined  that it mirrors                                                               
language  in the  school accreditation  standards adopted  by the                                                               
State  Board of  Education  and Early  Development.   He  advised                                                               
those standards were changed once  because school districts asked                                                               
for  a change,  and the  accreditation process  is run  by school                                                               
districts and the  department has minimal involvement.   He said,                                                               
"They came  to the  state board,  well ...  the way  that process                                                               
works is, we then  submit, and I think we submit  a letter to the                                                               
standing committees over our department  at the beginning of that                                                               
session, after that regulation has been  put in place.  And then,                                                               
if  the legislature  doesn't take  an  action, which  I make  the                                                               
assumption that that action would  be by passing a law countering                                                               
what was done, then those standards stay in place."                                                                             
CHAIR KELLER opined that is consistent with case law.                                                                           
8:44:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON directed attention  to subsection (5), page                                                               
2, lines  7-9, and  referred to "the  methodology used  to assign                                                               
the  state public  school system  a performance  designation ..."                                                               
He surmised  Alaska had a performance  designation standard based                                                               
upon  the annual  measurable objective  which  is not  comparable                                                               
with other states.   He said, "I don't see  how, unless we change                                                               
and make  NAEP our public  school system  performance designation                                                               
... and give that somehow throughout  classes, we can say that we                                                               
would fulfill this criteria by  using NAEP and only comparing two                                                               
grades and  high school doesn't matter  basically about comparing                                                               
our self to other states."                                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER HANLEY deferred to the  sponsor, and said that was a                                                               
concern he  had expressed  in that  it appears  NAEP will  not do                                                               
everything the  department needs it to,  and it looks like  it is                                                               
asking  for more  than  the NAEP.   But,  he  noted, the  sponsor                                                               
clarified that  NAEP does  allow the department  to compare  in a                                                               
manner  that  appears appropriate  and  meets  the needs  of  the                                                               
8:46:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER referred  Representative  Seaton to  a document  he                                                               
previously  passed  out  depicting 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  advised it gives  the state public school  system a                                                               
designator  and  specifically  refers to  subsection  (f),  which                                                               
          (f) In the accountability system for schools                                                                          
     and districts required by this section, the department                                                                     
     shall ...                                                                                                                  
CHAIR  KELLER continued  that it  is difficult  to determine  the                                                               
criteria used  to give a  state public school  system designation                                                               
in (f) but it does  reference academic proficiency.  The language                                                               
in Section  1 discusses a  performance designation  that compares                                                               
state public school  systems, but it could be  amended to include                                                               
academic  performance, he  said.   He  remarked  that it  doesn't                                                               
change things  in subsection  (e) or  Sec. 5,  because it  is not                                                               
directly  related to  the requirement.   He  reiterated that  the                                                               
added Sec.  5, page 2,  lines 7-9,  was intended for  the process                                                               
used to  give the public school  system of the State  of Alaska a                                                               
designator which  has not been  defined in the past,  but assumed                                                               
it  was  being  done  but   evidentially  not.    In  offering  a                                                               
designator to  the state  system, he could  not imagine  who else                                                               
would  be compared  to  except  other states  or  countries.   He                                                               
reiterated that "or  countries" will be deleted.   He opined that                                                               
the interest from  policy makers is "how are we  doing," which is                                                               
a  valid question  so the  self-designator which  is done  by the                                                               
department for the public school system is valuable.                                                                            
8:48:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   questioned  whether  the   students  are                                                               
allowed to  opt out  of the  randomized student  selection across                                                               
the  state  for  NAEP,  can  it  still  be  utilized  to  compare                                                               
nationally.  He  said, "We have a mechanism  for actually schools                                                               
to take  all their  lower performing students  and not  have them                                                               
participate  in  NAEP,  or  in  the test,  and  then  change  the                                                               
COMMISSIONER HANLEY pointed  out that the opportunity  to opt out                                                               
creates  the  risk  of  altering  the  sample  size  which  could                                                               
jeopardize the  outcome and national  comparability.   He advised                                                               
that NAEP  has a  methodology of  choosing schools  and districts                                                               
around the state.                                                                                                               
8:50:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  referred  to  the  statement  that  the                                                               
principal of the  school reviews the list of  the students chosen                                                               
to take the  NAEP test and perhaps remove a  child with cognitive                                                               
disabilities,  and  asked for  an  explanation  in  how it  is  a                                                               
randomized test  if the  principal can  remove students  from the                                                               
MR.  MORSE  responded  that  students  with  a  severe  cognitive                                                               
disability  take  an  alternate   assessment  and  never  take  a                                                               
standardized  assessment in  any  testing condition  as it  would                                                               
provide an invalid score.  Also,  he pointed out, a principal may                                                               
be able to remove a student,  for example, an enrolled student is                                                               
in the hospital  on medical leave but  performing studies through                                                               
the district in a correspondence set  up.  In the event a student                                                               
is removed in that manner,  the sample pulls another student that                                                               
fits  the   demographic  makeup   of  the  student   removed,  he                                                               
8:52:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER read 4 AAC 06.820(b),  "A school or district may not                                                               
systemically exclude students from assessment."                                                                                 
He opined that is a red  flag which includes the motivation of HB
156, as to  say Alaska cannot systemically  exclude students from                                                               
assessment if  that is a  constitutional issue and  a fundamental                                                               
right of  the parents, if  systemically means that  Alaska cannot                                                               
pass laws to allow for an opt out, that's what motivates him.                                                                   
8:53:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ opined  that  NAEP is  administered on  a                                                               
random sampling  basis and  asked whether  there is  a nationally                                                               
recognized standardized  test that is  provided or given  to each                                                               
student.  She  noted that NAEP may have a  useful purpose but for                                                               
the individual  parents who may want  to know how their  child is                                                               
doing compared to  the rest of the students in  the state, or the                                                               
nation, whether there is a mechanism for that type of testing.                                                                  
COMMISSIONER HANLEY  offered there  is not a  national assessment                                                               
to compare  students, but statewide there  is the standards-based                                                               
assessment  (AMP) that  measures  students  on their  proficiency                                                               
which does allow for a statewide comparison.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  questioned whether he is  saying there is                                                               
nothing  out  there that  other  states  may be  using  comparing                                                               
students across state lines.                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  HANLEY responded  "No,  I'm not  because what  that                                                               
would require is that all  states participate."  He offered there                                                               
are international tests but those are by state choice.                                                                          
8:55:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked what the department  considers the                                                               
SAT and ACT  in that respect as they are  self-selected tests any                                                               
child  can take  at  the  end of  their  K-12  education, but  it                                                               
provides a comparison to other students.                                                                                        
MR. MORSE  responded it is a  national test in that  all students                                                               
across  the nation  have a  choice  to take  it, but  it isn't  a                                                               
comparative test as not all  students participate.  He added that                                                               
there  are  other "norm  referenced"  assessments,  but are  norm                                                               
referenced to  a group of  students drawn across the  country who                                                               
took it  when the norms  were set, but  not all states  offer any                                                               
single tests.   He  pointed out that  for ongoing  comparisons in                                                               
how Alaska's  students perform over  the years relative  to other                                                               
states at the individual student level,  no tool has been used in                                                               
that manner in the state's educational history.                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER HANLEY  added that  Alaska's students  perform well,                                                               
nationwide, on the SAT and ACT.   He opined that is due to larger                                                               
groups of  students taking  the tests  in other  states, whereas,                                                               
Alaska has  always been  a voluntary  system based  upon parent's                                                               
payments  until last  year.   Therefore,  the  sampling is  small                                                               
compared to other states, skewing the statistics.                                                                               
8:57:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  referred to AS 14.03.123(d),  Sec. 2, page                                                               
2, line 17-20, 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                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON advised that  subsection (d) is with regard                                                               
to a  public school  or district that  received a  low performing                                                               
designation in  that it  must submit an  improvement plan  to the                                                               
department.    He  referred  to  the new  language,  in  that  it                                                               
includes "must"  for the improvement  plan and questioned  how it                                                               
works  in a  local district.    He noted  that a  portion of  the                                                               
problem is  that a  local district,  charged with  the education,                                                               
has been  low performing and  according to the new  language more                                                               
local control must be given to the low performing district.                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  HANLEY advised  that  the  department always  gives                                                               
preference  to   finding  ways  to  empower   local  communities.                                                               
Interestingly, he noted, Judge Sharon  Gleason in Moore v. State,                                                             
Dept. of  Natural Resources,  992 P.2d  576 (Alaska  1999), found                                                             
the  state deficient  when local  districts  were not  performing                                                               
well and  local control had  failed to  make changes to  that and                                                               
the state had failed to  step in and provide additional oversight                                                               
and  support, it  was negligent  in its  duty.   For example,  he                                                               
explained, a trustee was in  the state's lowest performing school                                                               
district and  that strategy was  met with great resistance  as he                                                               
represented the state.   He opined this as  being problematic and                                                               
the department  works to engage  local districts to  the greatest                                                               
extent possible.                                                                                                                
9:01:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON stated  he does not understand  how, with a                                                               
low  performing  designation  school  district,  they  must  give                                                               
preference to  greater local control  when it had  complete local                                                               
control of the curriculum previously,  and questioned whether the                                                               
legislature  fulfills  its  obligation   to  be  responsible  for                                                               
COMMISSIONER  HANLEY stated  the  requirements  for schools  that                                                               
receive low performance designations,  in this section, determine                                                               
the  school improvement  plans.   With  regard to  the 12  lowest                                                               
[designator] schools,  the state provides coaches  and additional                                                               
support.   He  advised the  state's preference  is to  advise the                                                               
school of its weaknesses and  work with the teachers, principals,                                                               
and superintendents, as to where  they believe the state could be                                                               
of the most assistance.  He  said he understands the concern of a                                                               
mandate on local control, but does not see it as problematic.                                                                   
9:03:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  opined that he  is gratified this is  EED's policy,                                                               
which is the purpose of the  section, as ultimately the answer to                                                               
a quality  education is engagement  of the  parents, communities,                                                               
and local school districts.                                                                                                     
9:04:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced CSHB 156 is held in committee.                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB156 Workdraft I.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156A.PDF HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 Sponsor Statment.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
CSHB156Fiscal Note.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 Research Report.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 FY 16 proposed ed budget.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
CSHB85 Work Draft Version S.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 85
HB156 FED LAW REVISE.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB156 Ed Week stories.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/13/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 156
HB85 Draft Proposal CS v P.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 85
HB85 Sectional Analysis.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
CSHB85 Sectional version P.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 85
HB85 Sponsor Statement.docx HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 85
HB85 ver N.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 85
HB85 Oppose UAF.pdf HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 85
HB85 Support Written Testimony Sisson.doc HEDC 4/8/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 85