Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/14/1996 02:12 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 465 - TEACHER EMPLOYMENT/PUB SCHL BARGAINING                             
                                                                               
 Number 138                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN, Sponsor, said he met with a group of                
 individuals, including representatives from the Association of                
 School Boards, Alaska PTA, NEA-Alaska and elementary and secondary            
 school principals on February 26 to discuss HB 465.  The outcome              
 was that a number of recommendations were incorporated into the               
 current committee substitute which covers three main areas:  1)               
 teacher evaluation; 2) nonretention and evaluation; and 3) layoffs.           
                                                                               
 Number 255                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARILYN LEAHY, President, Valdez School Board, testified via                  
 teleconference that she believed the sponsor and committee had                
 taken a good bill and turned it into an excellent bill; one that              
 challenges school districts to set high standards and gives school            
 boards the tools needed to achieve those standards.  There are                
 three strengths she sees in the legislation.  The first, is that              
 both community and teachers would be involved in setting the local            
 evaluation criteria and the public would have input to the                    
 evaluation process itself.  Another strength is the layoff                    
 procedures are clarified and strengthened.  If circumstances                  
 require a school board to resort to this drastic measure, it can be           
 done without destroying the educational program.  Rehire rights for           
 teachers that are vested, are also ensured.  Finally, the change in           
 the dismissal proceedings takes into account the legal protection             
 for individuals that already exists as part of the obligation of              
 school board members.  This legislation provides for the proper               
 oversight of school boards, but does so without attempting to                 
 replace their authority.  She believes the rights of the                      
 individuals have been fully addressed by this legislation, and the            
 role of school board members as elected officials, has been                   
 reinforced.  In conclusion, it is her belief this bill strikes                
 exactly the right balance between the rights of the individual                
 employees and the needs of the citizens to establish and maintain             
 educational standards for each community.  If passed, she believes            
 it will improve the quality of instruction, improve school board              
 accountability in the district, and cause everyone to raise their             
 expectations of what education in Alaska should be.                           
                                                                               
 Number 345                                                                    
                                                                               
 MIKE WILEY testified via teleconference that he had served for six            
 years on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and has about            
 13 years of teaching experience.  He believes this is a good bill             
 and had three areas to address which emphasized some good points.             
 He stated the language in Section 3 relating to school boards                 
 considering information from students, parents, community members,            
 classroom teachers, and administrators in the design and periodic             
 review of the district's certificated employee evaluation system is           
 both appropriate and excellent.  In Section 4, he supports the                
 three-year tenure right clause.  It is his opinion, this would help           
 teachers as well as the general public and is a good compromise.              
 He supported the language change in Section 8, AS 14.20.175(b)(1)             
 from "failure, after imposition of a plan of improvement..." to               
 "failure, after implementation of a plan...."  Also, he felt the de           
 novo concern had been addressed in Section 10.                                
                                                                               
 Number 436                                                                    
                                                                               
 JIM SIMEROTH, President, Kenai Peninsula Education Association,               
 testified via teleconference that he represents approximately 710             
 tenured and nontenured teachers and has 32 years experience himself           
 in the classroom.  There were a multitude of reasons why he thought           
 CSHB 465 would reduce education to a political morass and lower the           
 quality of education for children; instead he wanted to share one             
 of the situational cases that he dealt with this year as president.           
 There is a teacher with 17 years of experience in other districts,            
 who is in her second year in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School               
 District.  She is nontenured, intelligent, very well educated and             
 dedicated to her students.  No one questions her instructional                
 skills, the time she spends working on curriculum improvements, or            
 in helping children.   She has developed and implemented a new                
 curriculum program that is followed throughout the district, is               
 professional in every sense of the word, and has never had anything           
 even resembling a bad evaluation.  This year she got a new                    
 principal, who recently became an administrator after teaching for            
 a couple of years.  Last year he was transferred mid-year from his            
 original assignment to another school to finish out the year.  This           
 year he came to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and               
 shortly into the year, he discovered he needed more time for                  
 administrative duties and less for teaching, so he reassigned the             
 teachers and changed the curriculum model.  Concerned parents                 
 became upset and questioned the teacher as to why this was                    
 happening.  She told the parents and the principal perceived that             
 as nonsupportive, gave her an unsatisfactory evaluation and placed            
 her on a plan for improvement.  The gist of that plan for                     
 improvement simply stated that 1) she had to display enthusiasm for           
 activities when suggested by someone else, meaning the principal,             
 with 100 percent accountability; 2) she would reduce inappropriate            
 communication with school visitors, staff, parents and community,             
 which obviously meant don't tell the parents anything about how               
 decisions were made in the school; and 3) she would show support              
 and respect to the principal during the time of formal and informal           
 settings on and off campus 100 percent of the time.  He asked if              
 this teacher was supposed to support and respect this principal               
 even when he might not deserve that support and respect?  He stated           
 the whole point is that a very outstanding and dedicated teacher is           
 likely to be gone from their school district.  He believed that               
 CSHB 465 if enacted, would create this scenario for every hard                
 working, confident and dedicated teacher in the state of Alaska.              
 He urged the committee not to pass CSHB 465.                                  
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the school board didn't ultimately hire and           
 fire teachers.                                                                
                                                                               
 MR. SIMEROTH replied certainly.                                               
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that if this teacher loses her job, it             
 would be a school board decision, not the principal's decision.               
                                                                               
 MR. SIMEROTH thought that would be the case.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 641                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOHN CYR, Teacher, Wasilla High School and Vice President, NEA-               
 Alaska, urged the committee not to pass CSHB 465.  He felt there              
 were many questions and problems with it.  He referenced Section 3,           
 AS 14.20.149(b)(6) which requires the school district to prepare              
 and implement a plan of improvement for a teacher or administrator            
 whose performance is evaluated as less than acceptable.  He said              
 that section actually has two parts, in that it requires a plan of            
 improvement when a teacher or administrator is less than                      
 acceptable, but it further states "except if the teacher's or                 
 administrator's performance warrants immediate dismissal."  He                
 wondered if that set another standard.  He said the old tenure bill           
 spoke of incompetence which is legally definable, but the language            
 in CSHB 465 appears wide open for interpretation.  With regard to             
 Section 3, AS 14.20.149(b)(7) which provides an opportunity for               
 students, parents, community members, peers and administrators to             
 provide information to the evaluating administrator on the                    
 performance of the teacher or administrator who is the subject of             
 evaluation, he wondered what doors this would open.  He questioned            
 what Section 3, AS 14.20.149(3) would do to a negotiated agreement.           
 He felt that whole section seemed to be mandated.  A number of                
 districts had met cooperatively and collaboratively with the school           
 boards and superintendents and worked out their own plans of                  
 improvement and evaluation.  He asked if those plans would be                 
 disregarded and the process would start over?                                 
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Ivan to address Mr. Cyr's                 
 questions concerning immediate dismissal and the plan of                      
 improvement.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 774                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said the evaluation plan gives an opportunity             
 for administrators and teachers to work together if there are                 
 problems.  For example, if a nontenured teacher is prone to                   
 problems or needs assistance, those issues can be identified and a            
 plan of evaluation developed between the teacher and the                      
 administrator.  If there is no improvement the following year, then           
 there is cause for nonretention.                                              
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the question raised was about the plan for                
 improvement, but there's also criteria for immediate dismissal.  He           
 asked if that referred to the immorality or gross insubordination             
 issue.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 819                                                                    
                                                                               
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Ivan Ivan, said           
 that was correct.  He had questioned the bill drafter about it                
 because Representative Ivan wanted to make it clear there was                 
 nonretention and there was dismissal.  The bill drafter indicated             
 the language on page 3, line 6, needed to be left in the bill,                
 except if there was an incompetence question, immorality question             
 or substantial noncompliance question, then immediate dismissal               
 could take place because of one of those three issues.  He                    
 explained that incompetence was still in the dismissal section.               
 Incompetence was changed in the nonretention section to fit in with           
 the evaluation system.  Incompetence was still a standard for                 
 dismissal.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Wright to address the plan for evaluation.           
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT explained that Section 14 states, "Nothing in this Act             
 affects a collective bargaining agreement in effect on the                    
 effective date of this Act."  In other words, those plans that are            
 in use and part of a negotiated contract on the effective date of             
 this act, will remain in effect.  However, it can become a                    
 negotiable issue after the negotiated contract expires if the                 
 school district and the union wish to do so, but the evaluation               
 system will be based on the performance standards already adopted             
 by the Department of Education.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 895                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CYR said he was a little skeptical that when and if this                  
 legislation is enacted into law, the "warrants immediate dismissal"           
 language would be open to interpretation.                                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it would be his intent that               
 there be two criteria:  That is nonretention and then dismissal.              
 Dismissal is currently spoken to in the statute and is                        
 incompetence, immorality and substantial noncompliance.  He views             
 the immediate dismissal only applying for the dismissal section,              
 not for the nonretention section.                                             
                                                                               
 MR. CYR referred to Section 8 and said it appeared that                       
 incompetency had been deleted from the section.                               
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said he would try to clarify this issue, because there             
 had been a number of questions raised.  In current statute                    
 dismissal is cited under AS 14.21.070 and nonretention is cited               
 under AS 14.21.075.  Currently, the same standard exists for both.            
 The CSHB 465 changes incompetency under the nonretention portion of           
 the statute to fit the evaluation system into the overall scheme.             
                                                                               
 MR. CYR referenced Section 9, AS 14.20.177(a)(2) relating to                  
 reductions in force and asked who sets the standard.  He said every           
 year his school district talks about a significant decrease in                
 revenue, although it has never happened yet.                                  
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said the financial emergency section had been an issue             
 for two years.  Originally, the proposed legislation contained                
 language regarding what constituted a financial emergency, but it             
 was not to everyone's liking.  The decision was made to go back to            
 the language contained in HB 398, the Governor's bill, which was              
 compromised on by all the groups, and that language was                       
 incorporated into the current committee substitute.  Mr. Wright               
 said from a legal standpoint, he couldn't tell the committee what             
 the language means.                                                           
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it appeared that decision would           
 be made by the local school district, but hoped to have a little              
 more clarity as other individuals testified.                                  
                                                                               
 MR. CYR commented that he was upset because in his view the de novo           
 trial and the right to go to Supreme Court in the case of dismissal           
 had been taken away.  He believed that to be a diminishment of his            
 rights.                                                                       
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he didn't interpret it to mean that a person              
 wouldn't have a right to go to court.                                         
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT referred Mr. Cyr to page 8, lines 5-7, which states, "If           
 the school board sustains the dismissal or nonretention, the                  
 teacher may appeal the decision to the superior court, in                     
 accordance with applicable rules of court, for a judicial review              
 based on the record."                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. CYR asked if he would be allowed to go to Supreme Court?                  
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he didn't see any limitation.                             
                                                                               
 Number 1232                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON said she interpreted "based on the              
 record" to mean that the judge would only be able to look at what             
 was actually on the record; in other words no new evidence could be           
 brought forward.                                                              
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT concurred with her interpretation.                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought that may be part of the problem.              
 She said in all the appeals she has sat on, it had always been on             
 the record augmented, so it was on the record but both parties had            
 the right to bring new information forward if need be.                        
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said certainly there isn't any limitation in this              
 legislation that would prevent a person from taking their case to             
 court.                                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it didn't keep a person from taking it           
 to court, but that person could only take to court what was                   
 actually in the record; nothing new.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1331                                                                   
                                                                               
 LARRY OUELLETTE, Special Education Teacher, testified in opposition           
 to CSHB 465.  As a special education teacher, he thinks about all             
 the laws that protect the due process rights of parents.  For                 
 example, there is a team of people who get together and set up an             
 education plan based on criteria that is observable and measurable.           
 This legislation raises a concern that certain aspects may not be             
 observable and measurable.  He commented that he has worked in 26             
 school districts as an itinerant, and has seen how personalities              
 can affect teachers.  When a teacher's activities were reviewed by            
 people who allow personalities to enter into the process, it                  
 becomes easy to do that (indisc.) criteria that's observable and              
 measurable.  He reiterated his concern about the aspects of this              
 legislation being very clear as to what standards teachers were               
 going to be performing under.  He added he would like to see more             
 peer review, as he felt a good peer review system for retention               
 purposes had been lacking.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1450                                                                   
                                                                               
 LUCY HOPE, President, Mat-Su Education Association, said the                  
 Association represents about 856 teachers, and she would fax                  
 testimony from several teachers who were unable to be present.  Her           
 testimony addressed the provision in the committee substitute                 
 regarding layoff of tenured teachers.  A week ago she received                
 notice of Mat-Su School District's intent and plan to lay off 170             
 nontenured teachers.  Based on her interpretation of the committee            
 substitute, the Mat-Su School District would qualify every year as            
 having significant, demonstrated reduction in per-pupil                       
 expenditures due to a decrease in revenue from one year to the                
 next.  With the state funding formula frozen since 1989, the growth           
 the Mat-Su district experiences each year and also that the rural             
 contribution has shown a decrease each year in per-pupil funding              
 since 1990, this means the per-pupil expenditures were decreasing             
 every year.  In the Mat-Su district, this would mean teachers every           
 year who have achieved tenure, would be subject to nonretention,              
 even though they are excellent teachers and their performance has             
 been judged as being acceptable.  The anxiety because of the                  
 layoffs has been intense, has caused low morale and has certainly             
 affected the children in the classroom in the Mat-Su School                   
 District.  She is aware that many of the teachers being laid off              
 are applying for jobs in neighboring districts or in the Lower 48,            
 and it is her belief that if this law is passed, every year                   
 teachers who feel at risk will be doing the same thing.  She urged            
 the committee not to pass the bill out.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1680                                                                   
                                                                               
 PAM DARNELL testified via teleconference regarding Section 3 on               
 Employee Evaluation.  She said under the current system, teachers             
 are evaluated by principals who as professional evaluators, look at           
 many different areas when doing an observation and evaluation.  For           
 example, does the teacher follow the curriculum set by the board,             
 does the teacher use all the elements of a good lesson, does the              
 teacher provide lessons that teach all learning styles, are the               
 lessons varied for competitive, cooperative and individual                    
 learners, is the classroom set up to provide a positive learning              
 environment, etc.   Her concern is that parents and committee                 
 members will not be looking at the teacher's teaching skills as the           
 principal does, but at whether or not the students liked the grade            
 received or the discipline the student received.  Her experience              
 has shown that many excellent teachers have been dismissed for a              
 variety of reasons other than their teaching skills.                          
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if these conflicts would apply to a                      
 personality conflict between a principal and a teacher?                       
                                                                               
 MS. DARNELL responded perhaps to some extent, but she hoped a                 
 principal would use a certain set of guidelines for evaluations.              
 She guessed the key would be to vote for competent school board               
 members, who would hire competent superintendents, who in turn                
 would hire competent principals, and so forth.                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Ms. Darnell if she would place more                
 faith in students or parents?                                                 
                                                                               
 MS. DARNELL responded probably students, because at least they were           
 in the classroom all the time.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1865                                                                   
                                                                               
 KAREN LINDERMAN, Teacher, testified via teleconference from                   
 Fairbanks.  She asked if the word "department" in Section 3 AS                
 14.20.149(b) referred to the Department of Education?                         
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE confirmed it was the Department of Education.                  
                                                                               
 MS. LINDERMAN said she was concerned with its inclusion in a                  
 paragraph that addresses the local school board's responsibility.             
 The issue is who would be setting the standards, how would they be            
 set, etc.   She believed the employee evaluation in Section                   
 14.20.149(e) of CSHB 465 was vague.  She had several questions that           
 came to mind:  What is this concept, how is it determined, who                
 determines it, etc.  Her strongest concern was with the unclear               
 handling of collecting evaluative materials and the employees's               
 access to the information especially if it's in a negative context            
 or prior to a pretermination hearing.  She questioned how                     
 confidentiality would be dealt with and yet due process still                 
 maintained.  She felt these types of concerns were the reason                 
 teachers were not interested in sacrificing the de novo trial                 
 provision.  In conclusion, she said she would rather live with HB             
 398, the Governor's compromise bill.                                          
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it was his opinion that the confidentiality               
 provision applied to keeping the complaints about the teacher                 
 confidential between the teacher and the person doing the                     
 evaluation.  It certainly was not to keep that information                    
 confidential from the teacher.                                                
                                                                               
 MS. LINDERMAN questioned how soon the teacher would have access to            
 that type of information?  Her concern was the teacher would not              
 get discovery on it until they walked in for the pretermination               
 hearing.                                                                      
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-27, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it would not be his intent to             
 deprive the teacher of the normal due process of being able to have           
 access to information and having the ability to face his/her                  
 accuser.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said Section 10, Procedures upon Notice of Dismissal or            
 Nonretention, states that a pretermination hearing under this                 
 section must comport with the minimum requirements of due process,            
 including an explanation of the employer's evidence and basis for             
 the proposed dismissal and an opportunity for the teacher to                  
 respond.  That section goes on to state that following a                      
 pretermination hearing, an employer determines that dismissal is              
 appropriate, the employer shall provide written notice, including             
 a statement of cause and a complete bill of particulars, of the               
 decision.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. LINDERMAN asked what the employee would have in hand before               
 arriving at the pretermination hearing?                                       
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was her assumption that a teacher would            
 be given no advance notice of a pretermination hearing?                       
                                                                               
 MS. LINDERMAN said she certainly hoped that wouldn't happen, but              
 she had seen some pretty bizarre things happen.                               
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said it was the hope of the sponsor that if a teacher              
 had an area of weakness or a particular problem, it would be                  
 discussed through the plan of improvement or in the evaluation.               
 Mr. Wright did not foresee a teacher being dismissed or nonretained           
 without any notice under this system.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 229                                                                    
                                                                               
 JEAN KRAUSE, Retired teacher, testified that her entire teaching              
 career had been at the same high school in the Mat-Su School                  
 District.  During her 20 years of teaching, there were five                   
 different superintendents, one of whom was bought out of his                  
 contract after the community erupted over his unethical activities.           
 This took place after the district had already renewed his contract           
 for two years, even though the community was already upset.  She              
 informed the committee that each superintendent brought a different           
 approach to instruction, and during her last 10 years of teaching             
 there were six different principals, each with their own different            
 approach to instruction and student discipline.  Not all of the               
 principals left their position voluntarily.  She asked if a                   
 principal who is on a plan of improvement should be evaluating                
 teachers?  During her 20 years, there were several teachers who               
 questioned the instructional shifts being imposed upon them.  These           
 teachers were not popular for doing so, yet their questions were              
 not only legitimate, they were right on target about the weaknesses           
 of some of those approaches to instruction and discipline.  Her               
 point was that teachers need some latitude and protection to speak            
 out on instructional and student discipline considerations.  She              
 opposed CSHB 465.                                                             
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that ultimately the school board is the            
 hiring and firing entity.                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. KRAUSE again asked if a principal who is on a plan of                     
 improvement should be evaluating teachers.                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that was an excellent question.  He pointed              
 out that CSHB 465 demands an evaluation of principals.                        
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said he would defer the question to Steve McPhetres,               
 Director of the Principals Association.                                       
                                                                               
 MS. KRAUSE advised she wanted a response from the sponsor, because            
 Mr. McPhetres wasn't the individual who wrote this legislation.               
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was Representative Ivan's intent that a            
 principal on a plan of improvement would be evaluating teachers.              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said the responsibility rests with the school             
 districts throughout the state and he felt these policy questions             
 would be addressed at that level.                                             
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT was sure that issue would be brought up when the local             
 school districts put their evaluation systems and plans of                    
 improvement in place.  Certainly a contingency could be written in            
 to cover the situation of an administrator not doing evaluations              
 correctly.  Also, there would be supervision for an administrator             
 who was on a plan of improvement.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 600                                                                    
                                                                               
 KARLA FEELEY testified via teleconference from Anchorage that                 
 several individuals had expressed concern that an administrator               
 could essentially recommend nonretention for any reason he/she                
 deemed fit under this legislation.  She directed committee members'           
 attention to page 5, Section 8, and said the school administrator             
 would have the ability to implement a plan of improvement and to              
 decide when performance was less than acceptable based on that plan           
 for improvement.  She said that Co-chair Bunde's remarks regarding            
 school boards having the final say about employment decisions was             
 certainly correct; however, the school board is the employer and              
 has a certain reluctance to overthrow the decisions of their                  
 management, so is inclined to listen to the principal's                       
 recommendation to nonretain a teacher.  Under this legislation, a             
 teacher does not get an impartial hearing on the issue.  She noted            
 there is the right to go to court for a judicial review based on              
 the record, but that does not give the judge the opportunity to               
 hear the evidence as an objective and impartial hearing officer.              
 It is important to remember the school board is the employer and              
 the judge cannot hear the evidence himself and make a decision                
 independent of the record.  Her understanding of a judicial review            
 was that a judge must have an egregious reason for overturning the            
 decision of an administrative body like a school board.  The judge            
 can't acknowledge the school board made a wrong decision unless               
 there was some glaring error, so nowhere in this process does a               
 teacher have the right for an objective decision maker.  That's why           
 there had been testimony that a teacher's ability to teach as a               
 professional, without being subject to political whim, is at stake.           
 A teacher's ability to speak his/her opinion about the best                   
 instruction for the students is also at stake.  She asked                     
 Representative Ivan how he planned to keep teaching from being                
 repoliticized under this legislation?                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he didn't believe it would be politicized.           
 He reiterated that school districts are responsible for developing            
 education and evaluation plans and believed the rights of teachers            
 were protected through the due process as outlined in CSHB 465.               
                                                                               
 Number 863                                                                    
                                                                               
 BARBARA YOUNG testified that as a mother of a 4th grade daughter              
 she is very concerned about CSHB 465.  She wanted qualified                   
 teachers teaching her daughter and this legislation does not seem             
 to provide for qualified teachers.  The two-tiered approach dealing           
 with incompetent teachers appeared confusing to her.  She asked how           
 she, as a parent could be expected to evaluate her daughter's                 
 teacher?  She did not believe she was qualified to do that as she             
 was not in the classroom to observe her teaching ability.  Under              
 the current system,evaluating teacher performance is handled by               
 qualified administrators as supervisors.  If this legislation is              
 enacted, who would determine whether her child's teacher gets a               
 plan for improvement or not and what kind of guidelines or                    
 standards would this individual use for the determination?  Are               
 there any written standards for incompetence?  She urged the                  
 committee not to pass this bill out of committee.                             
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Young had said that parents were not              
 qualified to judge whether their children were getting a good                 
 education or not?                                                             
                                                                               
 MS. YOUNG responded that was correct and added she did not feel               
 qualified because she was not in the classroom every day to observe           
 the teaching skills.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 961                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Ms. Young if she saw something blatantly           
 amiss and disagreed with during an observation of a classroom                 
 wouldn't she appreciate the opportunity to participate in a plan of           
 improvement for that teacher?                                                 
                                                                               
 MS. YOUNG responded that if she observed something she disagreed              
 with, she would feel it was her duty to discuss it with the                   
 teacher.  She didn't believe she needed to be involved in the                 
 evaluation process for that to happen.                                        
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that was assuming the teacher listened to            
 the parent, but what happened if the teacher didn't listen?                   
                                                                               
 MS. YOUNG said the opportunity would still exist to go to the                 
 principal.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that sounded like it was evaluating the               
 teacher.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MS. YOUNG said no, she would be bringing forward the problem she              
 had observed.  Evaluation of a teacher is completely different than           
 observing a problem.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1018                                                                   
                                                                               
 JULIE BHEND testified as a concerned parent of two elementary                 
 school age children.  She is very much involved in her children's             
 education, and feels she already has a great deal of input into the           
 teachers' performance.  She has never hesitated to bring her                  
 concerns to the attention of either the teacher or principal, and             
 those concerns have been addressed.  She saw no need to have                  
 parents further involved in the evaluation process.  It was her               
 belief this legislation had very little to do with improving public           
 education, but was laying the groundwork to decrease education                
 funding, which would mean an increase in class size.  It eliminates           
 the concept of job security and she didn't understand how the                 
 Alaska school system could continue to attract high quality                   
 educators if there was no job security.                                       
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that with or without the legislation, there           
 was a great likelihood that funding for schools would be decreased            
 because the money was not available and the general public was not            
 interested in putting additional funding into schools.  With regard           
 to quality educators, he noted there are thousands of people                  
 waiting to take a teaching job.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1113                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON disagreed with Co-Chair Bunde's observation           
 and said polls indicate that people do put education as their                 
 number one priority and would be willing to put more money into               
 education.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that his constituency had indicated to him            
 their number one priority was to cut state spending.  After that,             
 education was their number one priority.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1134                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHRISTIE SCALLEY, Teacher, testified via teleconference and urged             
 the committee not to pass this legislation.  She was concerned that           
 it is unfamiliar ground and she doesn't feel that anyone                      
 understands the full implication of the bill.  She does not believe           
 it would lead to educational excellence and doesn't understand how            
 anyone could say that parents should be allowed to evaluate                   
 teachers.  She noted that out of her 27 students, 11 of them are              
 bilingual whose parents do not speak English.  Four of her students           
 live in a hotel and can only get to school by taxi.  Those are                
 everyday situations.  She stated this was not a teacher-friendly              
 bill, but is more like teacher bashing which affects the children             
 as well as parents.  She observes teachers every day going out of             
 their way for their students.                                                 
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he shared her concern with the teacher bashing            
 or the educational system bashing and felt there were too many                
 experts on education, because everyone had been in a classroom at             
 least once.  He noted that parents currently evaluate teachers all            
 the time.  He believed the language in this legislation was                   
 permissive in that it says parents "may" be part of the process,              
 not necessarily have to be taken into consideration.                          
                                                                               
 MS. SCALLEY said she has evaluated her children's teachers in her             
 own way.  She felt the broadness of the statement in the                      
 legislation would not be good for teachers or the stability of                
 schools.                                                                      
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he shared that, but freedom of speech had to be           
 available to everyone.  It was his opinion that the more parents              
 are included in the process, the more understanding they are of               
 what it takes to be a good teacher.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 1346                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he, too, would be concerned if he                   
 believed the broad statement that parents will evaluate teachers,             
 but pointed out the bill says it will provide an opportunity for              
 students and parents to evaluate teachers.  He believed the                   
 opportunity would be determined at the local school district level,           
 such as at PTA meetings or school board meetings, etc.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1400                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG complimented the sponsor and his staff           
 for including this section, because he believed that a statement              
 should be made in statute to try to involve parents in the                    
 classroom.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN referred to Representative Davis' comment that            
 it is an opportunity given to the parents, but it is not mandated.            
                                                                               
 Number 1473                                                                   
                                                                               
 JANIE HILL testified from Dillingham as a parent and teacher.  She            
 expressed concern with the section of the legislation on the                  
 significant, demonstrated reduction in per-pupil expenditures due             
 to a decrease in revenue from one year to the next.  She said that            
 Dillingham being a rural, small single site district, every year              
 has the threat or actual reduction in revenue.  She was very                  
 discouraged with the previous comment that the public wants to                
 reduce funding and thought a state income tax should be considered.           
 She said more money needed to be put into education, not less.  She           
 was particularly concerned about the stability of education in                
 rural Alaska and remarked there are teachers coming and going all             
 the time and many of the tenured teachers are gone.  She didn't               
 believe teachers should be faced with the threat of being laid off            
 every year due to a lack of revenue.  One of her fears is that                
 teachers who have taught longer and are more experienced may be the           
 ones targeted for removal because more money could be saved.                  
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that individuals who argue for the early             
 retirement bill say those are the teachers who should be gotten rid           
 of.  He pointed out that 65 percent of the people in Anchorage do             
 not have kids in school and do not support the income tax idea.               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated her belief that individuals were               
 pushing for early retirement because of what is perceived as a                
 financial crisis, not because they believe those teachers were not            
 worthwhile.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1616                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHRIS TIEONEY-SWORD testified that House Bill 465 was described by            
 Representative Ivan in the February 29 issue of the Bristol Bay               
 Times as an instrument that could balance the playing field between           
 the teacher's union and schools boards.  While he admits that                 
 teachers deserve benefits and salaries that were "fought so hard to           
 achieve" he also believes that it is okay for any teacher to be               
 fired at any time for any reason.  She said this bill is                      
 adversarial and divisive.  What's good for education isn't to                 
 legally perpetuate a system of battles between school boards,                 
 administrators (indisc.-paper shuffling) collaboration and site               
 based decision making.  She stated CSHB 465 would extend a                    
 teacher's probationary status from two years to three years.                  
 That's how long a teacher would be legally permitted to be fired              
 without any cause.  She said that should be compared to the rest of           
 the working world and believed that a 90-day probationary period              
 was ample time for employees to obtain permanent employment.  She             
 remarked that tenure is not a guarantee of lifelong employment.               
 Competent and effective administrators use their evaluation process           
 to maintain a staff of highly effective educational employees.                
 Currently, she knows she can get fired for being incompetent, for             
 immoral turpitude or for substantial noncompliance of school laws.            
 Tenure works when administrators are given resources to do their              
 job.  Properly funded schools could support administrators and                
 master teachers, whose sole purpose would be to provide support,              
 education and ongoing direction through comprehensive evaluations.            
 That's their job; that's what they are trained to do.  She noted              
 she teaches Earth Science, which isn't popular with parents who               
 believe in creationalism.  She also teaches health and no one likes           
 the curriculum for 7th and 8th grade health, but fortunately she              
 works for a sound district and an administrator who approves of her           
 work ethics and teaching skills, and doesn't let the winds of                 
 political correctness enter into her evaluation process.  House               
 Bill 465 would change that.  Academic freedom and innovation would            
 become a thing of the past.  She believes that CSHB 465 is a                  
 symptom of a greater ill; faulty school funding.  Perhaps it is               
 easier to replace experienced teachers with less costly,                      
 inexperienced ones, but it is not in the best interest of the kids.           
 She said that CSHB 465 gives school boards three creative ways to             
 fire experienced teachers:  1) through the evaluation procedure; 2)           
 through changes in the reduction in force laws; and 3) through the            
 elimination of a teacher's legal right to due process.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1797                                                                   
                                                                               
 JOE JOSEPHSON, Attorney, testified via teleconference from                    
 Anchorage.  He said he hoped to correct some myths after having               
 worked with school districts and teachers in the dismissal process.           
 First, there is the suggestion, which he thinks is flawed, that the           
 trial de novo and teacher tenure are protections only for teachers            
 and don't exist anywhere else in the public service.  Actually, in            
 Title 39, civil servants in the personnel system, have a right to             
 a hearing before the personnel board.  The interesting thing about            
 that is if the employee was dismissed or sanctioned by superiors,             
 that hearing would go to a neutral party, the state personnel                 
 board; not to the boss who made the decision against the employee             
 in the first place.  He felt that is the central problem and what             
 teachers have been advocating is the opportunity to have one level            
 playing field, before one neutral determiner of the facts, whether            
 it be an arbitrator or a superior court judge.  This legislation,             
 as written, does not give that to teachers, but says that if the              
 school board plans to dismiss or nonretain, the teacher has a right           
 to an administrative hearing where the final decision is made by              
 the same board that started the process, and if the teacher is                
 still unhappy with the result, they can go to the superior court.             
 But the matter goes to the superior court not in a de novo hearing,           
 but "on the record of" before the administrative agency.  He said             
 one of the results of that would be that administrative hearings              
 would be more costly and cumbersome because both sides would know             
 that was their only chance.  When it gets to superior court, the              
 judge who has not heard a single witness face-to-face and has not             
 seen anyone's demeanor, will be reviewing the matter only to decide           
 if there is substantial evidence to sustain the decision of the               
 board.  The judge is not there to make an independent judgment.               
 Mr. Josephson pointed out that one of the basic tests on the scope            
 of judicial review says that "an agency finding a basic fact,                 
 generally concerns the parties in a `who did what to whom' variety.           
 The general rule is that such findings are reviewed under the                 
 substantial evidence on the whole record test" meaning that the               
 court has relatively little power.  That is what would happen.  Mr.           
 Josephson went on to say that in the case of personnel from                   
 executive agencies in state government, that is what happens, but             
 the difference of course, is that those people would have had a               
 hearing before an independent personnel board, not the agency for             
 which they were working.  In a case, Titus v. the State, the Alaska         
 Supreme Court said the board's (speaking of the personnel board)              
 findings should not be reversed if in the light of the whole record           
 they are supported by such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind             
 might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.  That's what he             
 fears under this process.  The teacher is charged by the school               
 board, the school board makes a decision, and the school board wins           
 if there is any rational basis found by the judge that sustained              
 it, even if the judge wouldn't make that decision himself and even            
 if the judge thinks the decision is wrong.  He said that is why the           
 trial de novo issue is so important.                                          
                                                                               
 MR. JOSEPHSON believed the testimony of a previous witness was                
 correct in that under the administrative hearing process in CSHB              
 465, there is no guarantee that before the hearing comes up, the              
 teacher would know who is bearing witness against him/her or what             
 that testimony consists of.  Those are rights that an individual              
 has in court, that are not available in the administrative process;           
 they are pre-discovery rights.  From his perspective, whether the             
 committee goes with the Governor's bill, whether the right to                 
 arbitration is inserted, or judicial trial de novo is reinserted,             
 it is important to have one level playing field.  Mr. Josephson               
 said even though someone had previously stated this bill says                 
 judicial on the record, new evidence can be brought in.  In his               
 view that is not clear.  He referenced the Administrative                     
 Procedures Act, Title 44, Chapter 62, and said there is a specific            
 provision that if there is an appeal from the chiropractic or                 
 medical board, for example, to the court, the court can have a                
 trial de novo.  Trial de novo is not limited to just teacher tenure           
 cases.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 2028                                                                   
                                                                               
 LOUANNE WEYHRAUCH testified that as the parent of two children she            
 is opposed to CSHB 465.  She was particularly concerned about the             
 effect of Section 8, which removes the incompetency standards for             
 nonretaining a tenured teacher and substitutes the evaluation                 
 procedure.  She felt the provision in CSHB 465 would basically                
 destroy the protection that existing statute provides from                    
 arbitrary firing.  She believed that teachers should focus on doing           
 their best at teaching and not have to work in fear of doing                  
 something out of the ordinary for which they could lose their job.            
 She feared that under CSHB 465, the creativity and motivation of              
 teachers would be stifled because it makes it too easy for the                
 evaluation process to be manipulated and teachers could be removed            
 for arbitrary reasons.  It is her belief that Section 8 opens the             
 door for a result-based evaluation procedure which would just be              
 aimed at getting rid of a particular teacher for some arbitrary               
 reason.  She stated CSHB 465 removes the requirement of                       
 incompetency for nonretaining a tenured teacher, and requires only            
 a negative evaluation, one plan of improvement and another negative           
 evaluation.  There would be no finding that the teacher was                   
 incompetent.  She believed that additional evaluation requirements            
 could be provided without deleting the requirement that                       
 incompetency remain in the law as a standard for nonretaining a               
 tenured teacher.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 2151                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it was his understanding that             
 if there was a plan of improvement, the teacher had an entire                 
 school year to address the plan of improvement and then there would           
 be another incompetency hearing.                                              
                                                                               
 MS. WEYHRAUCH said she didn't believe the legislation required the            
 plan of improvement to last for an entire year; it stated that it             
 wouldn't go for more than one year.                                           
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it would be his intent that it last for a                 
 school year.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT commented that CSHB 465 states the plan of improvement             
 shall last for no more than one year.  Again, that will be up to              
 the individual school district to decide if it should be exactly              
 one year or if they want to set specified times.  He noted the                
 evaluation standards are based on teacher education standards under           
 4 AAC, Chapter 19, that have been adopted by the Department of                
 Education.  He added those are the minimum standards for which a              
 school district will base standards for teachers.                             
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he would like some assurance that it wouldn't             
 be a two-week plan of improvement and expressed his desire that it            
 be a minimum of a school year.                                                
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said the sponsor did not have a problem with that.                 
                                                                               
 Number 2255                                                                   
                                                                               
 CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards,           
 said with the help of the sponsor, the association had tried to               
 take into consideration HB 217 that was vetoed, HB 398 which is the           
 compromise bill introduced by the Governor, and they looked at HB             
 465 as the vehicle.  With the agreement of Representative Ivan and            
 his work with the reconstituted committee, he has agreed to many of           
 the proposals that have been put forth and has incorporated them              
 into CSHB 465.  Mr. Rose felt they tried to address quality,                  
 performance, accountability and fairness in this legislation and              
 that it had been achieved to a great degree.  He felt the issues              
 before the committee are issues that aren't just shared by school             
 boards.  It is important to note that communities, parents and the            
 public in general are very concerned about the quality of education           
 and he thought a bill such as this that speaks to quality and                 
 performance, addresses public confidence in the schools.  He hoped            
 that people would look at this legislation from a progressive point           
 of view; not from the point of view of being negative and closed              
 minded.  He believed there had been a lot of effort devoted to                
 being open to other avenues, and thought that had been                        
 accomplished.  He said the issues addressed by the Governor in his            
 veto message of HB 217 were that he wanted three years instead of             
 four; CSHB 465 accommodates that.  Another issue was that quality             
 in education through the evaluation process was not addressed, and            
 with the assistance of Commissioner Holloway, a reconstituted group           
 addressed that issue and tried to include it in CSHB 465.  Lastly,            
 the retirement inventive program in HB 217 does not exist in CSHB             
 465.  He thought the crux of this bill was the evaluation for                 
 quality and the largest disagreement was the removal of the de novo           
 trial.  He felt the issue centers around the economics and the                
 protections provided by the system in CSHB 465 and by the proposals           
 that are being offered through direct access to superior court.               
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-27, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE felt it should be understood that there was no           
 consensus of the reconstituted group on the provisions offered in             
 CSHB 465.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she and Mr. Rose had discussed the               
 section regarding the record being supplemented by new, relevant              
 information.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. ROSE believed Representative Robinson was referring to the                
 augmented record.  His understanding was that Representative                  
 Robinson was proposing that if there was any additional information           
 which needed to be brought out, not a recap of what had already               
 taken place, that it be done at an additional hearing level.  His             
 only concern was that CSHB 465 provided for a full bill of                    
 particulars and cause.  Mr. Rose said if we went back to the                  
 augmented process and offered additional information, we then are             
 out of compliance with the bill in the first portion.  It could               
 however be changed, and he felt they would be open to looking at              
 that.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 085                                                                    
                                                                               
 RICHARD CROSS, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Education, said             
 that Governor Knowles introduced a consensus bill dealing with the            
 issues before the committee and still fully supports HB 398.  He              
 pointed out that Representative Ivan had listened to the various              
 interested parties and improved the legislation.  Since the last              
 hearing on HB 465, Commissioner Holloway reconvened the group of              
 people who crafted HB 398; parents, school board members, teachers,           
 school and university administrators.  The group met February 25              
 and Representative Ivan met with them the following day.                      
 Representative Ivan incorporated many of the concerns that were               
 raised by that group in the committee substitute.  He said he would           
 like to see discussion continued in three areas:  1) A comparison             
 of HB 398 to CSHB 465 reveals that HB 398 provides for considerably           
 more local control in areas like the development of the evaluation            
 procedure and other areas; 2) Commissioner Holloway has a strong              
 belief that education should be improved through standards -                  
 standards for teachers, standards for schools and standards for               
 students.  In the area of nonretention, the department would like             
 to make it clear that a nonretention should be standards based.  In           
 other words, the reason for the teacher's nonretention was failure            
 to meet the standards that were established and agreed upon.  The             
 last area was the narrowed dismissal process.  He said there had              
 been considerable debate and discussion about trial de novo and the           
 problems associated with school boards having to go through two               
 complete trials in order to dismiss a teacher.  The department felt           
 that some balancing needed to occur between the dismissal procedure           
 set forth in CSHB 465 and the trial de novo.                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said Mr. Cross had referred to a teacher                 
 having two complete trials before being dismissed and wondered if             
 he meant one hearing and one trial de novo.                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS responded under the current system, the school board is             
 required to offer a teacher a full hearing and then a trial de novo           
 if the teacher chooses to appeal, which has been determined by the            
 courts through various rulings to be a completely new trial.  In              
 other words, what happens at the hearing before the school board              
 gets flushed when the teacher goes to court.                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS encouraged Mr. Cross to address the concerns             
 with Representative Ivan and his staff.  He felt that maybe a few             
 minor word changes could work to everyone's satisfaction.                     
                                                                               
 Number 291                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHRIS BOONE, School Nurse, testified from Anchorage that school               
 nurses in the Anchorage School District are proud of the services             
 they provide to the students and staff.  She noted that in many               
 parts of the state, health care is provided by staff who lack the             
 knowledge necessary to deliver optimum health care and health                 
 education and requested the committee's help to ensure that didn't            
 happen in the Anchorage School District.  Last fall a budget review           
 team assembled to help the Anchorage School District formulate                
 their 1996-97 budget proposal.  The committee which studied the               
 special education department of which health services is a part,              
 recommended that 46 school nurse positions be eliminated in the               
 district and that 28 health attendants be hired.  The                         
 superintendent chose not to concur with the recommendation at that            
 time but stated it was their intent to investigate alternatives for           
 service delivery at a reduced cost.  Based on the steps taken, it             
 appears the intent is to abolish the certificated school nurse                
 positions and attempt to deliver the services with employees having           
 less education.  She said that CSHB 465 has a provision which would           
 give the superintendent the legal right to terminate the jobs of              
 school nurses in Anchorage.  There is a section that allows school            
 boards to lay off tenured teachers, which also includes                       
 certificated nurses.  She discussed the importance of the school              
 nurses particularly if parents do not have the financial means to             
 seek routine medical care.  She urged the committee to delete the             
 section of the legislation that allows for the dismissal of tenured           
 employees because of financial shortfalls.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 405                                                                    
                                                                               
 STEPHEN McPHETRES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School               
 Administrators, testified that at the last hearing on HB 465, he              
 provided some language which has been incorporated into CSHB 465.             
 He noted that discussions now refer to employee evaluation, not               
 teacher evaluation, which was one of their recommendations because            
 they believe that as administrators they can be held accountable              
 for supervision.  With regard to the question that was raised about           
 a principal being on a plan of improvement, he views that no                  
 differently than a teacher who is on a plan of improvement to carry           
 out the responsibilities of the classroom.  Therefore, a principal            
 who is on a plan of improvement would be responsible for carrying             
 out the evaluation of teachers.  He pointed out an area that had              
 not been addressed was the provision that allows an evaluation to             
 take place every two years, not every year, for tenured teachers              
 who are proven competent.  This is an opportunity for principals to           
 be able to concentrate on nontenured teachers and tenured teachers            
 whose performance is questionable.  The council believes this is a            
 good piece of legislation and urged passage.                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON referenced page 3, section 7, and asked if            
 that was the language proposed by the Alaska Council of School                
 Administrators.                                                               
                                                                               
 MR. McPHETRES replied yes, it was.                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked what Mr. McPhetres' perception was of           
 a school district in terms of who would be doing the evaluation.              
                                                                               
 MR. McPHETRES said that would come from the superintendent.                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked why then did the legislation say                
 school district instead of superintendent.                                    
                                                                               
 MR. McPHETRES explained there are supervisors in the larger                   
 districts, so if it says superintendent there would be no                     
 flexibility for the larger districts.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 517                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if there was a lack of continuity                  
 between school districts with regard to certificated employees?               
                                                                               
 MR. McPHETRES responded to his knowledge everyone who is                      
 responsible for teaching or administration must have a certificate            
 unless it is an emergency condition, which he thought would require           
 approval from the Commissioner of the Department of Education.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said his question was directed more at nurses            
 and library assistants who could be certificated in one school                
 district, but not in another.  Inasmuch as certificated employees             
 are addressed in the evaluation system, were those individuals                
 included.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. McPHETRES responded that would depend on the district's                   
 definition of the position.  For example, a librarian assistant may           
 not require an certificate.                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that was his question.  Is the lack of              
 continuity between the school districts going to cause some                   
 problems?                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. McPHETRES replied no, it would not cause any problems.                    
                                                                               
 Number 610                                                                    
                                                                               
 RON FUHRER, Teacher, testified from Anchorage and noted that the              
 Governor's compromise bill, HB 398, appeared to encapsulate all the           
 salient points from HB 217 and thought it was a very good bill.  He           
 expressed concern that CSHB 465 appeared to mimic the compromise              
 bill, but ignored various components that he felt would help in               
 terms of teachers feeling secure in focusing on the academic                  
 instruction and not being concerned about the loss of their                   
 employment status.  One of his concerns was that it appeared a                
 tenured teacher could be dismissed at any time during the year.               
 Yet again, a tenured teacher could be placed on a plan for                    
 improvement and would be dismissed if their performance was not               
 acceptable.  He said there doesn't seem to be any specifics as to             
 what the plan of improvement would be.  Were the expectations                 
 measurable and attainable, were they subjective versus objective,             
 and what was the criteria to be used to measure acceptable                    
 performance?  Another problem he addressed was how were parents               
 going to provide input on the evaluation process without being in             
 the classroom?                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 756                                                                    
                                                                               
 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, NEA-Alaska, Inc., testified she was in sort of an            
 unusual situation in that historically NEA-Alaska has strongly                
 opposed any change to the tenure laws.  The NEA has believed the              
 tenure laws have been good for public education and good for the              
 state of Alaska, have provided an opportunity for stable teaching             
 staff within the school districts and played a major role in the              
 successful learning opportunities for the students.  The continuity           
 and stability of the staff is very important in the making of an              
 effective public school and effective teaching.   For several years           
 there have been concerns voiced from parents, administrators and              
 school boards that two years has not been enough time to do an                
 evaluation and the increasing costs of the dismissal process.   At            
 their delegate assembly in January, NEA-Alaska convinced the                  
 delegates that in the spirit of trying to improve quality education           
 they agreed to several changes in the law, including changing the             
 probationary period from two to three years, adding an evaluation             
 section to law which NEA-Alaska felt was something that has been              
 needed for a long time, and agreed to changing some options in the            
 dismissal process for both teachers and school districts to save              
 money for both parties, layoff language was added for a district              
 that has determined a financial emergency exists, and "tenure" was            
 changed to something that wasn't quite so controversial.  She                 
 expressed concern about the evaluation process included in CSHB 465           
 in that part of the provisions of the compromise bill were                    
 included, but not all of them.  For example, there are bits and               
 pieces which speak to a plan of improvement, but not specifics                
 regarding what the evaluation process should include.  The NEA-               
 Alaska believes that if local districts are going to have an                  
 evaluation process, then there should be input from community                 
 members, parents, teachers, administrators and everybody involved             
 in designing that process.  She felt the addition of a plan of                
 improvement in that section truly muddies the water.  She thought             
 there needed to be very specific language about establishing job              
 descriptions, as well as performance standards.  Other                        
 considerations of this section not addressed are the evaluation of            
 nontenured teachers and there is not a clear definition of "less              
 than acceptable."  She expressed her willingness to work with the             
 sponsor to get word out to the public that the goal is to improve             
 education in Alaska.  With regard to the section addressing                   
 students, parents, community members, peers and administrators                
 providing information on the performance of a teacher she                     
 questioned what the definition is of performance.  How is a                   
 community member going to comment on the performance of a teacher             
 unless they are in the classroom and unless those individuals were            
 included in the training and instruction of what the system is, she           
 didn't feel it was fair to have those comments become part of the             
 evaluation.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1019                                                                   
                                                                               
 MARKUS DOERRY, Teacher, testified that he has taught both at the              
 university level and high school level and noted there are a lot of           
 differences.  He addressed the issue of politicization of the                 
 teaching process and said that teachers not only have to worry if             
 their teaching methods and views match their administrator's, but             
 with parents being brought into the process, a teacher would now              
 have to worry about trying to keep the parents happy.  Currently,             
 in Dillingham a parent can talk to the teacher if there is a                  
 problem.  If there is no satisfaction, the parent can go to the               
 principal, and so on.  He reiterated that process does exist and it           
 is a matter of local control.  He stated this legislation appears             
 to take that control away.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1172                                                                   
                                                                               
 DEEDIE SORENSEN, Teacher, said she was just at the beginning stages           
 of putting her child through the public school system.  During her            
 years of teaching, she listened to lots of parents talk about                 
 teachers and observed that one parent would speak highly of a                 
 teacher, yet another would say they would never allow their child             
 to be in that teacher's classroom.   She noted there are many                 
 components to an evaluation and it doesn't necessarily mean the               
 teacher is a good teacher or a bad teacher, but basically the                 
 teacher's style.  She commented that parents shop for teachers in             
 Juneau, just as she shopped for her son's teacher based on what she           
 believed was the best match him.  Even though she teaches in the              
 same building, she does not believe that she could evaluate her               
 son's teacher because she is good for him, but may not be good for            
 another child.  With regard to parent involvement in the evaluation           
 process, she felt it was important to recognize what parents                  
 observe and what they know about a teacher is relative to their own           
 sphere of experience with that professional.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1304                                                                   
                                                                               
 ARLENE COGHILL, Teacher, testified that she is currently in her               
 26th year of teaching.  Three years ago, while attending the March            
 Madness school board meeting, she found out she was being fired.              
 She and seven other teachers in the district had received good                
 evaluations from their administrator and were all fired.  Not all             
 of the teachers were tenured, but many of them were.  She said it             
 was sudden and it happened because she forgot to send for her                 
 certificate during a time when she was dealing with the death of              
 her husband.  In looking back at the what transpired, she said the            
 teachers were not evaluated by the administrator, because the                 
 administrator's evaluations were thrown out; they were evaluated by           
 a very vocal group of witch hunters.  The administrator was also              
 evaluated at that point and was accused of misusing school money,             
 which later turned out to be untrue.  Ms. Coghill said her previous           
 evaluations had been glowing up until the time of her nonretention            
 and firing.  She said she didn't deserve to be evaluated by a                 
 system that is left vague and open for a school board or some other           
 group to fire her for personal reasons.  She urged the committee              
 not to deny teachers their de novo rights.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1578                                                                   
                                                                               
 GREG TURNER, Teacher, testified that one of his concerns with CSHB            
 465 was the three-year probationary period.  As a parent, he wasn't           
 sure he wanted his children to be in a classroom with a teacher who           
 had been on a plan of improvement for three years; he felt two                
 years was plenty.  His other concern was the layoff policy and                
 laying people off by program.  For instance, if a teacher taught in           
 a district for 15 years, and then decided to add music to their               
 certificate and taught music for another 4 years, if the school               
 district decided to lay off by program, that teacher could be gone            
 if the layoffs occurred by program, even though that teacher had 15           
 years of teaching before going to the music department.  He added             
 generally it is the music, physical education, and counseling                 
 programs that are the first to go.  He also discussed his concern             
 with the layoff provisions for fiscal reasons.  He urged the                  
 committee not to pass CSHB 465.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1759                                                                   
                                                                               
 ROB PFISTERER, President, Anchorage Education Association,                    
 testified that he had a lot of concerns about CSHB 465.  As                   
 president of the Anchorage Education Association, a lot of his                
 duties revolve around evaluation of teachers and principals.  He              
 noted currently Anchorage is working on an evaluation document                
 whereby teachers evaluate principals.  He agreed that things are              
 handled differently from district to district as had been                     
 previously mentioned and one of those things was the philosophy of            
 the Anchorage School District and Teachers Association towards                
 evaluation; that is the evaluation process would be used to improve           
 instruction, not necessarily to go after a teacher.  It may end up            
 however, if a teacher is not performing at a certain standard, the            
 teacher's job may be in jeopardy.  He believes that CSHB 465 comes            
 philosophically from a different angle than what has been done for            
 several years in Anchorage related to evaluation; that is Anchorage           
 is directed toward improvement and this bill seems more punitive in           
 nature.  Another problem he had was the inclusion of parents,                 
 students and community members in the evaluation process.  The                
 Anchorage School District has spent a lot of time making sure that            
 evaluations are conducted in a certain procedure so both the                  
 teacher and evaluator are cognizant of how the process will go.               
 Also, he felt that CSHB 465 did not contain much information                  
 relating to the criteria to be used in the evaluation process.                
 Again, the Anchorage School District has devoted a lot of time                
 developing that criteria.  Regarding the area of plans for                    
 improvement, he said there currently are plans for improvement for            
 teachers and plans for improvement for administrators.  However,              
 CSHB 465 does not contain any criteria on how a teacher will meet             
 a plan for improvement.  It discusses whether a teacher has met the           
 plan and if they haven't, they can be nonretained for not meeting             
 it.  He viewed that as an important concept which needed to be                
 defined.  He brought up the issue of an administrator being on a              
 plan for improvement and said he currently has an administrator on            
 a plan for improvement and that administrator has given a teacher             
 evaluation in which retribution was being sought because the                  
 teacher had reported certain information about the administrator.             
 He addressed the area of teachers not performing to standard.  Mr.            
 Pfisterer said there were other issues he would like to speak                 
 against, but limited his testimony because of time constraints.               
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced an at-ease at 5:23 p.m.                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-28, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 002                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting back to order at 5:25 p.m.                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON suggested that CSHB 465 be placed in a                
 working group since there were several amendments yet to be                   
 addressed.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the amendments would be addressed following the           
 completion of public testimony.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 106                                                                    
                                                                               
 LARRY WIGET, Director, Government Relations, Anchorage School                 
 District, testified the Anchorage School District, their                      
 administration and school board are all very proud of their                   
 teachers and are supportive of the working relationship in                    
 developing new standards for evaluation relative to improving                 
 instruction.  The Anchorage School District administration supports           
 the concepts put forth in CSHB 465.  Members of their school board            
 and administration had participated in the committee assembled by             
 the Governor this past summer, the school board reviewed HB 465 and           
 a school board member and administrator participated in the                   
 reconvened committee brought together by Commissioner Holloway.  He           
 noted for the record "we would like to state that if we're going to           
 make teaching bargaining positions open - the records open at the             
 beginning and at the end, the negotiations open, we'd also like to            
 see that to all public employees."                                            
                                                                               
 Number 241                                                                    
                                                                               
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, NEA-Alaska, Inc., pointed out            
 that page 2, line 21, states that an evaluation of a certificated             
 employee, which he assumed meant an administrator or a teacher,               
 would be based on observations of the employee in the employee's              
 work place.  He said that seems to be pretty clear, but page 3,               
 subsection 7, provides students, parents, administrators, community           
 members, etc., an opportunity to provide information on the                   
 performance of a teacher or administrator who is subject to the               
 evaluation.  It appeared to him the intent was clear that CSHB 465            
 gives these various groups or individuals an opportunity to input             
 the evaluation process.  He asked if that were to occur would                 
 parents be provided an opportunity to observe a teacher in a                  
 classroom and be able to look at all the variables teachers deal              
 with in a classroom setting.  He did not object to teachers and               
 parents working with one another to educate children; that's the              
 public in education.                                                          
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Mr. Marshall's concern regarding subsection           
 7 was that comments provided by parents could involve behavior                
 outside the classroom?                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL referenced page 2, line 21, and asked if the parents             
 can go into the classroom to actually observe?                                
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it would lower Mr. Marshall's level of                
 concern if the opportunity to provide information was based on                
 observations made within the classroom?  He added he was not aware            
 of any school district that would prevent a parent from coming into           
 the classroom.                                                                
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL thought it would be critical relative to the                     
 performance of teaching.  He asked if it would be wrong to allow              
 teachers to have some input relative to an administrator's                    
 performance?                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said that issue was addressed in one of the amendments.            
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to the opportunity given to parents,                  
 students and community members to provide information and asked if            
 that would be information relative to the classroom?                          
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT replied yes, exactly.                                              
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL asked Mr. Wright if teachers would have an opportunity           
 to input the administrator?                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT responded yes.                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL referred to subsection 6 and said this was where the             
 two standard approach to competency came into play.  He pointed out           
 that page 3 requires the school district to prepare and implement             
 a plan of improvement for a teacher or administrator whose                    
 performance is evaluated as less than acceptable, except if a                 
 teacher's or administrator's performance warrants immediate                   
 dismissal.  He added that performance referred to competence.  He             
 asked what criteria was being used to place a teacher under a plan            
 of improvement, and what criteria was used that would result in the           
 immediate dismissal.  He questioned if there was a two-tier                   
 approach; tier one for competence and performance, and tier two               
 that could result in immediate dismissal.                                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it was his understanding there were two tiers.            
 One tier required a plan of improvement, the tier of nonretention,            
 and the second tier of immediate dismissal is immortality,                    
 incompetence and substantial noncompliance, which is existing                 
 statute.  He asked Mr. Wright if incompetence was in the immediate            
 dismissal section?                                                            
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT responded that was correct.  He explained that                     
 incompetence was under the dismissal sections and incompetence was            
 replaced in the nonretention section with the evaluation system.              
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL referred to Section 7, page 5, line 6, and said that             
 a teacher who is dismissed under this dismissal section is not                
 entitled to a plan of improvement.  He added that Mr. Wright was              
 correct in that incompetence was referred to as one of the reasons,           
 but that person is not entitled to a plan of improvement.  Under              
 the nonretention section, he assumed the opportunity existed to at            
 least request a plan of improvement and a certain amount of time to           
 correct the situation.  He pointed out that it still deals with               
 incompetence, but the employee gets a plan under the one section,             
 but doesn't under the other section.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 777                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL referred to page 3, line 19, and expressed concern               
 with the language "shall last for no more than one year."                     
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE interjected there was an amendment which would                 
 require it to be a substantial portion of the school year.                    
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL discussed the opportunity for parents to provide input           
 relative to a teacher's performance.  He referenced page 4, line 4,           
 and questioned when this information would actually be available to           
 the teacher?  He asked if it would be part of the plan of                     
 improvement, would it be provided to the teacher when it was                  
 accessible to the school district, and how did the school district            
 actually get the information in the first place.  He said those               
 questions are not clear.  He expressed concern with page 3, line              
 22, which says that a school district must observe the teacher.               
 His assumption was that school district meant the principal, but it           
 wasn't spelled out.                                                           
                                                                               
 C0-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Marshall to hold the rest of testimony to            
 allow the last two individuals to testify via teleconference.                 
                                                                               
 Number 1033                                                                   
                                                                               
 VIRGIE FRYREAR, Superintendent of Schools, Hoonah School District,            
 testified that CSHB 465 addressed many of the concerns educators              
 have had for many years.  She believed many people had worked on              
 this legislation to make it palatable for teachers, administrators,           
 school boards and the communities.  She felt the evaluation process           
 in CSHB 465 was a real asset and stated she and the school board              
 fully supported moving the tenure out of the law.  She expressed              
 her thanks to Representative Ivan and his staff for bringing this             
 legislation forward.  He said the Hoonah City School Board of                 
 Education and administration support CSHB 465 and encouraged the              
 committee to pass it.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1140                                                                   
                                                                               
 DON OBERG testified via teleconference and asked if a district                
 could change the evaluation procedures, process and requirements              
 after the beginning of the academic year under this legislation?              
 Also, he questioned if the district would have the duty to in-                
 service all its employees on the evaluation process at the                    
 beginning of each year?                                                       
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE responded he didn't have the answers, but he would             
 bring the questions to the bill sponsor.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1220                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL continued his testimony by referring to page 5, line             
 12, which deals with failure to receive an acceptable rating on the           
 evaluation after implementation of a plan for improvement.  He said           
 this in a sense is what systems ought to be doing now - evaluating,           
 identifying plan of improvement, and basically that work should               
 show whether a teacher is competent or incompetent.  It seemed                
 inconsistent to him that the word "incompetent" would be removed              
 even in a nonretention, as defined on line 14.  Their concerned               
 focused on what needs to be done to measure up on a score sheet or            
 plan for improvement?  Does one negative score give the                       
 administration the latitude to tell a teacher he/she "didn't live             
 up to lines 12 and 13 of this particular bill, so I'm going to                
 recommend you for nonretention?"  He thought the threshold was too            
 low and needs to be looked very carefully.   He said the reason he            
 makes the point about the evaluation is that it is tied to the                
 issue of layoff on page 6, line 8, which indicates a reduction in             
 force is based on the person most qualified and line 17 states that           
 a teacher has to show evidence of acceptable teaching.  Acceptable            
 teaching experience in the subject is also referenced on line 21.             
 He said if there is a low threshold, not only can the teacher get             
 nonrenewed through the single step identified on page 5, lines 12-            
 13, but also runs the risk of being subject to the reduction in               
 force provision.                                                              
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that CSHB 465 would be held over until               
 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects