Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

02/26/2015 03:30 PM Senate EDUCATION

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
03:30:13 PM Start
03:30:37 PM SCR1
03:58:48 PM Presentation: Secondary School Boarding Stipend Program
04:22:11 PM Presentation: District Operated Residential School Options
05:27:57 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Presentation: Secondary School Boarding Stipend TELECONFERENCED
Elizabeth Nudelman, Director, School Finance
District Operated Residential Schools
(Variable Length and 180-day Term Programs)
Various School Districts
Mt. Edgecumbe High School
Bill Hutton, Superintendent
               SCR 1-CIVICS EDUCATION TASK FORCE                                                                            
3:30:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced the consideration of SCR 1.                                                                            
3:31:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor  of SCR
1,  began  with  a  historical  overview  of  the  Constitutional                                                               
Convention in 1787 and a  story about the people's responsibility                                                               
to  "keep the  Republic." He  opined that  too many  young people                                                               
have little understanding of civics  and the value of liberty and                                                               
equality,  individual  worth,  open-mindedness,  the  ability  to                                                               
collaborate  with  those with  differing  opinions,  and to  work                                                               
toward a common goal for the good of the country.                                                                               
He stated that  those qualities must be passed on  to children by                                                               
parents  and  in  schools  by means  of  classes  in  government,                                                               
history,  economics, and  democracy, and  include discussions  on                                                               
current  events and  controversial issues.  Many Americans  agree                                                               
that  these courses  and methods  are very  important to  prepare                                                               
children for a democratic life.                                                                                                 
He maintained that civic education  does not get the attention it                                                               
deserves  in  public  schools. On  the  National  Association  of                                                               
Educational Progress  tests recently, only one-third  of students                                                               
scored proficient  or above  on civic  knowledge. He  stated that                                                               
preparing for active citizenship  was a foundational principle of                                                               
public education in America from its beginning.                                                                                 
He concluded  that civic education strengthens  the democracy, it                                                               
provides  an  understanding  of current  events,  and  encourages                                                               
participation in  voting, volunteering,  and public  speaking. He                                                               
said  SCR  1 is  a  pathway  to  help  children become  full  and                                                               
effective citizens.                                                                                                             
3:35:32 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  LAMKIN, Staff,  Senator Stevens,  Alaska State  Legislature,                                                               
provided  an overview  for SCR  1. He  said America  is facing  a                                                               
quiet  epidemic of  apathy and  ignorance  amongst students.  For                                                               
decades the  focus has been  on science, math,  reading, writing,                                                               
and increased testing. He questioned the goal of that focus.                                                                    
He said  that other states have  adopted some version of  a civic                                                               
curriculum. The  only civics-related bill  in Alaska, HB  19, was                                                               
adopted  in  2000  and  required  the  Pledge  of  Allegiance  in                                                               
schools. He discussed a movement  that uses a 100-point quiz from                                                               
the   U.S.  Immigration   Department  as   part  of   the  school                                                               
curriculum. He  gave examples of  some of the questions.  He said                                                               
that 92  percent of immigrants pass  the test. In Arizona  only 3                                                               
percent of high school seniors could pass the test.                                                                             
He explained that  SCR 1 would establish a task  force to look at                                                               
civics  education currently  in Alaska  and in  other states  and                                                               
decide on better options for Alaska students.                                                                                   
3:38:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER asked  if the recommendation from  the task force                                                               
will result in a civics graduation requirement.                                                                                 
SENATOR STEVENS answered no. He  addressed funding challenges and                                                               
costs  to  districts.  He pointed  out  that  Massachusetts  used                                                               
business and  industry-sponsored workshops for teachers  in order                                                               
to  increase  students'  knowledge   of  civics  within  existing                                                               
CHAIR DUNLEAVY asked if the task force expires in a year.                                                                       
SENATOR STEVENS answered yes.                                                                                                   
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced the arrival of Senator Huggins.                                                                        
3:41:07 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
3:41:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNLEAVY called the committee back to order.                                                                            
3:42:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SAM STONE,  Executive Director, Civics Education  Initiative, Joe                                                               
Foss  Institute, discussed  their  work on  promoting the  civics                                                               
quiz mentioned by  Mr. Lamkin. He said the goal  is to see states                                                               
adopt the  quiz as  part of their  civics curriculum.  He pointed                                                               
out the  declining levels  of informed  and engaged  citizens and                                                               
the  critical challenges  of reversing  that decline.  He related                                                               
that two-thirds of  the population can't name  the three branches                                                               
of the  government and  one-third can't  name one  branch. Social                                                               
studies  teachers  across the  country  are  frustrated by  their                                                               
reduction of class time due  to science, engineering, technology,                                                               
and math courses and time for  testing. He said many other states                                                               
have enacted task forces to  study this issue. Free resources are                                                               
available that would  not tax a state's budget,  such as iCivics.                                                               
He stressed  that promoting civics would  be beneficial long-term                                                               
to the strength of America.                                                                                                     
3:45:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL POLIAKOFF, Vice President  of Policy, American Council of                                                               
Trustees and Alumni,  testified in support of SCR 1.  He said his                                                               
organization  has  been  deeply   committed  since  1995  to  the                                                               
imperative  of making  sure  citizens  understand America's  free                                                               
institutions.  He maintained  that the  founders were  aware that                                                               
the lifespan  of liberty was not  likely to be very  long without                                                               
well-informed   participating   citizens.   He   emphasized   the                                                               
necessity  of setting  civic  requirements  and mandates  because                                                               
they set clear expectations.                                                                                                    
MR.   POLIAKOFF  shared   statistics   on  America's   historical                                                               
illiteracy.  He   said  the  community  service   part  of  civic                                                               
education is an important quality  that characterizes the nation.                                                               
Schools and colleges  are essential for civics  education and are                                                               
the only ones that can fill the civics gap.                                                                                     
3:49:13 PM                                                                                                                    
STUART THOMPSON,  representing himself,  testified in  support of                                                               
SCR 1.  He stated that  he is petitioning  the committee to  do a                                                               
presentation on civics.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  STEVENS  noted  an  article   by  Mr.  Thompson  in  The                                                             
3:51:22 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
3:51:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY called  the committee back to  order. He requested                                                               
that  Mr. Thompson  speak for  three  minutes and  then send  the                                                               
committee a copy of his whole presentation.                                                                                     
MR. THOMPSON said,  "The volume of true  citizen participation in                                                               
government  of, for,  and  by  the people  is  probably the  most                                                               
reliable  test for  the effectiveness  of  public education  that                                                               
could ever  be." He explained that  America's founders researched                                                               
different forms of  government. He ended with a  statement on the                                                               
importance of civics education.                                                                                                 
3:54:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY   thanked  Senator   Stevens  for   bringing  the                                                               
resolution  forward. He  noted the  importance of  how civics  is                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS  summarized that  the resolution will  initiate a                                                               
task force that will research how to improve civics education.                                                                  
3:56:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER questioned why there  were no minority members on                                                               
the  task force.  She asked  the sponsor  if he  would accept  an                                                               
amendment that  would ensure a  member from each caucus  having a                                                               
seat on the task force.                                                                                                         
SENATOR STEVENS replied  that he would accept  that amendment and                                                               
opined  that the  task force  should be  as large  a group  as is                                                               
affordable and encompass all Alaskans.                                                                                          
SENATOR  HUGGINS   asked  that   Mr.  Thompson's   amendments  be                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS  replied that if there  is a task force  he hoped                                                               
for  Mr. Thompson's  involvement, as  well as  participation from                                                               
the other two speakers.                                                                                                         
CHAIR DUNLEAVY held SCR 1 in committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SCR 1 Resolution.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Fiscal Note.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 ACTA Presentation.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 CEI Presentation.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Annenberg Public Policy.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Civic Literacy Research.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Educ Commission of the States.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Other States Summary.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 PEW Charitable Trusts.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SCR 1 Op Eds.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
DEED Residential School Overview.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Chugach School District.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Galena School District.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Mt. Edgecumbe.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Northwest Arctic School District.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Secondary Boarding School Stipend Program.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Kuskokwim Learning Academy.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Kuskokwim Learning Academy .pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Kuskokwim Ready Academy.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Nenana City School District.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Nenana STEM Programs.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
Nome and Bering Strait School Districts.pdf SEDC 2/26/2015 3:30:00 PM