Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/26/2015 03:30 PM EDUCATION

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
         SB 80-ED. STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS/FED FUNDS                                                                      
3:42:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced the consideration of SB 80. As sponsor,                                                                
he read the sponsor statement:                                                                                                  
     SB 80  establishes an active  role in  public education                                                                    
     for  the legislature  by requiring  the legislature  to                                                                    
     give final approval  of statewide educational standards                                                                    
     and  standardized assessments.  Public  education is  a                                                                    
     primary  governmental function  and the  legislature is                                                                    
     the ultimate authority in  Alaska for public education.                                                                    
     This authority  is outlined in the  Alaska Constitution                                                                    
     and has been emphasized  in recent court cases. Article                                                                    
     7   of   the   Alaska  Constitution,   titled   Health,                                                                    
     Education,  and Welfare  requires  in  part that,  "The                                                                    
     legislature   shall  by   general  law   establish  and                                                                    
     maintain  a  system  of  public  schools  open  to  all                                                                    
     children of the State…." In  the recent Moore vs. State                                                                    
     of  Alaska case,  it was  stated  "…this Court  returns                                                                    
     once again to the  language of the Alaska Constitution,                                                                    
     which places  the responsibility 'to maintain  a system                                                                    
     of public  schools open to  all children of  the state'                                                                    
     squarely upon the legislature  -not upon the Department                                                                    
     of Education  and Early Development and  not upon local                                                                    
     school districts."                                                                                                         
     In light  of growing concerns surrounding  the adoption                                                                    
     of a  new set  of standards  and assessments,  and with                                                                    
     more accountability  being demanded  by the  public, it                                                                    
     is crucial  that the adopted standards  and assessments                                                                    
     our state  mandates be selected through  a process that                                                                    
     directly involves the public and the legislature.                                                                          
     SB 80 requires state  adopted standards and assessments                                                                    
     to be:                                                                                                                     
     -  reviewed  at  least  once  every  five  years  by  a                                                                    
     committee composed of no less  than 50% of parents with                                                                    
     school age children                                                                                                        
     - reviewed starting  in 2015 with a  report and request                                                                    
     for approval during the 2016 legislative session                                                                           
     - approved by the legislature                                                                                              
     SB  80 also  prevents the  Department of  Education and                                                                    
     Early  Development  from  accepting grants  which  have                                                                    
     associated    standards   and    mandates   (such    as                                                                    
     assessments), unless approved by the legislature.                                                                          
     The  legislature needs  to step  up its  responsibility                                                                    
     for  public education.  I request  your support  for SB
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  said  there  is   a  strong  executive  form  of                                                               
government  in  Alaska.  Years ago,  the  legislature  ceded  its                                                               
authority to  the Department of  Education and  Early Development                                                               
(DEED) to select and adopt  standards and assessments and to take                                                               
on  grants.  Curriculum, by  law,  has  been reserved  to  school                                                               
districts. The  issues of  Common Core  and the  Alaska Standards                                                               
involved DEED, and  the legislature did not have  to approve them                                                               
or  their related  assessments. He  provided the  history of  the                                                               
state's grant  involvement from 1965  on. Today,  the legislature                                                               
does not have to approve the department's acceptance of grants.                                                                 
3:47:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  stated that  SB 80  is an  opportunity to  have a                                                               
larger discussion  that includes the legislature.  Currently, the                                                               
legislature  only   appropriates  funds.   He  said  he   is  not                                                               
indicating that the  department is not doing its  job. It appears                                                               
that  the federal  government is  becoming more  active in  state                                                               
education and the  bill allows the legislature to be  part of the                                                               
He related  that No Child Left  Behind was passed by  Congress in                                                               
2001.  Secretary   of  State  Arnie   Duncan,  some   would  say,                                                               
unilaterally changed that  law without an act  of Congress. Along                                                               
with the  changes and  the money comes  the mandates  without the                                                               
legislature  having a  say. He  concluded that  SB 80  allows the                                                               
legislature to be a part of the process.                                                                                        
He noted there may be several changes in the bill.                                                                              
3:50:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS said he supports the idea.                                                                                      
SENATOR  STEVENS  said  the  bill is  quite  different  from  the                                                               
current system,  but he is  willing to listen to  the discussion.                                                               
He opined that  school boards play a key role  in the process and                                                               
he wants  to depend  on their opinion.  He questioned  what would                                                               
happened if  all departments undertake this  procedure. He noted,                                                               
having served  in the legislature  for 15 years, there  have been                                                               
chairs and  members of the  Education Committee that  didn't know                                                               
the first  thing about  education.   He stated  that the  bill is                                                               
transferring a  lot of power  to the Education Committee  and its                                                               
CHAIR DUNLEAVY said he looks  forward to the discussion. He noted                                                               
he has looked into the involvement  of school boards and would be                                                               
sharing that information. Legislative  Legal reminded the sponsor                                                               
that  the legislature  is responsible  for education,  not school                                                               
boards.  He said  he wants  to  have presentations  by the  State                                                               
School  Board. He  concluded that  he  fears mandates  associated                                                               
with  federal grants  and it  is worth  exploring that  issue. He                                                               
said it  might make a  difference if  the State School  Board was                                                               
[CHAIR DUNLEAVY held SB 80 in committee.]                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 79 Legislation.pdf SEDC 3/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB 79 Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 3/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB 79 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 3/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB 80 Legislation.pdf SEDC 3/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 3/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 80
SB 80 Fiscal Note.pdf SEDC 3/26/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 80