Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

04/04/2017 03:30 PM EDUCATION

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Moved CSSB 96(EDC) Out of Committee
                  SB 104-EDUCATION CURRICULUM                                                                               
4:29:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced the consideration of SB 104.                                                                             
SENATOR ANNA MACKINNON, Alaska State Legislature, speaking on                                                                   
behalf of the Senate Finance Committee, explained that SB 104                                                                   
proposes to suspend curriculum adoption for schools for three                                                                   
years and allow time to work with DEED to find best practices                                                                   
and curriculum from other states and nations that have better                                                                   
outcomes than Alaska has, specifically for math and Language                                                                    
4:30:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HUTCHISON provided the sectional analysis:                                                                                  
     Section 1 AS 14.07                                                                                                     
   A) Adds a new section titled, "Curriculum Approval and                                                                       
   B) This section allows the State Board of Education (BOE)                                                                    
     to approve of  all curricula from the  largest 5 school                                                                    
     districts,  based  on the  2015-2016  ADM  and 2  rural                                                                    
     school  districts,  chosen by  the  BOE,  and makes  it                                                                    
     available  for  all  school  districts  to  use,  on  a                                                                    
     voluntary basis.                                                                                                           
   C) The Department of Education and Early Development                                                                         
     (DEED),  in consultation  with school  districts, shall                                                                    
     review  curricula  used  in   other  states  and  other                                                                    
     countries  to   find  the   best  curricula   and  best                                                                    
     practices  in the  areas of  Math and  English language                                                                    
     arts. DEED has  one year to complete  this review. DEED                                                                    
     shall then implement a way  to test this new curricula,                                                                    
     for a  period of  two years,  to make  sure that  it is                                                                    
     appropriate and  then submit  it to  the State  BOE for                                                                    
   D) DEED may submit the curriculum to the BOE for                                                                             
     approval, after  testing, if it meets  the requirements                                                                    
     of     being:     appropriate,    incompliance     with                                                                    
     nondiscrimination   standards,    aligned   with   stat                                                                    
     education  standards, and  result in  improved academic                                                                    
     achievement for students                                                                                                   
   E) If the State BOE approves of the curriculum, they                                                                         
     shall  make it  available for  all school  districts to                                                                    
     use on a voluntary basis.                                                                                                  
   F) The State BOE shall adopt standards for the approval                                                                      
     of the curriculum and best practices.                                                                                      
   G) School districts do not have to have their math and                                                                       
     English  language   arts  curriculum  go   through  the                                                                    
     approval or  review process for three  years. After the                                                                    
     three years, if a school  district adopts the BOE's new                                                                    
     approved  curriculum  for  math  and  English  language                                                                    
     arts,  they do  not  need that  curriculum reviewed  or                                                                    
   H) Defines School District as having the meaning given in                                                                    
     AS 14.30.350.                                                                                                              
4:31:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked if curriculum review will be an on-going task                                                                
for DEED.                                                                                                                       
MS. HUTCHISON said it would be a one-time provision.                                                                            
CHAIR HUGHES suggested considering that it may be needed more                                                                   
SENATOR MACKINNON reported  that over a year ago  she submitted a                                                               
letter to the State Board  of Education requesting that they take                                                               
on  the  responsibility  of finding  curriculum  appropriate  for                                                               
smaller districts.  She said that  DEED has lost  most curriculum                                                               
specialists, so a  fiscal note might be  warranted. If curriculum                                                               
were to be adopted by the State  Board as a matter of practice on                                                               
a regular  basis, then smaller  school districts could  choose to                                                               
look to the  State Board for curriculum review  for possible cost                                                               
savings. She concluded  that it is not in the  bill in perpetuity                                                               
because she believes it is  a State Board responsibility and they                                                               
should work together  with DEED and districts to see  if there is                                                               
interest and cost savings.                                                                                                      
4:33:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH understood  that  the fiscal  note would  provide                                                               
funding for DEED. He asked if the  bill's intent is not to have a                                                               
mandate for  math and English,  but to prepare the  curriculum so                                                               
that a local district may choose it.                                                                                            
SENATOR MACKINNON said  yes; it is an opt-in and  has no mandate.                                                               
She hoped  the State  Board would  agree that it  is of  value to                                                               
smaller school district. Many of  the "big five" school districts                                                               
are already  using similar curriculum.  Small districts  may have                                                               
more varied curriculum.                                                                                                         
SENATOR BEGICH  commented on the  great innovations  happening in                                                               
Copper River School  District and in Chugach  School District. He                                                               
suggested  curriculum  for  small   districts  might  already  be                                                               
available.  He wanted  to ensure  the power  of the  local school                                                               
SENATOR  MACKINNON   said  local  control  is   mandated  in  the                                                               
constitution and the  bill tries to honor that.  She agreed there                                                               
are great performing districts in Alaska.                                                                                       
4:36:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked what  it costs  a district  to review  a K-12                                                               
MS. HUTCHISON said  DEED told her it cost about  $323 per student                                                               
to update curriculum.                                                                                                           
4:37:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES stated she would hold SB 104 in committee.                                                                         
4:37:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MACKINNON stated  that  they are  not pre-assuming  cost                                                               
savings  in districts  in any  amount.  All provisions  are on  a                                                               
volunteer  basis. She  noted  it is  an open  dialogue  and is  a                                                               
CHAIR HUGHES concluded  that there could be  savings by districts                                                               
if they decided to go with some of the provisions in the bill.                                                                  
4:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER MCNICHOL, Vice President,  Sitka School Board, testified                                                               
on SB  102, SB 103,  and SB 104. She  said they have  no problems                                                               
with the  internet provisions  in SB 102,  however, they  do have                                                               
concerns about  micromanagement and diverting funds  from general                                                               
She spoke  to SB  104 and the  provision against  maintaining the                                                               
APS.  She pointed  to  successes  due to  the  APS and  students'                                                               
choices  to  attend UAS  because  of  it.  There will  be  ripple                                                               
effects  from discontinuing  the fund,  such as  students leaving                                                               
the state for education and  not returning. She recalled that APS                                                               
was also  on the block last  year and students came  to lobby for                                                               
4:42:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MCNICHOL spoke of concerns  about the Innovative Grants being                                                               
subject to legislative appropriation.  There is no guarantee they                                                               
will be  available in future  years. The district has  been under                                                               
budget constraints and has been  trimming their budget, which has                                                               
led  to some  wonderful innovations,  such as  collaboration with                                                               
non-profits and  using more grants.  However, there are  costs in                                                               
administering  grants. The  overall  feeling by  the district  is                                                               
that they would  rather have more general  education funding than                                                               
pursuing and competing for grants.                                                                                              
4:44:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MCNICHOL addressed  the achievement  gap and  poor outcomes.                                                               
She pointed  out that in  the past two  to three years  there has                                                               
been no consistent statewide assessment.  Things may have changed                                                               
that have not been measured.                                                                                                    
MS.  MCNICHOL voiced  a concern  in SB  104 regarding  curriculum                                                               
review.  She liked  the  notion  of fiscal  support  for DEED  to                                                               
develop math  and English curriculum, however,  a one-time review                                                               
of  curricula is  a  concern. Districts  are  mandated to  review                                                               
curricula every  six years, which seems  reasonable. They support                                                               
best  practices  for  curricula,  but  also  highly  value  local                                                               
control.  Sitka  is  in  the  midst  of  implementing  culturally                                                               
responsive programming at every level  in every class. She feared                                                               
the  pressure to  adopt a  statewide curriculum  would jeopardize                                                               
that  effort. She  was happy  it  was not  mandated. She  thanked                                                               
committee members for their service.                                                                                            
4:47:18 PM                                                                                                                    
PETE   HOEPFNER,   Superintendent,   Cordova   School   District,                                                               
testified  on SB  102, SB  103, and  SB 104.  He said  increasing                                                               
bandwidth, as provided  in SB 102, is a good  idea, but they have                                                               
concerns with  SB 103 about  the elimination  of the APS  and the                                                               
rigorous course work it requires.  Students have been focusing on                                                               
a  rigorous  pathway  in  order   to  qualify  for  the  APS.  He                                                               
questioned  how long  the innovation  grants would  be available.                                                               
Regarding  SB  104,   he  noted  that  Cordova   has  a  six-year                                                               
curriculum review schedule.                                                                                                     
4:49:57 PM                                                                                                                    
PENNY  VADLA,  Vice  President,  Kenai  Peninsula  School  Board,                                                               
testified on  SB 102, SB 103,  and SB 104. She  said the district                                                               
has not  had enough  time to thoroughly  consider the  bills. She                                                               
commented that the broadband in SB  102 would be nice for schools                                                               
who lack  enough access. She spoke  in favor of keeping  the APS,                                                               
not eliminating  it as  proposed in  SB 103  because it  helps so                                                               
many students and keeps them in Alaska.                                                                                         
She noted  some issues  with the  Innovation Grant  because KPBSD                                                               
has  been very  good with  innovation and  has used  efficiencies                                                               
well.  They have  used Digital  Incentive  Grants for  innovative                                                               
purposes and already have new programs  in place. They have a lot                                                               
of  knowledge   and  can  share   their  curriculum   with  other                                                               
districts. She did not think  DEED needs to look out-of-state for                                                               
innovative  curricula. She  stressed  the  importance of  looking                                                               
inward for innovation, making use  of professional development to                                                               
share it, and saving money.                                                                                                     
4:53:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. VADLA  stated that  curriculum review  in KPBSD  is happening                                                               
currently  in the  areas of  math and  English. She  stressed the                                                               
importance of  cultural inclusion in curriculum.  She opined that                                                               
some of the test results in Alaska  are good, such as ACT in math                                                               
and reading, which  are above national norms.  She encouraged the                                                               
committee to  believe that results  aren't necessarily  poor. She                                                               
noted  that   districts  are   already  partnering   and  sharing                                                               
4:56:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  agreed that Kenai  was doing great things  and said                                                               
the  committee was  able to  participate in  a virtual  classroom                                                               
with them.                                                                                                                      
4:56:35 PM                                                                                                                    
JEANNIE KITAYAMA,  Member, Haines  School Board, testified  on SB
102,  SB  103, and  SB  104.  She said  she  is  a newly  retired                                                               
teacher.  She  agreed  with  previous  testimony  by  experienced                                                               
school board members. She spoke  in favor of increased broadband,                                                               
and  the retention  of  the  APS. She  thought  innovation was  a                                                               
popular buzz  word. She  said charter  schools were  developed in                                                               
order to try different ideas,  taking successful ones into public                                                               
schools.  She  commented  that  Alaska  Schools  are  unique  and                                                               
diverse. She questioned whether a  curriculum could be found that                                                               
would fit every school.                                                                                                         
4:58:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CASS POOK,  Member, Sitka School  Board, testified on SB  102, SB
103, and SB  104. She spoke in opposition to  doing away with the                                                               
APS. She  shared a personal  story about her  son who would  be a                                                               
beneficiary of the APS.                                                                                                         
She said the state  would not need to be looking  at the bills if                                                               
there  had been  adequate funding  for the  past 8-10  years. She                                                               
asked how they  can work together to ensure that  more things are                                                               
not taken away. She thanked the committee for their work.                                                                       
5:01:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES noted public testimony would continue tomorrow.                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES held SB 104 in committee.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 102 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 - Legislation Ver. A.PDF SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 - Supporting Document - Alaska Schools Under 25mbps.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 - Supporting Document - FY17 BAG Awards (2).pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 103 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Legislation Ver. O.PDF SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Supporting Document - APS.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Supporting Document - High School to College.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Supporting Document - UA Remediation Rates 2006-2016.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Supporting Document - 2015-2016 Graduation Rates.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Supporting Document - AEG.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 104 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 - Legislation Ver. J.PDF SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/4/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 104