Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

04/05/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Heard & Held
8:04:49 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MACKINNON summarized SB 104:                                                                                            
     SB 104 provides an  opportunity for school districts to                                                                    
     take  a pause  on curriculum  review, which  costs time                                                                    
     and money,  and hopefully  allocate those  resources to                                                                    
     work  with   DEED  to  look  at   curriculum  and  best                                                                    
     practices both  nationwide and around the  world to see                                                                    
     if there is a better way that we could do business.                                                                        
She noted that  that the bills are voluntary,  with the exception                                                               
of the APS provision that would change the use of future funds.                                                                 
CHAIR HUGHES  said the bills  keep local control.  She summarized                                                               
the three bills.                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  opened public testimony on  SB 102, SB 103,  and SB
8:06:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SEAN DUSEK,  Superintendent, Kenai School District,  testified on                                                               
SB 102,  SB 103, and SB  104. He thanked the  legislature for its                                                               
hard work  on efforts to  improve schools.  He spoke in  favor of                                                               
providing  more broadband  infrastructure to  schools. He  voiced                                                               
concern about  losing the APS  which has provided results  at the                                                               
university level  and increased  rigor at  the high  school level                                                               
since  2011.  He  added  that when  education  was  increased  to                                                               
adequate  levels in  2011, KPBSD  saw a  lot of  improvement from                                                               
forward,  adequate  funding.  He  pointed out  that  these  bills                                                               
require a  level of  support from DEED  and the  commissioner. He                                                               
requested that  the legislature do  their part and fund  DEED, so                                                               
they can do their job.                                                                                                          
He  stated  that  KPBSD  is   working  hard  to  personalize  and                                                               
modernize  through curriculum  development and  will continue  to                                                               
look at  standards and best  practices. They are moving  into the                                                               
realm  of  professional development  to  improve  the quality  of                                                               
teachers.  He  emphasized  the  need  for  strong  leadership  in                                                               
education, which is  the next big impact  to student achievement.                                                               
He  hopes  the legislature  will  support  best practice  efforts                                                               
through  the  Alaska  Education  Challenge.  He  maintained  that                                                               
educators in Alaska have not given  up on their students and they                                                               
care greatly about improving education.                                                                                         
8:09:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES noted the presence of Senators Stevens and Coghill.                                                                
8:09:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CLAIRE  HOLLAND LECLAIR,  representing herself,  testified on  SB
102. She asked when there  would be testimony regarding education                                                               
funding. She  addressed her  concern for the  loss of  the Alaska                                                               
Performance Scholarship program.                                                                                                
8:11:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SIERRA LLOYD,  Student, Juneau Douglas High  School, testified in                                                               
favor of fully funding education.                                                                                               
8:12:49 AM                                                                                                                    
NORM  WOOTEN, Executive  Director, Alaska  Association of  Alaska                                                               
School Boards  (AASB), testified on SB  102, SB 103, and  SB 104.                                                               
He thanked the  committee for its efforts. He opined  that SB 102                                                               
is very helpful  to education and will have a  dramatic effect on                                                               
rural districts.  He turned to SB  103 and requested to  keep the                                                               
Alaska Performance  Scholarship. He stated  that it is  a program                                                               
that is working.                                                                                                                
He voiced appreciation for the  curriculum review in SB 104. Most                                                               
districts  will  continue  to review  their  curriculum.  He  was                                                               
concerned about having DEED taking  on one more task - developing                                                               
model  curriculum  - noting  the  department  may be  reaching  a                                                               
breaking point.                                                                                                                 
8:16:52 AM                                                                                                                    
DEENA  MITCHELL, representing  herself, testified  on SB  102, SB
103, and  SB 104. She began  with what she appreciates  about the                                                               
committee's  work on  education. She  spoke in  favor of  SB 102.                                                               
Having adequate broadband  is something that should  be in place.                                                               
She thought the focus on innovation  in SB 103 was good, however,                                                               
she  testified  in  favor  of   keeping  the  Alaska  Performance                                                               
Scholarship. She  provided an example  of a student who  is going                                                               
to be able to attend college because of it.                                                                                     
She said school districts will  review curriculum even without SB
104.  She stressed  the need  for providing  autonomy for  school                                                               
districts and local  control. She urged the  committee to provide                                                               
professionals with stable, adequate, predictable funding.                                                                       
8:22:55 AM                                                                                                                    
STEPHANIE BUTLER, Executive Director,  Alaska Commission on Post-                                                               
Secondary  Education,  testified  on  SB  103.  She  thanked  the                                                               
committee for their creative, thoughtful  proposals. She spoke of                                                               
the  shortage  of  teachers and  efforts  to  provide  innovative                                                               
solutions to address this crisis.  She stressed the importance of                                                               
focusing on programs that offer a  solution, such as the APS. She                                                               
spoke of  favor of retaining  the APS  and offered data  to prove                                                               
its effectiveness. She read the four  goals of the APS and listed                                                               
the outcomes it provided.                                                                                                       
8:26:44 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA SKILES PARADY, Executive Director,  Alaska Council of School                                                               
Administrators (ACSA), testified  on SB 102, SB 103,  and SB 104.                                                               
She said her  members have not had sufficient time  to review the                                                               
bills. She hoped  that the process will slow down  enough to give                                                               
districts time to work through  them. She thanked the sponsor and                                                               
the committee for their work on the bills.                                                                                      
DR.  PARADY  first  addressed  SB  102. She  spoke  in  favor  of                                                               
increasing broadband to  all of Alaska. In SB 103  the efforts to                                                               
support  continued  innovation  is welcomed,  however,  there  is                                                               
great concern  using the  APS to fund  the new  Innovation Grant.                                                               
She wanted to continue to invest  in students with the APS and to                                                               
continue to partner  with the university and find  new sources of                                                               
the funding for the grant.                                                                                                      
8:30:57 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  appreciated the curriculum  provision in SB 104  as a                                                               
voluntary  option  for districts  to  choose  a model  curriculum                                                               
administered by DEED. However, she did  not want to take from one                                                               
program to fund another.                                                                                                        
She concluded  that DEED  has to be  funded to  support districts                                                               
with new tasks.                                                                                                                 
8:32:41 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.   MARK  MILLER,   Superintendent,  Juneau   School  District,                                                               
testified on SB  102, SB 103, SB  104. He stated that  no one can                                                               
argue against  any of  the innovative ideas  in these  bills, but                                                               
they require  funding and support.  He suggested to figure  out a                                                               
way to pay for them. He was opposed to eliminating the APS.                                                                     
8:35:11 AM                                                                                                                    
TERRIE GOTTSTEIN,  representing herself, testified on  SB 102, SB
103, and SB 104. She said  she sees an approach to education that                                                               
is wrong. Getting rid of the APS  is very wrong. She said you can                                                               
tell someone's  priority by how  they spend their time  and their                                                               
She  maintained that  public education  is a  resource. She  said                                                               
people  are   willing  to  tax  themselves   for  education.  She                                                               
encouraged the legislature to not vote based on their ideology.                                                                 
8:38:43 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVE HANSON,  representing himself,  testified on  SB 102  and SB
103.  He spoke  in support  of  the APS.  It keeps  the best  and                                                               
brightest in  the state and  has economic value.  Businesses want                                                               
assurance that the state has a  good education system. The APS is                                                               
one  of the  best tools  to show  that. It  encourages home-grown                                                               
Alaskans to stay in Alaska.                                                                                                     
He said SB  102 is wonderful in that it  extends the broadband to                                                               
all  schools,  but  agreed  that it  should  be  prioritized  and                                                               
limited to schools  only. He agreed that having  good teachers in                                                               
the classrooms is important.                                                                                                    
8:41:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SAICHI  OVA, Associate  Vice  President,  Student and  Enrollment                                                               
Strategy, University  of Alaska-Fairbanks,  testified on  SB 103.                                                               
He stated that UA strongly  supports the continuation of the APS.                                                               
UA  supports innovation  in  education, but  opposes  the use  of                                                               
funds identified  for the APS to  be used for other  purposes. He                                                               
related  that  UA  believes  that  the  APS  incentivizes  better                                                               
postsecondary preparedness,  helps the university  retain Alaskan                                                               
students,  and  results in  the  need  for less  remediation.  AP                                                               
recipients take fewer remedial  courses than non-recipients, stay                                                               
in  school longer,  and earn  more credits.  He provided  data to                                                               
back this up. Losing the  APS sets back post-secondary attendance                                                               
at UA and  in the state at large. He  concluded that the greatest                                                               
challenge for UA  and the state is not from  outside colleges and                                                               
universities,  but  from  Alaskans  choosing not  to  go  to  any                                                               
postsecondary program.                                                                                                          
8:44:21 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN CONWELL,  Superintendent, Unalaska City School  testified on                                                               
SB 102, SB 103,  and SB 104. He said he has not  had much time to                                                               
review the bills.  He spoke of the  broadband assistance provided                                                               
in SB  102 and pointed out  that their district is  at the limits                                                               
of satellite  broadband delivery and  it would take  fiber optics                                                               
to provide more.                                                                                                                
He said the  curriculum provision in SB 104  is well-meaning, but                                                               
is something that is already  happening in the Unalaska District.                                                               
It is  something their Board believes  strongly in and it  is the                                                               
right thing to do.                                                                                                              
8:46:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  CONWELL spoke  in favor  of keeping  the APS  program. As  a                                                               
former UA graduate, he loves  to encourage his students to strive                                                               
to  go to  college  and  the APS  has  been  the greatest  single                                                               
motivator  for  students  to  take   rigorous  courses  for  that                                                               
opportunity. He said  his own sons will soon be  going to college                                                               
and  he would  like  to see  them  go to  college  in Alaska.  He                                                               
stressed the importance of the APS for students in Unalaska.                                                                    
He thanked  the committee  for thinking outside  the box,  but he                                                               
encouraged them to watch for  unintended consequences. He said to                                                               
let the Alaska Education Challenge do its job.                                                                                  
8:49:52 AM                                                                                                                    
TODD SMOLDON,  representing himself, testified  on SB 102  and SB
103.  He said  he  has been  a classroom  teacher  and a  virtual                                                               
education teacher and  he spoke in favor  of increasing broadband                                                               
access.  He  spoke of  the  basic  necessities for  education,  a                                                               
rigorous curriculum,  a desire from  the student to learn,  and a                                                               
teacher who is  available to answer questions  when students need                                                               
He said  his oldest  son will  be able to  take advantage  of the                                                               
APS, but his  youngest son will not, but he  will be applying for                                                               
other  scholarships.  He  asked everyone  to  consider  education                                                               
funding and look at needs, rather than wants.                                                                                   
8:53:31 AM                                                                                                                    
BRENDA  TAYLOR, Parent,  testified  on  SB 102  and  SB 104.  She                                                               
suggested  that  the  committee  look   at  the  big  picture  of                                                               
education.  She described  how  course  offerings and  scheduling                                                               
have  changed  at Juneau  Douglas  High  School  due to  lack  of                                                               
funding. She  maintained that some  classes, like  health, should                                                               
not be  offered as on-line  courses. She did not  want technology                                                               
to substitute for classroom teachers.                                                                                           
She  suggested  not  to  encourage   districts  to  use  a  model                                                               
curriculum,  but rather  to develop  their own  local curriculum.                                                               
She appreciated all the work the committee has done.                                                                            
8:56:59 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDY HOLLEN, representing  himself, testified on SB  102, SB 103,                                                               
and SB 104. He stressed  that they must consider the consequences                                                               
of cuts to education along with these bills.                                                                                    
8:57:57 AM                                                                                                                    
KAITLIN DEMARCUS, representing herself,  testified on SB 103. She                                                               
shared her  vast experience in  education, including  her current                                                               
work with  students pursuing  postsecondary education.  She spoke                                                               
in favor  of keeping  the APS  and said  that students  feel very                                                               
passionately about  keeping the  APS. She  has seen  the positive                                                               
benefits of the  APS and she listed them.  It encourages students                                                               
to  take  rigorous  curriculum and  prepares  them  for  college.                                                               
Students  who  qualify   for  the  APS  are   invested  in  their                                                               
communities  and want  to stay  in  Alaska. Taking  away the  APS                                                               
would send the wrong message to young people in Alaska.                                                                         
CHERYL  TUTTLE,  President,   Student  Governance  Office,  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula  College,  testified  on   SB  102.  She  stressed  the                                                               
importance of  keeping the  APS. She said  to prioritize  what is                                                               
important for the state and the APS is one of them.                                                                             
9:03:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MARY NANUWAK,  representing herself, testified on  the importance                                                               
of  education.  She said  reading  and  local teachers  are  very                                                               
important. She appreciated the committee's hard work.                                                                           
9:06:11 AM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT MACMANUS,  Superintendent, Alaska Gateway  School District,                                                               
testified on  SB 102,  SB 103,  and SB 104.  He pointed  out that                                                               
there is not  a fiscal note for the broadband  in SB 102. Without                                                               
financial  support for  delivery, his  district will  not benefit                                                               
from  this bill.  He agreed  that  with online  education, it  is                                                               
important to have a good teacher.                                                                                               
He turned to SB 103 and said he is against eliminating the APS.                                                                 
Regarding SB  104, he said  a model  curriculum will be  good for                                                               
small districts,  but their  district has  gone beyond  needing a                                                               
model  curriculum. They  have developed,  and  review, their  own                                                               
He  suggested  giving  the Alaska  Education  Challenge  (AED)  a                                                               
chance. The task force has  expertise and will look at unintended                                                               
consequences. He  stressed the need  to work together on  the AED                                                               
and  maintained that  the three  bills  put the  cart before  the                                                               
9:10:41 AM                                                                                                                    
JIM  ANDERSON, CFO,  Anchorage School  District, testified  on SB
103 and  SB 104. He thanked  the committee for their  efforts. He                                                               
applauded the  focus on  education innovation  in SB  103, noting                                                               
that  ASD  is working  with  UAA  to  initiate an  Alaska  Middle                                                               
College School  next year, an ANSEP  high school, and a  new STEM                                                               
program.  He stated  the  importance  of the  APS  and asked  the                                                               
sponsor to  reconsider doing away with  it because it acts  as an                                                               
incentive for  students to push  themselves, develops  more rigor                                                               
and discipline,  and encourages more  students to  continue their                                                               
education in Alaska.                                                                                                            
He  said  he  looks  forward  to working  with  DEED  to  upgrade                                                               
curriculum  as  proposed in  SB  104.  ASD agrees  with  previous                                                               
testifiers  that DEED  will need  many team  players in  order to                                                               
tackle that job.                                                                                                                
9:12:42 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  BLAINE,  representing  himself,  testified on  SB  103.  He                                                               
emphasized  the need  to keep  the APS.  He took  issue with  the                                                               
damage  being done  to education  and  all the  efforts that  are                                                               
misdirected.  He requested  that the  legislature consider  other                                                               
ways of dealing with the financial crisis.                                                                                      
9:14:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CATHERINE COWARD,  representing herself, testified on  SB 102, SB
103, and SB 104.  She stated that it is difficult  to look at the                                                               
bills without  the context  of budget  cuts to  public education.                                                               
She liked the  idea of increased broadband, but  opined that more                                                               
teachers  in  the classroom  and  smaller  class sizes  are  more                                                               
important. She was opposed to the  loss of the APS. She concluded                                                               
that  the legislature  is balancing  the budget  on the  backs of                                                               
students and only gives lip service to education.                                                                               
9:16:26 AM                                                                                                                    
BECCA  BERNARD, representing  herself,  testified on  SB 102,  SB
103, and  SB 104. She  said research  has shown that  small class                                                               
size  and  good  teachers  are  the  most  important  factors  in                                                               
education. Innovation  should not  replace those  basics. Schools                                                               
also need stable,  predictable funding. Cutting the  APS will not                                                               
help  keeps students  in Alaska  or  improve the  number of  good                                                               
teachers. She concluded that online  learning is not a substitute                                                               
for good teachers.                                                                                                              
9:18:50 AM                                                                                                                    
KATE  MEYER, representing  herself, testified  on SB  102 and  SB
103. She  spoke against the  elimination of the APS.  She focused                                                               
on technology  considerations. She shared a  personal story about                                                               
her son  and stressed the  importance of good teachers  and real-                                                               
life classrooms.  Increasing broadband will  require considerable                                                               
funding   and  IT   staff.  She   listed   problems  with   video                                                               
conferencing.  She concluded  that the  idea of  doing more  with                                                               
less by maximizing virtual education is misguided.                                                                              
9:23:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  closed public testimony on  SB 102, SB 103,  and SB
104, and held the bills in committee.                                                                                           

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