Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

04/07/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 102 Out of Committee
Moved SB 103 Out of Committee
Moved SB 104 Out of Committee
             SB 99-PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING                                                                          
9:06:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced the consideration of SB 99.                                                                              
SENATOR  TOM BEGICH,  sponsor of  SB 99,  presented the  bill. He                                                               
related the  importance of quality  early education.  He stressed                                                               
the  value of  providing  students the  opportunity, before  they                                                               
enter kindergarten,  to prove school readiness.  Research suggest                                                               
that students who have access  to high quality preschool are less                                                               
likely to be  incarcerated and less likely  to receive government                                                               
assistance as adults.                                                                                                           
He  related that  Alaska's  current  pre-Kindergarten programs  -                                                               
such as  those in Anchorage,  Mat-Su, the Lower  Kuskokwim School                                                               
District,  and  Nome,  offer opportunities  and  quality  program                                                               
which  have been  described to  the  education committees.  Early                                                               
education  programs   including  Head  Start,   Best  Beginnings,                                                               
Parents  as  Teachers, the  work  of  DEED, and  grants,  provide                                                               
access  to  high-quality  early  education,  beginning  with  the                                                               
lowest performing districts.                                                                                                    
He continued  to say that  high quality pre-K education  can save                                                               
up to  $7 in  long-term government expense  by reducing  the need                                                               
for remedial  education and involvement  in the  criminal justice                                                               
and public assistance systems.                                                                                                  
9:09:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  said smart investments  in oil and  gas royalties                                                               
and the  PFD have  made the  state one  of the  most economically                                                               
equitable  in the  country. Similar  smart  investments in  early                                                               
education have the  potential to create a  generation of Alaskans                                                               
prepared to make  the greatest impact on this state  that we have                                                               
ever  seen. This  is an  example  of the  importance of  research                                                               
first then investment, in the long run.                                                                                         
9:10:40 AM                                                                                                                    
SYDNEY   KAUFMAN,  Ph.D.,   Staff,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                               
presented the sectional analysis of SB 99:                                                                                      
     Section 1.                                                                                                               
     Establishes  that elementary  schools also  includes an                                                                    
     early  education  program,  whether operated  within  a                                                                    
     public school or by an outside organization.                                                                               
     Section 2.                                                                                                               
     Establishes that  a four or five-year-old,  who has not                                                                    
     attended kindergarten,  is eligible to attend  a public                                                                    
     school early education program.                                                                                            
     Section 3.                                                                                                               
     Creates a  stair-step, 3-year grant program  to provide                                                                    
     training and assist a school  district in developing an                                                                    
     early  education  program.  In  year  one,  the  lowest                                                                    
     performing 20%  of school districts (as  established in                                                                    
     2017)  will be  eligible  for a  grant  to establish  a                                                                    
     district-wide,  high quality  early education  program.                                                                    
     In year two, the next  lowest performing 20 % of school                                                                    
     districts  will be  eligible for  the three-year  grant                                                                    
     program  to establish  an early  education program.  At                                                                    
     the end  of the three-year grant  cycle, the Department                                                                    
     of  Education and  Early  Development (the  department)                                                                    
     will be  responsible for determining if  the district's                                                                    
     early education program  complies with state standards.                                                                    
     The grants will be available  to the next lowest 20% of                                                                    
     school  districts   until  all  school   districts  are                                                                    
     offered the opportunity to participate included.                                                                           
9:12:10 AM                                                                                                                    
      Section 4.                                                                                                              
     Directs   the  department   to   supervise  all   early                                                                    
     education  programs and  approve those  early education                                                                    
     programs created by the early education grant program.                                                                     
     Section 5.                                                                                                               
         Defines an "early education program" as a pre-                                                                         
     kindergarten school  for students 3-5 years  old if its                                                                    
     primary   function  is   educational.  The   3-year-old                                                                    
     students  are not  included in  the  program this  bill                                                                    
     proposes,  but  are included  to  ensure  they are  not                                                                    
     excluded from existing State and Federal programs.                                                                         
9:12:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH noted it is conforming language so there is not                                                                  
the unintended consequence of putting three-year-olds into an                                                                   
elementary school program.                                                                                                      
9:13:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KAUFMAN continued:                                                                                                          
     Section 6.                                                                                                               
     Directs  the  board   to  adopt  regulations  regarding                                                                    
     funding as  well as  statewide and  local goals  for an                                                                    
     early education program.  Regulations shall ensure that                                                                    
     early  education programs  have the  flexibility to  be                                                                    
     locally  designed and  culturally appropriate,  so long                                                                    
     as  they  meet  early  education  standards.  An  early                                                                    
     education program  may be either  full day (6  hour) or                                                                    
     half day (at least 2 hours)                                                                                                
     Section 7.                                                                                                               
     For funding purposes, an  early education student shall                                                                    
     be  counted  in  the school  district's  average  daily                                                                    
     membership  as  a  half  day  student  once  the  early                                                                    
     education program has been approved by the department.                                                                     
     Section 8.                                                                                                               
     Adds early  education to consideration  for determining                                                                    
     the number of elementary schools in a district.                                                                            
9:14:40 AM                                                                                                                    
     Section 9.                                                                                                               
      Ensures that early education students who currently                                                                       
      receive State or Federal funding for early education                                                                      
     are not included in the ADM for purposes of funding.                                                                       
     Section 10.                                                                                                              
      Directs early education program staff to be included                                                                      
     in those organizations required to report evidence of                                                                      
     child abuse.                                                                                                               
     Section 11.                                                                                                              
     Repeals the early education grant program in 10 years,                                                                     
     once all school districts have had the opportunity to                                                                      
9:15:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH clarified in Section  9, if a student is receiving                                                               
federal  money  now  for  early education,  the  student  is  not                                                               
included  in the  ADM for  purposes  of funding.  The reason  the                                                               
Early Education  Grant Program will  be repealed in ten  years is                                                               
that every  district in the  state will have had  the opportunity                                                               
to join  a universal voluntary  preschool. He noted  Oklahoma has                                                               
the highest rate of voluntary  early education. Alaska has done a                                                               
good job  of building quality  preschools. The long-term  goal is                                                               
to   create  a   sustainable,  affordable,   programmatic  tiered                                                               
approach, splitting districts into five cohorts.                                                                                
He said the department will address the fiscal notes.                                                                           
CHAIR  HUGHES mentioned  those who  could answer  questions about                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
9:17:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  suggested that homes without  parental support need                                                               
preschool  more  than those  with  support.  She said  the  grant                                                               
targets low achieving  students and inquired why  it is available                                                               
to those who might not need the grant.                                                                                          
9:18:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  explained  that  they  started  with  the  lower                                                               
achieving districts due to a  constitutional obligation to do so.                                                               
Educational  opportunity  must  be  offered to  all  students  in                                                               
Alaska, but it is a choice by parents to make use of them.                                                                      
9:20:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  if there  is anything  to prohibit  a tribal                                                               
organization from offering pre-elementary programs.                                                                             
SENATOR BEGICH said no. The  bill encourages tribal participation                                                               
and  is part  of the  reason for  two sections  in the  bill. One                                                               
ensures  the ability  to  collaborate with  Head  Start, and  the                                                               
cultural  component  in  the  bill  encourages  participation  by                                                               
tribes.  The  intent  of  the bill  is  to  encourage  continuing                                                               
partnerships with existing entities.                                                                                            
9:21:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  thanked him  for the  thoughtful bill.  He liked                                                               
the tiered process,  but getting the money will  be difficult. He                                                               
struggles with  the fact that  grade 1-3 students should  be able                                                               
to read,  and he was  not sure the  bill addresses that.  He said                                                               
the system fails  many students. He hoped the  bill would address                                                               
this and supports the idea of reaching out to families.                                                                         
9:23:06 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH referred  to  a handout  that  shows research  in                                                               
Alaska  where pre-K  has taken  place;  those kids  go to  school                                                               
ready  to learn.  He used  the  Lower Kuskokwim  and Nome  School                                                               
District as examples. Research shows that  it is time to stop the                                                               
demonstration grant  and ensure  that pre-K  is available  to all                                                               
students. Those are the critical years for learning.                                                                            
9:25:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL said  they have  tried Parents  as Teachers  and                                                               
other methods  to encourage  parents to step  up. He  takes issue                                                               
when the  state relieves families  of their  responsibilities. He                                                               
questioned where the funding will come from.                                                                                    
9:26:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  addressed Senator  Coghill's funding  concern. He                                                               
hoped in the future "the way we  do these resources and how we do                                                               
them will be identified."                                                                                                       
9:26:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  liked the  bill. He  did not  know how  rigor in                                                               
education fits into preschool. He  spoke in favor of local design                                                               
and culturally appropriate needs in  the bill, but he hoped there                                                               
was  substance in  the  program.  He asked  how  to  know if  the                                                               
program works and if the money is well spent.                                                                                   
9:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  said they  know because on  page 7,  the criteria                                                               
that are  set out are the  tested methodology that is  used, such                                                               
as high-quality  teachers, types  of programming,  and standards.                                                               
He said  it is  the Oklahoma  standard that  has been  tested and                                                               
measured. The  quality of Alaska  experience would also  apply to                                                               
this  legislation. The  department will  write regulations  using                                                               
their models of quality outcomes.                                                                                               
He  noted the  backup  data shows  dramatic  increases in  school                                                               
readiness  because of  this type  of  program. He  said he  would                                                               
provide  a copy  of  it to  the committee.  It  will be  measured                                                               
against  the  standards   of  9  years  of   experience  and  the                                                               
department  will have  jurisdiction  over  whether programs  will                                                               
continue. After three  years if the department  deems a preschool                                                               
is not meeting quality standards, it will not be approved.                                                                      
9:30:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES invited Ms. Johnson to testify.                                                                                    
9:31:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MEGHAN JOHNSON, Director, Learn and  Grow in THREAD, testified in                                                               
support of  SB 99. She  shared the goals  of Learn and  Grow. She                                                               
said  she   will  address  what  high   quality  early  childhood                                                               
education  looks  like. She  implored  the  legislature to  think                                                               
about children's futures.                                                                                                       
9:32:34 AM                                                                                                                    
She said  there are approximately  40,000 children under  the age                                                               
of six  in Alaska where  both parents  work and there  is limited                                                               
access  to  affordable,  quality   programs.  A  lot  of  quality                                                               
practice has to  do with what is appropriate  for the development                                                               
of birth  to age  5 children.  Parents play  the primary  role in                                                               
supporting this development, but if  they work, it falls to early                                                               
childhood teachers and programs.                                                                                                
She  shared the  most  recent early  care  and learning  economic                                                               
report   by  the   McDowell  Group.   Early  care   and  learning                                                               
contributes $2 billion to Alaska's  economy each year. She listed                                                               
financial benefits of early childhood education.                                                                                
She said there is a  lack of affordable early childhood programs.                                                               
She noted  that pre-K can  be a high-quality choice  for parents.                                                               
She described the soft skills children need.                                                                                    
9:35:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.   JOHNSON  described   several   factors  affect   children's                                                               
development  and what  is needed  to  support relationships  with                                                               
other children.  Teachers have specialized  training and  work in                                                               
partnership  with parents  in  these areas.  She  said there  are                                                               
decreased costs for special education and incarceration due to                                                                  
early childhood education.                                                                                                      
9:37:33 AM                                                                                                                    
She provided a story of a family that was not able to enter a                                                                   
pre-K program and how their son struggled in school.                                                                            
CHAIR HUGHES thanked Ms. Johnson and held SB 99 in committee.                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 99 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 99
SB 99 - Legislation Ver. O.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 99
SB 99 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 99
SB 99 - Fiscal Note - EED-ELC-03-31-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 99
SB 99 - Fiscal Note - EED-FP-03-31-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 99
SB 99 - Fiscal Note - EED-PEF-03-31-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 99
SB 99 - Fiscal Note - EED-PK-04-03-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 99
SB 102 - Fiscal Note - EED-LO-4-6-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 102
SB 103 - Fiscal Note - EED-SSA-04-05-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 103 - Fiscal Note - EED-ACPE-04-05-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 103 - Fiscal Note - EED-APSA-04-05-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 103
SB 104 - Fiscal Note - EED-SSA-04-06-17.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 104
Comment SB 102 103 and 104-KPBSD Dusek.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 102
SB 102, 103, 104 Email Comments.pdf SEDC 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 102