Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205
04/07/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION
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SB 104-EDUCATION CURRICULUM 8:40:49 AM CHAIR HUGHES announced the consideration of SB 104. 8:41:11 AM BRITTANY HUTCHISON, Staff, Senator Anna MacKinnon, Alaska State Legislature, reviewed SB 104 on behalf of the sponsor. She addressed concerns of public testifiers. She said SB 104 is completely voluntary. The state plans to pay for the fiscal note and additional staff, if needed, curriculum research and professional development, but it will not come out of DEED funds or district funds. It would come out of the Alaska Education Innovation Grant Fund. The bill will not touch local control. The goal is to provide a curriculum in math and English to students in schools that don't have the necessary resources to come up with their own curriculum. It provides a three-year review reprieve to help the commissioner in implementing the Alaska Education Challenge. 8:42:33 AM MS. HUTCHISON summarized that the three bills are not meant to make up for the difference in the BSA reduction. The bills should provide funding and cost savings to school districts and provide a funding stream to bridge the achievement gap and bring curriculum, students, and instruction in line with 21st Century technology. 8:43:09 AM SENATOR BEGICH asked what the impetus for the bill was. Many districts testified that the bill would have no impact on them. MS. HUTCHISON replied that Senator MacKinnon wrote a letter a few years ago to the State Board of Education regarding common curriculum to help districts. The sponsor has been contacted by smaller schools with a request for English and math curriculum help. SENATOR BEGICH said that is a persuasive answer. SENATOR STEVENS asked if the department could discuss the implementation. 8:45:05 AM CHAIR HUGHES requested clarification of the fiscal notes for SB 104. It says that (DEED) must purchase and provide curriculum for the seven test districts and make it available to all districts. MS. HUTCHISON explained that the department will purchase curriculum using the new Alaska Innovation Education Grant Fund. CHAIR HUGHES asked if the department will pay for the quantities the districts need. MS. HUTCHISON offered to find out. 8:46:34 AM SENATOR BEGICH asked what happens if the Innovation Education Grant Fund does not pass. MS. HUTCHISON replied it would come out of the Alaska Higher Education Fund. 8:47:16 AM SENATOR STEVENS asked how the department would implement the program. 8:47:29 AM PAUL PRUSSING, Deputy Director, Teacher and Learning Support, Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), answered questions related to SB 104. He replied that it would be very challenging for the department to implement because they don't have a content specialist and the testing of the curriculum would be extensive and costly. Math would be cost $328 per student, so for Anchorage it would be about $30 million. The reviewing, testing, and implementing of the curriculum would be expensive. He shared his experience with the Reading First Curriculum and the work and expense involved. Eventually, they discovered an additional need to have supplemental programs for unique populations. The fiscal note is indeterminate because there are so many unknowns. 8:50:07 AM SENATOR GIESSEL appreciated the need for a curriculum process. She asked how a school district chooses a curriculum. MR. PRUSSING explained that teachers know their kids and what works for them. There is discussion amongst districts and they share curriculum. 8:51:22 AM CHAIR HUGHES asked if other states have taken this on. She said it sounds complicated. MR. PRUSSING said he researched for three days, including talking with Education Northwest, a regional resource, and didn't find much information. A few states have undertaken this with varying degrees of success. 8:52:05 AM SENATOR COGHILL said it is good information. He spoke of developed curriculum and the pressure to buy it. He asked if cyber education is changing the curriculum makeup. 8:53:17 AM MR. PRUSSING said that some districts are not buying textbooks any more. There is a market for a state's unique needs and vendors are reacting to those needs. 8:54:03 AM MS. TESHNER explained the indeterminate fiscal note for SB 104. There would be a need for three positions; two content specialists, one in math and one in Language Arts, and one support staff. CHAIR HUGHES asked about the department purchasing and providing curriculum to districts. 8:55:07 AM MR. PRUSSING explained that the state would be providing the curriculum to any district that would like it. It could be expensive because some may want books; some technology. 8:55:44 AM SENATOR COGHILL asked if the department has done this before. 8:56:06 AM MR. PRUSSING replied that the department has provided resources to districts. In 2005 the department worked on a project for lesson plans which were available on line. It was not used very much. SENATOR COGHILL recalled an Alaska History curriculum. 8:57:03 AM CHAIR HUGHES commented that the department would provide evidence-based curriculum to ensure that districts receive a quality product. 8:57:47 AM MR. PRUSSING asked what happens when the kids are not successful when using a department-provided curriculum. He spoke of the importance of local knowledge and the need for yearly professional development. 8:58:42 AM SENATOR STEVENS voiced concern about the role of local control in this process. MR. PRUSSING thought the bill would change the role of local control because the curriculum might not have the approval of the local school board. 9:00:07 AM CHAIR HUGHES pointed out that the curriculum is optional, and a district could continue with what they are currently doing. 9:00:29 AM MR. PRUSSING referred to page 1, line 9, which says the State Board shall approve curricula used by the five largest districts. 9:00:41 AM SENATOR GIESSEL pointed out that it also includes the Regional Education Attendance Areas (REAA). 9:01:02 AM MS. HUTCHISON stated that the bill is voluntary and local control is not being touched. In the first section, the curriculum approval and review is only for the first three years. There will be curriculum available, but no one must use it. The bill provides a break for three years from having to establish new curriculum. CHAIR HUGHES summarized that it gives the department the ability to approve the curriculum for five districts. 9:03:17 AM MS. HUTCHISON corrected that since the five largest districts and the two REAAs have curriculum that is already approved, the department will approve it and make it available to everyone. They will allow it to be used for three more years. 9:03:53 AM SENATOR GIESSEL suggested to use "the board shall approve curricula currently used by" on page 1, line 9. CHAIR HUGHES thanked Senator Giessel. SENATOR COGHILL moved to report SB 104, version J, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note. CHAIR HUGHES announced that without objection, SB 104 moved from the Senate Education Standing Committee. She commented that it would be FY19 or FY20 before the Education Innovative Grant Fund would be available to districts. She asked the sponsor to consider making something available sooner.