Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

04/08/2009 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 59(EDC) Out of Committee
HB  59-PRE-ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PROGRAMS/PLANS                                                                                   
8:01:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 59 "An Act  providing for the establishment  of a                                                               
statewide early childhood education plan and guidelines."                                                                       
8:02:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON reminded  the committee  that public  testimony had                                                               
been closed at the prior hearing.                                                                                               
8:03:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved that  the committee  adopt Amendment                                                               
1, labeled 26-LS0329\E.2, Mischel, 4/6/09, which read:                                                                          
     Page 4, line 24, following "a":                                                                                            
          Insert "progress"                                                                                                     
8:03:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SCOTT   KAWASAKI,  Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
explained that Amendment 1 is  in recognition that the department                                                               
may not  be able to complete  the report on a  specific deadline,                                                               
and therefore Amendment 1 provides  a progress report in terms of                                                               
what  this   committee  desires  with   Pre-Kindergarten  (Pre-K)                                                               
8:04:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON objected to Amendment 1 for purposes of discussion.                                                                
8:04:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON removed  his  objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objections, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                            
8:05:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved that  the committee  adopt Amendment                                                               
2, labeled 26-LS0329\E.1, Mischel, 4/6/09, which read:                                                                          
     Page 3, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Delete "three and four years of age"                                                                              
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
8:05:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  explained that  Amendment 2  removes the                                                               
age  stipulation so  that all  students can  be involved  and the                                                               
department can  decide how best  to stipulate the age  for Pre-K.                                                               
He noted  his understanding  that the  department's intent  is to                                                               
proceed  with  three  to  four  years  of  age.    Representative                                                               
Kawasaki pointed  out that there's  a forthcoming  amendment that                                                               
dovetails with Amendment 2.                                                                                                     
8:06:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER requested  that Amendment  1 be  withdrawn                                                               
and  the forthcoming  amendment, which  is broader  in scope,  be                                                               
CHAIR SEATON withdrew his objection to Amendment 2.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON withdrew her motion to adopt Amendment 2.                                                                 
8:07:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved that the committee  adopt Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 3, as follows:                                                                                                        
     Page 3, lines 26-27, following "plan for"                                                                              
          Delete "students three and four years of age"                                                                     
          Insert "families with preschool children"                                                                             
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
8:08:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON asked if there  is a specific reason to use                                                               
the term "families."                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER clarified that the  intent is to change the                                                               
focus   from   students   to  families   because   parents   have                                                               
jurisdiction  over  their children  from  birth  to school.    He                                                               
opined   that  parents   are  uniquely   designed  to   know  the                                                               
individuality of  each child more  than anyone else.   Therefore,                                                               
it makes  more sense to  work with  the parents in  the education                                                               
program.  He  said he's more comfortable with  giving parents the                                                               
resources to work with their  children, which has been successful                                                               
in Hoonah.                                                                                                                      
8:10:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  inquired as  to how  the three-  and four-                                                               
year-olds who do  not live in a traditional  family structure but                                                               
rather have a guardian ad litem  or foster parents would fit into                                                               
Amendment 3.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER specified  that the  term "family"  is not                                                               
defined and doesn't  presume a traditional family  structure.  He                                                               
said that  he hadn't felt  being explicit with the  definition of                                                               
"family" was necessary.                                                                                                         
8:11:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER pointed  out that  this is  a significant                                                               
shift  in the  thinking about  preschool education.   She  opined                                                               
that  working with  families is  an appropriate  approach because                                                               
not every child needs to attend preschool.                                                                                      
8:11:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  expressed  concern  that HB  59,  which  is  about                                                               
education,  is now  asking the  department  to write  a plan  for                                                               
families.  Is that the intent, he asked.                                                                                        
8:12:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER pointed out  that Amendment 3 maintains the                                                               
language  "devise a  statewide early  childhood education  plan".                                                           
Furthermore, the  legislation specifies that the  early childhood                                                               
education  plan is  optional.   He said  he envisions  a resource                                                               
center from which families can  obtain resources to prepare their                                                               
children for education.                                                                                                         
8:13:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON indicated that she  liked Amendment 3 as it                                                               
addresses the entire family.                                                                                                    
8:14:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  offered  a  friendly   amendment  to  include  the                                                               
language "students and family" to  allow the early education plan                                                               
to  focus  on an  individual  child  while involving  the  entire                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  opposed   the  aforementioned  suggestion                                                               
because  when  a child  is  taken  out  of  the home,  the  state                                                               
struggles  with the  parental  role.   The  Office of  Children's                                                               
Services (OCS)  holds the responsibility  for the child and  in a                                                               
sense becomes  the family  for a child  taken from  his/her home.                                                               
Representative Keller  opined that  using the  language "student"                                                               
may imply that the Department  of Education and Early Development                                                               
(EED) takes  the jurisdiction and  responsibility for  the child,                                                               
which he wasn't sure is the desire.                                                                                             
8:16:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  stated  support   for  the  amendment  [to                                                               
Amendment 3], but pointed out that  there seems to be a semantics                                                               
issue with the  language as it seems to indicate  a student could                                                               
have a child in preschool.                                                                                                      
8:17:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  asked if  Chair Seaton's concern  would be                                                               
addressed by  inserting the language  "who will  become students"                                                               
following "children".                                                                                                       
8:17:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI said  that he wasn't sure  how the policy                                                               
would be impacted  in those instances in which  a student doesn't                                                               
have  a family.    Furthermore, he  questioned  having EED  write                                                               
policy  to   families.    Representative  Kawasaki   opined  that                                                               
students have to be referenced in  the language.  He related that                                                               
he would  be more  comfortable with the  mention of  students and                                                               
8:18:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  pointed out  that the language  refers to                                                               
early childhood education and that  those children who aren't yet                                                               
school age and don't  have a family and not in  a foster home are                                                               
generally  in a  residential setting,  which has  intensive wrap-                                                               
around  services.   Therefore, she  said she  didn't believe  the                                                               
language is excluding anyone.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEATON clarified  that he  wasn't speaking  about children                                                               
who have  been taken from their  home, but rather his  concern is                                                               
for the  diversity of families that  exist across the state.   He                                                               
reiterated his  concern that EED is  being asked to write  a plan                                                               
for families.                                                                                                                   
8:20:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ disagreed,  and  opined  that the  language                                                               
"devise a  statewide early childhood education  plan for families                                                           
with   preschool  children"   is   clear   and  very   inclusive.                                                           
Furthermore,   Representative  Munoz   opined  that   it  doesn't                                                               
diminish the intent, but rather strengthens it.                                                                                 
8:21:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  expressed   concern  that  the  amendment                                                               
proposes  eliminating  the term  "students"  that  is defined  in                                                           
statute to the term "families" that is not defined.                                                                         
8:21:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER clarified  that the  law, with  or without                                                               
the  amendments, says  nothing about  a family  plan and  doesn't                                                               
imply it.   In response to  Representative Edgmon, Representative                                                               
Keller offered his belief that  there isn't a legal definition of                                                               
"student."   With regard to  including a definition  of "family,"                                                               
he opined that it would prove to be a slippery slope.                                                                           
8:22:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked if the  language "preschool students and their                                                               
families" would result in an  inclusive situation.  Would such be                                                               
a friendly amendment, he asked.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  replied no.   He  explained, "It's  a plan                                                               
for families and it's for  the children who will become students,                                                               
but the  focus can be  either or the way  you described it.   And                                                               
mine's narrower ... it applies only  to the families and I'd like                                                               
to stick with that."                                                                                                            
8:23:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON inquired  as  to how  the  department would  handle                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 3.                                                                                                         
8:25:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  asked if  there is a  statutory definition                                                               
of "student" or "families."                                                                                             
8:25:22 AM                                                                                                                    
EDDIE  JEANS, Director,  School Finance  and Facilities  Section,                                                               
Department of  Education and  Early Development  (EED), responded                                                               
that he  couldn't answer right  away, but  would have to  look up                                                               
the  answer.   However, he  highlighted that  there is  clearly a                                                               
definition  for "school  age children"  that's  used for  funding                                                               
CHAIR SEATON  asked if the  term "student" is applicable  in this                                                           
case when the language refers to preschool age children.                                                                        
8:26:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JEANS  related  his   understanding  that  this  legislation                                                               
directs  EED  to  develop  a  preschool  funding  model  that  is                                                               
voluntary.    He  said  that  he  would  interpret  the  language                                                               
"families  with preschool  children" as  the same  as [using  the                                                           
terms "student"]   He further said  that there would be  a family                                                           
component  in  the  plan  [regardless   of  the  language  used].                                                               
Therefore,  Mr. Jeans  said  he  didn't see  a  problem with  the                                                               
proposed language.                                                                                                              
8:26:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  interjected the need  to be sure  that the                                                               
grandparents aren't excluded because  they aren't considered part                                                               
of the family.                                                                                                                  
MR. JEANS  assured the committee  that the extended  family won't                                                               
be excluded.   He informed  the committee that statute  refers to                                                               
"custodian of  the children," which would  include various family                                                               
8:27:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  related his understanding [per  the language                                                               
in the legislation  and per the language  in Conceptual Amendment                                                               
3] that  the department is  being asked  to formulate a  plan for                                                               
preschool  children.   The  language  appears  to provide  fairly                                                               
broad language to develop the plan, he remarked.                                                                                
8:29:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON recalled  that  Mr.  Jeans testified  that                                                               
regardless of  the language  the families  would be  included [in                                                               
the plan].                                                                                                                      
MR.  JEANS said  he  didn't know  how a  Pre-K  program could  be                                                               
developed without  including the  families.  Even  with statewide                                                               
correspondence, there  has been focus on  individualized learning                                                               
plans.   The aforementioned  will be part  of the  Pre-K program.                                                               
He noted that  the constitution of the program  will vary between                                                               
communities.  The department is  focusing on developing a program                                                               
that allows flexibility to meet  individual student and community                                                               
needs, which includes the parents.                                                                                              
8:30:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  maintained   his  concern  regarding  how                                                               
"family" would be defined.   He noted that some family structures                                                               
in rural villages are non-traditional.                                                                                          
8:31:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER commented  that this  is a  valid concern,                                                               
and  suggested  that  the  use  of the  term  "custodian  of  the                                                               
children" might resolve  the issue.  He stated his  intent is not                                                               
to limit the number of children that would be involved.                                                                         
8:31:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JEANS responded  that he  would prefer  to not  include that                                                               
language.   He  said he  believes the  definition of  "family" is                                                               
contained in regulation, and that  definition could be referenced                                                               
when addressing this issue.                                                                                                     
8:32:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  said  he  would  be  comfortable  with  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 3  if Mr. Jeans would  confirm for the record  that the                                                               
intent of the department is to  involve families and not to write                                                               
a family plan that must be followed.                                                                                            
MR.  JEANS  responded  that  that is  his  understanding  of  the                                                               
department's intentions.                                                                                                        
8:33:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON removed  his objection  to Conceptual  Amendment 3.                                                               
There  being no  further  objection, Conceptual  Amendment 3  was                                                               
8:33:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  moved that the committee  adopt Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 4, as follows:                                                                                                        
     Page 3, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Delete "or expansion of"                                                                                              
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion.                                                                                           
8:34:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  indicated  that  Conceptual  Amendment  4                                                               
would offer  the department the  freedom to expand  and encourage                                                               
valid programs.                                                                                                                 
8:35:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  asked  Mr.  Jeans to  confirm  that  the  proposed                                                               
amendment would not constrain the department.                                                                                   
MR. JEANS answered that it would not.                                                                                           
8:35:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON removed  his objection  to Conceptual  Amendment 4.                                                               
There  being no  further  objection, Conceptual  Amendment 4  was                                                               
8:35:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER   moved    that   the   committee   adopt                                                               
[Conceptual] Amendment 5, as follows:                                                                                           
     Page 4, lines 18-19, following "cost-efficient":                                                                           
          Insert "family based"                                                                                                 
8:35:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
8:36:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER,  in  response to  Representative  Wilson,                                                               
confirmed  that all  the amendments  being offered  to HB  59 are                                                               
8:36:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked  if there are any efficient  and optional pre-                                                               
elementary programs that are not family based.                                                                                  
MR.  JEANS offered  his belief  that the  department has  already                                                               
developed the  early learning guidelines  that would  be included                                                               
under this  new statute.   He stated,  "As long as  we understand                                                               
that ... adding  'family based' doesn't limit  us to family-based                                                               
programs, then I'm fine with the language."                                                                                     
8:37:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON asked  the  bill sponsor  if  he thinks  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 5 would restrict the department's guidelines.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER answered no.                                                                                              
8:38:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH interjected  that he cannot see  how it would                                                               
not.    He  expressed  concern that  Conceptual  Amendment  5  is                                                               
exclusive and  would limit the department's  ability to determine                                                               
the effectiveness of  guidelines.  He clarified that  he does not                                                               
have a problem with the concept  of involving families when it is                                                               
appropriate   to  do   so;  however,   he  said   there  may   be                                                               
circumstances within the  development of the program  when "it is                                                               
outside of  that purview."   He added,  "So, my concern  would be                                                               
that we  don't make  it exclusionary in  the development  of this                                                               
particular process."                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER indicated that  without examples in which a                                                               
family would not  be engaged, he supports being  restrictive.  He                                                               
explained that he wants whoever is  the custodian of the child to                                                               
have some engagement.                                                                                                           
8:40:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH deferred to the department.                                                                                 
8:40:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER questioned  whether  this language  would                                                               
prevent a  child from attending  if his/her parents did  not want                                                               
to be involved in the program.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER answered no.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked  Chair   Seaton  if  it  would  be                                                               
sufficient to note for the  record that the proposed amendment is                                                               
conceptual and is not intended  to exclude children whose parents                                                               
want their children  to participate but do  not, themselves, want                                                               
to participate in the program.                                                                                                  
[AN UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER] said, "Absolutely."                                                                                   
MR. JEANS, referring  to page 4, lines 18-20, opined  that it's a                                                               
fairly  broad definition.    He further  opined  that it  doesn't                                                               
restrict it only to family-based programs.                                                                                      
8:41:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON,   referring  to  page  4,   lines  18-20,                                                               
highlighted  the language,  in  the context  of the  legislation,                                                               
specifying that the board shall adopt:                                                                                          
     (6)   early  learning   guidelines   that  support   an                                                                
     effective, cost-efficient,  and optional pre-elementary                                                                
     program  provided  under  a statewide  early  childhood                                                                
     education plan approved by the department.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  questioned   whether  the  aforementioned                                                               
would require the department to  change some of its guidelines or                                                               
8:42:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH removed his objection to Amendment 4.                                                                       
8:43:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked if the "family-based"  programs imply                                                               
a certain type of program.                                                                                                      
MR.  JEANS  answered that  the  term  "family based"  does  imply                                                               
programs such  as Parents  as Teachers.   However, there  isn't a                                                               
specific listing  of those programs  that fall under  the family-                                                               
based program  designation.   Mr. Jeans  related his  belief that                                                               
the early learning  guidelines that have already  been adopted by                                                               
the  State   Board  of  Education  address   all  the  components                                                               
currently required in this section.                                                                                             
8:44:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  said  he  didn't have  a  problem  with                                                               
Conceptual  Amendment  5  and  would  work  with  Representatives                                                               
Keller and  Edgmon to  ensure that the  definition "is  rigid and                                                               
somewhere in code."                                                                                                             
8:44:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON, referring  to page 4, lines  5-6, asked if                                                               
there is  alignment between the  references to "local  needs" and                                                               
"family based".                                                                                                                 
MR. JEANS  reiterated that the  department finds the  language to                                                               
be  in line  with where  EED  is already  heading, programs  that                                                               
target  individual  students  based   on  community  need.    The                                                               
department wants to maintain broad  language in order that it has                                                               
the flexibility to develop different  programs based on community                                                               
and  parental  needs.   In  further  response  to  Representative                                                               
Edgmon,  Mr.  Jeans  said  that the  term  "family  based"  won't                                                               
restrict  or  encourage  the  department   to  go  in  any  other                                                               
direction than it is already heading.                                                                                           
8:47:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON removed  his objection  to Conceptual  Amendment 5.                                                               
There  being no  further objections,  Conceptual Amendment  5 was                                                               
8:48:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  moved to report CSHB  59, Version LS0329\E,                                                               
Mischel,  3/9/09, as  amended, out  of committee  with individual                                                               
recommendations  and the  accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There                                                               
being  no objection,  CSHB 59(EDC)  was reported  from the  House                                                               
Education Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
8:49:37 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at ease from 8:49 a.m. to 8:52 a.m.                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 59 background I.pdf HEDC 4/6/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/8/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 59
HB 215 material.pdf HEDC 4/8/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/10/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 215
HB 59 workdraft version E and original version R.pdf HEDC 4/6/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/8/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 59
HB 59 background II.pdf HEDC 4/6/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/8/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 59
HB59-ESS-EED-4-2-09.pdf HEDC 4/6/2009 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/8/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 59
SB 57 material I.pdf HEDC 4/8/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 57
SB 57 material II.pdf HEDC 4/8/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 57