Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 106

02/09/2011 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:02:53 AM Start
08:03:07 AM Presentation(s): School Superintendent
08:34:28 AM HB104
09:35:25 AM HB5
09:55:06 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ - Presentation by a School District TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
            HB   5-CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY CURRICULUM                                                                        
9:35:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DICK  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  5, "An  Act requiring  a standardized  statewide                                                               
history of American constitutionalism  curriculum and a secondary                                                               
school  history  of  American  constitutionalism  examination  in                                                               
public  schools in  the  state; and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
The committee took an at-ease at 9:35 a.m.                                                                                      
9:35:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WES KELLER,  Alaska State  Legislature, explained                                                               
the need  for American  Constitutionalism, paraphrasing  from the                                                               
sponsor statement,  which read  as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
     The Spanish American  philosopher George Santayana once                                                                    
     said,  "Those   who  cannot   remember  the   past  are                                                                    
     condemned to  repeat it."   It would be  an unthinkable                                                                    
     tragedy  to repeat  the human  oppression that  existed                                                                    
     before our  country's greatest gift to  humankind:  The                                                                    
     gift of  awareness that we all  have fundamental rights                                                                    
     that belong  to us by  virtue of  the fact that  we are                                                                    
     human and  that the  only valid  government is  what is                                                                    
     allowed  by the  governed.   These  and other  profound                                                                    
     foundational   truths  need   to   be  understood   and                                                                    
     House Bill 5  presumes we are in  danger of forgetting,                                                                    
     and  requires  American  History education  to  include                                                                    
     teaching of "American  Constitutionalism" as defined by                                                                    
     six  founding  documents   that  established  the  most                                                                    
     prosperous  and   powerful  nation   on  earth:     the                                                                    
     Declaration     of     Independence;    Early     State                                                                    
     Constitutions;  the Articles  of Confederation;  The US                                                                    
     Constitution, the Federalist, and the Bill of Rights.                                                                      
     HB  5   requires  Alaska  School  Districts   to  teach                                                                    
     American  Constitutionalism and  to monitor  and report                                                                    
     student learning.   It also requires  the Department of                                                                    
     Education  to  provide  a  curriculum  and  a  standard                                                                    
     student proficiency  measurement tool as a  resource to                                                                    
     be  made available  to school  districts.   Presumably,                                                                    
     this curriculum, and even the  testing process, will be                                                                    
     efficiently  made available  digitally,  on-line, in  a                                                                    
     format that  will be usable to  students, teachers, and                                                                    
     school administrators  anywhere in Alaska, any  time of                                                                    
     the day.   School  districts would  have the  option of                                                                    
     using  these   resources  as  a  curriculum   or  as  a                                                                    
     supplement  to enhance  existing district  curricula to                                                                    
     enable compliance.                                                                                                         
     Students  will be  required to  demonstrate a  level of                                                                    
     proficiency  as   part  of   their  exit  exam.     The                                                                    
     Department will  provide a report on  the effectiveness                                                                    
     of this  mandate in its  annual communication  with the                                                                    
     Governor and Legislature.                                                                                                  
     The goal of House Bill 5  is to keep Alaska and America                                                                    
     strong  and  to  preserve   the  principles  that  have                                                                    
     provided  the  greatest  prosperity  and  liberty  this                                                                    
     world has ever known.                                                                                                      
The committee took an at-ease at 9:50.                                                                                          
9:51:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  observed that this represents  a mandate                                                               
to the school districts, which may present a problem.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  said  that  history  is  already  in  the                                                               
curriculum and  this simply represents  a mandate  to incorporate                                                               
an express focus on American Constitutionalism.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI noted that  the sponsor's school district                                                               
supports the bill,  as well as a letter of  support, contained in                                                               
the bill packet, from the  Haines Borough School Board, and asked                                                               
whether  these   two  districts   have  existing   civics  course                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said he would provide  that information to                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
9:53:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DICK said  that  the  fate of  the  nation  may depend  on                                                               
everyone understanding the constitution.   However, he said that,                                                               
recalling his  own experience  as a  student, civics  classes are                                                               
not necessarily engaging.                                                                                                       
9:54:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON directed  attention  to the  bill page  2,                                                               
line  18,  and  read:    "statewide  curriculum  and  examination                                                               
standards at  all grade levels",  and asked whether  the existing                                                               
standards  for civics  and  history have  been  reviewed, at  all                                                               
grade levels,  and do they meet  the requirements of HB  5 or are                                                               
new and separate requirements being proposed.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  offered  to  provide a  response  to  the                                                               
committee, at a future hearing.                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Sectional Analyis of HB 104.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 104
Summary of HB 104.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 104
HB 5 Leigislation.PDF HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
HB 5 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
Haines Support Letter Re HB 5.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
AS 14.03.075 Re HB5.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
4 AAC 04 Re HB 5.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
Alaska Ed Standards.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
Federal Legislation Re HB 5.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
History of Federal Legislation Re HB5.pdf HEDC 2/9/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5