Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

02/05/2014 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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08:01:54 AM Start
08:02:42 AM HB245
09:17:57 AM Confirmation Hearing(s)
09:26:34 AM HB220
10:05:37 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
University of Alaska Board of Regents
*+ HB 245 SCHOOL FUNDING: REQ'D LOCAL CONTRIBUTION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 220 REPEAL SECONDARY SCHOOL EXIT EXAM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
            HB 220-REPEAL SECONDARY SCHOOL EXIT EXAM                                                                        
           [Contains discussion of HB 278 and SB 111]                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:26:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  220,  "An Act  repealing  the secondary  student                                                               
competency  examination and  related requirements;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:26:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PETE   HIGGINS,    Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
introduced HB  220, and  provided a  personal anecdote  about his                                                               
dyslexia and the struggles he faced  to attend dental school.  He                                                               
said if  the High School  Graduation Qualifying Exam  (HSGQE) had                                                               
been in  existence at that time,  he would not have  been able to                                                               
complete high school.  He  suggested that there are many students                                                               
who  may not  be  able to  pass  this  exam, and  it  would be  a                                                               
travesty for  them to  only receive  a completion  certificate at                                                               
the  end  of  a  twelve  year  school  career.    The  HSGQE  was                                                               
established due to the No Child  Left Behind Act (NCLB), of 2001,                                                               
and  since its  inception has  represented a  cost burden  to the                                                               
state as well as a barrier for students.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:30:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  noted that  tests are  a matter  of course                                                               
throughout life, even  as professionals, and asked  how he passed                                                               
his dental boards.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HIGGINS  said the  boards  are  designed to  meet                                                               
disability needs.  He explained  how persons with dyslexia can be                                                               
served  by not  having time  constraints placed  on exams  and by                                                               
providing a private space for the test to be taken.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX inquired whether  the problem is the actual                                                               
exit exam or the method used for proctoring.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HIGGINS responded  that the  purpose of  the exam                                                               
does not  accomplish expectations and  other exams would  be more                                                               
meaningful,  such  as  the  Scholastic  Achievement  Test  (SAT),                                                               
American College Testing (ACT), and the WorkKeys exam.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:32:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTIS  interjected  that,  at  the  time  the  HSGQE  was                                                               
established the  expectation was for it  to be a means  to ensure                                                               
that students  would be graduating  with basic skills,  and there                                                               
was general  community support  and reported  that she  served on                                                               
the task force which saw this  exam put into place; however it is                                                               
clear that the original premise is not now being fulfilled.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:33:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER stated  his understanding  that the  exam                                                               
was not  originally considered  an assessment  tool but  rather a                                                               
guarantee  of a  minimum  level of  competency  attained by  high                                                               
school graduates, and was of  particular interest to the business                                                               
community.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:33:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked about the genesis of the exam.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HIGGINS  stated  his  belief that  NCLB  was  the                                                               
impetus for adopting the exam.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:34:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  noted that the State  Board of Education                                                               
unanimously  supports  repealing  the  HSGQE.   Teachers  in  her                                                               
district have been weighing in  with support and stating the time                                                               
that the  exam takes, which they  look forward to utilizing  in a                                                               
more productive  way, and noted  that special needs  students can                                                               
require a week of extra help in order to pass.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HIGGINS agreed.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:36:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON stated support  for HB 220 and said that                                                               
she had  voted for  the original  implementation of  HSGQE, which                                                               
she now regrets.  It has  been shown that student's needs are too                                                               
diverse for this test to  be productive, and the ramifications of                                                               
failing  can be  far reaching,  such as  preventing young  people                                                               
from enlisting in the military.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:37:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON expressed  support for HB 220.   He said it                                                               
should  not be  considered only  in  the light  of special  needs                                                               
students.   Other reasons include  the fact that the  majority of                                                               
high  school students  take  the exam  in the  tenth  grade.   He                                                               
reported that surveys indicate how  some tenth graders, once they                                                               
have shown proficiency  by passing the test, respond  with a lack                                                               
of  interest  in  continuing  study  through  twelfth  grade  and                                                               
graduation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:39:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIE MORRIS,  Staff, Representative  Pete Higgins,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, directed attention to  the negative fiscal note, and                                                               
pointed out  that this is  funding that could be  better directed                                                               
for use elsewhere in the education budget.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:40:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Education  and                                                               
Early Development  (EED), said  that the  State School  Board and                                                               
the administration support this bill.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:41:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.   WILSON  referred   to  Section  6   and  the                                                               
implementation date of July 1  and suggested having it be enacted                                                               
sooner.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORSE said the date is  important to ensure that students are                                                               
not caught in a time frame that would prove problematic.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:43:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTIS theorized  that  a student  who  has completed  all                                                               
other requirements but  failed to take, or pass,  the HSGQE might                                                               
stall  in anticipation  of the  requirement  being repealed,  and                                                               
receive a diploma, following the governor signing the new law.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MORSE  stated  his  understanding that  the  bill  would  be                                                               
effective from the  time it is signed and  forward.  Transitional                                                               
language has been suggested for the bill to cover this scenario.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:44:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER   referred   to  AS   14.03.075(c)   and                                                               
paraphrased  the  language,  which states  [original  punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          (c) Notwithstanding (a) of this section,                                                                              
          (1) a student who is a child with a disability                                                                        
     and  who  does  not  achieve a  passing  score  on  the                                                                    
     examination required  under (a)  of this  section, with                                                                    
     or  without accommodation,  is  eligible  to receive  a                                                                    
     diploma  if  the   student  successfully  completes  an                                                                    
     alternative   assessment   program  required   by   the                                                                    
     student's individualized education  program or required                                                                    
     in the  education plan developed for  the student under                                                                    
     29 U.S.C. 794;                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  whether  the  department  retains                                                               
records  as  to how  often  an  alternative  method is  used  and                                                               
results in a diploma.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORSE responded  yes, and said that the first  time a student                                                               
takes the exam  accommodations are made, such  as having portions                                                               
of  the  test  read  aloud.   Alternatives  go  beyond  what  are                                                               
considered accommodations and allow  certain modifications of the                                                               
exam,  such as  the use  of computerized  spell check.   He  said                                                               
tracking occurs  because of  the approval  that must  be obtained                                                               
from  the department,  and  he offered  to  make the  information                                                               
available to the committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:46:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  stated  opposition   to  the  concept  of                                                               
eliminating  the  exit  exam.    However,  assuming  that  it  is                                                               
eliminated and  considering the hardships that  it has apparently                                                               
caused over the years, she  suggested offering a retroactive date                                                               
to provide diplomas  to those who may have been  impinged upon by                                                               
the requirement since its inception.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORSE offered  that taking such a step would  require a legal                                                               
opinion and represent a legislative policy question.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:48:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD asked  whether  there is  any reason  to                                                               
maintain the  exam:   does it  represent something  particular to                                                               
the student or perhaps a value to the business district.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORSE  stated that the  assessment measures  basic competency                                                               
skills  and has  served to  ramp up  the curriculum  to meet  the                                                               
needs  of every  student.   In  that light,  it  has fulfilled  a                                                               
purpose, but  today it  is no  longer relevant.   To  a follow-up                                                               
question, he said a replacement test will come under discussion.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:50:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked to  have the  administration provide                                                               
the   committee  with   proficiency   standards  information   to                                                               
determine the effectiveness of the HSGQE.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:51:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:51:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  COONS  stated  support  for HB  220,  paraphrasing  from  a                                                               
prepared statement,  which read as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I support  HB 220  as written.   However, in  the other                                                                    
     body  the  companion  bill, SB  111  has  changed  with                                                                    
     transition language added:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     TRANSITION:  STUDENT TESTING  IN  PROGRESS. Until  June                                                                    
     30,  2017,   a  school   district  shall   continue  to                                                                    
     administer the  competency examination under  former AS                                                                    
     14.03.075  and  regulations  adopted  under  former  AS                                                                    
     14.03.075 in  effect on August  31, 2014, to  a student                                                                    
     who  seeks to  qualify for  a secondary  school diploma                                                                    
     under former  AS 14.03.075,  as it  read on  August 31,                                                                    
     2014.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     * Sec. 7. This Act takes effect September 1, 2014.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     My  problem with  this is,  that this  severely impacts                                                                    
     young adults from  moving forward now as  adults.  Yes,                                                                    
     I realize this will be the  last class to take the exit                                                                    
     exam,  it is  a  logistical matter  more than  anything                                                                    
     else.  I'm  sure there will be those  students who will                                                                    
     look at this as an opportunity  to see how well they do                                                                    
     for upcoming  SAT's they plan  to take.  There  will be                                                                    
     others, like  I was at 18  who will take it  because we                                                                    
     know we  must and what the  heck see how well  I do and                                                                    
     not be worried about it.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Then there  will those  who weren't  going to  pass the                                                                    
     test  anyway and  within that  are those  who have  not                                                                    
     passed all required  classes and may not  get a diploma                                                                    
     under any circumstances.  So,  let this exit exam die a                                                                    
     quiet death with  minimal impact on the  students.  For                                                                    
     to do the "transition",  this then impacts those trying                                                                    
     to go  into the military  since most require  a diploma                                                                    
     for  enlistment and  those students  who  will look  at                                                                    
     this as just another hoop  to jump through.  Myself, if                                                                    
     I were not going into  the military, I'd take the test,                                                                    
     if I didn't  pass the math, I'd get  my transcripts for                                                                    
     the entire  High School  years and  submit that  to any                                                                    
     future employer instead of a "sheep skin diploma".                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I strongly  believe that  when I see  a problem  to not                                                                    
     only identify  it, but to  come up with  an alternative                                                                    
     or  fix to  that problem,  thus; delete  the Transition                                                                    
     Student Testing In Progress and instead insert:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Procedures for graduation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 14.03.075.  College and career assessments.  (a) A                                                                    
     student  shall be  issued  a  secondary school  diploma                                                                    
     upon  completing all  required course  study throughout                                                                    
     High School  with a  2.0 GPA or  higher. (b)  A student                                                                    
     who  fails to  qualify for  the issuance  of a  diploma                                                                    
     under  (a) of  this section  will be  held back  so the                                                                    
     student can retake  the needed courses to  meet the 2.0                                                                    
     GPA   requirement,  upon   successful  completion   the                                                                    
     diploma will be issued.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     As  to the  SB 111,  line 30;  change the  September 1,                                                                    
     2014 back to July 1, 2014.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:55:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SALLY  DYBDAHL, President,  Hoonah School  Board, stated  support                                                               
for HB  220 and  said more relevant  approaches should  be taken.                                                               
She  noted the  negative effects  the exam  has had  on potential                                                               
Hoonah graduates.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:56:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY NANUWAK, speaking for herself,  stated support for education                                                               
and  noted problems  which exist.    The state  and federal  laws                                                               
being discussed,  she opined, sometimes  create inequality.   She                                                               
expressed appreciation  for the committee members  working on the                                                               
issues.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:00:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ERNIE MANZIE stated  support for HB 220 and said  there are other                                                               
assessments  which   accomplish  more  relevant   evaluations  of                                                               
students  for college,  and  industry purposes.    He provided  a                                                               
personal anecdote, about  his son's struggles to  pass the HSGQE,                                                               
to underscore his statement.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:04:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked whether  there  was  any value  to                                                               
having his son pass the exam.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MANZIE  answered that  there was  no educational  value, only                                                               
that he was then able to receive his diploma.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:05:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS announced HB 220 was held over.                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 220 State Board Resolution.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB 220 HSGQE Relevancy.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB 220 HSGQE_ContractualCosts.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB 220 Section Analysis.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB 220 Sponsors Statement A.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB 220 Statewide HSGQE Results.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB220 Fiscal Note.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB 245 Hearing Request.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 Sponsor statement.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 Supporting document Bockhorst.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 Supporting documents - analyses of legal issues.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 Supporting documents - local contributions - Ketchikan.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
HB245 Fiscal Note - Comm Reg Affairs.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
HB245 Fiscal Note Designated Reserves Endowments.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
HB245 FiscalNote DEED.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245
Edc Confirmation - Enright resume.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
Confirmation:
HB220-public comment.PDF HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 220
HB245 Ketchikan vs AK.pdf HEDC 2/5/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 245