Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

02/08/2016 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HB 157-LANG. IMMERSION SCHOOLS/TEACHER CERTS.                                                                      
8:37:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 157,  "An  Act  relating to  language  immersion                                                               
charter schools; relating to  teacher certification; and relating                                                               
to  standards-based  assessments  in language  immersion  charter                                                               
schools and language immersion programs."                                                                                       
8:39:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  said  the  information  from  the                                                               
previous   hearing  was   incorporated  into   a  new   committee                                                               
substitute and every  section of the bill has been  revised.  The                                                               
goal  of  the  bill  is to  encourage  and  streamline  immersion                                                               
schools in Alaska.                                                                                                              
8:41:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER noted  that  the legislation  appears  to create  a                                                               
particular type of charter school model  that is new to the state                                                               
and  establish   new  educational   policies.    He   stated  his                                                               
understanding that charter schools are  an effort to return local                                                               
control  to  districts;  however,  this  legislation  appears  to                                                               
involve the  Department of Education and  Early Development (EED)                                                               
in the specific area of language schools.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  said  that language  schools  are                                                               
quite  different from  other facilities,  requiring that  subject                                                               
teachers also  be fluent in  the immersion language.   He pointed                                                               
out that these teachers may  have difficulty in attaining a state                                                               
teaching  certificate.   The bill  is  a vehicle  to address  the                                                               
unique  character of  immersion schools  and enhance  the ability                                                               
for teachers to meet the  certification demands.  It is important                                                               
to  understand that  a qualified  teacher, who  has English  as a                                                               
second  language,  may  find  it difficult  to  achieve  a  state                                                               
teaching certification.                                                                                                         
8:44:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   COLVER   expressed    concerns   for   injecting                                                               
burdensome bureaucracy into the charter school system.                                                                          
CHAIR KELLER said the proposed  legislation may create a template                                                               
containing a  new policy that  will extend beyond  the linguistic                                                               
8:45:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked if the  main thrust of HB 157 applies                                                               
to a type M permit.  The  M permit is generally issued to someone                                                               
with a specialized  skill to allow them to lead  a class, such as                                                               
an  expert welder.   The  immersion  teacher doesn't  necessarily                                                               
fall under the M permit, as  they must provide a wider expanse of                                                               
topics, he noted,  and asked for clarity regarding  the intent of                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  concurred  and  opined  that  the                                                               
current  state  certification  process is  not  accommodating  to                                                               
language specialists.                                                                                                           
8:46:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  established that the  original HB 157  labeled, 29-                                                               
LS03234\S was  before the  committee, and asked  for a  review of                                                               
changes that  might affect the  current charter  school statutes.                                                               
He referred to the committee  packet document, titled, "Sectional                                                               
Analysis,   HB   157   -   Language   Immersion   Schools/Teacher                                                               
Certifications  (version  S)," and  the  Section  1 entry,  which                                                               
     Section  1  requires  the charter  contract  between  a                                                                    
     school board  and a  language immersion  charter school                                                                    
     established  under section  2  of the  bill to  contain                                                                    
     provisions requiring compliance with section 2.                                                                            
CHAIR KELLER asked to whom the compliance language refers.                                                                      
REID  MAGDANZ,  Staff,  Representative  Jonathan  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature, responded that  immersion institutions                                                               
would  have a  contract indicating  compliance and  ensuring that                                                               
the requirement to  provide 50 percent of  instructional hours in                                                               
a non-English language was being met.                                                                                           
8:48:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER noted  that Sec.  2 represents  a new  section, and                                                               
expressed concern  that it may  contain restrictions  to district                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  assured  the committee  that  the                                                               
intent is to eliminate the  cumbersome process currently in place                                                               
and  address   the  specialized  field  of   language  immersion.                                                               
However,  he stressed,  the expectation  is  for the  bill to  be                                                               
complimentary, and  additive without displacing  existing charter                                                               
school statutes.                                                                                                                
8:50:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  asked if the  50 percent  instructional requirement                                                               
could cause  Fronteras to make significant  curriculum changes to                                                               
remain in compliance,  and whether the proposed  bill provide any                                                               
benefits over current statute.                                                                                                  
8:50:50 AM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER   HUTCHINS,  Principal,   Fronteras  Spanish   Immersion                                                               
Charter School,  stated support  for HB  157, and  emphasized the                                                               
need for  the legislation, as  a means to bolster  other programs                                                               
and alleviate  the stress  involved in  staffing.   She explained                                                               
the difficulty  in recruiting  language/culture holders,  who can                                                               
also  qualify for  a state  teaching certificate.   The  existing                                                               
statutes  include specifications  that ensures  adherence to  the                                                               
established standards and evaluation processes for all teachers.                                                                
CHAIR KELLER surmised that the  certification portion of the bill                                                               
is the priority aspect.                                                                                                         
MS. HUTCHINS concurred.                                                                                                         
8:54:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  noted that  the  bill  doesn't prevent  a                                                               
school from using  a 40 or 60 percent language  practice, only if                                                               
a request is being made for this type of teacher certification.                                                                 
MR. MAGDANZ said correct.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS added  that many immersion programs                                                               
have  a blend  of  curriculum  to provide  more  than 50  percent                                                               
target language instruction,  which is the minimum  that the bill                                                               
CHAIR KELLER  theorized that a  school offering 40  percent would                                                               
not qualify for the proposed certification changes.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  clarified  that  the  50  percent                                                               
represents an  aspirational benchmark.   A school would  submit a                                                               
proposal to EED  to indicate how the benchmark  would be reached,                                                               
and the agency would make the determination for compliance.                                                                     
8:58:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MAGDANZ turned  to the bill Sec. 2, page  3, and lines 22-25,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
     (f) Notwithstanding  (e) of this section,  a person who                                                                    
     possesses  a   teacher  certificate  issued   under  AS                                                                    
     14.20.015, 14.20.017,  AS 14.20.020, or  14.20.022, but                                                                    
     does  not  possess  a  language  immersion  endorsement                                                                    
     issued  under  AS  14.20.021,   may  teach  classes  in                                                                    
     English at a language immersion charter school.                                                                            
MR. MAGDANZ  pointed out  that subsection (f)  is specific  to an                                                               
immersion language charter school, and no other charter schools.                                                                
8:59:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER referred to the  bill requirements indicated on page                                                               
2,  lines 9-11,  and expressed  interest in  knowing whether  the                                                               
language indicates a need for EED to write new regulation.                                                                      
8:59:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MAGDANZ said  Sec. 3 includes language  for implementation of                                                               
higher standards and specific training  for teachers at immersion                                                               
schools.   The section is  modeled after  one Utah has  in place,                                                               
called  a  world  languages  endorsement,  which  attaches  to  a                                                               
standard certificate  and verifies  a fitness for  teaching other                                                               
subject matter in a foreign language.                                                                                           
9:00:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER directed attention to the  bill Sec. 4, page 4, line                                                               
2, which read:                                                                                                                  
     (3)  demonstrates  the  ability  to  conduct  classroom                                                                    
     activities  entirely  in   the  indigenous  or  foreign                                                                    
     language; and                                                                                                              
CHAIR  KELLER   surmised  that  this  would   require  additional                                                               
departmental regulation to ensure compliance.                                                                                   
MR.  MAGDANZ concurred,  and to  a follow-up  question, responded                                                               
that the  department will not  be required to approve  the course                                                               
or program of study that the immersion teacher attends.                                                                         
9:02:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER questioned  the deletion of the language  on page 4,                                                               
line 11, which reads:                                                                                                           
     ... expertise for  which it is issued,  to teach Alaska                                                                    
     Native [LANGUAGE OR] culture, ...                                                                                          
MR. MAGDANZ  responded that in  creating a new  limited teacher's                                                               
certificate, specific  to language,  the deletion  is appropriate                                                               
from this section and the intent is recaptured in Section 6.                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER noted  deletion of  language from  Sec. 4,  page 4,                                                               
lines 19-22, which read:                                                                                                        
     ... competent as a teacher [.   THE BOARD MAY REQUIRE A                                                                    
     PERSON  ISSUED  A   LIMITED  CERTIFICATE  TO  UNDERTAKE                                                                    
     ACADEMIC TRAINING  AS MAY BE  REQUIRED BY THE  BOARD BY                                                                    
     REGULATION  AND  MAKE   SATISFACTORY  PROGRESS  IN  THE                                                                    
     ACADEMIC TRAINING].                                                                                                        
MR. MAGDANZ clarified  that it is being removed as  it applies to                                                               
someone teaching  a specific  skill, such  as carpentry,  and the                                                               
requirement  was  deemed  unnecessary  for the  purposes  of  the                                                               
language endorsement being proposed.                                                                                            
9:04:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER directed  attention to Sec. 5, page 4,  line 31, and                                                               
page 5, lines 1-2, which read:                                                                                                  
     (c)  The board  may  not require,  as  a condition  for                                                                    
     extending or  renewing a limited certificate  under (b)                                                                    
     of  this section,  that  a  person complete  additional                                                                    
     academic training.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  KELLER noted  that  the  wordage is  in  keeping with  the                                                               
preceding language adjustments.                                                                                                 
MR. MAGDANZ concurred.                                                                                                          
9:05:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS moved to  Sec. 6, beginning on page                                                               
5, to comment that it represents  the vital organs of the bill in                                                               
order to  provide a pathway  for language  speakers to be  in the                                                               
CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony.                                                                                           
9:07:48 AM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN SCHMIDT,  Recruiting and Operations, stated  support for HB
157, and said that all of  the immersion classes are very popular                                                               
and have waiting lists.   Recently a Spanish speaking teacher was                                                               
out of  the classroom,  and finding  a substitute  was difficult.                                                               
The   person  finally   located  has   indicated  interested   in                                                               
continuing in  the classroom,  however, he  would be  required to                                                               
enroll in a class at the university.                                                                                            
9:10:51 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  BARBARA  AMAROK,  PhD,  provided  a  brief  history  of  the                                                               
depression of  the Native languages  and erosion of  the culture,                                                               
during   the  last   century  in   Alaska.     Fortunately,   the                                                               
generational change has  seen a turn of events  and refocused the                                                               
importance  for  acceptance  and  preservation  of  the  Native's                                                               
authentic history  and culture.  She  provided personal anecdotes                                                               
illustrating her  families' experiences  of the  initial cultural                                                               
divide and the recent reunion.                                                                                                  
9:13:12 AM                                                                                                                    
SHAWN  ARNOLD,   Superintendent,  Nome  Public   Schools,  stated                                                               
support for HB 157, noting the  importance for having a method in                                                               
place that will  help to recruit language speakers.   Some people                                                               
are unable  to attain certification  until they have  been hired,                                                               
due to financial constraints.                                                                                                   
9:15:51 AM                                                                                                                    
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Education  and                                                               
Early Development  (EED), pointed out that  a limited certificate                                                               
is  currently allowed,  as  shown  in Sec.  4,  page  4, line  7,                                                               
specific  to teaching  Alaska  Native language  or  culture.   He                                                               
suggested the language  proposed for removal be  retained and the                                                               
term  "world" inserted.    Thus, the  concerns  addressed by  the                                                               
previous two witnesses might be  satisfied.  The Sec. 4 language,                                                               
proposed for removal, lines 19-22,  were adopted to ensure that a                                                               
skilled worker,  such as  a carpenter, could  not be  required to                                                               
attend college classes in carpentry in  order to receive a type M                                                               
certificate, but  could be required  to take classes  specific to                                                               
teaching and assessing students.                                                                                                
9:19:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MORSE moved  to Sec.6, beginning on page 5,  line 3, and said                                                               
the proposed  language would allow a  limited certificate teacher                                                               
to instruct  any subject class,  with allowance for the  board to                                                               
impose content  testing of an  instructor's knowledge.   However,                                                               
the  concern  is  that  although  a teacher  may  be  capable  of                                                               
teaching a  subject, such as  math in  a foreign language  due to                                                               
having passed  a content examination,  they may not have  a full,                                                               
extended knowledge of math.   Additionally, a teacher not holding                                                               
a  bachelor's degree,  is not  qualified  to be  enrolled in  the                                                               
teacher  retirement system  (TRS).   It  is the  teaching of  the                                                               
other  content  areas that  raises  concern,  he stressed.    The                                                               
proposed language  is appropriate to describe  a paraprofessional                                                               
position, or teacher's aide.   He added that the forthcoming bill                                                               
version may  alter these concerns,  as well as change  the fiscal                                                               
9:23:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER  inquired about the  status of immersion  schools in                                                               
Alaska and whether they are all charter schools.                                                                                
MR. MORSE said  there is no charter requirement  for an immersion                                                               
school, and he  conjectured that some exist  which aren't charter                                                               
CHAIR  KELLER  asked  about  immersion  school  status  in  other                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND offered  that Anchorage  School District                                                               
(ASD) has  had language immersion  classes available,  within the                                                               
neighborhood schools, since the 1990's.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS confirmed  that  ASD,  as well  as                                                               
other states, have immersion programs in public schools.                                                                        
CHAIR KELLER noted that the  limited certification applies to all                                                               
schools not only the charter school.                                                                                            
9:26:34 AM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN ALLEN, Student Representative, Thunder Mountain High                                                                      
School, stated support for HB 157, suggesting that it may be the                                                                
best way to preserve Alaskan Native languages.                                                                                  
9:28:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony and announced HB 157 as                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
2HB AK Perf. Scholarship Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
3HB264W.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 264
3a HB264 University of Alaska Questions & Concerns.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 264
4HB264 Supporting Documen-AK Performance Scholarship Outcome Report.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 264
5HB264 Supporting Document - AK Performance Scholarship Outcomes Report-Ex 10.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 264
6HB264 Supporting Document-AK Performance Scholarship Outcomes Report-Ex 7 & 8.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 264
7 HB264 Fiscal note.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 264
8 HB264 University of Alaska Questions & Concerns.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 264
HB157 Hearing Request.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Summary of Changes ver S to ver F.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Sectional Analysis ver F.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Sectional Analysis.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Sponsor Statement ver F.pdf HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Support Fronteras.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Supporting Documents-Article Indian Country Today 9-1-2014.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Supporting Documents-Article Salt Lake Tribune 8-4-2012.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 Supporting Documents-Website Utah Dual Language Immersion Program.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
HB157 ver S.PDF HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
8 HB157 SB84 Support.docx HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157
SB 84
HB157 Fiscal note.pdf HEDC 2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/8/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 157