Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/11/1994 09:00 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS introduced  SB 136  (NATIVE LANGUAGE                   
 EDUCATION) as the next order of business.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 075                                                                    
                                                                               
 WILLIE ANDERSON, representing NEA-Alaska, stated their support for            
 SB 136.  He said it is clear it is an issue that needs to be                  
 addressed, because it is clear that the Native languages in Alaska            
 have been slowly dying out and should be part of the school                   
 curriculum.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 095                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHARLES KASHATOK, representing the Lower Kuskokwim School District            
 (LKSD) and testifying from Bethel, stated the district's support              
 for SB 136, with the exception of the requirement to utilize                  
 University of Alaska instructors and instructional materials.  He             
 pointed out that the LKSD currently employs approximately 50                  
 certificated Yupik teachers, about 45 of whom speak the Yupik                 
 language, and that LKSD has a well-established language program for           
 which they have developed the materials themself.  He stated the              
 district's support for the requirement that the evaluation of the             
 district's  Native language curriculum be included in the annual              
 report card, and that the decision to require a Native languages              
 education curriculum be made at the school level.                             
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 135                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the language is being taught in his                   
 district at this time.  MR. KASHATOK responds that 23 of the                  
 district's 26 sites have Native language programs.                            
                                                                               
 Number 150                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked what difference SB 136 would make in LKSD,               
 since Native language education has already been implemented.  MR.            
 KASHATOK replies that the legislation would require his district to           
 use materials and teachers from the University of Alaska, when LKSD           
 already had their own materials and teachers.  Other than that, SB
 136 would simply give support to what LKSD is already doing.                  
                                                                               
 Number 168                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR GEORGIANNA LINCOLN, prime sponsor of SB 136, wants to make            
 clear that SB 136 is not legislation for bilingual education, but             
 for Native language education.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 195                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LINCOLN proposes the bill be amended to allow school                  
 districts more option in implementing Native language education.              
 She reads from a statement from the University of Alaska, Interior            
 Campus which states that the actions of school boards and school              
 administrators do not always reflect the wishes of the community.             
 This is the prime reason she thinks there is a need for SB 136.               
                                                                               
 Number 277                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR comments that it appears Senator Lincoln's proposed            
 amendments would in effect change the bill so that it would not               
 have any impact on school districts at all.  SENATOR LINCOLN                  
 replies that the bill would still have the effect of giving school            
 boards the option of establishing local Native language curriculum            
 advisory boards and would make it easier for districts to get                 
 funding for native language education programs by emphasizing the             
 importance of such programs.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 335                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asks if there will be a problem for districts in                
 which more than one Native language is spoken.  SENATOR LINCOLN               
 replies that, at least in the beginning of a Native language                  
 program, only the predominant language of the community will be               
 taught.                                                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 372                                                                    
                                                                               
 REVA SHIRCEL, Director of Education, Tanana Chiefs Conference, is             
 concerned that there is no fiscal note to support programs arising            
 from SB 136.  She advocates the following changes to the                      
 legislation: the requirement that school boards establish native              
 language advisory boards for every school in its district in which            
 there are native students - this would be a statewide requirement             
 for all districts, including Anchorage, which has a large Native              
 population; that local advisory school boards may also be Native              
 language curriculum advisory boards; that students whose origin is            
 not that of the predominant Native language also have the                     
 opportunity to learn their language.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 427                                                                    
                                                                               
 BARB PUNGOWIYI, Native Program Coordinator, Nome Public Schools,              
 supports SB 136, which she thinks would help insure the survival of           
 Native languages.  She reads a statement from a paper written by              
 Carol Napoleon which states that Native people are not trying to              
 undermine the State of Alaska.                                                
                                                                               
 MS. PUNGOWIYI suggests that the Nome Native Education Committee               
 also be allowed to serve as the Native language curriculum advisory           
 board.  She also advocates active participation in non-public                 
 schools.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 455                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHUCK MILLER, Tanana Chiefs Conference, supports SB 136 because to            
 be an Alaska Native and not be able to speak one's language feels             
 as though there is something missing.  He says our language is the            
 basis of our culture, and if our language disappears, he fears that           
 the traditional ways will soon follow.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 481                                                                    
                                                                               
 CAROL HUNTINGTON, Galena School District, is in favor of SB 136.              
 She mentions anger over anti-Native language and cultural policies            
 practiced by educational agencies (teleconference transmission                
 unclear, unable to decipher).                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 494                                                                    
                                                                               
 ESTHER ILUTSIK, Eskimo, Certified Teacher from Aleknagik, supports            
 the bill because she has found there are many administrators and              
 educators who do not value the Yupik language or culture and who do           
 not support bicultural education.  She adds that she hopes                    
 guidelines for serving on a Native language curriculum advisory               
 board would not exclude certified Native teachers from serving.               
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 509                                                                    
                                                                               
 RICHARD THOMAS, Tanana Chiefs Conference, supports SB 136 because             
 he thinks if teaching the language is not begun soon, it will                 
 perish along with the traditions.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 517                                                                    
                                                                               
 MICHAEL KRAUSS, Director, Alaska Native Language Center, University           
 of Alaska, Fairbanks, strongly supports SB 136 and hopes that it              
 will be passed.  He urges people to understand the limitations of             
 most types of language programs.  The Alaska Native Language Center           
 is most supportive of this legislation.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 530                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Mr. Krauss if this legislation does not mandate           
 anything, how it will change the current situation.  MR. KRAUSS               
 responds that HB 136 is the only way to get programs started out in           
 the communities by increasing the outreach of the Alaska Native               
 Language Center.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 541                                                                    
                                                                               
 MOLLY PETERSON, Inupiaq Language Staff Developer, North Slope                 
 Borough School District, thinks that school districts should be               
 required to have Native language programs.  The communities need              
 the state's help in this matter.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 571                                                                    
                                                                               
 VINCE BARRY, Department of Education, states that the department              
 supports the concept of SB 136, however they are not interested in            
 imposing any curriculum.  He notes for the record that ANNE                   
 KESSLER, an expert in bilingual/bicultural education is in                    
 attendance if anyone has any questions.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 578                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Mr. Barry to clarify the department's stand on            
 SB 136.  MR. BARRY responds that the department supports the                  
 legislation so long as it does not establish mandatory requirements           
 for curriculum.  The department generally does not support                    
 mandatory requirements for curriculum of any kind.                            
                                                                               
 Number 580                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asks Mr. Barry what effect making the legislation             
 non-mandatory would have on the fiscal note.  MR. BARRY describes             
 language programs and says that the fiscal note is based on the six           
 school districts that currently do not have bilingual programs                
 starting such programs.                                                       
 Number 560                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks why the programs Mr. Barry just talked about              
 are held as extra-curricular activities, and not as part of the               
 school day.  MR. BARRY replies that the time of day the program is            
 held is optional, and the second year the program was in operation            
 it was held during the day.  There is nothing in law that prevents            
 what this bill intends to do; this bill would simply encourage                
 Native language programs and clarify the support of such programs.            
                                                                               
 Number 553                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Mr. Barry if there is any way to                  
 estimate the fiscal impact this legislation would have on local               
 school districts.  MR. BARRY responds that he will have to find out           
 and get back to Senator Randy Phillips regarding that question.               
                                                                               
 Number 554                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS requests that the bill not be held up in committee              
 while waiting for the information The Chairman just requested.                
                                                                               
 Number 554                                                                    
                                                                               
 VINCE BARRY comments that the fiscal note does accurately reflect             
 the fiscal impact the bill would have as it relates to bilingual              
 education.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 534                                                                    
                                                                               
 ANNE KESSLER, Department of Education, Bilingual Programs, says               
 that the department proposes a cost of $60,000 per site to develop            
 a new Native language program in a site that does not currently               
 have one.  Under the criteria of the bill, the department came up             
 with 63 sites eligible for this program.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 525                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS  asks Ms. Kessler to make the previously               
 mentioned information available to the committee as soon as                   
 possible.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 524                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS notes that the previously mentioned fiscal                      
 information applies only to those sites that want a Native language           
 program, and that participation by sites is not mandatory.  The               
 program would not necessarily cost the state $3,780,000.                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 515                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asks Ms. Kessler how many students are necessary to           
 initiate a bilingual program within a school district.  MS. KESSLER           
 replies that currently districts are required to provide a program            
 if they have eight or more students who are of limited English                
 proficiency.  SENATOR ZHAROFF asks Ms. Kessler to define bilingual            
 program.  MS. KESSLER responds that it is a program that serves               
 students who have limited proficiency in English, but that there is           
 no simple definition of "bilingual program".  SENATOR ZHAROFF asks            
 Ms. Kessler to define "development of curriculum".  MS. KESSLER               
 says that means instructor training, materials development, and               
 instruction.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 500                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF comments that he thinks people from the community             
 with a basis in both languages should perhaps be able to come in to           
 the classroom as teachers aides to work with the students, which              
 might be a less costly alternative.  MS. KESSLER replies that it              
 could be a less costly alternative, but would vary district to                
 district.  She states that the salary schedule for this type of               
 person varies quite a bit, depending on how each particular                   
 district classifies these people.  If the person from the community           
 acquires a Type E certification from the department, which is                 
 recognized expert status, they may actually be paid at a rate equal           
 to or greater than the rate paid to a teacher.                                
                                                                               
 Number 484                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asks how the Department of Education came up with             
 a figure of $60,000 per district for implementing Native language             
 programs.  MS. KESSLER responds that the figure the department came           
 up with is based on the unit cost that districts get for bilingual            
 education, so the figure could potentially be less at some sites.             
 She also comments that the figure could be refined.                           
                                                                               
 Number 475                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS announced that the committee will hold                 
 SB 136.                                                                       

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