Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/13/2012 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:05:21 AM Start
08:05:40 AM SB194
08:57:44 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled But Not Heard
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          SB 194-PROCEDURES FOR LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS                                                                      
8:05:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  announced the consideration  of SB 194.  He said                                                               
the  Moore  Case  had  an   impact  on  2008  legislation,  which                                                               
established intervention  guidelines for  low-performing schools.                                                               
He said  the bill refined  the intervention process  by involving                                                               
local communities, districts and  the Department of Education and                                                               
Early Development  (DEED) by establishing governance  councils to                                                               
provide   guidance  prior   to   intervention.   He  noted   that                                                               
legislation from  the Alaska House  of Representatives  to repeal                                                               
the current  intervention guidelines  would be  a mistake  due to                                                               
its necessity for the state to  receive a waiver from the federal                                                               
government for the No Child Left Behind Act.                                                                                    
8:07:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MURRAY RICHMOND,  staff to  Senator Joe  Thomas, co-aide  for the                                                               
Senate  Education Committee,  Alaska State  Legislature, said  SB                                                               
194 was based on the Moore Case.                                                                                                
MR. RICHMOND said  section (1), stated that  schools or districts                                                               
could  be   designated  as  low-performing   by  DEED.   He  said                                                               
designation would  be dependent  on base student  assessments and                                                               
graduation rates.                                                                                                               
He said  section (2),  addressed low-performing  as the  bottom 3                                                               
percent and would encompass 17 schools.                                                                                         
8:09:44 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked  to clarify the definition of  a school when                                                               
multiple schools share the same building.                                                                                       
SENATOR  STEVENS commented  that the  Kodiak School  District had                                                               
their high school, middle school  and the elementary school in an                                                               
attached building with separate principals.                                                                                     
8:11:47 AM                                                                                                                    
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Education  and                                                               
Early  Development, Juneau,  answered  that school  configuration                                                               
was a function of how  the district categorizes their schools and                                                               
less about the building.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  to clarify  that  schools  were  treated                                                               
separately when a building was shared.                                                                                          
MR. MORSE answered  correct. He noted that  charter schools would                                                               
be treated the  same way and the legislation would  apply to them                                                               
as well.                                                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS  asked  if  all  schools  were  given  the  same                                                               
standardized tests to determine their performance level.                                                                        
MR. MORSE answered correct.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  FRENCH inquired  about  page 1,  line  6, regarding  the                                                               
sentence,  "the public  school or  district  that was  designated                                                               
low-performing."  He asked  how  a district  would be  designated                                                               
low-performing when some schools were performing well.                                                                          
8:15:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MORSE responded  that DEED  would  look at  both school  and                                                               
district  performance. He  said  based on  the  lowest 3  percent                                                               
designation, there would  be one or two districts  and 17 schools                                                               
categorized as low-performing.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  FRENCH commented  that DEED  had come  up with  some odd                                                               
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  asked if  DEED would  separate schools  within a                                                               
district to classify which were low-performing.                                                                                 
8:17:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MORSE answered correct.                                                                                                     
SENATOR DAVIS  asked what the  definition was  for low-performing                                                               
MR. MORSE  answered that a low-performance  designation was based                                                               
upon annual trends from the Adequate Yearly Progress report.                                                                    
MR. RICHMOND  responded that a low-performing  school was defined                                                               
by statute AS 14.03.123.                                                                                                        
8:19:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RICHMOND said  AS 14.03.123,  section  (3), subsection  (h),                                                               
would be amended  to allow DEED to invoke  12 improvement actions                                                               
for a low-performing school or district to undertake.                                                                           
He  said  action (1),  provided  an  "education coach."  He  said                                                               
action (2), provided an in-depth  audit to review where financial                                                               
resources  were  being  directed.  He noted  that  Judge  Gleason                                                               
stated from the Moore Case  that there was no financial oversight                                                               
of what  was going  on in  the districts  and this  would provide                                                               
some  financial oversight.  He said  action (3),  directed school                                                               
boards  to use  state and  federal funds  for critical  needs. He                                                               
said action (4), provided incentives  to attract highly qualified                                                               
teachers or principals.                                                                                                         
8:21:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHMOND  said the action  (5), provided  additional training                                                               
and technical  assistance for guardians and  parents of children,                                                               
teachers and schools. He said action  (6), was based on the Moore                                                               
Case to target  resources to assist students who do  not pass the                                                               
High School Qualifying Exam. He  said action (7), directed school                                                               
boards  to identify  model  curriculum,  textbooks, material  and                                                               
supplies. He  said districts would  not be told  which curriculum                                                               
to  use,  but  they  would  be  directed  to  identify  the  most                                                               
appropriate  curriculum. He  noted  that Judge  Gleason stated  a                                                               
need  for rural  school  districts to  receive greater  technical                                                               
support for selecting its own curriculum.                                                                                       
He said action (8), empowered  DEED to interpret performance data                                                               
to assist school boards to develop  and implement a plan. He said                                                               
action (9), assigned  a technical assistance team to  work with a                                                               
8:25:04 AM                                                                                                                    
He said  the action (10), established  instructional and learning                                                               
environment benchmarks for schools or  districts to meet. He said                                                               
action (11),  directed the  establishment of  learning-cohorts in                                                               
school   that   required   continuous   monitoring   of   student                                                               
performance  by  teacher  groups.  He said  teachers  working  in                                                               
isolation  would receive  additional  peer support.  He said  the                                                               
action (12),  provided better training  to school  boards through                                                               
the Alaska Association of School Boards.                                                                                        
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  if school  board  responsibilities  were                                                               
being  changed. He  commented that  he did  not recall  text book                                                               
approval being part of the responsibilities for a school board.                                                                 
MR. MORSE answered yes in  some districts. He said curriculum was                                                               
statutorily  a local  function and  the bill  would cause  school                                                               
boards to be more involved.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  MEYER  asked  how  the   12  improvement  actions  were                                                               
developed and were they modeled after programs in other states.                                                                 
MR.  RICHMOND  answered  that  the   actions  were  gleaned  from                                                               
legislation  in the  states of  Michigan, Connecticut,  Texas and                                                               
North Carolina.                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  MEYER  asked  to  confirm that  adjustment  to  the  12                                                               
improvement actions was possible.                                                                                               
MR. RICHMOND answered yes.                                                                                                      
8:29:13 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RICHMOND  said  subsection  (i),  stated  that  an  academic                                                               
performance  audit  would  be  administered  for  the  two  years                                                               
following a low-performance designation.  He said subsection (j),                                                               
identified  the  audit  criteria  in  the  areas  of  curriculum,                                                               
assessment,   instruction,  learning   environment,  professional                                                               
development and  leadership. He said an  examination must include                                                               
the  following: student  demographics; mobility  patterns; school                                                               
feeder   patterns;  strategic   allocation  of   resources;  high                                                               
standards  and  expectations  for  all students;  high  level  of                                                               
collaboration  and  communication;  frequency  of  monitoring  of                                                               
learning  and  teaching;  high  level  of  family  and  community                                                               
involvement;  alternative secondary  schools best  practices; and                                                               
any  unique circumstances  or characteristics  of  the school  or                                                               
district, including substance abuse and other social factors.                                                                   
8:33:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked that the  term "degree  of" be used  in the                                                               
wording  for audit  performance  criteria  to clarify  measurable                                                               
MR. RICHMOND responded that revisions would be made.                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS  noted  that  some   of  the  audit  performance                                                               
criteria  were  based on  the  Moore  Case  and  the bill  was  a                                                               
starting point.                                                                                                                 
8:35:31 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH responded  that  the  audit performance  criteria                                                               
were great factors that just required language clarification.                                                                   
MR. RICHMOND said  AS 14.03.123, section (4), was  amended with a                                                               
new  section  that  established  a   process  by  which  a  local                                                               
community could have a say  in the revitalization of their school                                                               
district.  He   said  DEED  would  initiate   the  revitalization                                                               
designation if  a school or  district had gone  three consecutive                                                               
years   as   low-performing    without   improvement.   He   said                                                               
revitalization would  continue until a school  or district earned                                                               
its way  off. He said  the school board would  receive assistance                                                               
to develop and  implement a revitalization plan.  He said support                                                               
would be provided to maintain  federal and state aid eligibility.                                                               
He said superintendents involved  in revitalization would receive                                                               
support   from    a   cohort   comprised   of    two   additional                                                               
superintendents   from    similar   districts.   He    said   the                                                               
superintendent  cohort   would  meet  regularly  with   a  report                                                               
submitted nine months after revitalization designation.                                                                         
8:37:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  commented  that  he  liked  the  idea,  but  was                                                               
concerned with rural  travel time and cost factors.  He asked how                                                               
often superintendents would meet.                                                                                               
MR. RICHMOND  answered that input  from superintendents  would be                                                               
SENATOR  FRENCH commented  that  he understood  the benefit  from                                                               
peer   group  support.   He   said  he   was   worried  how   the                                                               
superintendent cohort would be implemented.                                                                                     
8:39:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RICHMOND  said  a  school  or district  that  has  not  been                                                               
designated  as a  revitalization school  or district  may request                                                               
the establishment of a governance  council. He said a request may                                                               
be submitted prior to the revitalization designation.                                                                           
SENATOR  STEVENS  said  he  was  concerned  that  the  governance                                                               
council  would  take  responsibility  and  power  away  from  the                                                               
elected officials on the school board.                                                                                          
MR. RICHMOND  answered that  the school  board would  appoint the                                                               
governance council.                                                                                                             
SENATOR STEVENS asked to clarify  that the school board would not                                                               
ask for the governance council.                                                                                                 
MR. RICHMOND answered correct.                                                                                                  
SENATOR STEVENS  asked to  confirm that  a school  district would                                                               
request the governance council and not the school board.                                                                        
MR. RICHMOND answered correct.                                                                                                  
8:41:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS commented  that he believed that  action would go                                                               
against our history of public education.                                                                                        
MR. RICHMOND  responded that the  intent was not to  demolish our                                                               
standards of election.  He said the objective was  to provide new                                                               
ways for low-performing school districts to change.                                                                             
SENATOR STEVENS replied  that the public elects  the school board                                                               
to make  decisions. He said what  was proposed in the  bill was a                                                               
revolutionary thought.                                                                                                          
MR. RICHMOND  responded that people  who work in  rural districts                                                               
were asking for additional support.                                                                                             
SENATOR STEVENS  replied that electing  new school  board members                                                               
was the current system to bring about change.                                                                                   
MR. RICHMOND answered correct.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  commented that some  school boards  were lacking                                                               
in the ability  to understand and implement some  of the changes.                                                               
He said the intent was to  work with school boards and allow them                                                               
to appoint some of the governance council members.                                                                              
8:44:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHMOND asked Senator Stevens  to clarify his comment on the                                                               
governance council concept.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  STEVENS responded  that  he had  concerns with  allowing                                                               
nonelected individuals to make education decisions.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR THOMAS said Senator Stevens' concerns would be noted.                                                                  
SENATOR  FRENCH  commented  that   there  could  be  a  potential                                                               
management  clash  between  a governance  council  and  a  school                                                               
MR.  RICHMOND said  AS 14.03.123,  section  (4), subsection  (c),                                                               
addressed a  school board's guidelines to  establish a governance                                                               
council.  He said  the council  would be  composed of  one school                                                               
board member, four parents or  guardians, four community leaders,                                                               
two  teachers,  one  DEED  member,  one  to  four  principals  or                                                               
designees of  schools in the  district and the  superintendent or                                                               
designee from the superintendent cohort.                                                                                        
8:47:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHMOND  said subsection (d),  allowed smaller  districts to                                                               
have  less council  members. He  said  subsection (e),  specified                                                               
that terms  would be  two years  and no  member would  serve more                                                               
than two terms.                                                                                                                 
He  said  subsection (f),  specified  that  a governance  council                                                               
would  work  in  conjunction  with DEED  and  the  superintendent                                                               
cohort. He noted that "school board"  would be added to the prior                                                               
SENATOR  STEVENS  commented that  adding  "school  board" to  the                                                               
language was advisable.                                                                                                         
MR. RICHMOND  said the governance  council shall:  analyze school                                                               
achievement  data and  needs;  review  the superintendent  cohort                                                               
report;  participate  in   principal  and  school  administrative                                                               
interviews;  assist  the  principal in  making  programmatic  and                                                               
operational changes;  develop a  compact to partner  with parents                                                               
and  legal   guardians;  work  with  DEED   if  intervention  was                                                               
required;  prepare a  revitalization  model from  recommendations                                                               
made for  review and vote.  He noted the importance  of involving                                                               
family and community in the  governance council process per Judge                                                               
Gleason's summation from the Moore Case.                                                                                        
8:51:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RICHMOND said  subsection (g),  specified that  a governance                                                               
council may assist  the principal with reports  pertaining to the                                                               
education  plan  goals and  major  policy  matters affecting  the                                                               
school  He   said  matters  relating  to   collective  bargaining                                                               
agreements with teachers were excluded.                                                                                         
He said subsection (h), specified  that the school board and DEED                                                               
would provide appropriate training  to aid the governance council                                                               
members with the execution of their duties.                                                                                     
He said subsection  (i), specified that a local  school board had                                                               
30 days  to conduct  a public hearing  and acceptance  vote after                                                               
the   governance   council   announced  the   completion   of   a                                                               
revitalization  model. He  said  the school  board  may elect  to                                                               
maintain   the   current   status  or   select   an   alternative                                                               
revitalization model. He noted that  DEED could ultimately decide                                                               
whether to implement the revitalization  model recommended by the                                                               
governance council or the school board.                                                                                         
8:54:35 AM                                                                                                                    
He  said  subsection  (j),  specified  that  DEED  would  monitor                                                               
schools  and districts  within two  years of  the school  board's                                                               
revitalization  model  approval.  He said  demonstrable  progress                                                               
would   be   monitored   via  the   following   indicators:   the                                                               
revitalization   model   adopted,   the  number   and   type   of                                                               
disciplinary incidents, the number  of truants, the dropout rate,                                                               
the student attendance rate, the  average HSQE scores, the number                                                               
of  high  school  students completing  advanced  coursework,  the                                                               
teacher retention rate and the  existence and size of the parent-                                                               
teacher organization.                                                                                                           
He  said subsection  (k), specified  that DEED  would make  audit                                                               
finding available to  the audited school district  and staff, the                                                               
local  community, and  the  State Board  of  Education and  Early                                                               
MR.  RICHMOND  said  section  (5), required  DEED  to  present  a                                                               
revitalization  report to  the  legislature's standing  education                                                               
committees. He  said subsection (b), established  a sunset clause                                                               
on or before January 1, 2018.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS commented  that it  became apparent  that change                                                               
was needed after discussions with the low-performing districts.                                                                 
He said  the Moore  Case came  up with  a variety  of suggestions                                                               
that  need  to   take  place.  He  admitted  that   some  of  the                                                               
suggestions  sounded a  bit dictatorial.  He  said SB  194 was  a                                                               
starting  point   and  additional  information  and   advice  was                                                               
8:57:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS said he would hold SB 194 in committee.                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB0194A.PDF SEDC 2/13/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194
SB194-EED-TLS-2-10-2012.pdf SEDC 2/13/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194
AS 14.03.123.pdf SEDC 2/13/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 2/13/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194