Legislature(2013 - 2014)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

01/31/2014 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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08:00:04 AM Start
08:00:38 AM HB190
08:44:21 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 190 CREDIT FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL COURSES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 190(EDC) Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
           HB 190-CREDIT FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL COURSES                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:00:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
HB  190. He  noted the  bill was  last heard  on April  12, 2013.                                                               
[CSHB 190(EDC) was before the committee.]                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:00:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PAUL SEATON,  Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, sponsor  of HB  190, reviewed the  bill. He  related that                                                               
during  Alaska  Native  Science  &  Engineering  Program  (ANSEP)                                                               
testimony  last year,  the House  Education Committee  recognized                                                               
the need for the bill. Students  who took calculus in college for                                                               
a full year  could only get a semester of  high school credit due                                                               
to the  district's policy  on "seat  time." That  highlighted the                                                               
question as to  whether a student should be stuck  in a classroom                                                               
where  they  already knew  the  material.  The bill  would  allow                                                               
students   to  challenge   courses,  take   an  assessment,   and                                                               
demonstrate   mastery  of   the   material   to  the   district's                                                               
satisfaction. He  pointed out  that mastery  is a  very important                                                               
aspect and is left to individual districts to define.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON remarked  that grade  point average  was a                                                               
consideration when  writing the bill.  It allows the  district to                                                               
give credit  for the course and  apply the course as  a criterion                                                               
for  the Alaska  Performance  Scholarship, but  does not  specify                                                               
that  the district  must award  a grade  for the  course. Another                                                               
issue was whether to allow  students who challenged classes to be                                                               
considered full-time students. The  bill allows districts to make                                                               
that  decision. Anchorage  has a  "course by  challenge/course by                                                               
choice" policy.  Challenged courses do not  qualify for full-time                                                               
status. The bill is not  a back-door approach to having half-time                                                               
students.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   noted  that  all   superintendents  were                                                               
contacted  and many  responded in  favor  of the  bill. The  bill                                                               
provides that  assessments for  challenging courses  be generated                                                               
within a reasonable time. It  leaves the demonstration of mastery                                                               
up to  individual districts.  It allows  students to  progress at                                                               
their fastest pace.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:05:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  thanked  Representative   Seaton  and  noted  the                                                               
presence of Senator Stedman.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  asked if  there  are  differences between  the                                                               
Governor's bill [SB 139] and HB 190.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON   remarked   that   there   are   several                                                               
differences. He  said he is pleased  that SB 139 has  adopted the                                                               
terminology of  "mastery." However,  there are limitations  in SB                                                               
139, as  found on  page 2, lines  4 and 5,  where it  states "the                                                               
opportunity to  earn credit for a  course offered in a  school in                                                               
mathematics, language  arts, science,  social studies,  and world                                                               
languages  if   the  student  proves  mastery."   There  are  two                                                               
limitations  included  in that  language:  it  is offered  "in  a                                                               
school,"  and only  for  the  five courses  listed.  It does  not                                                               
include  tech-prep   courses,  such  as  carpentry,   or  PE.  He                                                               
questioned  if  the  district  should be  able  to  decide  which                                                               
courses could be challenged.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  clarified that establishing  an assessment                                                               
tool does  not mean that a  district must create a  new test; the                                                               
district can adopt an existing one.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:09:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS noted  that  many of  the  bills currently  making                                                               
their  way through  the legislative  system are  included in  the                                                               
Governor's bill. He stressed the  appropriateness of hearing each                                                               
topic within  individual bills  because it  is unknown  what will                                                               
happen to the Governor's bill.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS referred to the  reluctance a 4.0 average student                                                               
might  have about  challenging courses  because  it might  affect                                                               
their  grade  point  average.   He  suggested  providing  special                                                               
opportunities for those over-achieving students.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:10:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  thought  HB  190  would  challenge  those                                                               
students. He said  he does not want to  interfere with university                                                               
selection criteria.  The fear of  decreasing grade  point average                                                               
keeps some students out of Advanced Placement classes.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS clarified  that the  bill addresses  problems in                                                               
the  current education  system. He  said 4.0  students should  be                                                               
encouraged to some  higher level of challenge that  may not occur                                                               
in a high  school. He suggested encouraging  programs like Middle                                                               
College in Mat-Su.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  agreed.  He  said  the  bill  solves  the                                                               
problem of getting around "seat time" for credit.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS maintained that the  education system needs to be                                                               
reformed.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:14:20 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER addressed  the differences between SB  139 and HB                                                               
190. She gave an example of  an orchestra student wishing to test                                                               
out of credits, but not play in the orchestra.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said that is  not the intent of  the bill.                                                               
Instead, a  student might  test out  Violin I  and go  right into                                                               
Violin II, receiving credit for Violin I.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER gave  an example of a  bi-lingual foreign student                                                               
who could  pass all  courses in  a given  language. She  asked if                                                               
they would be given elective credit for those courses.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  replied that it  is up to the  district to                                                               
decide some of those issues. It  does not make sense for a fluent                                                               
speaker of  Spanish to take  Spanish I. He  did not wish  to hold                                                               
someone back to learn knowledge they already have.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER said she understands  the intent of the bill. She                                                               
stressed  there is  more to  a  high school  education than  just                                                               
taking required classes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:17:49 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNLEAVY expressed strong support  for HB 190. He gave an                                                               
example  of a  Spanish-speaking student  in a  Spanish class.  He                                                               
said the bill is common sense, low impact, and inexpensive.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS thanked Representative Seaton.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He opened public testimony.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:19:59 AM                                                                                                                    
POSIE BOGGS,  representing herself, Anchorage,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in support of HB 190. She  opined that not all students enjoy the                                                               
high  school experience.  She shared  a personal  experience with                                                               
school and with  private tutoring in math. She  spoke against the                                                               
idea  of  seat time.  She  said  her  own children  took  college                                                               
classes during  high school. She  suggested making it as  easy as                                                               
possible for parents.  She referred to page 1  and questioned the                                                               
language  "reasonable  time" because  it  does  not give  parents                                                               
planning time.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:26:49 AM                                                                                                                    
HERB   SCHROEDER,  Vice   Provost,   Alaska   Native  Science   &                                                               
Engineering Program (ANSEP),  University of Anchorage, Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, offered to answer questions related to HB 190.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  asked  what  question  Mr.  Schroeder  brought                                                               
before the legislature.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHROEDER  explained a  situation  with  an ANSEP  student's                                                               
inability to qualify for the  Alaska Performance Scholarship. The                                                               
student  took numerous  advanced college  math courses  which did                                                               
not equal  enough seat time  to earn  the high school  credits he                                                               
needed to  graduate. He  wanted to  ensure that  students receive                                                               
the credit they deserve for taking advanced classes.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS thanked Mr. Schroeder.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:29:28 AM                                                                                                                    
GENE  STONE,  Assistant  Superintendent,  Mat-Su  Borough  School                                                               
District, Palmer,  Alaska, spoke in  favor of HB 190.  He pointed                                                               
out  that  the  Mat-Su  District   has  already  implemented  the                                                               
requirements of HB 190.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ROB  PICOU,  Executive  Director of  Instruction,  Mat-Su  School                                                               
Borough District, Palmer,  Alaska, testified in favor  of HB 190.                                                               
He  explained that  previously  he worked  in  the Bering  Strait                                                               
School District.  The data  there showed that  a great  number of                                                               
students  had  to  take  remedial math  and  English  courses  in                                                               
college, and many were not  successful in college, returning home                                                               
after the first  year. He said the solution was  to create a dual                                                               
credit  option. Once  students took  the HSGQE,  they immediately                                                               
took the Accuplacer  Test to identify whether  they would require                                                               
remedial  English  or math.  Then,  the  district partnered  with                                                               
Northwest  Campus  to  create  a dual  credit  option  for  those                                                               
classes before the students graduated  high school. Many students                                                               
did  not  have  the  support  they  needed  for  online  remedial                                                               
courses.  Northwest Campus  changed  their schedule  in order  to                                                               
offer the courses to the high  school students. Of the 15 percent                                                               
of the  students in the  district who attempted  college, roughly                                                               
12 percent  were returning home  unsuccessful. He  concluded that                                                               
HB 190 would greatly support such dual credit options.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:32:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS thanked Mr. Picou. He closed public testimony.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked the sponsor  what "demonstrating mastery of                                                               
the subject" means.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said districts  will determine what mastery                                                               
means. The bill  does not delineate mastery in the  bill and does                                                               
not  take over  assessment  or curriculum  matters. The  district                                                               
could use  last years'  final for Algebra  II for  the assessment                                                               
tool for  Algebra II. Anchorage  requires a 90 percent  score for                                                               
Credit by Choice. He summarized  that school boards are in charge                                                               
of their curriculum.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS noted that the  State Board of Education also has                                                               
some responsibility.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:36:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  referred to  Ms. Boggs'  statement about  a school                                                               
district  dragging  its  feet  on  making  this  change,  but  he                                                               
reiterated that local control should define the timeframe.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  the issue  of local  control was  an                                                               
amendment added by the House  Education Committee. There is a lot                                                               
of support  for this concept.  The assessment tool could  be last                                                               
year's  final exam,  but  it is  left to  the  local district  to                                                               
decide.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  the  Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development (DEED), to respond.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:38:51 AM                                                                                                                    
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Education  and                                                               
Early Development  (DEED), Juneau, Alaska, addressed  the role of                                                               
the department:  to facilitate and support  the final assessments                                                               
of course  offerings for smaller  districts that  needed support.                                                               
The  larger districts  have  already set  levels  of mastery.  He                                                               
suggested that  the State  School Board may  also be  involved in                                                               
supporting districts in setting the bar for mastery.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:40:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER suggested that the  bigger difference between the                                                               
Governor's bill and HB 190 is  the setting out of fields that can                                                               
be challenged in SB 139. She requested the department's opinion.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORSE spoke in  support of SB 139. He did  not agree that the                                                               
Governor's concept  limits the courses,  but rather  states which                                                               
courses must  be available  to challenge. Other  areas are  up to                                                               
local  districts. He  suggested that  some areas  are problematic                                                               
for  challenging  out  of,  such   as  some  of  the  visual  and                                                               
performing arts. The  Governor's approach was to  use those areas                                                               
where tools  are available,  but districts  would have  their own                                                               
options in other areas.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:41:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNLEAVY moved to report CSHB 190, Version U, from                                                                      
committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal                                                                   
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, CSHB 190(EDC) moved from the Senate                                                                   
Education Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:42:17 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:44:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS noted that all five members signed "Do Pass."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                

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