Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205
04/03/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION
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HB 64-READING PROFICIENCY TASK FORCE; DYSLEXIA [Contains discussion of SB 27] 8:15:28 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL announced that the next order of business would be HB 64 [CSHB 64 (EDC)]. 8:15:40 AM KRISTIN KRANENDONK, Staff, Representative Harriet Drummond, Alaska State Legislature, presented HB 64 on behalf of the sponsor. She thanked Senator Dunleavy for bringing this issue to their attention. She read from the sponsor statement: HB 64 establishes a fifteen member task force on reading proficiency and instruction with the goal of making recommendations regarding reading practices for students across the state. The task force will examine how current regulations affect reading proficiency outcomes with the goal of increasing statewide reading proficiency scores within three years. Approximately 47,000 students in Alaska did not meet state standards in 2015. Students who cannot read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than those who can read. More than $60 billion is lost annually in American business productivity due to a lack of basic reading skills. The statistics are staggering and we must identify evidence-based approaches to instructing students affected by dyslexia. The fifteen member task force will consist of six members, three from the House and three from the Senate, the Commissioner of Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) (non-voting member), an active or retired K-3 teacher with significant experience teaching reading, a member from either the Association of Alaska School Boards or the Alaska Council of School Administrators, a member representing the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals, a member representing the University of Alaska, and four member representing non-profit organizations that focus on issues related to reading, including one member who is a parent with a child who has a reading disability. 8:16:42 AM MS. KRANENDONK said the task force will meet between six and ten times a year and will submit a report to the governor and DEED by January 1, 2018. All meetings will be done electronically and there will be no travel reimbursements; there is a zero fiscal note. 8:17:41 AM SENATOR STEVENS asked how the task force will know if the regulations will affect outcomes. 8:18:03 AM MS. KRANENDONK replied that the goal of the task force is to get educators at the table with legislators to discuss what is working now and seek ways to use those successes with more kids. There is no tracking mechanism in the bill because it would add a fiscal note. SENATOR STEVENS opined that tracking outcomes is key. 8:18:44 AM SENATOR COGHILL suggested talking to stakeholders about whether or not there have been reports or efforts that have looked at reading proficiency scores. 8:19:31 AM MS. KRANENDONK believed there was a lot of information available. The task force will bring that information together to find ways of helping teachers in the classroom. 8:20:24 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL suggested that Ms. Boggs may be able to address Senator Coghill's question. SENATOR COGHILL restated his question. POSEY BOGGS, Member, Alaska Reading Coalition, answered questions related to SB 64. She responded that they do know a lot about reading proficiency in Alaska and have looked at it through the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Standards Based Assessment (SBA), and the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP), which all showed that Alaska's reading proficiency has been stagnant going back decades. Results showed that some of the best students require remedial reading when starting college. She stated that children who are incarcerated have trouble with reading. People have worked hard on this issue, but it is not improving. Some districts are still very low, or average. 8:24:02 AM MS. BOGGS said the issues in Alaska mirror other states. One issue is, if teachers in K-3 do not have foundational knowledge about teaching reading, students will not be successful at reading. Skilled teachers of reading do matter regarding outcomes. She sees the task force as recommending what can be done to increase and fix the reading problem in the state. SENATOR COGHILL said it lends itself to a debate on the methodology of teaching reading. He asked if the task force will be able to address the philosophical and political issues in this area. 8:25:53 AM MS. BOGGS hoped that they would consider the scientific evidence. She emphasized that it is not just about phonics. SENATOR COGHILL thought it would be interesting to see what the university thinks about it. 8:27:30 AM SENATOR BEGICH sees the task force as a group that will assemble all the data, look at all the issues, and have a goal to create a systemic view of how to teach reading in Alaska. MS. KRANENDONK said yes. The task force is the starting place and the report will not be the conclusion of the task force. The process will continue through 2018 to ensure that the recommendations are working and having an impact on reading scores for all readers in the state, but not just dyslexic students. Changing the way to look at dyslexia is a good place to start. 8:29:22 AM SENATOR BEGICH called all the information about reading "a mess of information." He saw an advantage of a systemic approach to reading, the compilation of a report or road map, and following up on the recommendations. He stated that HB 64 merits support. 8:30:54 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL referred to a document of AMP results from the spring of 2015. She asked if it comes from Representative Drummond's office. MS. KRANENDONK said yes. She explained that they got the information from NAACP who pulled it off the DEED website. VICE CHAIR GIESSEL noted the document is from DEED and includes grades 3-10). It shows, in meeting the standards in English language skills, that the scores go from 35 percent at grade 3 to 28 percent at grade 10. For the category, partially meets standards, the scores go from 65 percent at grade 3 and it improves somewhat by grade 10. These scores substantiate the problem. She requested a comparison between Representative Drummond's bill, which adds dyslexia, and Senator Dunleavy's bill. MS. KRANENDONK related that Representative Drummond made several changes and they worked with Senator Dunleavy's office regarding all of them. She compared Representative Drummond's bill, HB 64, and Senator Dunleavy's bill, SB 27: Page 1: lines 11-12 Language was changed to recognize the work the state is doing for students while still acknowledging that it could be improved Page 2, line 27 Section C was added to examine what education reforms have already been implemented and to look at why those changes have worked or not Page 2, line 27 - Page 3, line 2 Language was changed in this section to clear up the scope of the task force Page 4, line 1 Allows one member to represent either the Association of Alaska School Boards or Alaska Council of School Administrators Page 4, lines 4-5 Removed language having a nonvoting judge as a member of the task force and replaced that member representing the Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals Page 4, line 13 Changed language to recognize all nonprofit organizations focused on reading and education issues and included language to ensure at least one of those members is also a parent of a child with a reading disability Page 4, line 31 A definition of dyslexia was added MS. KRANENDONK explained that they worked with a number of organizations that deal with dyslexia in order to come up with a definition. They chose not to do the DSM definition that is put on IEPs because of the way it is worded. They know that there are some undiagnosed students with dyslexia and the DSM definition requires an IEP first, before a student can be termed dyslexic. She understood that Senator Dunleavy was ok with all the changes. 8:35:59 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL asked Ms. Boggs to elaborate on the definition of dyslexia. 8:36:17 AM MS. BOGGS agreed with the definition in HB 64 because most dyslexic children are not diagnosed. The DSM definition leaves out the majority of those children who are undiagnosed and are in the regular classroom. The definition in HB 54 comes from the Arkansas dyslexia bill. 8:37:24 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL asked how long the Alaska Reading Coalition (ARC) has been in place. MS. BOGGS explained that ARC, which is made up of the NAACP, the Alaska branch of the International Dyslexia Association, Decoding Dyslexia Alaska, Literate Nation Alaska, and the Alaska Literacy Program, as well as a dozen private tutors, have been in existence for about 24 months. Their depth of knowledge goes back a long way. The Alaska International Dyslexia Association has been in Alaska since 2009. 8:39:02 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL said the Senate bill spells out that the Alaska Reading Coalition is also a member. 8:39:44 AM MS. KRANENDONK responded that they worked with Legislative Legal on this section. The Alaska Reading Coalition is not an official member of the coalition because they are not a recognized 501(c)(3). They are working closely with all members of the Alaska Reading Coalition. 8:40:47 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL appreciated the inclusion of a parent. 8:41:03 AM SENATOR COGHILL referred to a document from December 2015. There was no mention about who wrote it. He wished to become more informed on dyslexia and suggested hearing more about it before moving the bill. 8:42:18 AM MS. KRANENDONK said she would provide that and there will also be further information on dyslexia during public testimony. 8:42:48 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL noted the state is behind in reading in Alaska. The founders identified three reasons for education, reading, mathematics, and the basic understanding of religion. VICE CHAIR GIESSEL held HB 64 in committee. 8:43:42 AM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL recessed to the call of the chair.