Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/14/2003 01:35 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
              HJR 13-FEDERAL EDUCATION LAW OF 2001                                                                          
CHAIR DYSON announced HJR 13 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  CARL GATTO,  sponsor, said  the state  needs some                                                               
considerations in  implementing the  No Child Left  Behind (NCLB)                                                               
mandate. A  federal government  official said  there would  be no                                                               
waivers,  but Alaska  has situations  that  do not  exist in  any                                                               
other  place in  the nation.  Alaska has  one-room school  houses                                                               
that are  not on a  road system and if  the NCLB were  applied to                                                               
the  strictest limit,  low-performing students  would have  to be                                                               
moved  to the  next available  school,  a plane  ride away.  That                                                               
would take  those students  out of  their homes.  This resolution                                                               
asks  for  the  widest  possible consideration  for  Alaska  only                                                               
because it is truly unique.                                                                                                     
SENATOR   WILKEN  asked   for   a  description   of  the   Alaska                                                               
consolidated    state   application    accountability   workbook,                                                               
mentioned on page 2, line 16.                                                                                                   
MR. CODY RICE, staff to  Representative Gatto, explained that the                                                               
state  consolidated workbook  is the  state's application  to the                                                               
federal officials  for how  we are planning  on meeting  the NCLB                                                               
SENATOR WILKEN asked if every state has a workbook like that.                                                                   
MR. RICE answered yes.                                                                                                          
SENATOR GREEN arrived at 2:20 p.m.                                                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN asked if endorsing  this resolution means they are                                                               
condoning  the  fact  that  some  school  districts  don't  teach                                                               
English as a first language.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  responded  that  Anchorage  has  immersion                                                               
programs, but  unfortunately some children from  villages will be                                                               
taught by a Yupik teacher  and won't know English. Those students                                                               
would be tested in their  native language through the third grade                                                               
and then the requirement would shift to English.                                                                                
SENATOR WILKEN asked who would test them.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO said  he  thought  the schoolteacher  would                                                               
prepare the test.  Some accommodations would be made  so that the                                                               
teacher would read  the questions and have the  student write the                                                               
answers down,  until the student  reaches the fourth  grade. That                                                               
is required in the standards and to meet the NCLB.                                                                              
SENATOR  WILKEN said  he  wanted  it on  the  record  that he  is                                                               
troubled that we endorse it in some school districts.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  responded   that  philosophically,   when                                                               
dealing with  rural communities, if  there are children  who have                                                               
no intention  of ever  leaving their  villages, that's  an issue;                                                               
but most of those children will  some day want to move to another                                                               
city, get  a job,  make a change,  understand English,  etc. They                                                               
need  to be  prepared long  before  they graduate.  And, if  they                                                               
don't want to move, having the  knowledge base to be able to move                                                               
will not  hurt them.  He doesn't  want to condemn  them to  be in                                                               
that village forever, like it or not.                                                                                           
CHAIR DYSON  referred to  the language  on page  1, line  14, and                                                               
asked  what he  meant by  "39 school  districts each  enroll less                                                               
than 1 percent of the student body."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO replied if you  take the student body of the                                                               
state as whole,  the schools are so small that  only 1 percent of                                                               
the student body is spread over 39 districts.                                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON said that could be stated clearer.                                                                                  
SENATOR WILKEN moved  to adopt a conceptual amendment  to page 1,                                                               
line 13, to delete "the" and  on line 14 to delete "student body"                                                               
and  insert "Alaska's  students."  There were  no objections  and                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
TAPE 03-21, SIDE B                                                                                                            
SENATOR WILKEN moved  to pass SCSHJR 13(HES)  from committee with                                                               
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     

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