Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
01/30/2018 01:00 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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HB 102-LIMITED TEACHER CERTIFICATES; LANGUAGES 2:03:35 PM CHAIR COSTELLO announced the consideration of HB 102. [CSHB 102(EDC) was before the committee.] She asked the sponsor to refresh members' recollections; the companion bill was in the committee last year. She related the intention to take public testimony and look to the will of the committee. REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS, Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska, sponsor of HB 102, said this legislation seeks to support the growth of immersion language education programs in Alaska schools. This would include both world and Native languages and draw on the success and national recognition of the programs in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Bethel. He highlighted that his office received additional support for HB 102 and the Senate companion during the interim. 2:05:16 PM REID MAGDANZ, Staff, Representative Kreiss-Tomkins, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, stated that the language in HB 102 is the same that the committee saw when it considered the Senate companion bill. He asked the chair how she would like him to proceed. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Mr. Magdanz to walk through a sectional analysis. 2:05:50 PM MR. MAGDANZ directed attention to the document titled "HB 102, Limited Teacher Certificates - Comparison to Current Law." He highlighted the following in the single section bill: • Page 1, line 4, identifies the legislation as repeal and reenactment of AS 14.20.025. • Subsection (a) on page 1 gives school districts the flexibility to hire teachers on limited certificates for language immersion programs. • Paragraph (4) on page 1, line 12, is new language. It authorizes the department to issue a limited teacher certificate to a person qualified under (b) to teach "any subject if the language of instruction is not English". • Subsection (b) on page 1, lines 13-14 through page 2, line 5, is drawn from current law. It states that the limited certificate can only be issued to a person the school board specifically requests. It also empowers the state board of education to write regulations ensuring the person who holds a limited certificate has "instructional skills and subject matter expertise sufficient to assure the public that the person is competent as a teacher." It also allows the state board to require a person to undertake additional academic training and university classes. • Subsection (c) clarifies that limited certificates are issued on a case-by-case basis and that the certificate is only valid within that school district. This provides local control and case-by-case flexibility. • Subsection (d) requires the board of education to give an applicant the option of demonstrating competency in the instructional language for which the limited certificate is valid. • Subsection (e) provides that a limited certificate is initially valid for one year. Subsequent extensions are guided by regulation. CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony on HB 102. 2:10:34 PM BRANDON LOCKE, Director, World Languages, Anchorage School District (ASD), Anchorage, Alaska, stated that HB 102 would support filling language emersion positions that are typically very difficult to fill. ASD has been offering language emersion programs since 1989 and it is always a challenge to find qualified, fully certificated teachers who are native or near native speakers. He reported that ASC has about 3,000 students in K-12 immersion programs and will add Yupik immersion this fall through a federal grant. A French immersion program may be added next. He said the provision in subsection (d) would be particularly helpful to ASD because applicants whose first language is not English generally have difficulty passing a practice test that is administered in English. He acknowledged that the school district would be ultimately responsible for the person and they would have to go through the appropriate vetting procedures in the district. He opined that this would not open the floodgates; it would be used for those unique situations where there is no workaround. The worst-case scenario is to put a non-immersion language speaker in the classroom. That defeats the purpose of the program. 2:14:46 PM SENATOR MICCICHE asked if background checks are addressed elsewhere in state law, because it's not in the bill MR. LOCKE replied the bill doesn't eliminate the background check requirement. MR. MAGDANZ added, "This is repeal and reenactment of an existing portion of law. That existing portion of law doesn't specifically require background checks but the regulations implementing that section do." 2:17:26 PM At ease 2:17:55 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and asked Ms. Meredith how background checks would apply to HB 102. 2:17:58 PM SONDRA MEREDITH, Education Administrator II, Teaching and Learning Support, Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), Juneau, Alaska, clarified that AS 14.20 contains the statutory reference that covers certification. A separate section speaks to the background requirements for all teacher certifications that DEED issues. CHAIR COSTELLO closed public testimony on HB 102 and looked to the will of the committee. 2:19:08 PM SENATOR MICCICHE moved to report HB 102 from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). CHAIR COSTELLO stated that without objection, CSHB 102(EDC) moves from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.