Legislature(2009 - 2010)Anch LIO Rm 220

08/25/2009 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
09:03:27 AM Start
09:04:22 AM Overview: Reports/updates by Department of Education and Early Development (eed)
02:16:52 PM HB206
03:37:01 PM HB33
05:05:01 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Reports/Updates by Dept. of Education & TELECONFERENCED
Early Development re:
-Early Childhood RFP & Pilot Program
-Commissioner's Graduation Rate Working
-Single Site School Districts
-High School Qualifying Exam Relevancy
-WorkKeys Assessment
-Funding of High School Students
Postsecondary Education per HB 206
-Dual Student Count/Count Averaging per
HB 206
-Increase Compulsory Attendance to Age 18
-Rural Education Director Position
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                        
                        August 25, 2009                                                                                         
                           9:03 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Paul Seaton, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Robert L. "Bob" Buch                                                                                             
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
Representative Cathy Engstrom Munoz, Vice Chair                                                                                 
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Senator Lyman Hoffman (via teleconference)                                                                                      
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
Representative Kyle Johansen (via teleconference)                                                                               
Representative Anna Fairclough                                                                                                  
Representative Bob Herron (via teleconference)                                                                                  
Representative Michael "Mike" Kelly (via teleconference)                                                                        
Representative Scott Kawasaki (via teleconference)                                                                              
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
OVERVIEW(S):  REPORTS/UPDATES BY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND                                                                    
EARLY DEVELOPMENT (EED)                                                                                                         
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE ANNA FAIRCLOUGH                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Participated  as the  Chair  of the  House                                                             
Education & Early Development Finance Subcommittee.                                                                             
LARRY LEDOUX, Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  during  the  overview  on  the                                                             
Department of Education and Early Development (EED).                                                                            
SENATOR BETTYE DAVIS                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Asked questions during the overview.                                                                     
CYNDY CURRAN, Director                                                                                                          
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified   during  the   Department  of                                                             
Education and Early Development (EED) overview.                                                                                 
PAUL SUGAR, Head Start/Parent Involvement                                                                                       
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified   during  the   Department  of                                                             
Education and Early Development (EED) overview.                                                                                 
ERIK McCORMICK, Director                                                                                                        
Assessment and Accountability                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified and  answered questions during the                                                             
Department of Education and Early Development (EED) overview.                                                                   
SENATOR JOE THOMAS                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Asked questions  during the  Department of                                                             
Education and Early Development (EED) overview.                                                                                 
EDDY JEANS, Director                                                                                                            
School Finance and Facilities Section                                                                                           
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified   during  the   Department  of                                                             
Education and Early Development (EED) overview.                                                                                 
LES MORSE, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Spoke  about  the  relevancy of  the  high                                                             
school qualifying exam.                                                                                                         
MARCIA OLSON, Career and Technical Education Specialist                                                                         
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified and answered  questions regarding                                                             
WorkKeys and  the High  School Graduation  Qualifying Examination                                                               
SAICHI OBA, Associate Vice President for Students                                                                               
University of Alaska (UA)                                                                                                       
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 206.                                                                          
DAVE JONES, Assistant Superintendent                                                                                            
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  and  answered questions  during                                                             
discussion of HB 206.                                                                                                           
GEORGE TROXAL, Superintendant                                                                                                   
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Answered  questions   about  compulsory                                                             
attendance and expressed support for raising the age to 18.                                                                     
JIM HICKERSON, Superintendent                                                                                                   
Bering Strait School District                                                                                                   
Unalakleet, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified   in  support  of  raising  the                                                             
compulsory attendance age to 18.                                                                                                
CAROL COMEAU, Superintendant                                                                                                    
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  in support  of the  amending the                                                             
compulsory age to 18.                                                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:03:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PAUL  SEATON called the House  Education Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order  at 9:03 a.m.   Representatives Seaton, Gardner,                                                               
Wilson,  Edgmon, and  Buch were  present  at the  call to  order.                                                               
Representative  Munoz arrived  as  the meeting  was in  progress.                                                               
Also in attendance were Senators  Davis, Hoffman, and Thomas, and                                                               
Representatives   Fairclough,   Kawasaki  (via   teleconference),                                                               
Johansen  (via teleconference),  Kelly (via  teleconference), and                                                               
Herron (via teleconference).                                                                                                    
^OVERVIEW:  Reports/Updates by Department  of Education and Early                                                             
Development (EED)                                                                                                             
9:04:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
a report from  the Department of Education  and Early Development                                                               
(EED).    He  summarized  that this  would  include  reports  and                                                               
updates  on  graduation  rates,  single  site  school  districts,                                                               
relevancy for the  high school qualifying exam,  an assessment of                                                               
WorkKeys, and pertinent discussion of HB 206.                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEATON   requested  that  questions  be   brought  forward                                                               
throughout  the  presentation.   He  also  reported that  he  and                                                               
Senator   Davis  were   appointed  to   the  Western   Interstate                                                               
Commission for  Higher Education Legislative Advisory  Panel, and                                                               
would attend their first panel  meeting on September 28-29, 2009,                                                               
in Boulder,  Colorado.  At  his behest, the agenda  would include                                                               
the topic "Consideration  of a Needs and  Merit Based Combination                                                               
Scholarship Program;"  a current proposal to  the House Education                                                               
Standing Committee.  In response  to a question, he clarified the                                                               
intent  of the  agenda:    to cover  not  only  broad topics  but                                                               
specific  issues that  have been  brought to  the committee.   He                                                               
pointed  out   that  although   the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                               
Committee  issues  have  not  been  coordinated  with  the  House                                                               
Education  Standing   Committee,  participation  by   the  Senate                                                               
members was  greatly appreciated, and that  the information being                                                               
reported should serve a benefit to both committees.                                                                             
9:09:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ANNA FAIRCLOUGH,  Alaska State  Legislature, said                                                               
that she was participating today in  her capacity as the Chair of                                                               
the  House Education  & Early  Development Finance  Subcommittee,                                                               
with  interest specific,  but not  limited,  to the  department's                                                               
report regarding the pilot program introduced last year.                                                                        
9:11:02 AM                                                                                                                    
LARRY   LEDOUX,  Commissioner,   Office   of  the   Commissioner,                                                               
Department of  Education and Early Development  (EED), recognized                                                               
the State Board of Education  and EED staff members in attendance                                                               
who were  also available to  respond to committee questions.   He                                                               
directed  attention to  the Alaska  Education  Plan [Included  in                                                               
committee packets], and noted that the  plan was a blue print for                                                               
moving forward  on a number  of issues, which he  finds essential                                                               
to the  success of students in  Alaska.  He opined  that the plan                                                               
is a  coordinated, cost effective,  long term approach  to school                                                               
improvement,  and  that  action   teams  have  formed  committees                                                               
throughout  the state  to facilitate  the  administration of  the                                                               
plan.   Furthermore,  a Director  of Current  Technical Education                                                               
had  been  appointed,  and  would be  working  closely  with  the                                                               
Department of Labor & Workforce  Development (DLWD) to ensure the                                                               
appropriate  career/skill  focus  for graduating  students.    In                                                               
conjunction  with  the  early learning  pilot  program,  EED  has                                                               
established a coordinated leadership  effort with Best Beginnings                                                               
and  the  Department of  Health  and  Social Services  (DHSS)  to                                                               
address  the  needs  of  the   young  child  and  Memorandums  of                                                               
understanding   (MOUs)  defining   these  contracts   were  being                                                               
formalized, and are  slated for completion within  the next sixty                                                               
days.    He included  that  Military  compacts were  also  moving                                                               
forward  to  address the  needs  of  that population.    Governor                                                               
Parnell  had emphasized  his support  for  the prioritization  of                                                               
these educational partnerships, he reported.                                                                                    
9:13:57 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  continued, stating that a  plan for handling                                                               
the   swine   influenza   pandemic  had   received   considerable                                                               
attention.  Protocol and plans  for extended closure of a school,                                                               
in the face  of this type of medical crisis,  are being prepared.                                                               
The  considerations included  ways  and means  for the  continued                                                               
delivery of educational  programs, should a school  be closed for                                                               
a  week  or   a  month.    Today's  reports   would  include  the                                                               
department's on-going work surrounding  the American Recovery and                                                               
Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  He  relayed that he had participated in                                                               
a  national,  global education  summit  to  assist the  State  of                                                               
Alaska in  partnering with national corporations  for achievement                                                               
of its goals.  The department  was in the process of completing a                                                               
comprehensive  review   of  all   the  regulations   designed  to                                                               
implement  law,  with  a  goal   to  streamline  and  update  the                                                               
requirements.   He  mentioned his  opportunity  to review  issues                                                               
with the  United States Secretary  of Education, and deemed  it a                                                               
worthwhile discussion.  He applauded  the major effort undertaken                                                               
by library staff  to reclaim and preserve  the important archived                                                               
records  which  had  been  soaked,   and  he  reported  that  the                                                               
department  was in  the  final stages  of  completing a  capacity                                                               
study.   Noting  that  the department's  ability  to achieve  its                                                               
mission  as established  by regulation  had  come under  scrutiny                                                               
following the  Moore v. State  hearing, he said, "We  continue to                                                               
spend  time and  energy on  responding to  ... [this]  law suit."                                                               
Finishing his report, he stated  that the department continued to                                                               
monitor correspondence  and home  school programs  throughout the                                                               
state.   Responding to  a request  from the  chair, he  agreed to                                                               
provide the committee with copies of the completed MOUs.                                                                        
9:17:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  whether the  regulatory review  had                                                               
revealed any that could be repealed.                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX answered that  it was the department's intent                                                               
to eliminate  regulations that  required excessive  paperwork and                                                               
staff   time   without   contributing  effectively   toward   the                                                               
established  goals.   Additionally,  requirements  that were  not                                                               
clearly  defined and  problematic  to districts  were also  being                                                               
9:18:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON inquired if  the Rural Outreach Coordinator                                                               
position was in the recruitment stage.                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  said that interviews  were being held  and a                                                               
recommendation should  be made  to the  governor within  the next                                                               
few weeks.                                                                                                                      
9:19:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BETTYE DAVIS,  Alaska State  Legislature,  asked if  the                                                               
department had  applied for the  first phase of funding  from the                                                               
Race to the Top federal grant program.                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  explained that the United  States Department                                                               
of Education  had recently posted  the regulations  regarding the                                                               
Race  to the  Top  program  and that  the  applications were  not                                                               
expected to  be available until later  in the year.   To a follow                                                               
up question,  he said that  the department will  rigorously apply                                                               
for grant  funds in every  category of  the federal program.   He                                                               
assured  the committee  that these  efforts  were a  departmental                                                               
priority, and  he opined  it would  require extensive  staff time                                                               
and energy.                                                                                                                     
9:21:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  suggested that a  brief outline of the  program and                                                               
its status would be beneficial.                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX explained  that the Race to the  Top Fund had                                                               
been set  aside as  part of  the ARRA to  provide seed  money and                                                               
support for  a comprehensive reform  of the  nation's educational                                                               
system.   It comprised  of two rounds  of application,  with each                                                               
round  requiring that  state departments  and the  private sector                                                               
were partnering to meet nineteen  application criteria.  He noted                                                               
that  there were  many attachments  necessary  to receive  points                                                               
toward grant awards.                                                                                                            
9:22:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DAVIS  specified interest  in the charter  schools aspect                                                               
of  the grant,  and she  asked whether  Alaska would  qualify for                                                               
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  directed attention to the  committee packet,                                                               
and stated  that Alaska  was not  currently inhibited  by charter                                                               
school limitations.  However, he  pointed out that should charter                                                               
schools  become a  central focus  of national  school reform,  in                                                               
rural Alaska those partnerships may need further scrutiny.                                                                      
9:24:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  moved to  the  department's  update on  the  early                                                               
childhood RFP (Request for Proposal) and pilot program.                                                                         
9:25:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CYNDY   CURRAN,   Director,   Teaching  and   Learning   Support,                                                               
Department  of Education  and Early  Development (EED),  directed                                                               
attention to  the committee  packets for  review of  the briefing                                                               
sheet titled  "Alaska Pilot Pre-Kindergarten Project"  (AP3).  Of                                                               
the  24  districts  which indicated  intent  to  participate,  12                                                               
actually applied,  and 6 were  funded.  Each program  will create                                                               
and implement a  parent and community involvement base.   This is                                                               
a critical  aspect of recognizing  and promoting  the partnership                                                               
of  parents as  first teachers  regardless of  whether the  child                                                               
remains at home or attends a  public pre-school.  A child outcome                                                               
evaluation will  be administered,  utilizing the  Dial 3  and the                                                               
Peabody  Picture Vocabulary  Test  to indicate  progress in  each                                                               
program.   Additionally, she  reported, individual  programs will                                                               
be  evaluated  under  the Early  Childhood  Environmental  Rating                                                               
Scale  (ECERS).   Finally, she  pointed  out that  the funds  not                                                               
awarded will be  used for districts that are  in intervention, or                                                               
for program development  within those districts.   In response to                                                               
a committee  question, she stated  that these programs  will also                                                               
be developed under the same AP3 goals.                                                                                          
9:27:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked whether  the schools on intervention                                                               
are the ones targeted under the Moore v State case.                                                                             
AN UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER called out, "Not necessarily."                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  recalled   that,  initially,  the  program                                                               
expected  to target  500 students,  but that  only about  half of                                                               
that  number  had  been  reached.    She  asked  whether  it  was                                                               
anticipated to meet the original target number.                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  responded  that   although  more  than  500                                                               
children may  be affected, the  costs associated with  working in                                                               
rural Alaska  were higher  than expected and  the number  will be                                                               
closer to  400.  The  expectation, he  said, was that  the parent                                                               
resource  centers  developed by  each  district  would provide  a                                                               
broad outreach of  support, but that the department  did not want                                                               
to include those children in the report total.                                                                                  
9:28:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON referred  to page 2 of the AP3  summary handout, and                                                               
read from  the seventh  bullet point:   "support parents  that do                                                               
not enroll their  pre-K child in the school-based  portion of the                                                               
program."  He  asked how much of the funding  and activities were                                                               
used for the not enrolled.                                                                                                      
MS. CURRAN  explained that each  of the grants included  a parent                                                               
involvement  component, either  through  school  enrollment or  a                                                               
parent  resource  center.    The  resource  centers  were  to  be                                                               
developed with  community, school  district, and  parental input.                                                               
Through  these  centers,   parents  could  access  professionals,                                                               
either on  location or for  home visits.   The center  might also                                                               
include  games  and  activities  for  parents  to  borrow.    The                                                               
expectation,  she  said,  was for  each  community  to  determine                                                               
specific needs and tailor the center accordingly.                                                                               
CHAIR SEATON  expressed his understanding that  the program could                                                               
apply  to  any  young  child,  and was  not  limited  to  younger                                                               
siblings  of enrolled  students.   He requested  clarification on                                                               
what this meant for coordination  with the targeted group, or was                                                               
it  considered  to  be  an enrichment  program  for  the  broader                                                               
9:32:22 AM                                                                                                                    
PAUL SUGAR, Head Start/Parent  Involvement, Teaching and Learning                                                               
Support,  Department of  Education and  Early Development  (EED),                                                               
explained that  the intent  was for  each community  to determine                                                               
its  needs and  have the  freedom to  choose from  a spectrum  of                                                               
tools.   Further,  once the  community identified  its needs  and                                                               
goals,  it  would develop  methods  and  means to  implement  and                                                               
disseminate the array of early  childhood resource materials, and                                                               
determine how best to engage  the early childhood professional(s)                                                               
employed at the local center.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEATON asked  whether the  target population  had remained                                                               
constant, or was  to be adjusted to include  the broad community;                                                               
if expanded, how  would the reporting be handled  to quantify the                                                               
MR. SUGAR  responded that the  intent was that the  program would                                                               
serve  the  early childhood  age  range.    However, due  to  the                                                               
spectrum  of materials  available,  collateral  benefit could  be                                                               
utilized  that would  extend beyond  the range  and scope  of the                                                               
project.  At the end of  each year, every program was required to                                                               
submit a report  of the activities:  the  schedule and attendance                                                               
levels for each activity, an  accounting of the use of materials,                                                               
and  other specific  queries regarding  the dissemination  of the                                                               
available resources.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  SEATON  observed that  the  RFA  was designed  to  measure                                                               
improvement  within  a  target   population.    As  the  programs                                                               
apparently extended  beyond that group, he  surmised that another                                                               
means  for   reporting  and  accountability  might   need  to  be                                                               
9:38:16 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  pointed  out  that  the  target  population                                                               
included  school  and  home  based   children.    The  department                                                               
anticipated a  collection of  appropriate statistics  to evaluate                                                               
the effects of the program.                                                                                                     
CHAIR  SEATON  offered  assurance  that the  committee  was  also                                                               
concerned with every child.   The ability and method of reporting                                                               
program effectiveness was crucial, he stressed.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   asked  for  clarification  on   how  the                                                               
remaining funds  were to be  used; as the handout  specified that                                                               
they  would  be  used  to   support  early  childhood  work  with                                                               
chronically   underperforming   districts,    how   would   these                                                               
students/districts be targeted.                                                                                                 
9:39:53 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX explained that prior  to the RFP's, money was                                                               
set   aside   to  assure   that   needs   were  being   met   for                                                               
underperforming districts.  It is  not the intent to direct these                                                               
funds to  districts that already  received grants, but  rather to                                                               
those which  did not apply,  or whose applications did  not merit                                                               
funding.  Some  of the money will be used  to improve the quality                                                               
of programs, as  it had become evident for the  need to emphasize                                                               
quality.  There are a number  of programs that exist, but are not                                                               
proving  to  be effective.    Despite  the millions  of  federal,                                                               
state, and  private dollars being  spent, these programs  are not                                                               
delivering  results.   He  pointed out  that  the department  has                                                               
become outcome  based.  The  early learning guidelines  have been                                                               
established, and  the department was working  with communities to                                                               
establish  the best  pathways for  achieving these  goals.   When                                                               
NCLB  (No  Child  Left  Behind   Act)  was  passed,  the  federal                                                               
government  dictated how  the standard  was to  be attained,  but                                                               
that the  prescribed methods and  means did not work  for Alaska.                                                               
EED was  trying to establish  goals, with high  quality outcomes,                                                               
to allow each community to find  their own path for achieving the                                                               
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX stated that  the department intends to assure                                                               
that  every student  whether  they are  entering  a school  based                                                               
program or  alternative facility, comes ready  to begin learning.                                                               
Parents are the  absolute focus of the department's  efforts.  By                                                               
building the  program on  outcomes, each  community can  find its                                                               
means to achieve the established  goals.  He listed some programs                                                               
already  in  place,  including  Head  Start,  Early  Head  Start,                                                               
Parents as  Teachers, various  faith-based private  programs, and                                                               
school  based programs,  and noted  that these  are programs  for                                                               
every  community to  utilize.   He stressed  again the  focus for                                                               
quality programs.  He shared  that partnerships were necessary to                                                               
create programs  to fit the needs  of any community.   He pointed                                                               
out  that the  need  for  flexibility was  evident  in the  grant                                                               
applications.   He  underscored  that the  department intends  to                                                               
work  with Best  Beginnings to  craft a  statewide response  that                                                               
will  ultimately lead  to the  goal of  having children  ready to                                                               
9:43:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON clarified  that community  programs were  not being                                                               
duplicated  but rather  each community  tailors  its own  program                                                               
based on the local needs.                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  indicated that the established  outcomes are                                                               
uniform and are to be achieved,  however the ways to attain these                                                               
high standards  will be generated by  community implementation of                                                               
the best suited programs and  resources.  Early learning programs                                                               
are not new to Alaska, but  what is new is to create partnerships                                                               
to  allow these  programs  to  work together.    He stressed  his                                                               
belief that  the state should not  have any program that  was not                                                               
aligned  with  the  Alaska  learning   outcomes,  but  that  each                                                               
community  can effectively  arrive at  a program  that works  and                                                               
will be locally supported.                                                                                                      
9:45:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER   recalled  that  legislation   had  been                                                               
introduced to fund Parents as  [Teachers] programs that are grant                                                               
driven.  She  noted that many of the  successful grant applicants                                                               
referenced the local  version of a Head Start  program, and asked                                                               
if  any of  the  applicants  are similarly  building  off of  the                                                               
Parents as Teachers.                                                                                                            
MR.  SUGAR  responded  that there  were  none  that  specifically                                                               
stated the  Parents as  Teachers model of  home visits,  but that                                                               
some funded programs utilized other home visit models.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER recalled  the success  of the  Parents as                                                               
Teachers program.   With  approximately 40  of these  programs in                                                               
existence, and  given the common  goals and processes,  she noted                                                               
her surprise  that it  was not  being implemented  and dovetailed                                                               
into the efforts being discussed.                                                                                               
9:48:00 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  offered his  understanding that some  of the                                                               
programs  shared practices  set out  by the  Parents as  Teachers                                                               
curriculum,  but, he  reported that  the data  does not  indicate                                                               
that  Parents as  Teachers, Head  Start, or  other programs  were                                                               
effective  alone.   He clarified  that no  criteria excluded  the                                                               
implementation of this program.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked  whether  the  grantees  would  be                                                               
providing services this year.                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX lauded the efforts  of the departmental staff                                                               
involved and stated, yes.                                                                                                       
9:49:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON pointed  to the goals of the various  targets in the                                                               
RFP's.    He  asked  how  the  department  intended  to  evaluate                                                               
achievement for each program; would  each be measured against its                                                               
intent,  or  compared program  to  program.    He asked,  if  two                                                               
communities listed  common programs, but indicated  a variance of                                                               
achievement percentage, what would determine success or failure.                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  explained  the   necessity  to  maintain  a                                                               
realistic goal, and that the  target would depend on the starting                                                               
9:51:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SUGAR  opined  that the  percentages  should  be  considered                                                               
output  as opposed  to an  outcome,  and he  detailed that  these                                                               
could  be compared  to  national norms,  measured  after a  seven                                                               
month period.                                                                                                                   
9:53:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON offered  a hypothetical  situation,  and asked  how                                                               
objectives would be measured.                                                                                                   
MR. SUGAR explained  that the output data could be  used to guide                                                               
the individual instructor,  district, or parent and  that the day                                                               
to day activities could also be  guided by this data to assist in                                                               
targeting individual needs.                                                                                                     
9:55:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON,  returning to the  variance indicated in  the RFP's                                                               
by  the different  grantees  with regard  for  the target  growth                                                               
percentages, asked  if the report would  indicate growth compared                                                               
to  national  norm,  or  whether a  community  met  the  proposed                                                               
targets.   He  asked  if  there was  another  means to  establish                                                               
program success.                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  responded that, as the  department evaluated                                                               
the programs, the committee would  receive a comprehensive report                                                               
which would  include whether  grantees met  their local  goals of                                                               
improvement, and the overall impact  of the program.  He revealed                                                               
how  the department  had  plans for  pre and  post  testing.   He                                                               
assured  the committee  that it  would receive  information about                                                               
the  effectiveness   of  individual   programs,  site   by  site,                                                               
indicating  whether  programs  met  their  goals.    However,  he                                                               
stipulated  the  department  intended that  every  program  would                                                               
attain 100  percent.   The effectiveness of  the program  was not                                                               
necessarily going  to be whether  they achieved their  goals, but                                                               
the effectiveness of helping to  prepare the children for success                                                               
in school.   The percentages the  districts used to fill  out the                                                               
application were  an internal measuring tool  for evaluation, but                                                               
the department's goal would remain for 100 percent.                                                                             
CHAIR  SEATON  expressed  his understanding  that  the  committee                                                               
would  receive an  evaluation based  on  a growth  model for  all                                                               
students in all of the programs.                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX concurred.                                                                                                  
9:57:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  expressed  her   hope  that  the  program                                                               
administrators  and districts  had a  clear understanding  of the                                                               
departmental   goals,  and   how  they   related  to   the  goals                                                               
established in the RFP.                                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  explained  that the  constructs  used  when                                                               
applying for  a grant were  very different than  the expectation.                                                               
He  assured that  every principal,  teacher,  and early  learning                                                               
specialist involved would be seeking 100 percent success.                                                                       
9:58:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON expressed similar concerns and expectations.                                                                       
9:59:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER referred  to the  RFP handout,  and asked                                                               
for an explanation of Mediated Learning Experiences (MLE).                                                                      
MR.  SUGAR replied  that this  was  a learning  method that  fell                                                               
between learning  by experience and exploration,  and learning by                                                               
direct instruction;  this approach provided output  on either the                                                               
concept or cognitive function development.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked if it  was similar to the Montessori                                                               
approach and whether it was a trademark name.                                                                                   
MR. SUGAR  explained that it  was a term  that had been  used for                                                               
the  past 35  years,  and  that the  basic  approach was  through                                                               
interaction; a learning  style that would become  apparent in all                                                               
aspects of the child's school life.                                                                                             
10:03:29 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH  inquired if the  applications depended                                                               
on a certain student to teacher ratio.                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX deferred.                                                                                                   
MR. SUGAR  responded that a 1:10  ratio was expected, and  it has                                                               
been  stipulated that  there be  no more  than 20  students in  a                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH, referring  to an application submitted                                                               
by the  Anchorage school district  for two locations,  noted that                                                               
with staff increases  the ratio would be 1:5.   She stressed that                                                               
this  was  a  worthwhile  investment, but  that  it  would  prove                                                               
costly.   In  response  to  a question,  she  detailed the  ratio                                                               
calculation  and maintained  her interest  for an  explanation to                                                               
the 1:5 versus 1:10 result.                                                                                                     
10:06:22 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX said  he would provide the  committee with an                                                               
analysis  of  that  specific information  following  consultation                                                               
with the Anchorage School District.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH  reiterated the  staff  specifications                                                               
that she utilized in analyzing the ratio.                                                                                       
10:07:17 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  allowed  that   many  programs  could  be                                                               
successful given enough staffing.   In evaluating these programs,                                                               
staff increases should  be kept in mind, as some  schools may not                                                               
be able to afford the additional staff to attain similar goals.                                                                 
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX concurred, adding  that the pilot program was                                                               
a  learning experience.   He  reiterated that  the target  was to                                                               
support parents through community  based services and to mitigate                                                               
the need for expensive school based programs.                                                                                   
10:09:13 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH pointed  out  that  the Anchorage  RFP                                                               
also indicated the lowest cost per student ratio.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  noted  that   Parents  as  Teachers  was                                                               
serving 31 communities,  but that the measurable  outcome may not                                                               
match what  was stated for the  grant fund.  However,  one of the                                                               
benefits  of this  program,  she mentioned,  was  the three  year                                                               
training for  parents to  become certified  educators.   This was                                                               
empowering to a small community,  she opined.  These programs run                                                               
through many of the school  districts which have not submitted an                                                               
RFP and she pledged to investigate the situation.                                                                               
10:11:27 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON recalled  the  legislation that  allocated                                                               
approximately  $18 million  to the  Parents as  Teachers program.                                                               
He  asked if  there were  a  cost benefit  analysis for  existing                                                               
programs that were not achieving expectations.                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  offered his  belief  that  "the costs  will                                                               
spread out" as  the department learned more about  how to deliver                                                               
an effective  program, and that  there was not any  assumption of                                                               
an open  check book to  develop a  program.  He  acknowledged the                                                               
relationship of early childhood  education and experiences to the                                                               
graduation rate  and he noted the  high cost to society  of drop-                                                               
outs.  He reiterated the need  for quality programs and he opined                                                               
that community  based programs would  reduce the need  for school                                                               
based programs.   He announced the goal for a  cost effective fit                                                               
for each community.   It was not the intent  of the department to                                                               
provide a school  based program in every community.   To a follow                                                               
up  question, he  agreed that  many of  these questions  would be                                                               
answered as the program ran its course.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON noted that  a school district may encompass                                                               
several communities.                                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX agreed  that  a  district could  acknowledge                                                               
each school  separately, in  order to  ensure that  every student                                                               
entered school ready  to learn.  He stressed that  the outcome of                                                               
the program  would be  far reaching, as  it forced  each existing                                                               
program to evaluate its quality and services.                                                                                   
10:16:54 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON suggested  that teen  or pregnant  mothers                                                               
might  be served  by  a  parenting class,  which  may prove  cost                                                               
effective in the long run.                                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  acknowledged that young parents  were always                                                               
a  challenge.   He declared  a necessity  for flexible  secondary                                                               
programs  to  help  young people  be  successful  and  individual                                                               
programs for students who become parents.                                                                                       
10:20:27 AM                                                                                                                   
ERIK   McCORMICK,   Director,  Assessment   and   Accountability,                                                               
Department of  Education and  Early Development  (EED), explained                                                               
that  the action  team was  formed to  support the  EED education                                                               
plan,  and was  initially divided  into four  different sections:                                                               
schools,  students, community,  and  family groups,  in order  to                                                               
identify  the  reasons  for  dropouts  within  each  group.    He                                                               
reported that  every reason  was based  in engaging  students and                                                               
rooted in children  making connections with a mentor,  a peer, or                                                               
an  activity.    He  reported  that  some  districts  were  using                                                               
existing data to predict potential  dropouts, and he listed these                                                               
indicators  to include:  a student's  grade point  average (GPA),                                                               
credit  deficiency, and  reading  level.   He  shared that  these                                                               
identifiers  could be  helpful to  profile at  risk students,  as                                                               
early as  middle school.   He explained that  push-out activities                                                               
such as attendance or discipline policies, were being reviewed.                                                                 
MS. CURRAN added  that the group identified  specific actions and                                                               
determined who was responsible for  each action, and its timeline                                                               
for implementation.   She explained an  upcoming community poster                                                               
campaign to  feature graduation,  which would  act as  a reminder                                                               
that  each  adult  of  the community  was  responsible  for  each                                                               
student, and that  simple actions, such as  saying hello, calling                                                               
a student by name, were  an important involvement.  Additionally,                                                               
she reported  that letters would  be going out  to constituencies                                                               
detailing  specific  strategies,  including work  shadowing,  and                                                               
targeting intervention techniques,  including mentorships, all of                                                               
which would show students that  someone cares.  She stressed that                                                               
any  student who  knew  that  someone cared  was  more likely  to                                                               
graduate.  She pointed out  that positive behavioral intervention                                                               
support  and response  to instruction  and  intervention are  two                                                               
programs  that have  tiers of  support and  affect everyone  in a                                                               
school.  She  reported that the committee would  continue to meet                                                               
to move forward with specific  actions, and determine what can be                                                               
accomplished in  a given time  frame.   She shared that  the next                                                               
meeting would gather  local and national resources  about what is                                                               
being done to help students graduate.                                                                                           
10:27:00 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON read  from  the third  bullet  point of  a                                                               
departmental  handout:  "Examination  analysis  of  policies  and                                                               
procedures  that  push-out  students,  based  on  the  fact  that                                                               
learning is  the constant and time  is the variable."   She asked                                                               
for further details on this statement.                                                                                          
10:27:40 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  McCORMICK provided  an  example of  a  district policy  that                                                               
administratively dropped a student when  they had ten consecutive                                                               
days  of absence  and an  example  of a  suspension policy  which                                                               
required  a  student  to  be  off  school  grounds,  which  often                                                               
resulted  in a  lack  of interest  to return.    He suggested  an                                                               
alternative discipline policy to allow  a student to serve an in-                                                               
school  suspension,  and  he  pointed out  that  these  types  of                                                               
policies were being scrutinized.                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON offered his understanding  that, around the country,                                                               
schools  that had  high graduation  rates and  low dropout  rates                                                               
consistently assigned  someone to follow each  student's progress                                                               
throughout  their  time  in  school.    National  statistics  had                                                               
indicated the success for mentoring  or advisory programs yet, he                                                               
indicated, only  a few schools  in Alaska were  implementing this                                                               
practice, as it was not a  district requirement.  He stressed the                                                               
need  to have  a system  that actively  engaged each  student, as                                                               
this  was the  common  denominator  of schools  that  had a  high                                                               
graduation rate.                                                                                                                
10:32:46 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON asked  if the  action group  would have  a                                                               
policy change proposal for the upcoming legislative session.                                                                    
MR. McCORMICK  did not anticipate having  any recommendations for                                                               
the legislature that soon.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON asked  if  an increase  of the  compulsory                                                               
graduation age to 18 tied into the graduation rate.                                                                             
CHAIR SEATON relayed that the  graduation working goals group did                                                               
not identify that as one of the solutions.                                                                                      
10:34:43 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. CURRAN  concurred that it  was not a solution  to immediately                                                               
help students graduate.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ asked about  the process for recertification                                                               
and how could the legislative committee become involved.                                                                        
MS.  CURRAN affirmed  that  these requirements  were  set by  the                                                               
state  board of  education.   She explained  that the  department                                                               
submitted  recertification requirement  amendments to  the board.                                                               
She shared that  the current requirement for  six semester hours,                                                               
three of which must be at an  upper division of 300 or above, did                                                               
not specifically state a course requirement or standard.                                                                        
CHAIR SEATON asked for details of the poster campaign.                                                                          
10:36:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. CURRAN  described that the brainstorming  process resulted in                                                               
the  realization   that  raising   a  graduate   was  everybody's                                                               
business, and  she identified easily accomplished  tasks to reach                                                               
out to  a young person in  the community.  She  declared that the                                                               
department  was  producing  a  poster  for  general  distribution                                                               
throughout  the state  to help  remind  everyone to  take up  the                                                               
task.  At the request of  Chair Seaton, she agreed to provide the                                                               
draft poster to the committee.                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEATON directed  attention to the second page  of the goals                                                               
handout and read:  "increase  involvement among culturally unique                                                               
families and  communities in  Alaska," and  "not only  the family                                                               
engagement plan but each school  develops a comprehensive welcome                                                               
plan."  He recalled that  the biggest disconnect for students was                                                               
not being engaged as integral to the school.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH concurred and  underscored that the testimony                                                               
by students  reflected a lack  of connection to the  school [they                                                               
left].  He emphasized that this  needed to be addressed and every                                                               
student should be guided towards an attachment to their school.                                                                 
CHAIR SEATON acknowledged  that for some schools,  this was going                                                               
to be difficult  when there was already a  high student turnover.                                                               
However, it  was important, he  opined, to make an  equal attempt                                                               
to  connect to  these students  also,  and hope  that they  bring                                                               
positive experiences with them to their new school.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  noted that many students  found school to                                                               
be  a positive  alternative to  home.   She provided  examples of                                                               
children arriving early and being  let in before hours because of                                                               
the  need to  be some  place.   These were  not necessarily  good                                                               
students,  and they  were at  risk children,  but they  certainly                                                               
come to school.   One school, she recalled,  eliminated its tardy                                                               
policy  because  of older  siblings  need  to attend  to  younger                                                               
family members.   These  children were cared  for at  the school,                                                               
and welcomed,  however, they  were still at  risk of  failure and                                                               
not  graduating,   for  a  very   different  reason   than  being                                                               
SENATOR JOE THOMAS, Alaska  State Legislature, directed attention                                                               
to the  first goal on  the page titled "Graduation  Working Group                                                               
Goals and  Actions," and read  the first  goal:  "to  improve the                                                               
connectedness  and/or  flexibility of  our  schools  to meet  the                                                               
needs  of  all  students."   He  noted  that  flexibility  should                                                               
include  the idea  of curriculum  being individually  adjusted to                                                               
keep  the students'  interest, keep  them in  school, and  better                                                               
prepare  them  for  what  takes  place  after  school/graduation.                                                               
There was a void, he opined,  that resulted in remediation at the                                                               
university level  and non-preparedness  to enter the  work force,                                                               
which needed to be addressed, as well.                                                                                          
10:45:02 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. McCORMICK  explained that  individual learning  plans (ILPs),                                                               
as graduation  plans, would incorporate curriculum  that would be                                                               
student specific.   He shared that schools within  schools was an                                                               
intervention model  reviewed, and he noted  that the commissioner                                                               
had suggested the idea of virtual school.                                                                                       
MS. CURRAN  disclosed that the  department was in the  process of                                                               
developing and  planning a statewide virtual  school, which would                                                               
encompass many different components.                                                                                            
SENATOR  THOMAS noted  that the  development of  a project  which                                                               
allowed for  expansion would prove  to be more economical  in the                                                               
long run, and  suggested creating a broad  curriculum to maintain                                                               
a  student's  interest.    He  opined that  this  would  be  more                                                               
effective for a  higher graduation rate.  He  stated his interest                                                               
in offering  realistic life-skills  classes as a  part of  such a                                                               
10:48:22 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  spoke  of  the  need  for  cross  cultural                                                               
certification to prepare new teachers.                                                                                          
MS. CURRAN  replied that  the legislature  had provided  for that                                                               
several years  prior, and she  elaborated that all  teachers must                                                               
take  three semester  hours in  multi-cultural or  cross cultural                                                               
communication.    She added  that  many  districts were  offering                                                               
enhancement of this requirement to assist teacher success.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  indicated  a   need  for  new  brain  and                                                               
behavior research to be included  with the continued training for                                                               
10:51:15 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  CURRAN  replied  that  each  district  did  its  own  needs-                                                               
assessment, when planning in-service  training.  She relayed that                                                               
EED would be working with  the teacher preparation institution to                                                               
review  the training  program approval  process,  which would  be                                                               
reviewed by the state board.                                                                                                    
10:52:41 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  mentioned that  cross cultural  training was                                                               
highlighted during  the group discussions,  and that many  of the                                                               
aspects  of the  training were  determined  to be  outdated.   He                                                               
stated his understanding that EED  would be reviewing the program                                                               
structure   to   more   effectively  serve   Alaska's   teachers,                                                               
specifically those in the Bush.                                                                                                 
10:54:12 AM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  mentioned  that   a  recent  Harvard  study                                                               
indicated  that   there  was   no  correlation   between  student                                                               
achievement and a  Masters degree by teachers.   He expanded that                                                               
careful  thought   to  the  needs   of  the  teacher   and  staff                                                               
development revealed  a correlation  to student achievement.   He                                                               
opined that the  old recertification process of  six credits over                                                               
five  years,  with  the  stipulation that  half  would  be  upper                                                               
division  courses, had  not proven  to  increase teacher  skills.                                                               
The  state board  was reviewing  changes  to the  recertification                                                               
process  to  assure  that  teachers  attend  courses  that  would                                                               
directly relate  to their needs.   He explained that this  can be                                                               
recognized  from teacher  evaluation  and review,  and to  target                                                               
specific areas and skill improvement.   The salary schedules that                                                               
are  based   on  achievement  of   a  Masters  degree   would  be                                                               
scrutinized  for  content  and applicability  to  the  individual                                                               
teacher,  he predicted.   Responding  to a  teacher's ability  to                                                               
teach within a  cultural context, he said, taking  a three credit                                                               
course  in  cross cultural  communication  was  inadequate.   The                                                               
realization   was  that   teachers  needed   to  attend   focused                                                               
workshops,  once  they  arrive  in  Alaska,  which  would  better                                                               
prepare  them  for  the  specific  locale  where  they  would  be                                                               
working.  He  suggested that this could occur  during the summer.                                                               
Finally, he underscored the need  for everyone to become involved                                                               
with students  on an  intimate level, and  to consider  that some                                                               
students required  a smaller  school size.   These steps  were an                                                               
important means  to improvement of  graduation rates  and student                                                               
success, he opined.                                                                                                             
10:58:51 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KELLY noted the need  to improve the system and to                                                               
deliver  graduates  who were  prepared  to  enter the  university                                                               
without remedial work.  He  expressed concern that three and four                                                               
year old children were going to  enter the system, which will put                                                               
a further  financial burden on the  state.  Although it  had been                                                               
indicated that  the onus  would not be  entirely on  districts to                                                               
pilot this program, he stated his  belief that many people see it                                                               
as a  school based  program.   He underscored  his support  for a                                                               
parent/family  driven  system  as   opposed  to  a  school-driven                                                               
system.  In the name of  pre-K education, he opined, this may end                                                               
up being construed as universal  early childhood babysitting.  He                                                               
emphasized  his  desire for  these  important  cautions to  be  a                                                               
factor for consideration as this project moved forward.                                                                         
11:05:18 AM                                                                                                                   
EDDY  JEANS, Director,  School  Finance  and Facilities  Section,                                                               
Department of  Education and  Early Development  (EED), clarified                                                               
that  the pilot  target group  did  not go  include younger  than                                                               
four-year-olds.    Additionally,  he emphasized  that  the  pre-K                                                               
program  was  focused  on  the   collaboration  of  what  existed                                                               
currently in  the school district  and communities,  and bridging                                                               
those gaps.                                                                                                                     
MR.  JEANS launched  into the  topic  of single  site schools  by                                                               
describing the system as a whole.   There are 53 school districts                                                               
across the  state, ranging from  a student population  of 48,000,                                                               
in  Anchorage,  down  to  a  district  serving  15  students,  in                                                               
Pelican.   Pelican is a  single-site school,  as well as  a first                                                               
class city.   Of the 53  school districts, there are  19 regional                                                               
education attendance  areas (REAAs),  which are areas  outside of                                                               
the  organized/incorporated areas  in  the state.   Within  those                                                               
REAAs, two  of them  are single site  school districts:   Annette                                                               
Island,  the  only reservation  in  the  state, and  Kashunamiut,                                                               
which  served  318   students,  and  was  created   in  1987  via                                                               
legislative  action.   During  that  same  legislative time,  the                                                               
Yupiit  school district  was created  as an  REAA, serving  three                                                               
communities.   These last two  districts are significant  as they                                                               
represent REAAs  within an REAA,  an unusual situation,  and were                                                               
the last  of the  BIA (Bureau  of Indian  Affairs) schools  to be                                                               
transferred to the state.                                                                                                       
MR.  JEANS  continued   to  explain  that  there   were  16  home                                                               
rule/first  class cities,  which were  cities in  the unorganized                                                               
areas  not  incorporated  as  boroughs  but  holding  educational                                                               
powers.   Finally, there were 18  boroughs/unified municipalities                                                               
in  the state.   In  these  unified municipalities  there may  be                                                               
first  class cities,  but those  cities do  not have  educational                                                               
powers; that power had been given  to the borough on an area wide                                                               
basis.     The  educational  powers,   assigned  to   the  school                                                               
districts,  came from  two different  statutes:   Title 29  dealt                                                               
with  municipalities  and  described  the  powers  for  municipal                                                               
schools,  and for  the unorganized  areas, or  REAAs, educational                                                               
powers were  granted through Title 14  - EED.  Thus,  two systems                                                               
were  in play,  those  governed through  municipal statutes,  and                                                               
those under the purview of EED.                                                                                                 
11:09:34 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether the  powers provided through  the two                                                               
statutes, effectively  for the school  districts, were  the same,                                                               
or were there conflicts.                                                                                                        
MR. JEANS responded  that the educational duties  and powers were                                                               
virtually identical.  He added  that Title 29, under municipality                                                               
codes, granted the power of  education, taxation, and planning to                                                               
municipality.   The  unorganized REAAs  were awarded  under Title                                                               
14, circa  1977, when the  state transformed from  state operated                                                               
schools to the current system.                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEATON  clarified that regardless  of the  education powers                                                               
being  exercised  there was  no  conflict  between the  governing                                                               
MR  JEANS assured  the committee  that both  authorities were  in                                                               
accordance  and required  a locally  elected school  board.   One                                                               
difference was that under the  REAAs, Title 14 statute, there was                                                               
a  requirement  to maintain  a  local  advisory council  in  each                                                               
community; an option under Title 29.                                                                                            
11:12:09 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  offered her understanding  that communities                                                               
in the unorganized  boroughs do not participate  towards the cost                                                               
of maintaining the schools.  She  asked if that was also the case                                                               
for the single-site districts in the unorganized borough.                                                                       
MR. JEANS said that he  disagreed with that characterization, but                                                               
pointed  out  that  the  difference  lies in  the  ability  of  a                                                               
community  to tax  the residents  and make  contributions to  the                                                               
local school  fund.   In the unorganized  areas, the  impact aide                                                               
money was generated in lieu of  local taxes.  Under the EED state                                                               
funding formula, REAAs were required  to contribute 90 percent of                                                               
their federal impact aide money  to education.  He explained that                                                               
regardless of  how that  funding was raised,  the homes  were not                                                               
taxable,  even if  they were  to be  incorporated into  boroughs.                                                               
Although many  may disagree, he stated  his belief that it  was a                                                               
legitimate   means  for   the  REAAs   areas  to   contribute  to                                                               
educational  costs,  although  it  may feel  different  and  have                                                               
varying effects from  contributions made by a  private tax payer.                                                               
It does  affect the state's  funding formula in the  same manner.                                                               
First   class  cities   are  required   to  contribute   a  local                                                               
contribution to education  via a local tax  source established by                                                               
the community.                                                                                                                  
11:14:07 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. JEANS continued,  stating that there were 16  home rule first                                                               
class  city school  districts.   These included  two cities  that                                                               
served 50 or  fewer students, Pelican and Tanana; two  with 50 to                                                               
100  students, Hydaburg  and Kake;  four  with 100-200  students,                                                               
Hoonah,  Klawock,  St.  Maries  and  Nenana;  one  with  200-300,                                                               
Galena's residential  program; two districts with  300-400, Craig                                                               
and  Cordova;  one  district  with  400-500  Unalaska;  and  four                                                               
districts with  more than  500 students,  Dillingham, Petersburg,                                                               
Nome, and Valdez.   The local boundary  commission had considered                                                               
school  district  consolidation  under   a  number  of  different                                                               
studies.   One was the  model borough  boundary study of  1979, a                                                               
joint effort  with the  boundary commission and  EED in  a report                                                               
dated February 2004;  and there had been  resolutions issued from                                                               
the  legislature requesting  the  boundary  commission to  submit                                                               
recommendations  for   consideration.    In  general   terms,  he                                                               
summarized, the  local boundary  commission would  do a  study on                                                               
individual  areas, submit  this to  the legislature,  and if  the                                                               
recommendation was  accepted then  that area  would automatically                                                               
be incorporated as a  Borough.  If all of the  REAAs in the first                                                               
class  cities,  within  those  REAAs,   were  to  incorporate  as                                                               
boroughs,  and the  rule was  strictly borough  government, there                                                               
would be 37 schools districts, he stated.                                                                                       
11:17:29 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  JEANS relayed  that some  of the  areas had  incorporated as                                                               
Boroughs, since  the study  was completed,  and that  Skagway had                                                               
incorporated as  its own  separate Borough,  but that  Haines was                                                               
now the only third class Borough  in Alaska.  He pointed out that                                                               
communities had been annexed, noting  that Ketchikan and Wrangell                                                               
had  extended  their boundaries.    He  reported that  the  Model                                                               
Borough Boundary study  would have to be updated  to move forward                                                               
with any  incorporation recommendations.  He  offered his opinion                                                               
that the  constitution envisioned  the entire state  divided into                                                               
Borough governments.   He opined  that local  boundary commission                                                               
staff and some  legislators were frustrated that it  had moved so                                                               
slowly,  but that  this responsibility  lay with  the legislature                                                               
and the local boundary commission, not the EED.                                                                                 
MR. JEANS, in response to  Chair Seaton, clarified that there was                                                               
a  perceived savings  through  consolidation  of school  district                                                               
administrations.  He referred to  a study conducted in the 1980's                                                               
which illustrated that the cost  of administration would increase                                                               
when  more communities  were  served.   He  detailed that  travel                                                               
costs  for  school  boards  would   increase.    He  opined  that                                                               
consolidation made sense in some  areas, pointing out that Craig,                                                               
Klawock,  Hydaburg,  and  Southeast Island  School  District  all                                                               
operated on the  Prince of Wales, but were not  consolidated.  He                                                               
relayed  that  many  parents and  local  communities  desired  to                                                               
maintain control  of the  local schools.   He allowed  that there                                                               
was some sharing of services.                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON, noting that it  appeared counterintuitive, asked to                                                               
clarify  whether the  per  student rate  of  state funding  would                                                               
increase with consolidation.                                                                                                    
11:23:12 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  confirmed that the funding  structure for                                                               
small  school  adjustments  could  use up  any  cost  benefit  of                                                               
MR. JEANS  offered to investigate  that point further.   He noted                                                               
that  the  current  funding  formula was  based  on  the  student                                                               
population  within a  school.   He  explained that  consolidating                                                               
single  site   schools  into  larger   areas  could   affect  the                                                               
geographic  cost differential.   He  supplied an  example of  the                                                               
Chugach School District, as it  had multiple school sites off the                                                               
road system.                                                                                                                    
11:24:36 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEATON   explained  that  the  committee   was  seeking  a                                                               
knowledge  base  of  single  sites   and  the  number  of  school                                                               
districts, and then  to relate this to any change  or benefit for                                                               
education in the communities.   He emphasized that this was based                                                               
on education, not funding.                                                                                                      
MR. JEANS  relayed that the  regional education  attendance areas                                                               
were  required to  contribute 90  percent  of the  impact aid  to                                                               
education.   He explained that  there was a calculation  for both                                                               
first  class city  and borough  that would  reduce the  amount of                                                               
impact aid that  the state could deduct.  He  surmised that state                                                               
costs could  go up when an  REAA was combined with  a first class                                                               
area that had  local contribution, there are not  as many federal                                                               
dollars deducted, noting  that as federal dollars  go down, state                                                               
dollars go up.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER referring  to School Consolidation: Public                                                               
Policy  Considerations   and  a   Review  of   Opportunities  for                                                               
Consolidation [included  in the  committee packets],  pointed out                                                               
the section on recommendations to  the legislature and noted that                                                               
page 58,  item (e), recommended  to remove the  disincentives for                                                               
school consolidation from the education funding formula.                                                                        
MR. JEANS,  in response to Representative  Gardner, reported that                                                               
this statement  came from the  local boundary commission,  but he                                                               
opined that it was a form  of equity across all school districts.                                                               
He reflected that  without a required local  effort, there needed                                                               
to  be a  cap on  local contributions  to maintain  some form  of                                                               
11:28:20 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  whether  any single-site  districts                                                               
would be under 10 students.                                                                                                     
MR.  JEANS replied  that  Pelican  had 15  students,  but with  a                                                               
continued declining  enrollment.  In  response to a  question, he                                                               
replied that the  hold harmless bill was passed two  years ago to                                                               
provide  transition funding  for the  communities with  a student                                                               
population below 10.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  what  funding allowed  a school  to                                                               
continue to remain open although  its student population was less                                                               
than 10.                                                                                                                        
MR. JEANS replied  that the local school board  made the decision                                                               
to remain open however the  funding mechanism did influence these                                                               
decisions.    He  noted  that   as  funding  was  decreased,  the                                                               
financial pressure  could lead to  school closure.   He explained                                                               
that the transition  funding was for four years,  and in response                                                               
to  a  question  from  Representative Wilson,  he  reported  that                                                               
district  funding  diminished  each  year  by  an  additional  25                                                               
percent.  In  response to a question  from Representative Seaton,                                                               
he noted that should the  Pelican school population drop below 10                                                               
students, it would  qualify for hold harmless because  it was the                                                               
only school in the district.                                                                                                    
11:33:18 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON   asked  if   the  EED   had  a   role  in                                                               
MR. JEANS replied that EED did  not have a role in redistricting,                                                               
and opined that it was strictly  based on census.  In response to                                                               
Representative Gardner, he explained  that the two common waivers                                                               
were  for a  small school  district with  an operating  budget of                                                               
less  than  $3  million,  and  for  a  school  district  with  an                                                               
operation  and maintenance  budget which  was 20  percent of  the                                                               
total operating fund.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  surmised that  a disincentive  mentioned in                                                               
the report was that the  funding formula allowed for more funding                                                               
for  smaller  schools.   She  pointed  out that  Kenai  Peninsula                                                               
schools were faced  with closing some smaller  schools, but found                                                               
that it would cost the district more to close the schools.                                                                      
MR.  JEANS,  in  response,  observed  that  the  Kenai  Peninsula                                                               
Borough  School District  was an  anomaly, as  it had  grown very                                                               
rapidly,  but  was now  experiencing  declining  enrollment.   He                                                               
reported  that  the  funding  was   an  individual  school  based                                                               
formula,  so  that closing  a  school  was  a disadvantage.    He                                                               
disclosed   that  the   prior  funding   formula  was   based  on                                                               
communities, which  would have been  an advantage for  the school                                                               
district, in this case.                                                                                                         
11:36:50 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON  directed attention to  the task force  appointed to                                                               
review the funding formula.                                                                                                     
MR.  JEANS  clarified  that  the  task  force  would  review  the                                                               
geographic  cost differentials,  and not  necessarily the  entire                                                               
funding formula.                                                                                                                
11:37:44 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ referred  to a  letter, dated  February 18,                                                               
2004,  from  EED  to  House Speaker  Kott  and  Senate  President                                                               
Therriault,   and  noted   that  it   said  in   part  that   the                                                               
consolidation  of  ten city  school  districts  would reduce  the                                                               
state  education costs  by more  than  $262,000 each  year.   She                                                               
continued and read that it would  increase basic need by $750 per                                                               
student,  and  she   asked  if  this  would  be   paid  by  local                                                               
MR. JEANS reported  that first class cities are  required to make                                                               
a local  contribution to education.   He observed that if  the 10                                                               
smallest cities on  the list were taken out of  the formula, this                                                               
would  result in  the $262,000  savings; however,  as there  were                                                               
higher  geographic  cost  differentials,  the  basic  need  would                                                               
increase.   In  response  to Representative  Munoz, he  clarified                                                               
that basic need was the state contribution.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ,  referring again  to the letter,  asked how                                                               
consolidation would free up more than $1 million of local taxes.                                                                
MR. JEANS  explained that the  education control would  be placed                                                               
in  the existing  REAA,  so that  the local  tax  money would  no                                                               
longer be required or allowed.                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEATON observed  that the anomaly was that  the state would                                                               
now  have  to pay  for  the  basic  need,  instead of  the  local                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ questioned the economic gain.                                                                              
MR. JEANS offered to research that issue further.                                                                               
11:41:38 AM                                                                                                                   
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Office  of  the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department of Education and Early  Development (EED), spoke about                                                               
assessment issues.   He  spoke first about  the relevancy  of the                                                               
high school  qualifying exam.   He pointed  to the  Comparison of                                                               
the  High School  Graduation Qualifying  Examination (HSGQE)  and                                                               
WorkKeys Assessments.   [Included in the committee  packets.]  He                                                               
presented that the  first important point of  HSGQE relevance was                                                               
to  consider what  a state  wide assessment  did and  the balance                                                               
necessary.   He noted that  teachers will teach to  the standards                                                               
of  the  test.    He  discussed  the  concern  of  narrowing  the                                                               
curriculum.  He observed that  there are many important skills to                                                               
attain by  graduation, and although  some are difficult  to test,                                                               
such as  the ability to  show up on  time, the schools  needed to                                                               
assess for them.                                                                                                                
MR. MORSE  explained that the  HSGQE was  an exit exam,  but that                                                               
not all  states had  exit exams.   He observed  that there  was a                                                               
shift in some  states from the comprehensive exit exam  to end of                                                               
course exams,  which he defined as  a series of exams  at the end                                                               
of specific  courses.   He pointed out  that although  this major                                                               
shift  was  occurring,  Alaska   was  maintaining  the  HSGQE  as                                                               
required by law.  He relayed  that the skills tested on the HSGQE                                                               
included reading, and the  sub categories: reading comprehension,                                                               
identification and support for main  ideas, application of multi-                                                               
step  directions, ability  to make  and  support assertions,  and                                                               
analysis and evaluation of themes.   He opined that relevancy was                                                               
if  it was  important for  the students,  though he  allowed that                                                               
things  could  be  missing.   He  discussed  the  writing  skills                                                               
tested, which included writing  compositions using conventions of                                                               
Standard  English, and  revising writing  to improve  expression,                                                               
and the  mathematics skills,  which included  computation skills,                                                               
reading,  interpreting  and  constructing graphs,  principles  of                                                               
geometry and  measurement.   He pointed  out that  these specific                                                               
skills  were better  defined on  the  comparison sheet  mentioned                                                               
above.  He  noted that Mr. McCormick would  address statistics on                                                               
student performance.                                                                                                            
11:50:39 AM                                                                                                                   
MR McCORMICK  pointed out  that relevancy  was questioned  by the                                                               
students who passed  the HSGQE at the end of  the sophomore year,                                                               
and  he noted  that,  in  2008, 1500  seniors  had completed  the                                                               
school year, did not get a diploma, but had passed the HSGQE.                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON  pointed out that  at the end  of two years  of high                                                               
school, a high percentage of  students have passed the HSGQE, yet                                                               
they have not taken any of  the advanced classes.  He asked about                                                               
the  relevancy of  the exam  when these  same students  could not                                                               
pass a college entrance exam two years later.                                                                                   
MR. MORSE  said that  generally, the  reading and  writing skills                                                               
are aligned with the grade  level expectation for ninth and tenth                                                               
grade; whereas the math skills were  a blend of eighth, ninth and                                                               
tenth grades.   He  identified that the  question was  whether to                                                               
measure a guaranteed  foundational skill for everyone  or build a                                                               
test  that drives  instruction  that will  place  students as  to                                                               
proficiency and will give greater  feedback to a relative outcome                                                               
after high school.  The  assessment could be more challenging but                                                               
would offer  more information.   He presented the dilemma  of the                                                               
pass rate  as a  requirement of graduation  versus a  more robust                                                               
assessment of career and college readiness.                                                                                     
11:55:42 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER observed  that 14  states had  exit exams                                                               
generally  targeted  to ninth  and  tenth  grade students.    She                                                               
offered her  understanding that the  original exit  exam proposal                                                               
was watered down,  and she reflected that, as 90  percent of high                                                               
school dropouts  had passed  all three parts  of the  exit exams,                                                               
they assumed they had mastered what they needed.                                                                                
MR. McCORMICK,  in response, explained  that the shift  from exit                                                               
exams  to  end of  course  exams  would  increase the  rigor  and                                                               
accountability   and   move   toward  alignment   with   national                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  if the  end of  course exam  would                                                               
correlate with the course grade, and if so, why have the exam.                                                                  
MR.  MORSE  reported  that  these   exams  were  graduation  exit                                                               
criteria for  some states, and  often a percentage of  the course                                                               
grade.  He shared that he did  not know the relative pass rate to                                                               
the grade earned separately.                                                                                                    
11:59:18 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. McCORMICK,  in response  to Representative  Johansen, offered                                                               
his  understanding  that 40  percent  of  incoming freshmen  from                                                               
Alaska schools needed some remedial course work.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN asked  how this compared to  out of state                                                               
MR. McCORMICK replied that he would research this question.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  asked what  was being done  to determine                                                               
why students  who passed the exit  exam as sophomores did  not go                                                               
on to graduate.                                                                                                                 
MR. McCORMICK, in response  to Representative Johansen, explained                                                               
that this was being researched.                                                                                                 
12:02:03 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  questioned whether the exit  exam was being                                                               
administered too  early, and instead  be offered in a  later year                                                               
as an incentive to stay in school.                                                                                              
MR. MORSE  surmised that it  depended on the  individual student,                                                               
as  early  administration   offered  multiple  opportunities  and                                                               
support staff  for those who did  not pass on the  first attempt.                                                               
He  replied  to  Representative  Munoz  that  data  reflected  90                                                               
percent of  the 2008  class had passed  all three  exam sections,                                                               
and were  eligible to  graduate.  He  acknowledged that  this did                                                               
not account for drop-outs prior to the senior year.                                                                             
12:04:59 PM                                                                                                                   
The committee took a recess from 12:04 p.m. to 1:13 p.m.                                                                        
1:13:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  called  the  House  Education  Standing  Committee                                                               
meeting back to order at 1:13 p.m.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked  the  percentage  of  students  who                                                               
passed the  exit exam  and still  needed remedial  instruction in                                                               
college.    She asked  for  this  to  include the  percentage  of                                                               
General Educational Development (GED) and high school graduates.                                                                
1:15:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  McCORMICK announced  that a  recent Memorandum  of Agreement                                                               
(MOA)  with  the  Department of  Labor  &  Workforce  Development                                                               
(DLWD) would  correlate a list  of GED and high  school graduates                                                               
with permanent  fund dividend (PFD) data,  unemployment insurance                                                               
(UI) records,  and college attendance.   He agreed  that tracking                                                               
remediation for students would be a natural next step.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON expressed  the need  to better  understand                                                               
the reasons for remediation.                                                                                                    
1:16:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON,  referring to  the  first  paragraph, page  2,  of                                                               
Comparison of  the High School Graduation  Qualifying Examination                                                               
(HSGQE)  and  WorkKeys  Assessments [Included  in  the  committee                                                               
packets],  read  "the proficient  score  on  the examination  was                                                               
designed to  reflect what high  school students should know  as a                                                               
result  of their  public school  experience," and  asked if  this                                                               
meant the end of grade 12.                                                                                                      
MR.  McCORMICK explained  that the  language  was primarily  from                                                               
statute and  that the test  was designed to  be high stakes.   He                                                               
allowed  that  after  the  first  tests  were  given,  there  was                                                               
statutory modification,  and the  exam became a  basic competency                                                               
test.  He opined that the  test should reflect that a student has                                                               
attained tenth grade essential skills.                                                                                          
CHAIR SEATON  asked to clarify  that EED  did not agree  that the                                                               
proficiency score  on the exit  examination reflected  the entire                                                               
public education career.                                                                                                        
MR. McCORMICK agreed.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  SEATON asked  if  WorkKeys aligned  well  with the  Alaska                                                               
Performance  Standards.   He provided  that  the House  Education                                                               
Standing  Committee  had  worked  toward  the  implementation  of                                                               
WorkKeys to  give students goals  for evaluation  and preparation                                                               
for work without remediation.                                                                                                   
MR. McCORMICK responded that it was  still not possible to find a                                                               
skill level  equivalent to  HSGQE.   He said  that a  scale score                                                               
from the  HSGQE did  not directly  relate to a  raw score  on the                                                               
CHAIR  SEATON   questioned  whether  the  WorkKeys   concepts  of                                                               
application and  academic knowledge  could be aligned  to measure                                                               
proficiency on Alaska Performance Standards.                                                                                    
MR. MORSE  opined that the  use of  WorkKeys would require  it be                                                               
aligned  to the  Alaska Performance  Standards, and  to note  any                                                               
other skills  that would  appear on the  test, so  that educators                                                               
would know  what else  was necessary  for the  HSGQE preparation.                                                               
He explained that the Comparison  page, of the HSGQE and WorkKeys                                                               
assessments, is  provided, should it  be necessary to  choose one                                                               
or the  other.   He noted  that the standards  tested for  in the                                                               
HSGQE  would  still   be  tested  for  in   the  standards  based                                                               
assessment program, as this was  still required under federal and                                                               
state regulation.                                                                                                               
CHAIR SEATON offered his belief  that WorkKeys did not align with                                                               
Alaska  Performance Standards.   He  asked if  this needed  to be                                                               
addressed through  the education curriculum.   He questioned that                                                               
the HSGQE is  aligned with the Alaska  Performance Standards, but                                                               
stated his understanding that the  WorkKeys is not, and how could                                                               
that be accomplished.                                                                                                           
MR. MORSE, pointing to page  5 of the aforementioned Comparision,                                                               
noted that this preliminary analysis  would have to be validated.                                                               
He also acknowledged  that it needed to be clear  which things in                                                               
WorkKeys were not in the  performance standards, and this was the                                                               
beginning of that analysis.                                                                                                     
CHAIR  SEATON asked  if  this was  the reason  for  the delay  in                                                               
implementation of WorkKeys in grade 11.                                                                                         
1:29:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  McCORMICK,  in  response  to Mr.  Morse,  listed  the  three                                                               
assessments in  WorkKeys that lead to  certification: reading for                                                               
information, locating  information, and applied mathematics.   He                                                               
pointed that out the HSGQE had  a writing component which was not                                                               
in WorkKeys, although WorkKeys did  have a business writing and a                                                               
writing assessment which were not  part of the certification.  He                                                               
explained  that the  "L" in  WorkKeys referenced  the level.   He                                                               
pointed out  that math [on  page 8]  did "match up  fairly well."                                                               
He directed attention  to the HSGQE descriptors  of Functions and                                                               
Relationships,  Geometry,  and  Probability and  Statistics,  and                                                               
said that these did not "line up with WorkKeys."                                                                                
MR. McCORMICK, in  response to Chair Seaton,  explained that this                                                               
was  a linear  comparison  only, math  versus  math, and  reading                                                               
versus reading, and did not include a cross category comparison.                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  underscored  that  the  House  Education  Standing                                                               
Committee  is  focusing  on preparing  students  for  real  world                                                               
situations.  He  observed that whatever measurement  tool is used                                                               
must have standards, communications  to teachers, and progressive                                                               
testing to allow for improvement.                                                                                               
1:35:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MORSE, in  response  to Representative  Wilson, pointed  out                                                               
that  the footer  stated that  the comparison  was a  preliminary                                                               
analysis  and would  not  be  used in  the  curriculum until  the                                                               
skills were tested for work use.                                                                                                
1:36:44 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  stated  that  one  of  the  most  important                                                               
components of the  state education plan were  world class student                                                               
graduation outcomes.   This plan identified  what students needed                                                               
to  know and  do upon  high school  graduation.   He shared  that                                                               
colleges  reported  that  many   students  were  not  ready  upon                                                               
entrance to  college.   He reported that  the starting  place was                                                               
the  vision   for  the  outcome,   and  then  an   assessment  of                                                               
achievement was  developed.  He stated  that the HSGQE was  not a                                                               
college exam, but that  it was a minimum exam.   He stated that a                                                               
review  of the  standards  had begun.   He  presented  a need  to                                                               
measure  twenty-first century  skills.   He explained  that these                                                               
were the  ability to problem solve,  to be creative, and  to work                                                               
cooperatively,  as well  as  the ability  to be  on  time and  to                                                               
understand  ethics.   He observed  that WorkKeys  was a  national                                                               
attempt to  measure some of these  skills.  He agreed  that there                                                               
was still a lot of work to  be done, and that high standards were                                                               
being developed.   He cautioned that  the standard had to  be set                                                               
before the assessment.                                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX allowed  that WorkKeys might not  be the best                                                               
tool, as  it was  necessary to first  identify the  standards and                                                               
expectations.  He agreed that  the HSGQE was not rigorous enough,                                                               
was simply  a minimum, and had  no information on the  ability to                                                               
function in society.                                                                                                            
1:41:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked whether  there  was  any value  in                                                               
retaining the HSGQE.                                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  reminded that  first there  needed to  be an                                                               
adjustment of  the standards.  He  emphasized that accountability                                                               
was also  critical.   In response  to Representative  Gardner, he                                                               
stated that HSGQE was still useful,  but that it needed to be re-                                                               
evaluated and  adjusted as a  measurement for  expected knowledge                                                               
at graduation.                                                                                                                  
1:44:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked  how the HSGQE compared to  the measurement of                                                               
efficiency for every grade level.                                                                                               
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  replied that  the most  important assessment                                                               
was student-based,  and that school  based assessments  in grades                                                               
three to  ten were very  effective for measuring  performance and                                                               
achieving  standards.   He opined  that Adequate  Yearly Progress                                                               
(AYP)  was a  construct that  did  not make  a lot  of sense  for                                                               
accountability.   In response  to a  question, he  explained that                                                               
the HSGQE was a high stakes, minimum competency exam.                                                                           
MR. McCORMICK,  in response  to another  question, said  that the                                                               
Standard Based Assessment (SBA) were designed using the Grade-                                                                  
Level  Expectations  (GLE).   He  explained  that HSGQE  was  not                                                               
initially tied  to the standards,  but was re-focused  to attempt                                                               
to  match the  standards.   He  opined that  the SBA  was a  more                                                               
accurate measure,  and was  a better tool  for analysis  than the                                                               
CHAIR  SEATON  surmised  that  EED  should be  able  to  use  the                                                               
proficiency and growth models to  produce something more valuable                                                               
than HSGQE.                                                                                                                     
1:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THOMAS  asked how  the HSGQE results  would compare  to a                                                               
student's results in the sixth grade.                                                                                           
MR. McCORMICK replied that this had not been done.                                                                              
SENATOR THOMAS questioned whether there  was a similar exam to be                                                               
administered earlier to compare to the sixth grade statistics.                                                                  
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  replied that  research indicated  that early                                                               
assessments  should be  centered on  inflection points,  which he                                                               
described  as learnings  that must  be mastered  before the  next                                                               
skill level  could be mastered.   He noted that  school districts                                                               
throughout the U.S. were looking at  end of course exams for more                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  asked if there  were a similar  program to                                                               
WorkKeys that the state did not have to pay for annually.                                                                       
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  established that it would  be very expensive                                                               
to create.  He noted that a  high stakes exam, such as the HSGQE,                                                               
was  always forced  to a  minimum level,  or not  enough students                                                               
graduated.   He said  that a  high stakes exam  did not  give any                                                               
information about the skills and knowledge for success.                                                                         
1:56:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MARCIA   OLSON,  Career   and  Technical   Education  Specialist,                                                               
Teaching and Learning Support, Department  of Education and Early                                                               
Development  (EED),  in response  to  a  question, reported  that                                                               
there  was  a delay  to  WorkKeys  assessment implementation  for                                                               
another school year.   She explained that the delay  was to "work                                                               
out  some of  the  bugs  with the  actual  implementation of  the                                                               
assessments."    In  response   to  Representative  Gardner,  she                                                               
explained that ACT  [WorkKeys is a commercial  product offered by                                                               
ACT.]  was learning  the logistical  difficulties within  Alaska,                                                               
which  included the  timing for  the shipment  of tests,  and the                                                               
difficulty of  using computers for  administering the tests.   In                                                               
response  to another  question, she  established that  previously                                                               
ACT  had  a  CD-Rom  based  version, but  that  method  had  been                                                               
abandoned.  She allowed that  currently the only two options were                                                               
paper  and  pencil, or  an  internet  access version,  which  was                                                               
difficult  for  many  Alaskan  communities   due  to  a  lack  of                                                               
2:05:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. OLSON,  in response  to Chair Seaton,  agreed with  Mr. Morse                                                               
that  it  is important  to  share  which  skills are  tested  via                                                               
WorkKeys,  and  which  skills are  not  addressed  on  assessment                                                               
exams.  She  reported that ACT publishes  Targets for Instruction                                                               
which  lists the  WorkKeys skills  and offers  classroom teaching                                                               
strategies.    She disclosed  that  more  training is  now  being                                                               
offered to the schools.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  SEATON  opined  that there  were  some  other  educational                                                               
curriculum tools  that aligned with  WorkKeys to be a  better fit                                                               
for  some school  districts.   He asked  whether these  trainings                                                               
were available.                                                                                                                 
2:07:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. OLSON replied that two  other companies have developed online                                                               
curriculum for training on WorkKeys  assessments.  She noted that                                                               
Department  of Education  and  Early  Development had  contracted                                                               
with  one company,  World Interactive  Network (WIN),  to provide                                                               
this  curriculum  to   all  K-12  public  schools,   and  to  the                                                               
Department of  Labor &  Workforce Development  job centers.   She                                                               
pointed  out  that  the  job centers  also  offered  KeyTrain,  a                                                               
similar curriculum  to WIN.   She acknowledged that EED  had also                                                               
been reviewing  KeyTrain.   In response to  a question,  she said                                                               
that the  WIN software was  available to all the  public schools,                                                               
and that  more than  half the Alaskan  school districts  had used                                                               
CHAIR  SEATON  asked whether  the  entire  Kodiak Island  Borough                                                               
School District had used KeyTrain.                                                                                              
MS. OLSON offered her understanding  that the Kodiak schools were                                                               
using WIN and KeyTrain.                                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX   reported  that  the  Kodiak   High  School                                                               
principal was available.                                                                                                        
CHAIR SEATON  emphasized that  this was  not just  a test,  but a                                                               
preparation for success after high school.                                                                                      
2:15:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  OLSON  explained the  new  Platinum  level of  certificates,                                                               
which  required a  Level 6  score on  all three  of the  WorkKeys                                                               
assessments,  and  shared  that  Kodiak had  the  first  Platinum                                                               
[Contains discussion of HB 206]                                                                                                 
2:16:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON, referring  to HB  206-High-School Students  Taking                                                               
Postsecondary Courses [Included in  the committee packets], asked                                                               
for clarification  of the  first paragraph  which stated:   "only                                                               
high school  seniors in their  second semester would  be eligible                                                               
for the free courses."                                                                                                          
2:19:52 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX explained  that  high  school students  were                                                               
able to take  courses with college credits, and both  the fee and                                                               
the success  were based  on the  relationship between  the school                                                               
district  and  the  local  college.     He  explained  that  some                                                               
districts were  offering a middle  college degree,  which allowed                                                               
credits toward  an associate degree  while still in  high school.                                                               
He  opined that  many districts  were very  excited to  formalize                                                               
relationships for these  programs.  He shared  that many students                                                               
of these middle college programs  could not afford any tuition or                                                               
fees,  and  that  school  districts would  be  less  inclined  to                                                               
participate if there was a cost.                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON pointed  out the  question  of how  to extend  this                                                               
program to students  across the state.  He noted  that there were                                                               
benefits to the  University of Alaska.  He stated  that the House                                                               
Education  Standing  Committee  was  working  to  "activate  more                                                               
education and  more collaboration between the  University and the                                                               
entire school system."                                                                                                          
2:27:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  noted  that  the  high  school  in  Juneau                                                               
offered an  architectural and  engineering program  which allowed                                                               
students  to  take   courses  for  dual  credit   from  both  the                                                               
University  and  the  high  school.   She  asked  if  the  school                                                               
district reimbursed the University.                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  said that he  was not aware of  the details,                                                               
but affirmed that the programs were very effective.                                                                             
MR. JEANS  agreed that  this was  a way to  jump start  a college                                                               
career, and possibly graduate from  high school with an Associate                                                               
of  Arts  (AA)  degree.    He reminded  the  committee  that  the                                                               
discussion  was  to  keep  students engaged  in  school,  and  he                                                               
reflected on the HSGQE.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  SEATON  deliberated  that  the need  was  to  review  both                                                               
curriculum  and  assessment,  as   not  all  the  students  would                                                               
continue  on to  college.   He opined  that it  was necessary  to                                                               
broaden the interest for students.                                                                                              
2:31:12 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  offered his  belief that students  needed to                                                               
explore their  interests, and  that was  an important  factor for                                                               
students to stay in school.   He surmised that schools were going                                                               
to  have  to   offer  flexibility  for  students   to  engage  in                                                               
apprenticeship,  work   study,  self  exploration,   and  college                                                               
classes.   He opined  that schools with  limited choices  did not                                                               
work, as students  could manage their learning in real  time.  He                                                               
suggested that  the modern high  school student would  master the                                                               
basic  skills  by  the  sophomore   year,  and  would  need  more                                                               
opportunities to  explore their  interests.   He stated  that the                                                               
inflexible  school   would  not  be  successful,   and  that  the                                                               
University provided a great opportunity for all students.                                                                       
CHAIR  SEATON considered  that to  be a  vision statement  and he                                                               
offered disagreement that rigid  curriculum schools did not still                                                               
exist.  He asked if  correspondence schools had become open ended                                                               
and available to all students.                                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX replied  that the University was  a leader in                                                               
developing  distance courses.   He  offered his  belief that  the                                                               
various distance  course offerings had not  been coordinated, had                                                               
different  quality   and  capability,  and  that   not  all  were                                                               
effective.   It  was the  intent  of the  EED to  develop a  high                                                               
quality, statewide,  virtual education system, which  was managed                                                               
and  owned  by  school  districts, and  would  be  a  cooperation                                                               
between  the  University,  the   school  districts,  and  private                                                               
agencies.   He  shared  that there  were a  number  of models  to                                                               
consider which  would allow students to  participate in qualified                                                               
CHAIR SEATON asked whether all  school districts would accept the                                                               
course qualifications.                                                                                                          
2:37:15 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX replied  that once the system was  set up, it                                                               
would  be  owned by  all  the  districts.   He  ascertained  that                                                               
districts  could   join,  and  each   would  manage   its  course                                                               
offerings.   He referred to  this as the "anytime,  anywhere, any                                                               
age, anyone system."                                                                                                            
2:39:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SAICHI OBA, Associate Vice President  for Students, University of                                                               
Alaska,  said that  they were  interested in  an assessment  that                                                               
would  help  students  and families  prepare  for  post-secondary                                                               
course work.   He acknowledged that there was  dual enrollment at                                                               
the University, and  that the most common way was  to enroll as a                                                               
non-degree  seeking  student.    He  explained  that  there  were                                                               
specific programs  for high school students,  which included tech                                                               
prep as a  low cost alternative.  He described  the AHEAD (Alaska                                                               
Higher Education Admission Decision)  program in Fairbanks, which                                                               
was  for students  who had  completed  75 percent  of their  high                                                               
school curriculum, with  a minimum GPA of 3.0.   He described the                                                               
Higher  Education  Opportunity  Act (HEOA)  which  allowed  post-                                                               
secondary  institutions to  formally admit  high school  students                                                               
into a degree program.                                                                                                          
2:42:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER noted  that Kenai  Peninsula College  had                                                               
mentioned  that should  high school  students be  struggling with                                                               
the college  course work, the parents  had no way of  knowing and                                                               
it could affect graduation from high school.                                                                                    
MR. OBA  replied that he was  aware of the issue.   He emphasized                                                               
that  the communication  needed to  exist between  a high  school                                                               
student  and parents.    He  pointed out  that  each high  school                                                               
district should also be aware of the university program.                                                                        
CHAIR  SEATON  considered  the tendency  toward  five  years  for                                                               
completion  and   graduation  because   of  the  lack   of  class                                                               
requisites.   He  asked if  non-degree  courses affected  college                                                               
2:46:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. OBA  explained that the  term non-degree seeking  referred to                                                               
the student  status at  the time  of the course,  and it  did not                                                               
affect the  course work as all  the course work could  be applied                                                               
to a degree program.   He opined that the keys  to the success of                                                               
the  university  and  the  success  of  K-12  were  linked.    He                                                               
expressed support for programs to  help high school students find                                                               
success in post-secondary education.                                                                                            
2:49:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS,  in reference to HB  206 - Student Count  [included in                                                               
committee  packets], explained  that  the  current public  school                                                               
funding formula  required one student  count for a 20  day period                                                               
in October.   He  shared that  HB 206  would require  two student                                                               
counts,  and funding  would be  based on  the higher  of the  two                                                               
counts.   He  detailed that  the first  count would  still be  in                                                               
October,  but would  now average  with the  [new] prior  February                                                               
count, and that this average would  be the funding for the school                                                               
year.  He  shared that there had been an  optional February count                                                               
from 1988-1998, which allowed districts  with a student increase,                                                               
to base  their funding  on the  higher average.   He  pointed out                                                               
that  October historically  had the  highest student  count.   He                                                               
suggested the  second count would encourage  district support for                                                               
keeping students in school.                                                                                                     
2:53:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JEANS, in  response  to  Chair Seaton,  agreed  that HB  206                                                               
requested  two 20-day  counts, which  would allow  for comparable                                                               
counting time periods.  He  reminded the committee that the count                                                               
was  based on  enrollment, not  attendance,  so there  was not  a                                                               
penalty if students were absent.                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON stated  that it  was undesirable  to have  a system                                                               
which rewarded enrollment and not attendance.                                                                                   
MR.  JEANS replied  that a  student was  dropped from  enrollment                                                               
after an  absence of 10  consecutive days without  contacting the                                                               
school district.  He reported  that the school districts expected                                                               
parents to set  up a learning schedule for children  who would be                                                               
on any  extended school leave.   He offered his belief  that this                                                               
addressed the enrollment issue.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  agreed  with   a  second  count,  yet  she                                                               
expressed concern for smaller schools.                                                                                          
MR. JEANS  detailed that  the two  counts, February  and October,                                                               
would  be  averaged  during  the calendar  year.    He  explained                                                               
further that  the October and  upcoming February counts  would be                                                               
averaged for the  school year, and then the  higher average would                                                               
be  used.   He expressed  his understanding  for the  concerns of                                                               
Representative Munoz.                                                                                                           
CHAIR SEATON  surmised that an  optional count would be  a better                                                               
financial incentive to keep students  in school, as there was not                                                               
a  downside to  student  decrease,  but an  upside  to a  student                                                               
3:00:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ agreed with an optional count.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER  expressed   support   for  offering   a                                                               
financial incentive  to keep children  in school.   She suggested                                                               
adding a hold harmless clause  that stated the second count would                                                               
not be used to lose funding.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  said that she  could not envision  the EED                                                               
forcing  closure of  a school  during  the middle  of the  school                                                               
3:03:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS,  in response to Representative  Wilson, clarified that                                                               
the EED did not close  schools, that this decision was determined                                                               
by  the local  school  board.   He noted  that  the second  count                                                               
considered  in HB  206 could  affect schools  similar to  Tenakee                                                               
Springs.   In  response  to  a question,  he  clarified that  the                                                               
funding would be based on the  average of the two counts, not the                                                               
higher.  He agreed with the concerns of Representative Munoz.                                                                   
3:07:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON offered an example  of the effects of increasing and                                                               
decreasing student counts, using a two count system.                                                                            
MR. JEANS  noted that  schools close to  the minimum  ten student                                                               
level did not have a large fluctuation.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH asked  how many schools were on  the edge for                                                               
student minimums.                                                                                                               
MR. JEANS estimated that there were ten schools statewide.                                                                      
CHAIR SEATON  offered an example  of the recruitment  of students                                                               
for  a small  school.   He  offered his  belief  that the  second                                                               
student  count was  a  financial incentive  to  keep students  in                                                               
3:11:26 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVE  JONES, Assistant  Superintendent,  Kenai Peninsula  Borough                                                               
School  District, expressed  support for  the funding  plan which                                                               
the legislature  had adopted three  years prior.  He  referred to                                                               
student  count  averaging,  and  noted  that  student  population                                                               
fluctuated during the school year.   He opined that the two count                                                               
system would  result in  less funding  than the  current program.                                                               
He reported that contracts were written  in May, but a school did                                                               
not know its  revenue until October.  He  suggested one financial                                                               
incentive to  be a count  for 170  days from the  previous school                                                               
year.   He opined  that an  October count would  not result  in a                                                               
decrease for funding, but would  allow for a funding increase due                                                               
to enrollment.                                                                                                                  
3:16:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER surmised  that  the  proposed bill  would                                                               
allow funding,  at the  very least, for  the prior  year average.                                                               
She  asked  if  a  spring  student  count  was  enough  financial                                                               
incentive to retain students.                                                                                                   
MR.  JONES, in  response  to  Representative Gardner,  reiterated                                                               
that  school  student  counts  go  down in  the  winter,  and  he                                                               
expressed a concern  that the means to retain  students would not                                                               
justify the financial gain.                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEATON  surmised that a  school would not lose  funding for                                                               
its  current school  year,  no matter  what  the February  count;                                                               
however,  a student  increase in  February could  be a  financial                                                               
gain.   He  offered an  example  from the  Alaska Military  Youth                                                               
Academy,  which revised  its program  to ensure  there was  not a                                                               
loss of  student population when  it began the two  count system.                                                               
He asked Mr. Jones for  any incentive suggestions to maintain the                                                               
student count.                                                                                                                  
3:21:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JONES repeated  his  suggestion for  a 170  day  count.   He                                                               
expressed concern  with the February  count occurring  during the                                                               
lowest  student  attendance  period  of  the  school  year.    He                                                               
conveyed that  the Kenai Peninsula  Borough School  District goal                                                               
was  to promote  itself as  the place  of choice,  with the  best                                                               
alternatives.  He  noted that should this second  count have been                                                               
taken during the  prior ten years, his district would  have had a                                                               
financial loss.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR SEATON asked  to clarify that this was  based on enrollment                                                               
and not attendance.                                                                                                             
3:23:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDENER  asked if  Mr. Jones recommended  a later                                                               
date for a second count.                                                                                                        
MR.  JONES  relayed that  enrollment  began  to increase  in  the                                                               
spring, with its peak in October.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER reflected  that  the  February count  had                                                               
been selected  as it was  prior to  the variety of  spring school                                                               
breaks which could interfere with the student count.                                                                            
MR. JONES suggested that April or May would be a better time.                                                                   
3:24:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked  where  all the  students  went  in                                                               
October,  as it  appeared  that all  the schools  had  a drop  in                                                               
student count.                                                                                                                  
MR. JONES replied  that every school district  was convinced that                                                               
the new  students were  already funded in  another district.   He                                                               
offered   assurance  that   districts   did   not  stop   student                                                               
encouragement after the October student count.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON opined  that  the district  superintendent                                                               
needed  to prioritize  the maintenance  of student  enrollment so                                                               
that all the  district staff would investigate  every instance of                                                               
a student drop.                                                                                                                 
MR. JONES  reported that when  a district  did not get  a request                                                               
from  another district  for a  student  record, it  did not  know                                                               
where to respond.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON reflected on  what happened to the students                                                               
who were no longer enrolled anywhere.                                                                                           
3:28:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  noted  that   some  populations,  such  as                                                               
fishing and tourism, were seasonal.                                                                                             
MR. JONES concurred.                                                                                                            
3:28:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  reflected that  for small districts,  it was                                                               
possible for  someone to  go to  the student's  home to  check on                                                               
them, but  in larger  communities there  was often  nothing done.                                                               
He  questioned whether  students could  be missing  in their  own                                                               
CHAIR SEATON concurred  that some students were  missing from the                                                               
schools, but still  in the community.  He shared  that most state                                                               
agencies  had responded  that  this  was not  its  priority.   He                                                               
reiterated that  the purpose  was to  get students  back in  to a                                                               
3:32:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS  relayed that there  were unintended  consequences with                                                               
the  second   student  count  and   gave  an  example   of  early                                                               
CHAIR SEATON asked which month was best for the second count.                                                                   
MR. McCORMICK offered his belief  that after February it was very                                                               
difficult  for  EED to  reconcile  that  much  data in  order  to                                                               
recalibrate the  foundation entitlements  for that  current year.                                                               
He acknowledged  that other  states used the  170 day  prior year                                                               
student count, and that it might achieve the committee goal.                                                                    
[Contains discussion of HB 33.]                                                                                                 
3:37:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  committee would next discuss the                                                               
compulsory school age.                                                                                                          
The committee took an at-ease from 3:38 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.                                                                       
3:45:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. CURRAN  said that  the compulsory school  laws in  the nation                                                               
were quite old and ranged in  requirement, but that more and more                                                               
states  were considering  an increase  of  the compulsory  school                                                               
age.  She  shared that half the states allowed  an exemption with                                                               
certain criteria.                                                                                                               
MR. JEANS reported  that the compulsory school age  in Alaska was                                                               
between   seven  and   sixteen,  and   that  there   were  twelve                                                               
exemptions, which  made it difficult  to enforce attendance.   He                                                               
said that, as  a parent, he viewed  this as a law.   He expressed                                                               
his opinion  that he had  more influence  on his children  if the                                                               
age was increased, and less if it was decreased.                                                                                
3:50:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS, in  response to Chair Seaton, read  the 12 exemptions,                                                               
which included:  comparable education to public  schools; attends                                                               
school operated  by the federal  government; physical  or medical                                                               
condition  which  makes  attendance impractical;  in  custody  of                                                               
court  or  law  enforcement;  temporarily ill  or  injured;  been                                                               
suspended or  expelled; resides outside of  transportation routes                                                               
provided by  school authority;  excused by  action of  the school                                                               
board;  has  completed the  12th  grade;  enrolled in  the  state                                                               
boarding school  or state funded correspondence  program; equally                                                               
served by  an approved educational  experience; and,  educated at                                                               
home by parent or legal guardian.                                                                                               
SENATOR DAVIS asked if these were regulation or statute.                                                                        
MR. JEANS replied that it  was AS 14.30.010, although he admitted                                                               
to not reading the statute exactly as written.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked what was the penalty for violation.                                                                
MR. JEANS, in  response, relayed that each five  days of unlawful                                                               
absence was a separate violation.   He said that he believed this                                                               
had been enforced, but only on a very limited basis.                                                                            
3:56:36 PM                                                                                                                    
GEORGE TROXAL,  Superintendant, Matanuska-Susitna  Borough School                                                               
District, stated  that the  district did  give tickets  and fines                                                               
for truancy.   He said  that enforcement was very  time intensive                                                               
and  didn't  result  in  a  subsequent  increase  in  attendance,                                                               
although it  was a good  policy.  He  shared that the  parents of                                                               
truants  had expressed  a wish  for compulsory  school attendance                                                               
until 18.  He offered support  for amending the compulsory age to                                                               
18.  In response to a question,  he said it would be difficult to                                                               
estimate the  attendance increase  from such a  law, but  that it                                                               
would  alleviate  "some  of  the  struggle  in  getting  kids  to                                                               
4:00:00 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM  HICKERSON, Superintendent,  Bering  Strait School  District,                                                               
concurred  with Superintendent  Troxel to  raise the  age to  18,                                                               
however,  he acknowledged  that raising  the age  won't have  any                                                               
consequence unless  enforcement efforts  are also increased.   He                                                               
offered  his   belief  that  currently   for  the   rural  school                                                               
districts, there was not enough enforcement.                                                                                    
4:02:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH asked  what  efforts were  taken in  dealing                                                               
with the parents.                                                                                                               
MR.  HICKERSON  replied that  parents  of  younger students  were                                                               
encouraged to  bring the students  to school, but if  the parents                                                               
weren't willing then little can be done.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   asked  at  what  age   students  stopped                                                               
attending school.                                                                                                               
MR. HICKERSON,  in response, said  that students as young  as ten                                                               
years stop  coming, and although  the district  followed through,                                                               
student  truancy  was  not  a  high  priority  with  support  and                                                               
enforcement agencies.   In response  to a question, he  said that                                                               
the total  number of students  not coming  at all was  small, but                                                               
the  number that  missed 50-70  days  each school  year was  very                                                               
CHAIR SEATON  surmised that changes  in the budget  process would                                                               
have  to be  made, and  resources reallocated  from instructional                                                               
service to  enforcement.   He emphasized  that the  Department of                                                               
Public Safety (DPS)  had never included an  increment for truancy                                                               
enforcement, and would not enforce the truancy laws.                                                                            
4:08:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HICKERSON  relayed that  districts  were  now considering  a                                                               
school attendance/resource officer.   He opined that  DPS and the                                                               
Office of  Children's Services (OCS)  were responsible  to uphold                                                               
the  law,  but because  they  refused,  the school  districts  no                                                               
longer asked.                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX opined  that  violators of  the current  law                                                               
would not be  intimidated by a new  law.  He said that  a law for                                                               
compulsory attendance  until 18 would support  the parents trying                                                               
to keep their  children in school, but it would  not change those                                                               
in violation.  He opined that  it was a crisis when ten year-olds                                                               
were not going to school, and  that needed to be addressed, maybe                                                               
with different legislation.  He stated  that there is no means to                                                               
know how many students there  are in Alaska, unless they register                                                               
for school.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON surmised that  truancy enforcement could be                                                               
less expensive than the cost to society in the long run.                                                                        
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX agreed.   He offered his  belief that success                                                               
was the greatest  narcotic, and that success  would keep students                                                               
in school.                                                                                                                      
4:14:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CAROL  COMEAU, Superintendant,  Anchorage  School District,  said                                                               
that the Anchorage School Board  had made this a priority because                                                               
the  wrong  message  was  being  sent to  students  that  it  was                                                               
acceptable to  leave school at 16.   She relayed that  the school                                                               
board  had  expressed  that  18  or a  high  school  diploma  was                                                               
acceptable.  She detailed the  difficulties faced by many parents                                                               
in keeping their  children in school, and she  voiced support for                                                               
amending the  compulsory age to  18.   She emphasized that,  at a                                                               
minimum, a high school diploma makes  it easier to get a job, and                                                               
be self supportive  without resorting to crime.   She stated that                                                               
this  sends a  message  to  students that  education  and a  high                                                               
school  diploma is  very  important.   She  said that  graduation                                                               
support staff had been hired for  every high school, and for some                                                               
middle schools, to  assess student strengths and get  them on the                                                               
proper track.                                                                                                                   
MS. COMEAU, in response to  a question, declined to speculate how                                                               
many more students would attend  school if the compulsory age was                                                               
raised  to 18.   She  relayed that  the business  community would                                                               
certainly support the  effort.  She explained  the intense effort                                                               
being  made to  contact students  who are  truant and  to educate                                                               
them on the benefits of school.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON   observed  that  data   could  illustrate                                                               
whether such an increase would  accomplish the goal of decreasing                                                               
4:25:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON questioned  how the  district  expected to  enforce                                                               
compulsory education,  especially for  17 year  olds who  did not                                                               
want to be there.                                                                                                               
4:26:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. COMEAU offered  her belief that it was  the responsibility of                                                               
the school  district to find  out why and correct  the situation.                                                               
She stated  that it was most  important to know the  students and                                                               
their  interests.    She  said  that  the  broad,  comprehensive,                                                               
instructional  programs, including  the art  and music  programs,                                                               
have really contributed  toward keeping students in  school.  She                                                               
opined  that, currently,  children are  not seeing  any value  in                                                               
attending school.  She conceded it  is a huge issue, and stressed                                                               
the  need   to  help   young  people   view  the   school  system                                                               
4:30:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    BUCH    expressed   concern    regarding    the                                                               
sustainability  of many  programs,  including  the in-school  out                                                               
reach.   He  reflected  that at  one time  every  high school  in                                                               
Anchorage had a vocational education  program, and he suggested a                                                               
return to this.                                                                                                                 
MS. COMEAU explained that the  Anchorage School District, as well                                                               
as  other  districts,  had  added   career  tech,  replacing  the                                                               
vocational  education programs,  in  all  the comprehensive  high                                                               
schools.   She  listed  the courses  to  include drafting,  basic                                                               
construction  trades, accounting,  and family  consumer sciences.                                                               
She noted that there was also  a movement for these classes to be                                                               
offered in more of the middle schools.                                                                                          
MS. COMEAU  offered that  should the  results continue,  she will                                                               
suggest  that   these  programs  continue,  even   if  it  became                                                               
necessary  to cut  in  some other  areas.   She  opined that  the                                                               
optimal  size  class of  15  students  would never  be  attained;                                                               
instead,  it was  necessary  for teachers  to  better engage  the                                                               
4:37:42 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  announced the  formation of a  new position,                                                               
the Director  of Rural  Education, a recognition  of the  need to                                                               
connect   more   effectively    with   the   indigenous   Alaskan                                                               
communities.   He  detailed  that this  would  make parents  feel                                                               
connected  to the  education system  in  the community,  increase                                                               
partnerships,  and  improve  communication   of  knowledge.    He                                                               
decried the lack of success  in many rural communities and opined                                                               
that this position would facilitate necessary conversations.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  asked why the position  would be stationed                                                               
in Juneau rather than Anchorage.                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  clarified  that  a  part  of  the  position                                                               
required the  development of partnerships, that  the position was                                                               
a  key  part of  the  school  improvement  system, and  that  the                                                               
leadership team  was located in Juneau.   He pointed out  that he                                                               
also traveled extensively.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON   opined  that  the  position   should  be                                                               
centrally located, in Anchorage, not in Juneau.                                                                                 
CHAIR  SEATON  asked how  the  new  director  would work  on  the                                                               
comprehensive improvement efforts  in academically low performing                                                               
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX explained  that the comprehensive improvement                                                               
efforts  targeted  the  effectiveness  of  teachers,  leadership,                                                               
coaches,  and  school  boards.     He  pointed  to  the  lack  of                                                               
communication with the cultural  communities, and noted that many                                                               
rural communities  have a "poor feeling  about education, because                                                               
it does  not always serve them."   He opined that  an increase in                                                               
the ownership  for the  value of education  in a  rural community                                                               
will lead  to more success.   He  detailed that the  new position                                                               
will  build coalitions  and  partnerships, consolidate  research,                                                               
and  make meaningful  contacts.   He  allowed that  there may  be                                                               
painful  discussions in  the future.   He  expressed the  goal of                                                               
helping students succeed with rural community support.                                                                          
CHAIR SEATON asked  if it is open for each  community to possibly                                                               
accept a different model.                                                                                                       
4:47:26 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  said that  he  does  not believe  that  any                                                               
community will want its children to  only be educated to pursue a                                                               
subsistence lifestyle.   He offered  his belief that  the pathway                                                               
to educational  success could  be different  in each  village and                                                               
culture.   He  suggested this  will open  the conversations  with                                                               
each community and honor each culture.                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX,  in response  to a  question, said  that the                                                               
Native   corporations  have   education  committees,   which  are                                                               
discussing what  is necessary  for success in  rural Alaska.   He                                                               
noted a  lack of  formal connections  with the  Native community.                                                               
He  cited a  need  for  "heart" knowledge,  and  not just  "head"                                                               
knowledge of cultures.  In  response to another question, he said                                                               
that the  recruitment process  is underway,  and that  the person                                                               
will  be  identifying  the   partnerships  and  coordinating  the                                                               
resources necessary to meet the  established goals.  He clarified                                                               
that  the  governor will  make  the  appointment, and  the  state                                                               
school  board  will  endorse  the  selection.    In  response  to                                                               
Representative Munoz,  he said the  position will work  with both                                                               
rural and urban schools.                                                                                                        
4:53:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON referred to "Funding  Student Learning" [Included in                                                               
the committee  packets] and  asked if there  are elements  of the                                                               
current allocation that  do not reward the year  to year increase                                                               
of student growth.                                                                                                              
4:56:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS  noted that James  Guthrie, one of the  contributors to                                                               
the study, was  complimentary of the financing  system in Alaska.                                                               
He  explained  that  a  large   percentage  of  the  assets  were                                                               
allocated  to   the  districts  with  high   numbers  of  at-risk                                                               
students.    He  pointed  out that  Alaska  supports  a  learning                                                               
oriented finance system.                                                                                                        
CHAIR SEATON, referring to pages 8-9  of the study, noted that it                                                               
aligns  resources,  ideas, and  energy  with  results of  student                                                               
growth.   He  requested an  analysis of  the success  factors, by                                                               
school  size, of  the school  incentive program.   He  emphasized                                                               
that  recognizing   the  common   denominators  to   higher  than                                                               
anticipated  growth, for  all  the students,  is  essential.   He                                                               
declared the importance of incentives to these contributors.                                                                    
Chair Seaton  distributed the book,  LIBERATING LEARNING,  to all                                                               
the members of  the committee, and noted that it  has been highly                                                               
5:03:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  requested a  report on where  Alaska stands                                                               
in regards  to national testing  and the  decision to opt  out of                                                               
national standards.                                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  reported that  EED is continuing  to monitor                                                               
the effort, and no decision has been made.                                                                                      
5:05:01 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
090522 LowerKuskokwimSD.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
090522 AnchorageSD.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
Alaska Pilot Pre-k 1 pager.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
Career Readiness Certificates CRC & Worldwide Interactive Network WIN.mht HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
WorkKeys Assessment
Briefing paper for high schoolers taking postsecondary courses HB206.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
Post Secondary courses for High School Students - HB 206
CS HB 206 (EDC) April 22 workdraft.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
Compulsory School Age.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Increase Compulsory Attendance Age to 18
Alaska Pilot Prekindergarten Project.docx HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
090526 Yukon-KoyukukSD.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
090526 JuneauSD.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
090526 BeringStraitSD.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
090522 NomePublicSchools.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
DEED Pre-K pilot program Q&A.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
DEED Pre-K pilot RFP.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Early Childhood
Funding Student Learning - How to Align Education Resources with Student Learning Goals.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Further Information
Graduation Working Group Goals and Actions Supt Meeting.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Graduation Rate Working Group
HB 206 Sponsor statement.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
Post Secondary courses for High School Students - HB 206
HB 206 Student Count Briefing.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
Dual student count/count averaging - HB 206
HB 206
HB 33 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 33
Increase Compulsory Attendance Age to 18
HB0033A.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 33
Increase Compulsory Attendance Age to 18
HB033-DPS-DET-03-31-09.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 33
Increase Compulsory Attendance Age to 18
Informational paper regarding single site school districts.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School Districts
HSGQE and WorkKeys Comparison - Final.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
High School Qualifying Exam
Link to more information on meeting topics discussed August 25th, 2009.docx HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Further Information
HSGQE Relevancy.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
High School Qualifying Exam
Model Borough Boundaries Study.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
Single Site School Districts
National Center for Higher Education Management Systems - 10 Myths.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Further Information
Rural ed director (3).doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Rural Education Director Position
School Consolidatio Study - Part I.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School Consolidation Study - cover letter.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School Consolidation Study - Cover.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School Consolidation Study - Part II A.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School Consolidation Study - Part II B.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School Consolidation Study - Part II C.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School Consolidation Study - Part II D.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School Consolidation Study - Part III.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Single Site School District
School District and Law Enforcement comments on Truancy Enforcement.docx HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Public Comment
School District Comment on Exam Relevancy.docx HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Public Comment
School District Comment on student count averaging.docx HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
Public Comment
WorkKeys program information.pdf HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
WorkKeys Assessment
WorkKeys.doc HEDC 8/25/2009 9:00:00 AM
WorkKeys Assessment