Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 106

02/21/2011 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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08:04:22 AM Start
08:05:00 AM Presentation(s): Galena School District
08:24:17 AM HB6
08:31:33 AM HB5
09:18:17 AM Presentation(s): Lego League Robotics Competition
09:44:38 AM HB104
09:49:47 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation by Galena School District TELECONFERENCED
Superintendent
+= HB 6 REMOVING A REGENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 6(EDC) Out of Committee
+= HB 5 CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY CURRICULUM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Presentation: Lego League Robotics Competition TELECONFERENCED
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 104 ALASKA PERFORMANCE SCHOLARSHIPS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 21, 2011                                                                                        
                           8:04 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Alan Dick, Chair                                                                                                 
Representative Eric Feige                                                                                                       
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lance Pruitt, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S):  GALENA SCHOOL DISTRICT                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 6                                                                                                                
"An Act  authorizing the governor  to remove or suspend  a member                                                               
of the  Board of  Regents of  the University  of Alaska  for good                                                               
cause;  and   establishing  a  procedure   for  the   removal  or                                                               
suspension of a regent."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 6(EDC) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 5                                                                                                                
"An Act  requiring a standardized  statewide history  of American                                                               
constitutionalism curriculum  and a  secondary school  history of                                                               
American constitutionalism  examination in public schools  in the                                                               
state; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S):  LEGO LEAGUE ROBOTICS COMPETITION                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 104                                                                                                              
"An Act renaming the Alaska  performance scholarship and relating                                                               
to the  scholarship and tax  credits applicable  to contributions                                                               
to   the  scholarship;   establishing   the  Alaska   performance                                                               
scholarship   investment   fund   and  the   Alaska   performance                                                               
scholarship  award  fund  and  relating   to  the  funds;  making                                                               
conforming amendments; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 6                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: REMOVING A REGENT                                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GRUENBERG                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
01/18/11       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/11                                                                                
01/18/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/11       (H)       EDC, JUD                                                                                               
02/11/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/11/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/11/11       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
02/21/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 5                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY CURRICULUM                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KELLER                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/18/11       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/11                                                                                
01/18/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/11       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
02/09/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/09/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/11       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
02/18/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/18/11       (H)       -- CANCELED - Rescheduled to 02/21/11 -                                                                
                         -                                                                                                      
02/21/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 104                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ALASKA PERFORMANCE SCHOLARSHIPS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/18/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/11       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
02/09/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/09/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/11       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
02/14/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/14/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/14/11       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
02/21/11       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS REITAN, Assistant Superintendent                                                                                          
Galena, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided the presentation of the Galena                                                                  
School District.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JIM SMITH, Superintendent                                                                                                       
Galena School District                                                                                                          
Galena, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered comments, during the presentation                                                                
of the Galena School District.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MAX GRUENBERG                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the committee substitute (CS) for                                                              
HB 6.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WES KELLER                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the committee substitute (CS) for                                                              
HB 5.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA)                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 5.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB)                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 5.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
STEWART THOMPSON                                                                                                                
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 5.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PAT RACE, Design Judge                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Directed the the presentation of the Lego                                                                
League Robotics projects.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA PARKS                                                                                                                   
First Team                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Assisted  during the  presentation of  the                                                             
Lego League Robotics projects.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JAN CUMMINS, Parent Volunteer                                                                                                   
First Team                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Provided   commentary,   during   the                                                             
presentation of the Lego League Robotics projects.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
NICHOLAS PENNINGTON, Teacher                                                                                                    
Kodiak Island School District                                                                                                   
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 104.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TOM HEWITT, Student                                                                                                             
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 104.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:04:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ALAN DICK  called the  House Education  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order at 8:04 a.m.   Present at the call to order were                                                               
Representatives Dick, Seaton, Wilson, Feige, and Kawasaki.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  Galena School District                                                                                       
            PRESENTATION(S):  Galena School District                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:05:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK announced that the first  order of business would be a                                                               
presentation  from  the  superintendent   of  the  Galena  School                                                               
District.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:06:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS  REITAN,  Assistant   Superintendent,  explained  that  the                                                               
Galena  School  District  is one  district  with  three  distinct                                                               
choices, which  are the Galena Interior  Learning Academy (GILA),                                                               
the  Interior Distance  Education (IDEA)  of Alaska  program, and                                                               
the Sidney  C. Huntington School.   He said  that GILA is  a high                                                               
school  facility,  situated  on  the  site  of  a  decommissioned                                                               
airbase,  which has  served as  a boarding  school for  14 years.                                                               
The  academy has  been  successful  and able  to  boast high  AYP                                                               
(adequate  yearly   progress)  scores.    The   student  body  is                                                               
currently  at  198, and  as  a  district run  statewide  boarding                                                               
school, is  serving students from  58 communities.   He described                                                               
the students  as being  90 percent Native,  and said  many enroll                                                               
because  they  are considered  at  risk  of  dropping out.    The                                                               
academy  offers career  and technical  education (CTE)  programs,                                                               
allowing  students to  become certified  in a  number of  fields,                                                               
which   include:      aviation,   culinary   arts,   cosmetology,                                                               
automotive, small  engines, welding, carpentry,  electricity, and                                                               
computer  technology.   The CTE  courses are  one of  the primary                                                               
reasons that  students attend  GILA, as well  as being  offered a                                                               
fresh  start.   Describing  the  Interior  Distance Education  of                                                               
Alaska (IDEA) program, he said it  has also been in existence for                                                               
14  years, providing  a K-12  education to  home school  students                                                               
statewide.   The IDEA program  participants also attain  high AYP                                                               
scores, enjoy  flexible course scheduling, achieve  graduation at                                                               
a  laudable  rate, and  many  students  receive college  credits,                                                               
while  completing high  school requirements.    He reported  that                                                               
IDEA  is  currently  serving  3,510   students  from  6  regions,                                                               
including  200  rural  Alaskan   students  from  24  communities.                                                               
Preschool students  are not solicited  for the IDEA  program, but                                                               
families  have  been given  the  opportunity  and a  subsidy  for                                                               
enrollment;  186  students  are  in  attendance.    Named  for  a                                                               
renowned Galena  elder, the  Sidney C.  Huntington School  is the                                                               
district's flagship  facility as  an Alaskan "School  of Choice."                                                               
Huntington School, fully  accredited in 1980, has  made AYP every                                                               
year  since the  inception  of  NCLB.   The  student  base is  78                                                               
percent Alaska  Native; 105 K-12  and 11 preschool students.   He                                                               
stressed  that the  Galena City  School  District provides  three                                                               
programs with  one focus:   providing educational  choice, access                                                               
and  opportunity for  families  statewide.   This endeavor  means                                                               
that  the district  serves students  from over  70 rural  Alaskan                                                               
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:11:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM  SMITH, Superintendent,  Galena  School District  interjected                                                               
that the district's  system is based on the theory  that one shoe                                                               
does  not  fit   all,  and  the  model  for   choice  has  proven                                                               
successful.    Additionally,  the   IDEA  approach  represents  a                                                               
positive  economic value  to the  state, at  $4,544 per  student.                                                               
Conversely, GILA is possibly one  of the most costly programs, at                                                               
approximately  $19,000 per  student.    However, considering  the                                                               
boarding school  situation, the IDEA  enrollees and  the students                                                               
at  Huntington  school, the  average  is  $7,000 that  the  state                                                               
contributes  for  each enrollee,  which  he  opined, is  a  great                                                               
value.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:15:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.   WILSON  noted   that  the  state   does  not                                                               
financially  support  the  district's   effort  in  the  area  of                                                               
preschool,  but  the benefit  of  offering  the option  has  been                                                               
evident.  She asked what services are provided.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  REITAN responded  that the  preschool and  kindergarten have                                                               
been combined to  form a working program.  He  reported that, for                                                               
10  years, Galena  hosted a  Parents as  Teachers (PAT)  program,                                                               
offering child  care and preschool,  until the grant  funding was                                                               
no longer  available.  The benefit  of the PAT program  was great                                                               
enough to  stimulate interest  in folding  the services  into the                                                               
school program.  The IDEA  program is available for preschool age                                                               
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:18:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   queried  how  the  graduation   rate  is                                                               
measured.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  REITAN said  that all  students  are tracked  once they  are                                                               
enrolled.   GILA receives a  high percentage of students  who are                                                               
in  the junior  or  senior  class age  bracket,  but  who have  a                                                               
limited  number of  credits for  graduation.   For many,  GILA is                                                               
considered  to be  the final  resource.   Many of  these students                                                               
study into  a fifth year  of high school,  which is a  costly for                                                               
GILA, but,  he opined,  a worthwhile effort.   A  credit recovery                                                               
program and  online classes  are frequently  part of  a student's                                                               
day along  with regular classroom  attendance.  The  students who                                                               
attend want to participate and succeed.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   stated  his  understanding   that  every                                                               
student has  an individual education  plan (IEP) and  possibly an                                                               
advisor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. REITAN  responded that the  intent is  to have IEPs  in place                                                               
and  provide  advisors for  every  student;  however, it  is  not                                                               
available, in all programs, at this time.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                     HB 6-REMOVING A REGENT                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  6, "An Act authorizing the governor  to remove or                                                               
suspend a  member of the  Board of  Regents of the  University of                                                               
Alaska  for good  cause;  and establishing  a  procedure for  the                                                               
removal or suspension of a regent."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:24:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MAX   GRUENBERG,   Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
explained the substantive  changes presented in the CS  for HB 6.                                                               
He said  the language  from page  2, lines  2-4, of  the original                                                               
bill  has been  retained in  the CS  and now  appears on  page 1,                                                               
lines 12  and 13; indicating  that the legislature has  the power                                                               
to  pass laws  that pertain  to the  University of  Alaska.   The                                                               
second  change  occurs  on  page  3, line  8,  which  adopts  the                                                               
adjudicative  chapter  from  the administrative  procedures  act,                                                               
replacing language which empowered the  governor to provide a due                                                               
process procedure;  the adjudicative chapter is  well established                                                               
under AS  44.62.330-.630.   Specifically, this  change designates                                                               
that the  proceedings in this  section fall under  the guidelines                                                               
of the  Administrative Procedures  Act (APA).   Finally,  page 2,                                                               
lines 27-31,  allows a suspended  regent to request a  hearing to                                                               
either defend  against the  grounds of suspension  or to  have it                                                               
lifted.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:27:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK closed public testimony.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:27:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  moved to  report CSHB  6, Version  27-                                                               
LS0027\D,  Mischel,  2/9/11,  out of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no objection, CSHB6  (EDC) was reported from  the House Education                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:28 a.m. to 8:31 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
             HB 5-CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY CURRICULUM                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:31:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK  announced that  the next order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  5, "An  Act requiring  a standardized  statewide                                                               
history of American constitutionalism  curriculum and a secondary                                                               
school  history  of  American  constitutionalism  examination  in                                                               
public  schools in  the  state; and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:31:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON moved  to adopt  the committee  substitute                                                               
(CS) for HB  5, labeled Version 27-LS0018\D,  Mischel, 2/1011, as                                                               
the  working draft.   There  being  no objection,  Version D  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:32:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WES KELLER, Alaska  State Legislature, reviewed HB                                                               
5,  which he  originally presented  to the  committee on  2/9/11,                                                               
proposing American Constitutionalism as  a required course in all                                                               
high schools; spanning the  development of governmental documents                                                               
adopted  between 1776  and  1791.   He noted  that  in 1993,  the                                                               
standards  established to  teach government  classes, in  Alaskan                                                               
schools, included  this time period.   The CS redesigns  the bill                                                               
to  remove the  $1.75 million  dollar fiscal  responsibility from                                                               
the  Department of  Education and  Early  Development (EED),  and                                                               
transfers   it  to   the  individual   school   districts.     He                                                               
acknowledged that  the school districts may  testify against this                                                               
bill,  and  appealed  to  the  committee to  raise  the  bar  for                                                               
education on  this topic.   A mandate  should be  instituted, for                                                               
teaching a one half credit  course on American Constitutionalism,                                                               
and  requiring  students  pass  it  in order  to  graduate.    He                                                               
conceded that  many districts may  already be in  compliance with                                                               
this action.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:39:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON asked whether  this information could be                                                               
integrated  into an  existing course  of  study, or  if the  bill                                                               
requires it to be a stand-alone class.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER stated his  belief that currently there are                                                               
no  credit requirements  for high  school history.   The  content                                                               
standards are  in place, however, and  American Constitutionalism                                                               
could   be  incorporated,   or   expanded,   into  the   existing                                                               
curriculum.   Additionally, internet access exists  for obtaining                                                               
American Constitutionalism  information, which would  not require                                                               
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:40:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referred  to the bill page  2, lines 26-28,                                                               
and asked:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Isn't  this  really  adopting   a  second  high  school                                                                    
     qualifying examination.  ... [The  bill reads]  [(b)] a                                                                    
     district may not issue a  secondary school diploma to a                                                                    
     student who  does not successfully complete  the course                                                                    
     and examination in this section.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER responded:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     A high  school qualifying exam is  for state standards,                                                                    
     for what we expect our  students to know broadly in the                                                                    
     state;  where  this  standard  would  be  set  by  each                                                                    
     particular  district.  ... It  is  not  one that  is  a                                                                    
     common state standard.   It is a  requirement that they                                                                    
     have to pass a test  that demonstrates their capability                                                                    
     according to the standards of the school district.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:41:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   requested  an  opportunity   to  discuss                                                               
specific  points  with the  sponsor,  outside  of the  committee,                                                               
because the intent is clear but not the structure.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER emphasized  that  the  proficiency of  the                                                               
students would need to be tested.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:43:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  noted  that the  bill  makes a  course                                                               
requirement  for graduation,  and questioned  why the  test would                                                               
not need to be standardized throughout the state.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said that requesting EED  to provide state                                                               
standards would cost  $1.5 million; hence the  CS eliminates that                                                               
requirement  and   allows  districts  to   establish  proficiency                                                               
standards and appropriate testing.   He pointed out that there is                                                               
not a penalty for a school district's non-compliance.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  argued that  a penalty  does exist  in                                                               
disallowing  graduation  to  the   students  of  a  non-compliant                                                               
district.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER agreed and said  a district could make that                                                               
choice.  He said:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      I would ask the committee to keep in mind that this                                                                       
        bill directs the requirement for testing on the                                                                         
     districts; it is not a statewide standard.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:46:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON referred to  the bill, page 2, lines 26-                                                               
28,  and  paraphrased from  the  language,  which read  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     (b)  A  district  may  not  issue  a  secondary  school                                                                    
     diploma  to   a  student  who  does   not  successfully                                                                    
     complete the  course and  examination described  in (a)                                                                    
     of this  section.   A school district  may not  grant a                                                                    
     waiver of this requirement.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:46:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  concurred and  identified the issue  to be                                                               
which entity  has the  authority to  deny graduation.   Authority                                                               
should rest  with the  school district, not  the state,  he said,                                                               
and, if not, the bill will need to be revised appropriately.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:47:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE  JOHNSON,  Executive  Director, Alaska  Council  of  School                                                               
Administrators (ACSA), stated opposition  to HB 5, and questioned                                                               
whether the credit  concept, for this course of  study, should be                                                               
a  requirement.   A semester  course  is calculated  in hours  of                                                               
study to be complied with by a  student.  Seat time is becoming a                                                               
variable,  in  today's  classroom  as it  shifts  away  from  the                                                               
Carnegie  unit standard  and students  are  allowed to  challenge                                                               
courses.  The standards that the  bill sets out are good, and the                                                               
content  should be  taken seriously.   However,  when testing  is                                                               
mandated,  the  requirement  becomes  complicated;  consideration                                                               
must  be   given  to  special  education   students  and  English                                                               
learners, for instance.  Relative  to other very important pieces                                                               
that the  ACSA is considering, it  would be hard to  include, and                                                               
prioritize, this type  of mandate on the plate.   He reported his                                                               
understanding  that  high  school  requirements  include  a  half                                                               
credit  of  American  Government,  and three  credits  of  social                                                               
studies,  of which  a  one  half credit  course  must be  Alaskan                                                               
history.   The remaining two  and one half credits  are electives                                                               
of  district offerings.    He  said, "I  can't  imagine a  school                                                               
district leaving  out American Government and  civics."  However,                                                               
another  mandate  would  not  be  productive,  he  opined.    The                                                               
national  and  state  standards movement,  which  swept  American                                                               
schools twelve years ago, is  now being recognized as a difficult                                                               
process, and  questioned.  The  importance of  individual student                                                               
needs  is being  realized  and  becoming a  focal  point, at  the                                                               
district  level.   He  finished  stating that  this  bill is  not                                                               
necessary, and will  require funding or redirection  of money, as                                                               
well as drawing down existing resources.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:52:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  asked, "A mandate  that you teach  a course                                                               
in American Constitutionalism, what is it taking away from."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON stated  that it may vary  between districts depending                                                               
on  reprioritization, but  local control  would be  important and                                                               
supported by ACSA.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE   queried  whether  it  is   important  for                                                               
graduates to  understand the foundation  and fundamentals  of the                                                               
U.S. government.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON said absolutely.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE asked whether it is already being taught.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON  responded that it may  not be taught as  outlined in                                                               
the CS, in every district;  however, the vast majority of schools                                                               
spend class time teaching the underpinnings of U.S. democracy.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE suggested  that it's  a non  issue if  it's                                                               
being taught.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON indicated  that the material may not be  brought as a                                                               
one  semester  course,  as  required  by the  CS.    He  provided                                                               
examples of how government concepts are taught and tested.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:55:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON maintained  that  the CS,  in making  this                                                               
course a requirement  for graduation but not including  it in the                                                               
structure of the current high  school graduation qualifying exam,                                                               
represents an additional graduation test, and asked for comment.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON speculated  that perhaps it could be given  as an end                                                               
of course  test, with opportunities  to challenge the  exam until                                                               
graduation;  perhaps  longer  if   it  represents  a  barrier  to                                                               
receiving a  high school diploma.   The high stakes  issues would                                                               
need to be regulated.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:58:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK opined that the stakes  may be high if people lose, or                                                               
have  not learned,  the  fundamentals of  the  government of  the                                                               
country where  they live, including  those for whom English  is a                                                               
second   language.      The   constitution   provides   a   basic                                                               
understanding  of government  rules.   He stressed  that mandates                                                               
are  not a  welcome factor,  but the  best proof  that this  bill                                                               
isn't necessary would  be to show how the  students are currently                                                               
receiving and understanding the  constitution.  He suggested that                                                               
many people  might consider that  individual rights  are provided                                                               
by the government, not the creator,  which is contrary to what is                                                               
stated in the constitution.   Where a citizen's rights originate,                                                               
and how the  United States is run, may be  missing in classrooms,                                                               
hence the necessity for the introduction of HB 5.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:00:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE noted that  the required class is stipulated                                                               
to be  taught in  twelfth grade,  and suggested  eliminating that                                                               
language to allow flexibility.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON said  that in  many  of the  rural facilities,  high                                                               
school classes are  populated by students from  every upper grade                                                               
level.   He  agreed that  this class  should not  be delayed,  or                                                               
restricted, to the final year.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:02:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON recalled  having this course work taught                                                               
in eighth grade, and agreed that  it should not be delayed to the                                                               
twelfth  grade but  determined  by the  district.   Further,  she                                                               
expressed  concern  for  making   the  class  a  requirement  for                                                               
graduation, and said it makes it difficult to support the bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:05:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE offered to propose an amendment.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:05:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:05 a.m. to 9:06 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:06:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards (AASB), stated  opposition to HB 5, and  said AASB opposes                                                               
unfunded mandates.   He  reported that he  served on  a citizen's                                                               
advisory task force to create  civics education policy, in recent                                                               
years.   Every  citizen has  a responsibility  to understand  the                                                               
U.S. Constitution and all that  it represents, and how it relates                                                               
to the state  constitution, and down to the community  level.  He                                                               
said civics is being taught, beginning  in 8th grade.  The intent                                                               
of  the  bill  is  already being  accomplished,  he  opined,  and                                                               
acknowledged that  the bill sponsor  is seeking evidence  of that                                                               
teaching.  However, this bill  represents a financial burden, and                                                               
the zero  fiscal note means  that it  will need to  be redirected                                                               
from the foundation formula receipts by each district.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:13:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEWART THOMPSON  stated support  for HB  5, paraphrasing  from a                                                               
prepared statement,  which read as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The need  for statutory  restraint against  sabotage of                                                                    
     comprehension   of   citizenship   and  our   form   of                                                                    
     government is  illustrated by this quote  from the Mat-                                                                    
     Su  School  Board  Nov.   3rd,  2010  Meeting  minutes:                                                                    
     "Currently  there  are  no  sections  of  Civics  being                                                                    
     taught   in  the   Mat-Su   Borough  School   District.                                                                    
     Elements  of  Civics  are  embedded  in  8th  grade  US                                                                    
     Studies;  11th   grade  US  History;  and   12th  grade                                                                    
     Government."  This  scarcity of educational opportunity                                                                    
     naturally retards development  of competent citizenship                                                                    
     while more  often developing the  lazy irresponsibility                                                                    
     of political apathy.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     How  can  this  be  and  be  tolerated  by  adults  who                                                                    
     allegedly  mean their  Pledge  of  Allegiance?   Thomas                                                                    
     Paine, in  his Rights  of Man,  suggests:   "Reason and                                                                    
     ignorance, the  opposite of  each other,  influence the                                                                    
     bulk of  mankind.  If  either of these can  be rendered                                                                    
     sufficiently  extensive,  the machinery  of  government                                                                    
     goes easily on.  Reason  obeys itself and (my emphasis)                                                                    
     Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Symptomatic of the decline  of general comprehension of                                                                    
     civics  and  citizenship  is   our  grossly  low  voter                                                                    
     participation -  and its justifying  whine "politicians                                                                    
     do  whatever they  want no  matter what  I say  or do."                                                                    
     That  is  the  correct  mindset for  being  subject  to                                                                    
     elected  aristocracy and,  if you  add an  addiction to                                                                    
     government  protection   from  the  trials   of  living                                                                    
     itself, outright  serfdom.   That true  political power                                                                    
     does lie with the People  acting together has just been                                                                    
     illustrated  in   Egypt.    Current   public  education                                                                    
     produces   Americans  who   believe  such   defense  of                                                                    
     inalienable   rights  results   from  manipulation   by                                                                    
     America's  enemies.    This is  while  often  believing                                                                    
     government officials are there  to make the hard, often                                                                    
     secret, decisions for everyone.  I'm serious!                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I recommend three things:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     1)  Pass   this  bill  with  more   specifically  named                                                                    
     references.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     2) Have  legislators themselves set  a good  example by                                                                    
     openly  attending  public   school  civics  classes  to                                                                    
     refresh     THEIR    comprehension     of    government                                                                    
     fundamentals.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     3)  The  ultimate  test of  education  is  application.                                                                    
     Encourage   gradient  application   of  our   political                                                                    
     heritage  by  the  young  people  themselves,  as  they                                                                  
     naturally  discover  the necessity  for  self-governing                                                                  
     their   student  society   to   make  their   education                                                                  
     successful.   Dictatorial control by an  aristocracy of                                                                  
     indoctrinating  adults   currently  makes   the  public                                                                    
     school  experience a  hypocritical attack  on the  very                                                                    
     political  heritage we're  constitutionally charged  to                                                                    
     pass on.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     My  testimony  is  perhaps inadequate  to  express  the                                                                    
     urgency of  truly arming our youth  against the enemies                                                                    
     of   rational   government  and   human   civilization.                                                                    
     Consider another Thomas Paine  quote instead:  "An army                                                                    
     of principles will penetrate where  an army of soldiers                                                                    
     cannot.   It will  succeed where  diplomatic management                                                                    
     would fail.  It is  neither the Rhine, the Channel, nor                                                                    
     the Ocean that  can arrest progress.  It  will march on                                                                    
     the horizon of the world and it will conquer."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:16:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:16 a.m. to 9:17 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:17:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DICK announced  that the  bill would  be held,  and public                                                               
testimony would remain open.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease at 9:18 a.m.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  Lego League Robotics Competition                                                                             
       PRESENTATION(S):  Lego League Robotics Competition                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[Audio was not captured and time stamps do not link to audio.]                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:18:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK announced  that the next order of business  would be a                                                               
presentation   of  projects   from  the   Lego  League   Robotics                                                               
competition.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:18:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAT  RACE,  Design  Judge,  said  that  learning  how  to  create                                                               
programs  for moving  robots is  one method  of teaching  applied                                                               
math.   He  stated his  belief that  this is  a means  to promote                                                               
hands on science, and teaches engineering concepts.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:18:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA  PARKS,  First Team,  said  a  similar project  has  been                                                               
successful in  New York, and that  she has been working  with the                                                               
program  for three  years.    The team  numbers  have grown,  and                                                               
participation has  been drawn from  every school in Juneau.   She                                                               
pointed out  that the  program is  student driven.   Bio-medicine                                                               
was  the theme  for this  year's project,  and she  explained the                                                               
tasks that  each robot was to  complete, which were mounted  on a                                                               
four foot by 8 foot display  table.  She then introduced a number                                                               
of First Team  students who built the display, and  asked them to                                                               
demonstrate their robots.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:18:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAN CUMMINS,  Parent Volunteer,  First Team,  provided commentary                                                               
for the  various challenges as  the students guided  their robots                                                               
through the display.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:18:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. PARKS  asked the  students a  series of  questions, regarding                                                               
the robots.   The students explained the  problems and solutions,                                                               
which they  encountered during  the design  phase.   The robotics                                                               
group meets after  school three days a week,  and occasionally on                                                               
Saturdays.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:42 to 9:44.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:44:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[Audio resumed.]                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
             HB 104-ALASKA PERFORMANCE SCHOLARSHIPS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  104,  "An Act  renaming  the Alaska  performance                                                               
scholarship  and  relating to  the  scholarship  and tax  credits                                                               
applicable to contributions to  the scholarship; establishing the                                                               
Alaska  performance scholarship  investment fund  and the  Alaska                                                               
performance  scholarship award  fund and  relating to  the funds;                                                               
making  conforming amendments;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:44:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICHOLAS  PENNINGTON,  Teacher,  Kodiak Island  School  District,                                                               
stated  support   for  HB  104,  paraphrasing   from  a  prepared                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I  am   the  student  body  president   of  the  Kodiak                                                                    
     Community  College.    I  will   keep  this  brief  and                                                                    
     concise.  I have a  very strong passion for success and                                                                    
     believe that  the lack  of scholarship  for needs-based                                                                    
     students needs to  be addressed and changed.   I work 3                                                                    
     jobs and I  am a full-time student.  One  of my jobs is                                                                    
     working for the Kodiak  Island Borough School District.                                                                    
     I  believe in  the  students and  have  faith in  their                                                                    
     success, however  the financial deprive of  my students                                                                    
     is  a  huge  deciding  factor  on  whether  or  not  to                                                                    
     continue  onto college  upon graduation.    It is  with                                                                    
     strong passion that  I stand here to ask  for your help                                                                    
     and support for HB 104  so that my students can achieve                                                                    
     their hopes and dreams,  without going through the same                                                                    
     financial  struggles that  I have  been going  through.                                                                    
     Your  support will  keep  retention  within Alaska  and                                                                    
     help build the infrastructure  that makes our beautiful                                                                    
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:45:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM  HEWITT,  Student,  University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks  (UAF),                                                               
stated  support   for  HB  104,  paraphrasing   from  a  prepared                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I'm a  journalism and computer  science student  at the                                                                    
     University of Alaska Fairbanks.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I've been  fortunate in my  experience going  to school                                                                    
     at UAF.   My parents don't have the money  to help with                                                                    
     my  education  but  tuition when  I  started  going  to                                                                    
     school  here was  relatively affordable.   I  worked in                                                                    
     the  summer and  throughout the  school year,  and with                                                                    
     that  money  plus a  small  but  prudent investment  in                                                                    
     Apple stock about a dozen  years ago, I've been able to                                                                    
     get through  school not only  without outside  aid, but                                                                    
     also debt-free.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Not everyone who goes to school is as lucky as I am.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I  have  a friend  named  Nikki.   She's  smart,  she's                                                                    
     energetic,  and she's  exactly the  kind of  person who                                                                    
     represents what's best about  the University of Alaska.                                                                    
     I'm not  just saying that  because she's my friend  - a                                                                    
     lot of other  students think so too, and  that's why we                                                                    
     elected her president of the student body.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Nikki is a hard worker.   Her parents haven't been able                                                                    
     to give her much help  with school either, so she holds                                                                    
     down a  job herself.  Now  keep in mind that  this is a                                                                    
     job on top of her job  as student president, which is a                                                                    
     full time job in itself.   Nikki wasn't lucky enough to                                                                    
     have a  couple hundred  shares of  Apple stock,  so she                                                                    
     got a  job as the  morning news  anchor for a  local TV                                                                    
     (television) station.   That means she gets  up at 3:00                                                                    
     a.m. every morning  for work, and after  working a full                                                                    
     shift she  goes to  class, where she  does her  best to                                                                    
     stay awake  and learn.   After class, she does  her job                                                                    
     representing  the students  as student  body president.                                                                    
     Now there  are only so many  hours in the day,  and all                                                                    
     of her  work takes a toll.   Nikki is stretched  to her                                                                    
     limit, and while she's a  good student, as her friend I                                                                    
     can tell  you that all  the work she  has to do  to pay                                                                    
     for  school absolutely  has a  negative  effect on  her                                                                    
     ability to exercise her full potential in classes.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     None of us  here are looking for a free  ride.  We like                                                                    
     working  hard.   But with  tuition having  doubled over                                                                    
     the  past  10  years,  sometimes  working  hard  enough                                                                    
     doesn't get us all the way there.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     So that's  why I'm  here.   I'm not here  for me.   I'm                                                                    
     here because  of Nikki,  and because  I know  that just                                                                    
     about  everyone at  the university  knows someone  like                                                                    
     her.   And  those are  the people  who need  your help.                                                                    
     Alaska  is sorely  in need  of needs-based  aid, and  I                                                                    
     would strongly urge you not  only to support HB 104 but                                                                    
     to include  language that ties need-based  into funding                                                                    
     for students, as in the senate version of this bill.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:48:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON indicated that the CS for HB 104 includes                                                                 
a needs-based financial aid component, and reviewed the award                                                                   
limits.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:48:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HEWITT said any help is appreciated.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:49:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DICK said that public testimony would remain open and                                                                     
announced the next meeting.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:50 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB 5 sponsor.pdf HEDC 2/21/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
CSHB 5 Work Draft.pdf HEDC 2/21/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
HB 5 Mat-Su Board Resolution.pdf HEDC 2/21/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
HB 5 support 1.pdf HEDC 2/21/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
CSHB 5 Sectional.pdf HEDC 2/21/2011 8:00:00 AM
HB 5
Galena City School District.ppt HEDC 2/21/2011 8:00:00 AM