Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

03/15/2013 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 93 CHARTER SCHOOLS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 151 SCHOOL GRADING SYSTEMS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 142 STIPEND FOR STATEWIDE BOARDING SCHOOL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 142(EDC) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 15, 2013                                                                                         
                           8:03 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lynn Gattis, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Lora Reinbold, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 142(EDC)                                                                                
"An Act relating to boarding schools operated by school                                                                         
districts; relating to housing expenses for charter schools; and                                                                
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 142(EDC) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 93                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the authorization, monitoring, and operation                                                                
of charter schools."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 151                                                                                                              
"An Act establishing a public  school and school district grading                                                               
system   for    purposes   of   improving    accountability   and                                                               
transparency; providing for Alaska  strategic educators in public                                                               
schools; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 142                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STIPEND FOR STATEWIDE BOARDING SCHOOL                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GATTIS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/25/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/25/13       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/11/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/11/13       (H)       <Bill Hearing Rescheduled to 3/13/13>                                                                  
03/13/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/13/13       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/13/13       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/15/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  93                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CHARTER SCHOOLS                                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GATTIS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/30/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/30/13       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/15/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 151                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL GRADING SYSTEMS                                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) REINBOLD                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
03/01/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/01/13       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/15/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
NORMAN ECK, PhD., Superintendent                                                                                                
Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD)                                                                               
Kotzebue, Alaska.                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 142.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ERICK CORDERO-GIORGANA, Staff                                                                                                   
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf of Representative Gattis, prime                                                                
sponsor, presented the committee substitute (CS) for HB 93.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KARA KERWIN, Vice-President                                                                                                     
External Affairs                                                                                                                
Center for Education Reform (CER)                                                                                               
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 93.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN MCCAULEY, PhD, Director                                                                                                   
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing of HB                                                              
151.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DAVID BOYLE, Representative                                                                                                     
Alaska Policy Forum                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing of HB 93.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BOB GRIFFIN                                                                                                                     
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 93.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TERRY SNYDER                                                                                                                    
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 93.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DAN LORING                                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 93.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA GERARD, Principal                                                                                                       
Academy Charter School                                                                                                          
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 93.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT MCKIM                                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 93.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ELLEN VAROSI                                                                                                                    
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 93.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB)                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing of HB 93.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LORI BERRIGAN                                                                                                                   
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 93.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT PEARSON, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: On  behalf  of  the sponsor,  Representative                                                             
Reinbold,  presented  the  changes  reflected  in  the  committee                                                               
substitute for HB 151.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:03:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  GATTIS called the House  Education Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order at 8:03 a.m.   Present at the call to order were                                                               
Representatives LeDoux, Reinbold, Seaton,  P. Wilson, and Gattis.                                                               
Representative Saddler  arrived as  the meeting was  in progress.                                                               
Also present was Senator Dunleavy.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          HB 142-STIPEND FOR STATEWIDE BOARDING SCHOOL                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:03:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 142,  "An  Act  increasing the  monthly  stipend                                                               
available  for students  attending  a  statewide boarding  school                                                               
operated by  a school  district; and  providing for  an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
[The committee  substitute (CS) for HB  142, Version 28-LS0570\C,                                                               
was previously adopted as the working document on 3/13/13.]                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:05:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NORMAN ECK, PhD, Superintendent,  Northwest Arctic Borough School                                                               
District (NWABSD),  assured the  committee that  HB 142  will not                                                               
allow any school district to  make a profit by boarding students.                                                               
Currently,  the two  schools authorized  to receive  stipends for                                                               
boarding   students,   Nenana   and  Galena,   operate   boarding                                                               
facilities  at  a deficit.    This  is  one reason  the  proposed                                                               
legislation  is  necessary.    Northwest  Arctic  Borough  School                                                               
District is submitting a proposal  to the Department of Education                                                               
and Early  Development (EED)  for approval  to board  40 students                                                               
from  outside of  Kotzebue so  they may  attend the  Star of  the                                                               
Northwest  Magnet School.   This  proposal  includes a  projected                                                               
budget  that anticipates  a loss  of  over $200,000  per year  in                                                               
student boarding costs.  However,  NWABSD believes this school is                                                               
needed to  improve education for  students in rural Alaska.   The                                                               
school will  provide innovative educational programs  that enable                                                               
students  to become  self-sufficient, career-ready,  and college-                                                               
ready upon graduation.   Dr. Eck advised the  graduation rate for                                                               
Alaska Native students  can be raised to 83  percent by providing                                                               
classes  with  innovative,  instructional programs  of  practical                                                               
application to  students.  He  closed, saying HB 142  provides an                                                               
additional pathway  for Alaskan students who  need an opportunity                                                               
to  learn   and  become   excellent  wage-earners,   voters,  and                                                               
exemplary citizens.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTIS  expressed her  support  of  boarding schools  that                                                               
allow students to attend close to their homes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:09:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:09:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  moved to report  the proposed CS  for HB                                                               
142,  Version 28-LS0570\C,  Mischel,  3/11/13,  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON objected  for the  purpose of  discussion,                                                               
and asked whether there was another witness to be heard.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS explained the additional witness was not available.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON removed  his  objection.   There being  no                                                               
further  objection, CSHB  142(EDC)  was reported  from the  House                                                               
Standing Committee on Education.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:11:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:11 a.m. to 8:13 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                     HB  93-CHARTER SCHOOLS                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:13:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  93,  "An Act  relating  to  the  authorization,                                                               
monitoring, and operation of charter schools."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:13:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON moved to  adopt the committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for  HB 93,  Version 28-LS0354\O,  Mischel, 3/11/13,  as the                                                               
working  document.   There  being  no  objection, Version  O  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:14:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ERICK  CORDERO-GIORGANA,   Staff,  Representative   Lynn  Gattis,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Gattis,                                                               
prime  sponsor,  presented  the  committee  substitute  (CS)  for                                                               
HB 93.  He  said the purpose of  HB 93 is to  establish a process                                                               
to  allow for  multiple  authorizers of  public charter  schools.                                                               
Currently,  local  school   districts  authorize  public  charter                                                               
schools  through a  two-tiered  process:   A  community group  of                                                               
parents first  applies to  the local school  board, and  then the                                                               
application must  be ratified  by the  state board  of education.                                                               
This presents  difficulties when applications are  not decided on                                                               
merit  but  on  the  "politics  of  the  day."    He  defined  an                                                               
authorizer  as  an entity  that  would  review, approve,  reject,                                                               
monitor,  terminate, or  renew  a charter  school  contract.   In                                                               
Alaska, all charter schools are  public schools.  He continued to                                                               
explain that  the authorizer  will ensure  that a  charter school                                                               
application  meets the  standards  of local,  state, and  federal                                                               
laws and that  the school will meet the needs  of the children it                                                               
serves.   Mr. Cordero-Giorgana advised  that charter  schools are                                                               
innovative   and   produce   quality   outcomes   for   students.                                                               
Furthermore, not  enough charter schools are  available for those                                                               
who wish  to attend  and sometimes enrollment  must be  through a                                                               
lottery process.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO-GIORGANA  presented   a  brief  sectional  analysis.                                                               
Section 1  describes an authorizer  and that the  local districts                                                               
can also  approve charter schools.   As  an aside, he  noted that                                                               
Alaska has  twenty-seven public charter  schools in  eight school                                                               
districts.   Section 2  adds an appeal  process before  the state                                                               
board  of  education  after  the   denial  of  a  charter  school                                                               
application.    Section 3  gives the Department of  Education and                                                               
Early  Development (EED)  an opportunity  to establish  the rules                                                               
and procedures for authorizers and  who can be an authorizer; for                                                               
example,  an authorizer  can  be a  college  or university,  some                                                               
nonprofits, and  some government agencies that  have expertise in                                                               
finance,  management and/or  education.   Also,  EED will  ensure                                                               
that authorizers  perform their  duties.   Section 5  requires an                                                               
authorizer  of a  charter school  or  the local  school board  to                                                               
operate under  a contract known  as a charter, and  describes the                                                               
terms required  to comply  with local,  state, and  federal laws.                                                               
Section 6 requires EED to  establish the charter school's budget.                                                               
In  current  law,  charter  schools   have  autonomy  in  budget,                                                               
curriculum,  program, and  textbooks; however,  they must  follow                                                               
state and  local public  school policies.   Section 7  limits the                                                               
applicability of a negotiated  or collective bargaining agreement                                                               
with a school district.   Section 8 authorizes charter schools to                                                               
hire  teachers and  other employees  outside of  a negotiated  or                                                               
collective bargaining agreement, but  teachers are required to be                                                               
certified   in  the   state.     Section  9   provides  for   the                                                               
applicability  of the  bill to  charter  school applications  for                                                               
approval or  renewal submitted  on or  after the  effective date.                                                               
Monitoring the  school's progress would  be one of the  duties of                                                               
the authorizer.   Mr. Cordero-Giorgana  concluded, saying  that a                                                               
charter school is held to  higher standards because it must renew                                                               
its contract and parents can withdraw students if desired.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:23:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KARA  KERWIN,   Vice-President,  External  Affairs,   Center  for                                                               
Education Reform  (CER), informed  the committee CER  was founded                                                               
in  1993  and is  the  leading  voice  in American  education  to                                                               
improve  educational outcomes  for  students.   She charged  that                                                               
only 25 percent of Alaska's  fourth-graders read at grade level -                                                               
in spite of  high per-pupil funding - and  the educational policy                                                               
in Alaska  is not  working.   In addition,  she said  the current                                                               
Alaska charter  school policy, enacted  in 1995, is  not working;                                                               
in fact,  her organization judged Alaska's  charter school policy                                                               
to be  the sixth weakest  in the U.S.   Ms. Kerwin  commended the                                                               
committee  for  addressing  proven  reform  efforts  during  this                                                               
legislative session.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN  continued, saying that  strong laws result  in strong                                                               
schools   and  states   that   have   independent  and   multiple                                                               
authorizers, which afford charter  schools autonomy and equitable                                                               
funding, nurture high-quality schools.   On the other hand, state                                                               
laws  that  are unclear  about  authority,  funding, and  freedom                                                               
compromise  the quality  of schools.   She  read from  a prepared                                                               
statement [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Permitting the  creation of independent  authorizers is                                                                    
     one  of  the  most  important components  of  a  strong                                                                    
     charter school  law.  The  data shows that  states with                                                                    
     multiple chartering  authorities have almost  three and                                                                    
     a  half times  more  charter schools  than states  that                                                                    
     only  allow  local school  board  approval.   About  80                                                                    
     percent of  the nation's charter schools  are in states                                                                    
     with multiple authorizers or  a strong appeals process.                                                                    
     These  states  are also  home  to  the highest  quality                                                                    
     charter  schools, as  evidenced by  state test  scores,                                                                    
     numerous   credible   research  studies   and   ongoing                                                                    
     observation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Independent  authorizers   are  better  able   to  hold                                                                    
     charter  schools  accountable  because they  have  sole                                                                    
     control  over how  they  evaluate  charter schools  and                                                                    
     they  have  their  own   staff,  management  team,  and                                                                    
     funding stream.   A strong  charter authorizer  must be                                                                    
     diligent  is monitoring  its charter  school portfolio,                                                                    
     without becoming  an over bureaucratic  policing agent.                                                                    
     Years of  analysis prove local school  boards are often                                                                    
     unable  or   unwilling  to  have  fair   and  impartial                                                                    
     processing  of  a  charter school,  and  many  that  do                                                                    
     approve  charter schools  create  friction between  the                                                                    
     school and entities.   And yet, when  Alaska passed its                                                                    
     law  in 1995,  it insisted  that school  boards be  the                                                                    
     only authorizer, despite the  natural tension caused by                                                                    
     citizens  requesting a  better  educational option  for                                                                    
     their children,  from the  people who  actually believe                                                                    
     they have already provided that.   A recent report from                                                                    
     Columbia  University  Teacher's College  upholds  CER's                                                                    
     assertion  that independence  from traditional  systems                                                                    
     result in higher student performance.   This study is a                                                                    
     comparison  between  the  performance of  local  school                                                                    
     district  authorized   charters  and   charter  schools                                                                    
     authorized  by  independent authorizers  in  Milwaukee.                                                                    
     We  found that  more  autonomy  translates into  higher                                                                    
     student   performance.     Those  charters   authorized                                                                    
     independently  from the  district also  do not  have to                                                                    
     hire teachers from the union.   The study predicts that                                                                    
     in two years students  from independent charter schools                                                                    
     would read at grade  level higher than similar students                                                                    
     in district  authorized charter schools.   Those states                                                                    
     that  are   more  likely  to   have  high   numbers  of                                                                    
     accountable, high quality charter  schools tend to have                                                                    
     more    independence   from    conventional   education                                                                    
     bureaucracy, while  still being held to  high standards                                                                    
     and  to   follow  clear  roles  in   state  regulations                                                                    
     governing all other public agencies.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Louisiana's  recent experience  is proof  that not  all                                                                    
     efforts  to improve  laws are  created  equal.   Strong                                                                    
     charter school laws do not  require new groups to apply                                                                    
     to become  authorizers.   It's actually  a disincentive                                                                    
     to  do  so  and  therefore, not  one  organization  has                                                                    
     applied  to be  an authorizer  in that  state.   Strong                                                                    
     laws   permit   universities   and   other   publically                                                                    
     accountable  non-education entities  become authorizers                                                                    
     without  asking permission  and  hold them  accountable                                                                    
     for the outcomes of their  schools.  That's because the                                                                    
     purpose  of  independent  multiple  authorizers  is  to                                                                    
     establish   new  pathways   for  school   creation  and                                                                    
     oversight  separate  from   existing  state  and  local                                                                    
     education  agencies.    States  that  allow  for  truly                                                                    
     independent  authorizers,  granted  by law  to  operate                                                                    
     with  unbridled freedom,  yield greater  charter school                                                                    
     growth and quality.   The charter law  for the District                                                                    
     of  Columbia ranks  first by  the Center  for Education                                                                    
     Reform and  has created a separate  and distinct agency                                                                    
     over which  neither the mayor, state  superintendent or                                                                    
     city council  has any legal  authority. The  DC charter                                                                    
     board  has  enrolled  nearly  46   percent  of  all  DC                                                                    
     students  in  successful  charter   because  of  it  is                                                                    
     independent and  because the law limits  the imposition                                                                    
     of work  rules, allows school leaders  the freedom they                                                                    
     deserve and  the accountability they  embrace, provides                                                                    
     facilities  assistance,  and nearly  equitable  funding                                                                    
     streams.      It   puts   trust   in   authorizing   an                                                                    
     accountability system that  removes the entrenched bias                                                                    
     of traditional  school administrators.  In  most cases,                                                                    
     universities have  proven to  be the  best authorizers,                                                                    
     combining  existing higher  education entities  with an                                                                    
     infrastructure  accustomed  to public  and  legislative                                                                    
     scrutiny.     They  stand  as  a   blueprint  in  model                                                                    
     legislation.   Michigan, ranked  fourth by  CER permits                                                                    
     its  public universities  such as  the highly  regarded                                                                    
     Central  Michigan University  to authorize  and oversee                                                                    
     most  charter schools,  although districts  may do  the                                                                    
     same.   While most  state laws  are strong  to average,                                                                    
     the majority  of states  lack the  components necessary                                                                    
     for    successful    charter    school    policy    and                                                                    
     implementation.   As you deliberate this  issue, please                                                                    
     keep  in  mind  that  there  is  a  direct  correlation                                                                    
     between  states with  multiple  authorizers and  higher                                                                    
     student  achievement.    Documented  evidence  confirms                                                                    
     that the  models for  charter school  law of  New York,                                                                    
     Minnesota, Michigan, and DC,  for example, give rise to                                                                    
     increased    student   achievement,    surpassing   all                                                                    
     comparable public schools in  those states.  The Center                                                                    
     for Education  Reform is willing  to continue  its work                                                                    
     with Alaska to ensure  the strongest charter school law                                                                    
     possible is passed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:31:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if the Center  for Education Reform                                                               
is affiliated with other organizations.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN said CER is  a national nonprofit organization and two                                                               
of its partners are the  American Federation for Children and the                                                               
Black Alliance for Educational Options.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.   WILSON  asked  whether  CER   has  conducted                                                               
research  on what  can  be  done to  improve  schools within  the                                                               
existing school system.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN  stated a substantive  structural change  is necessary                                                               
in  order to  improve  education in  traditional public  schools.                                                               
Charter  schools have  found that  when  administrators have  the                                                               
option  to  choose  teachers,  teachers  are  able  to  innovate.                                                               
Charter schools  are a great model  to show what really  works to                                                               
provide students a better education.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  inquired  as to  the  possibility  of                                                               
improving  Alaska's   school  system  for  the   benefit  of  the                                                               
"children left behind."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.   KERWIN  advised   the  best   change  is   to  create   new                                                               
opportunities so  that healthy competition will  help all schools                                                               
improve.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON asked for  proof that improvement in all                                                               
schools can be attributed to competition from charter schools.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN said  it is an absolute fact that  students in charter                                                               
schools show  vast improvement  when compared  to their  peers in                                                               
traditional  schools.   She offered  to provide  further evidence                                                               
and  research   to  substantiate  her  statement,   such  as  the                                                               
improvement in schools in Washington D.C.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:36:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  questioned testimony about the  grading of                                                               
charter schools in Alaska.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KERWIN  clarified  that  the Alaska  state  law  on  charter                                                               
schools is weak and the law received a "D" rating.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX heard  testimony that  charter schools  in                                                               
Alaska are doing  well, and asked how  can that be if  the law is                                                               
weak.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN opined  Alaska has a robust charter  school movement -                                                               
despite a  bad policy  environment -  and more  opportunities are                                                               
needed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  for CER's  assessment of  Alaska's                                                               
funding mechanism for charter schools.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN  suggested committee  members look  at CER's  web site                                                               
located at "reforms.com," which has  a parent power index related                                                               
to  school choice,  charter  schools,  on-line learning,  teacher                                                               
quality,  and  transparency.    An  analysis  and  comparison  of                                                               
Alaska's policies can be found there,  and the ranking - in terms                                                               
of student funding  - indicates that Alaska's  charter school law                                                               
is vague, and it is unclear  as to whether the funding of charter                                                               
schools is  equitable because funding  decisions are left  to the                                                               
school district.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked for the most  common authorizer for                                                               
charter schools in other states.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KERWIN responded  that universities  have proven  to be  the                                                               
best independent charter school  authorizers in states where they                                                               
operate independently from the state  department of education and                                                               
from   local  school   districts.      In  addition,   university                                                               
involvement to  improve K-12 education  is a way to  avoid costly                                                               
remediation of future students.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER   asked   for  further   details   about                                                               
universities as authorizers.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN  noted that states  that allow  university authorizers                                                               
include Minnesota,  New York,  Missouri, Indiana,  Wisconsin, and                                                               
Ohio, and she offered to provide further information.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:44:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  whether there  is  any  sectarian                                                               
element to the authorizers in other states.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN said no.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  whether   the  bill  would  allow                                                               
religious organizations to be authorizers.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS said no.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX referred  to Section [9, Version  O] of the                                                               
bill, which  allows charter schools  to employ  nonunion teachers                                                               
and  employees.   She  expressed  her  belief that  some  charter                                                               
school  teachers receive  wages  significantly  lower than  those                                                               
paid  by public  schools.   Representative  LeDoux asked  whether                                                               
this is the intent of the sponsor.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO-GIORGANA  answered the purpose  of [Section 9]  is to                                                               
allow charter schools to utilize their  funds in a way that meets                                                               
their  budget.   The  intent  is that  charter  schools can  hire                                                               
teachers  certified in  the state,  and  other professionals,  to                                                               
meet their needs.  Currently,  an exemption in the statute allows                                                               
charter schools  to hire outside  of a bargaining  agreement only                                                               
if  the   local  school  district  and   bargaining  unit  agree.                                                               
However, this exemption has created  some problems.  In addition,                                                               
wages and  salaries would  have to be  determined by  the charter                                                               
school and its board at the  time of the execution of the charter                                                               
school contract.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  pointed out  that all  schools -  not only                                                               
charter  schools  -  may  have similar  problems  that  would  be                                                               
addressed  during the  negotiation process  between teachers  and                                                               
school districts.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO-GIORGANA  said  negotiations vary  by  district  and                                                               
opined  that charter  schools would  ultimately be  bound by  the                                                               
negotiations between the [bargaining] unit and the district.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  for confirmation  that  the  above                                                               
referenced  section allows  charter schools  to hire  teachers at                                                               
less than the public school wage.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO-GIORGANA said "hypothetically, it would."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:49:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON observed most of  the examples given by CER                                                               
are  from  large urban  areas  with  many multiples  of  schools.                                                               
However, Alaska  has many  districts with  a single  school site,                                                               
and  he asked  for information  on the  center's experience  with                                                               
very small  school districts.   For example, an  authorizer might                                                               
want to  place a charter school  in a location that  would divert                                                               
enough students to cause the closure of the public school.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN  opined if all  the parents choose for  their children                                                               
to  attend  the  charter  school  that  would  provide  them  the                                                               
opportunity to improve  educational outcomes.  She  said CER sees                                                               
no difference between  large urban areas and those  that have one                                                               
school.  In  fact, in one case, parents and  the community became                                                               
more engaged in public education in their area.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON expressed her concern  about the impact                                                               
of charter  schools on small  schools in  Alaska that are  not on                                                               
the  road system.    She said  she would  like  to contact  small                                                               
schools known to CER that  have been closed after charter schools                                                               
became available.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS clarified the question.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KERWIN  suggested that  the  focus  should be  on  improving                                                               
education outcomes, not  on a certain building or  on one system.                                                               
If  a new  system  is  created, that  is  an  improvement to  the                                                               
educational system  in a  village.  She  said she  understood the                                                               
situation, but protecting schools is "not doing us a favor."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:56:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  cautioned  that  the reality  is  that  a                                                               
village school in Alaska must  maintain an enrollment of at least                                                               
ten  students or  it must  be  closed.   If a  charter school  is                                                               
established and the  parents of five students  choose the charter                                                               
school, the five remaining students lose their school.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. KERWIN  suggested other  options may  be considered,  such as                                                               
on-line classes or a collaborative effort between both schools.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  surmised the proposed bill  allows single-                                                               
site  schools to  become charter  schools in  order to  be exempt                                                               
from scheduling, curriculum, and other  requirements.  One of the                                                               
major components of the educational  gains made by charter school                                                               
students is  due to parental  involvement, and  sometimes parents                                                               
are  required to  volunteer a  specific  number of  hours at  the                                                               
school.  He asked how that  might work in a local school district                                                               
that  converts to  a charter  school  to exempt  itself from  all                                                               
state requirements except for competency testing.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO-GIORGANA advised  the purpose of HB 93  is to provide                                                               
a second mechanism so that  community members can apply to become                                                               
a new  charter school.  One  of the requirements to  become a new                                                               
charter  school  is  that  the  school  must  be  viable  in  its                                                               
community.   Therefore,  if the  proposed charter  school is  not                                                               
viable, or good  for children, the school would  not be approved.                                                               
He reminded  the committee  that in addition  to approval  by the                                                               
local school  board or the  local authorizer, the school  must be                                                               
approved by the state board  of education.  Mr. Pearson expressed                                                               
his understanding  that a local  school may convert to  a charter                                                               
school at  the request of the  local school district if  it fails                                                               
to meet  adequate yearly progress  (AYP) for a certain  number of                                                               
years, however, that is an issue separate from HB 151.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:02:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  MCCAULEY, PhD,  Director, Teaching  and Learning  Support,                                                               
EED,  agreed  that  the  proposed   bill  does  not  address  the                                                               
conversion  of  public schools  to  charter  schools.   Although,                                                               
through current  federal language,  one of the  options available                                                               
to  a   traditional  public  school  that   is  restructuring  in                                                               
improvement  status, is  conversion  to a  charter  school.   The                                                               
bill,  however, is  addressing the  availability for  alternative                                                               
authorization options  for a charter  school:  to continue  to be                                                               
authorized  by the  local school  board  or whether  they can  be                                                               
authorized by  another authorizer not currently  permitted by the                                                               
language in statute.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said it seems that  permitting authorizers                                                               
in addition to  local school boards, especially  in smaller areas                                                               
across the state,  establishes two school boards  within the same                                                               
area.  He questioned why HB 151  is a better idea than having the                                                               
local  school district  function as  the authorizer  so there  is                                                               
coordination between the public schools.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:05:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO-GIORGANA advised  the  duties of  an authorizer  are                                                               
limited to reviewing  the charter school application  and, if the                                                               
school  is approved  by the  authorizer  and the  state board  of                                                               
education,  monitoring the  charter  school  for compliance  with                                                               
local, state,  and federal law.   The authorizer does not  act in                                                               
the capacity  of a local  school board to set  educational policy                                                               
for the entire district. In  current law, charter schools already                                                               
have   some   exemption   areas  including   textbooks,   program                                                               
curriculum, and  scheduling requirements.   He concluded  that an                                                               
authorizer is not a school board.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:06:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS asked for clarification  on the role of the Academic                                                               
Policy  Committee  (APC) related  to  the  governance of  charter                                                               
schools.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MCCAULEY  recalled the  language  currently  in statute  and                                                               
regulation requires  establishing an APC for  all charter schools                                                               
to  act as  the school  board for  the charter  school.   The APC                                                               
maintains a  contract with  the local school  board, in  terms of                                                               
what the  school plans to  do.   Further, the daily,  weekly, and                                                               
yearly governance  of a charter  school is by its  APC, including                                                               
hiring  decisions,  fiduciary  responsibilities  related  to  the                                                               
school's budget, and its facilities.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   warned  of   the  "disconnect"   in  the                                                               
relationship  between  a  local  school board,  which  will  have                                                               
certain  responsibilities   to  the   charter  school,   and  the                                                               
authorizer.  Obviously, if there  were not disagreements over the                                                               
functions  or  mechanisms  of the  charter  school,  the  charter                                                               
school would have been authorized by the school board.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTIS  agreed that  there  is  tension between  a  school                                                               
district's responsibility to  the charter school and  its lack of                                                               
authority over the charter school.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR.  MCCAULEY  acknowledged   tensions  sometimes  exist  because                                                               
districts  are charged  with educating  children in  an efficient                                                               
and effective manner across many  schools.  Charter schools exist                                                               
to provide  something that is  not otherwise available,  thus the                                                               
charter schools are offering an alternative educational program.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  whether that would be  the case with                                                               
the  authorizer as  well, because  the authorizer  may approve  a                                                               
school that  is separate,  but not that  different from  what the                                                               
local  school offers.    "A  charter school  must  be offering  a                                                               
different experience  than the local  school district, or  can it                                                               
be  a group  of parents  that just  want a  separate school?"  he                                                               
asked.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. MCCAULEY  responded that an  authorizer other than  the local                                                               
school board  would be permitted  to authorize "whatever  kind of                                                               
charter school it wished to authorize."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:11:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON  turned attention to Section  1, page 1,                                                               
line [5], of the bill and read:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     If an application  for a charter school  is approved by                                                                    
     an authorizer under AS 14.03.253 ...                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  inquired  as to  the  identity of  the                                                               
authorizer.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO-GIORGANA  said the authorizer  is defined  in Section                                                               
3, page 2, lines 15-22, and he paraphrased:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The  department shall  establish  a  procedure for  the                                                                    
     approval    of   authorizers    of   charter    schools                                                                    
     authorizers,  and   in  order   to  be   approved,  the                                                                    
     authorizer has  to demonstrate  to the  satisfaction of                                                                    
     the  department that  they  are  capable of  fulfilling                                                                    
     their duties,  and it can  be a governmental  entity; a                                                                    
     private   nonprofit  entity   that  has   expertise  in                                                                    
     education,   finance,   or   administration,   or   any                                                                    
     combination   of   those   areas;  or   an   accredited                                                                    
     postsecondary institution in the state.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO-GIORGANA added that the  CS also identifies the local                                                               
school  [board]  as  an  authorizer in  Section  1,  because  the                                                               
sponsor  wanted  local  school   districts  to  retain  approving                                                               
authority for charter schools if they  wish to do so.  In further                                                               
response to Representative P. Wilson,  he stated the local school                                                               
is not an authorizer.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON cautioned that  there may be bias on the                                                               
part of the local school district.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO-GIORGANA  stated one of  the purposes of the  bill is                                                               
to  eliminate some  of  the  bias and  hostility  from the  local                                                               
school  district  that  can  be  present  toward  charter  school                                                               
applications.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   P.  WILSON   restated  her   question  regarding                                                               
authority over the charter school.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO-GIORGANA  explained  that   the  charter  school  is                                                               
supervised by  its APC and  not by the traditional  local school.                                                               
Furthermore, charter schools have autonomy in most areas.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:17:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. MCCAULEY added that the  terms of the charter school contract                                                               
state the  performance that  is expected  from a  charter school,                                                               
and the local  school board has the ability to  approve the terms                                                               
or discontinue the  contract.  However, that action  would not be                                                               
arbitrary,  and would  be based  on  whether or  not the  charter                                                               
school has  met the obligations  as defined by a  legally binding                                                               
contract  between the  APC and  the school  board.   Although the                                                               
school board has  the ultimate decision about the  ability of the                                                               
charter school to operate, it does not address daily operations.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON directed  attention  to page  4, line  20,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
      other requirements or exemptions agreed upon by the                                                                       
       charter school and the authorizer or local school                                                                    
     board.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  pointed out the authorizer  can exempt the                                                               
charter school  from other policies  imposed by the  local school                                                               
district because  the charter is  written between  the authorizer                                                               
and  the charter  school.   He urged  for further  review on  the                                                               
intent   of   [Section   5,  subsection   (c),   paragraph   14].                                                               
Additionally, he  directed attention  to page  2, line  20, which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     a private nonprofit entity ...                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  whether  an authorizer  can  be  a                                                               
private nonprofit entity from out of state.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO-GIORGANA,  in  response to  Representative  Seaton's                                                               
first  question,   answered  that  the  "other   requirements  or                                                               
exemptions agreed upon  by the charter school  and the authorizer                                                               
or  local  school  board"   language  implies  other  contractual                                                               
exemptions.  The  language on page 3, lines  15-25, specifies the                                                               
areas in  which charter  schools have and  do not  have autonomy.                                                               
In response  to Representative Seaton's second  question, he said                                                               
the bill  does not  specify that  an entity would  have to  be an                                                               
Alaska nonprofit.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  whether  the bill,  or state  law,                                                               
contains  a provision  for an  appeal of  a decision  by a  local                                                               
school board or authorizer to close a charter school.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CORDERO-GIORGANA  stated  that Section  2  [subsection  (d)]                                                               
refers  to  an  appeal  after  the denial  of  a  charter  school                                                               
application.   He  said an  appeal of  closure would  have to  be                                                               
specified in the contract or charter.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  observed  that  at  this  time,  charter                                                               
schools  are   somewhat  under  the   control  of   local  school                                                               
districts, which is  frustrating to parents.  He  asked whether a                                                               
charter school  established under an authorizer's  approval holds                                                               
all  liability  for  student   safety,  health,  and  educational                                                               
achievement,  or  if  liability  remains with  the  local  school                                                               
district beyond its contractual agreement.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CORDERO-GIORGANA responded the  responsibility rests with the                                                               
authorizer and details of liability are part of the contract.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[Chair Gattis opened public testimony.]                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:24:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID BOYLE,  Representative, Alaska  Policy Forum,  informed the                                                               
committee the  Alaska Policy Forum  is Alaska's only  free market                                                               
think  tank.   Mr. Boyle  described  the process  to establish  a                                                               
charter school  in Alaska  as follows:   get permission  from the                                                               
local   school   district;   abide   by   collective   bargaining                                                               
agreements;   hire  maintenance   and  teaching   staff  and   an                                                               
administrator  from the  local school  district pool;  pay for  a                                                               
school  building;  and hire  a  "union  janitor."   An  effective                                                               
charter school  is tied to a  small community group or  headed by                                                               
an administrator with  vision.  The school can be  headed up by a                                                               
Native corporation,  chamber of commerce, trade  union, religious                                                               
community,  or  educational  entrepreneur,   and  there  must  be                                                               
flexibility  for success.   The  Anchorage School  District (ASD)                                                               
has many charter  schools and over 1,000 students  are on waiting                                                               
lists hoping to enroll.  He  questioned why ASD is unable to meet                                                               
the  demands of  parents.     Mr. Boyle  said ASD  has a  lengthy                                                               
policy  for charter  school set-up,  operation, and  closure, but                                                               
the neighborhood schools do not  have to meet stringent rules and                                                               
never close even  after failing to meet No Child  Left Behind Act                                                               
of 2001 (NCLB)  requirements for eight years.  He  said when only                                                               
local school  boards are  charter school  authorizers there  is a                                                               
conflict of  interest because school  districts want  to maintain                                                               
control.   In  Anchorage parents  must furnish  transportation to                                                               
charter schools despite state transportation  funds that are paid                                                               
to the school district, thus  poor families cannot attend.  Also,                                                               
charter schools must  pay for their facilities.   He advised that                                                               
in the  Lower 48, charter  schools benefit low  income, disabled,                                                               
and minority students; however, in Anchorage this is not true.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:30:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOB GRIFFIN  said he is  an education advocate and  reported that                                                               
he has  had the opportunity to  visit a number of  charter school                                                               
models across  the country.   Four  of the  models were  of high-                                                               
performing charter  schools, but  none were  able to  establish a                                                               
school  in  Alaska  because  the  charter  school  laws  are  too                                                               
restrictive to  allow the models  to function properly;  in fact,                                                               
the  National Alliance  of Public  Charter  Schools rates  Alaska                                                               
41st out  of 43  states that  authorize charter  schools, largely                                                               
because multiple authorizers  are not allowed.   Mr. Griffin said                                                               
he  is in  support  of HB  93 because  charter  schools need  the                                                               
proven models of  the large, successful charter  schools that are                                                               
available in other parts of the U.S.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:33:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TERRY SNYDER  stated her opposition to  HB 93, saying that  it is                                                               
offering a solution  to a problem that does not  exist.  She said                                                               
enrollment in  Matanuska-Susitna Valley charter schools  is down,                                                               
and charter schools  are advertising for students,  thus there is                                                               
no need for expansion there.   She questioned the accuracy of the                                                               
waiting lists for  enrollment in Anchorage.  Also,  in Alaska the                                                               
disparity  of  school success  between  students  in charter  and                                                               
neighborhood  schools is  less  than  in the  Lower  48 for  many                                                               
reasons.   Recently,  funding for  reading  coaches has  improved                                                               
reading  scores.   Ms.  Snyder  pointed out  that  the bill  will                                                               
encourage the proliferation of charter  schools that will compete                                                               
for public  education dollars.   In fact, the Mat-Su  Valley also                                                               
has  small schools  that  if closed,  will  eliminate choice  for                                                               
parents.  School boards will lose  local control, and there is no                                                               
evidence  that allowing  nonunion  workers  to replace  unionized                                                               
employees will result in a better  outcome.  Ms. Snyder urged for                                                               
more investigation  and deliberation  of the bill,  especially by                                                               
members new to the education committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked whether more parents  would actually                                                               
enroll their  children in charter schools  if transportation were                                                               
provided.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. SNYDER advised that transportation  is being provided to some                                                               
Mat-Su charter  schools, but transportation  needs to  be funded.                                                               
She  opined charter  schools succeed  due to  parent involvement;                                                               
however, one-third of Mat-Su residents  work in Anchorage and may                                                               
not have time to volunteer at  school.  She cautioned that Alaska                                                               
is "building a[n education] system  of disparity," and encouraged                                                               
the committee to continue asking good questions.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTIS  advised  a  current copy  of  the  Charter  School                                                               
Enrollment Capacity wait list data  will be provided to committee                                                               
members.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:38:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAN  LORING   said  his   neighborhood  schools   are  considered                                                               
chronically   underperforming  and   are  located   in  a   lower                                                               
socioeconomic neighborhood.   He  said his experience  serving on                                                               
public school  committees for  about eight  years has  shown that                                                               
Alaska's schools in  general are performing at a  very low level,                                                               
and  he praised  the current  conversation about  education.   He                                                               
urged  the committee  to support  HB 93,  and suggested  that the                                                               
issue has  surfaced because  neighborhood schools  are performing                                                               
at a  very low level,  with little evidence of  intervention from                                                               
the state  board of  education to  facilitate improvements.   The                                                               
charter schools are successful -  not due to parental involvement                                                               
-  but  because  they  provide   good  instruction,  high  rigor,                                                               
accountability, transparency, and  culture.  Neighborhood schools                                                               
perpetuate  a  culture  of status  quo,  social  inequities,  and                                                               
power;   charter   schools    provide   high   expectations   and                                                               
instruction.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:42:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA GERARD,  Principal, Academy Charter School,  informed the                                                               
committee she  has been the  principal of Academy  Charter School                                                               
for 16  years.  She stated  that over the years  the local school                                                               
district environment  has varied from  volatile to great,  due to                                                               
changes  in  district  administration  and  the  administration's                                                               
beliefs about  charter schools.   Charter  schools must  watch to                                                               
protect their  funding and  the freedoms  granted by  the charter                                                               
school law.   She said  charter schools should be  protected from                                                               
changes  in the  school  district's administration.   Ms.  Gerard                                                               
noted  that charter  schools are  open  to all  students and  the                                                               
Academy's school population largely  reflects that of traditional                                                               
elementary  and   middle  schools  in  its   district,  including                                                               
students  with  an  individual   educational  plan  (IEP),  or  a                                                               
behavioral  plan.   Students of  charter schools  succeed because                                                               
charter schools  empower hard-working  students to give  them the                                                               
skills needed for success.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:45:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT MCKIM  said he is a  public school teacher who  supports HB                                                               
93.   He disclosed he is  a founder of a  proposed charter school                                                               
in Anchorage.   He stated he and his co-workers  work hard in the                                                               
classroom but  acknowledged that the current  system of education                                                               
is  not world-class.   As  a  professional educator,  he said  he                                                               
believes  one  way  to  improve   education  is  through  charter                                                               
schools.    Charter  schools are  the  research  and  development                                                               
branch  of   public  education,  where  cutting   edge  education                                                               
practices and pedagogies are implemented  and tested; however, in                                                               
Alaska, charter  schools are  not given much  freedom.   In fact,                                                               
local school  boards and district administrations  actively limit                                                               
how  charter schools  operate, keeping  them in  the category  of                                                               
magnet and  optional schools in  the Lower 48.   Alaska's charter                                                               
school  law  severely  discourages   the  implementation  of  new                                                               
charter  schools.    Mr.  McKim opined  charter  school  law  was                                                               
designed  to end  the exclusive  franchise held  by local  school                                                               
boards to deliver public education.   Alaska's charter school law                                                               
must give educators, parents, and  schools the freedom to operate                                                               
outside  of  the  existing  educational   system.    Allowing  an                                                               
authorizer  outside of  the local  school district  will lead  to                                                               
Alaska's charter schools reaching their full potential.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:48:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  requested  that  the  witness  submit                                                               
further written  comments to the  committee, with  suggestions to                                                               
help improve public schools.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:49:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELLEN  VAROSI stated  her  support  for HB  93,  saying the  U.S.                                                               
education  system needs  drastic change  and charter  schools are                                                               
part of  the solution.   She cited  studies that have  shown U.S.                                                               
students rank  low globally in  reading, math, and science.   The                                                               
1995 Alaska  charter school law is  at the "bottom of  the barrel                                                               
nationally."  The intent of charter  schools in Alaska is to fill                                                               
a  space  unfilled by  local  school  districts, and  to  provide                                                               
opportunities  for students  through  their  autonomy and  unique                                                               
collaboration.     Further,   charter  schools   should  not   be                                                               
influenced or regulated  by a failing school system.   She opined                                                               
the  educationally successful  nations of  Singapore, Korea,  and                                                               
Hong Kong use  collaboration in their school  systems, similar to                                                               
charter  schools  which  start building  schools  with  missions,                                                               
goals,   and  curriculum,   followed   by   funding,  land,   and                                                               
infrastructure.    Better  charter  school   law  leads  to  more                                                               
schools,  more  choice,  more   competition,  and  more  success.                                                               
Lastly,  Ms. Varosi  suggested the  term "timely"  in Section  3,                                                               
subsection (c), paragraph 2, should be defined.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:52:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards  (AASB),   reminded  the   committee  that  in   1998  the                                                               
legislature addressed  the desire  to open  the state  to charter                                                               
schools, using  Arizona as a model.   The result was  Senate Bill                                                               
88,  which  intended to  ensure  a  level of  accountability  and                                                               
responsibility, and  to limit the liability  of school districts.                                                               
That is why the bill directed  that the authorizing body would be                                                               
school  boards; subsequently,  the  environment  has changed  and                                                               
current testimony  is somewhat relevant.   Although  AASB strives                                                               
to be open, he advised  that the rationale behind AASB's position                                                               
supporting school  board authority is the  possible liability and                                                               
accountability   factor  for   state   funds   tied  to   student                                                               
performance, and for the cost  associated with a diversion of the                                                               
student  population.   Mr.  Rose  said:  "What I'm  hearing  here                                                               
today, what  this bill is designed  to do, is to  ensure that ...                                                               
state dollars provide  state outcomes with state  oversight."  He                                                               
assumed this  provision relieves school  boards from some  of the                                                               
responsibility.  Further, the bill  is an attempt to address that                                                               
if there are alternative authorizers,  EED will be responsible to                                                               
provide oversight  to ensure that  the schools are  not operating                                                               
unto themselves.   However, AASB  remains neutral on the  bill at                                                               
this time,  recognizing the need  to ensure that the  transfer of                                                               
responsibility and  authority is covered  by the state,  and also                                                               
recognizing the  difficulty that  AASB has with  school districts                                                               
in working out the fixed costs.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:57:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORI  BERRIGAN stated  her support  for HB  93 as  her experience                                                               
founding  a  charter  school  revealed the  need  for  an  appeal                                                               
process, which is  covered by the bill.  An  appeals process will                                                               
also allow the state to qualify  for federal grants.  In response                                                               
to Representative Saddler,  she said she is a  founding member of                                                               
Birch Tree Charter School.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:58:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTIS, after  ascertaining  that no  one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 93.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:58:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER understood  testifiers' frustration at the                                                               
limited capacity  of the  charter schools, but  he said  he still                                                               
has more questions and possible modifications for the bill.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  said she  still has  questions on  the                                                               
effect of charter schools on the funding formula.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:00:24 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS announced HB 93 was heard and held.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                 HB 151-SCHOOL GRADING SYSTEMS                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:00:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  151, "An  Act establishing  a public  school and                                                               
school  district   grading  system  for  purposes   of  improving                                                               
accountability and  transparency; providing for  Alaska strategic                                                               
educators  in  public schools;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:00:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LORA REINBOLD,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
introduced  HB  151,  paraphrasing from  the  sponsor  statement,                                                               
which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I passionately believe in  improving the achievement of                                                                    
     Alaska's students.   We can and we must do  better.  On                                                                    
     a personal  note, I gave  up a lucrative career  in the                                                                    
     healthcare   industry   to   pilot  my   own   children                                                                    
     successfully  through public  and private  school as  a                                                                    
     substitute  teacher for  over 10  years.   My son  is a                                                                    
     great product  of the public  school system,  and there                                                                    
     are  pockets of  greatness all  over the  state in  our                                                                    
     public school  system, and I am  definitely a supporter                                                                    
     of both  public, private, charter, home  schooling, and                                                                    
     any   parental  choice   to   give   our  students   an                                                                    
     opportunity to succeed.  Although  there are pockets of                                                                    
     greatness, overall  our kids are not  making across the                                                                    
     board  measurable progress  in  reading, writing,  math                                                                    
     and science  to prepare  them for higher  education and                                                                    
     to compete in the global  marketplace.  It is only fair                                                                    
     that parents  know how their  school is doing  and that                                                                    
     is  the reason  for this  bill, the  Parental Education                                                                    
     Information Act, HB 151.   House Bill 151 is a consumer                                                                    
     report  card for  education by  grading  our schools  A                                                                    
     through F.  We grade  cars and vacuums through Consumer                                                                  
     Reports  and  our  schools  and   kids  are  much  more                                                                  
     important.    House  Bill  151  will  provide  parents,                                                                    
     educators and communities  invaluable feedback on where                                                                    
     their  schools stand.   What  gets measured  gets done.                                                                    
     By   measuring  achievement,   A   through  F   clearly                                                                    
     identifies  where there  is excellence  in our  schools                                                                    
     and   where  there   is  concern,   and  provides   the                                                                    
     opportunity to raise the annual grade.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     If  a school  received  an undesirable  grade  it is  a                                                                    
     clear  signal  and  a  baseline for  action.    We  can                                                                    
     identify the  problem; we can  find solutions  and help                                                                    
     these  schools  improve  their  goals.    A  through  F                                                                    
     grading is a catalyst for change.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Over  a  dozen states  have  adopted  the A  through  F                                                                    
     grading system, very successfully.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  state  of  Florida  has  fourteen  years  of  data                                                                    
     showing  that  clear,   understandable  information  on                                                                    
     school  achievement leads  to improvement.   I  ask for                                                                    
     your support for House Bill 151.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  continued with  an overview of  the bill                                                               
and  directed  attention  to  an  untitled  chart  found  in  the                                                               
committee  packet  with  one   column  labeled,  "K-12  Education                                                               
Spending  Per  Capita State  and  Local  Spending," which  ranked                                                               
Alaska highest, and  a second column labeled,  "4th Grade Reading                                                               
Scores  Upper and  Middle Income  Students," which  ranked Alaska                                                               
lowest.    She stated  HB  151  will:    help bring  clarity  and                                                               
understanding;    encourage     school    excellence;    motivate                                                               
improvement;  direct and  attract public  and media  attention to                                                               
the  issues; initiate  a  positive  statewide competition;  spark                                                               
community  wide-spread  support; increase  parental  involvement;                                                               
and  create  school  pride.    Representative  Reinbold  directed                                                               
attention  to  a chart  found  in  the committee  packet  titled,                                                               
"Proven  Results of  the A-F  Grading System,"  which illustrated                                                               
the  results in  Florida after  14 years  of experience  with its                                                               
grading system.  In 1999, there were  677 D and F schools and 515                                                               
A and  B schools.  By  2012, there were  279 D and F  schools and                                                               
2,220 A and B schools.   Florida began grading schools in 1995 on                                                               
a  scale  of high  performing,  performing,  low performing,  and                                                               
critically low  performing.  However,  in 1998 the  grading scale                                                               
was changed to I-V, and in 1999 to A-F.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:08:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTIS moved  to adopt  the proposed  committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for  HB 151, Version  28-LS0496\O, Mischel, 3/14/13.   There                                                               
being no objection, Version O was before the committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:08:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  PEARSON,  Staff,  Representative  Lora  Reinbold,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  informed  the  committee  the  first  change                                                               
reflected  in the  CS for  HB 151  is to  page 1,  line 9,  which                                                               
returns the date  of the performance designation  to September 1,                                                               
as is  currently in  statute.   The second change  is to  page 2,                                                               
lines 23-25, which  adds language to clarify that  no new science                                                               
assessments  will  have to  be  made  in  the schools;  only  the                                                               
testing that  is being done right  now will continue to  be done,                                                               
thus no additional  test will have to be developed.   He directed                                                               
attention to page 2 of  the fiscal note identified as HB0151-EED-                                                               
TLS-3-8-13,  and pointed  out the  above  changes will  eliminate                                                               
Section  2 and  its related  cost of  approximately $900,000.   A                                                               
provision  of Section  4 and  its related  cost of  approximately                                                               
$100,800,000 will  also be eliminated,  leaving only  $254,700 in                                                               
personnel costs in Section 4.   This is the substantial effect of                                                               
the CS.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. PEARSON  then referred to  a document found in  the committee                                                               
packet  entitled,  "Florida's  School  Grades  Based  on  Student                                                             
Performance," saying  the change  in Florida has  been effective.                                                             
The next  page, entitled,  "'Parental Education  Information Act'                                                               
Grading  Criteria," lists  the standards  that  would be  adopted                                                               
under  HB 151.   Also,  he pointed  out that  HB 151  will exempt                                                               
small schools with fewer than 20  students - which will affect an                                                               
estimated  70 of  the approximately  500 schools  in Alaska.   He                                                               
emphasized that  the main thrust of  the bill is to  include both                                                               
the  previously  identified  standards and  additional  measures;                                                               
furthermore,  HB   151  will  incorporate   "precise,  measurable                                                               
student achievement"  into the section on  school accountability.                                                               
Also included in the committee  packet was a document provided by                                                               
the Foundation  for Excellence in Education  listing other states                                                               
that  have  adopted A-F  school  grading,  and he  restated  that                                                               
Florida was  the first, adopting  the policy  14 years ago.   The                                                               
final document found in the committee  packet was an example of a                                                               
proposed report card with letter  grades and back-up information.                                                               
He  said, "Every  parent  and school  and  community, the  media,                                                               
would receive  something like this  and the whole state  would be                                                               
clear on where  schools were performing and  each community would                                                               
know what was going on in their community schools."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTIS announced HB 151 was heard and held.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:13:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:13 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HB 93 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
02 HB 93 v. A - Bill Text.PDF HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
03 CSHB 93 v. O.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
04 HB93 Changes from HB93 to CSHB93 v. O.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
05 HB 93 FAQ.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
06 HB 93 Fiscal Note - EED-TLS-3-6-13.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
07 HB 93 Sectional Summary v. A.PDF HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
08 HB 93 Backup Charter Schools Basic Information EED.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
09 HB 93 Research CERP Primer Multiple Authorizers 12-11.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
10 HB 93 Research ECS - What Policymakers Need to Know about Charter Schools.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
11 HB 93 Research Legislative Research Services.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
12 HB 93 Research Material - AYP Data for Charter Schools.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
13 HB 93 Letter Support NAPCS 3-13-13.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
14 HB 93 Letter Oppose NEA.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
15 HB 93 Letter Oppose Eagleton.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
16 HB 93 Letter Oppose ESSA.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
17 HB 93 Letter Oppose NAACP.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
18 HB 93 Letters Oppose.PDF HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
19 HB93 Letter Support - Covey.PDF HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 93
01 HB 142 Bill Text.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
02 HB 142 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
03 HB 142 Sectional Analysis.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
04 HB 142 Fiscal Note - EED.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
05 HB 142 Background Data - Residence Life Costs FY 11 - FY 13.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
06 HB 142 Background Data - Communities Spring 2013.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
07 HB 142 Background Data - Offerings Spring 2013.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
08 HB 142 Background Data - Graduating Classes.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
09 HB 142 Background Data - White Paper 3-3-13.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
10 HB 142 Letter Support - Cook Inlet Tribal Council.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
11 HB 142 Letter Support - Nenana School.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
00 HB 142 Bill Text.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
01 CS HB 142 Version C.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
11.1 HB 142 Letter Support - Chugach School Dist.pdf HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
11.3 HB 142 Letter Support - North Slope Leadership Team.PDF HEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
05 HB 142 Fiscal Note Simplified.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
11 HB 142 News Article - AK Dispatch - Revolution in Rural AK.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
12 HB 142 AFN 2012 Resolution.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
16 HB 142 Cook Inlet Tribal Council - Talking Points.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
19 HB 142 SB47 Letter Support - Iditarod Area School District.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
SB 47
20 HB 142 Talking Points - Jerry Covey.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 142
01 HB 151 Sponsor Statement v. A.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/18/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/3/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 151
02 HB 151 v. A Bill Text.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/18/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/3/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 151
03 HB 151 Sectional v. A.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/18/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/3/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 151
04 HB 151 Fiscal Note v. A - EED-TLS-3-8-13.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/18/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/3/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 151
05 CS HB 151 ver. O.PDF HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/18/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/3/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 151
06 HB 151 Information Packet.pdf HEDC 3/15/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/18/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/20/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/3/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 151