Legislature(2015 - 2016)ANCH BENSON BLDG

12/07/2016 02:00 PM House EDUCATION

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02:02:06 PM Start
02:02:26 PM Presentation: Commissioner Johnson Department of Education and Early Development: Update on the Development of the Essa State Plan
03:45:18 PM Presentation: Commissioner Johnson Department of Education and Early Development: the Implementation of Hb 156
04:15:29 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Location: 2nd Floor Large Conference Room
Joint with Senate EDC
+ - Presentation by Commissioner Johnson, Dept. of TELECONFERENCED
Education & Early Development
- Update on Development of the "Every Student
Succeeds Act" State Plan
- Implementation of HB 156
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
            Anchorage LIO, 1500 E. Benson Boulevard                                                                             
                        December 7, 2016                                                                                        
                           2:02 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Wes Keller, Chair                                                                                               
 Representative Jim Colver                                                                                                      
 Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                     
 Representative David Talerico                                                                                                  
 Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Mike Dunleavy, Chair                                                                                                   
 Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                            
 Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                          
 Senator Berta Gardner                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Liz Vazquez, Vice Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                   
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                           
OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                         
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
Representative Shelley Hughes                                                                                                   
Representative Sam Kito, III                                                                                                    
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION:  COMMISSIONER JOHNSON DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND                                                                 
EARLY DEVELOPMENT:  UPDATE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ESSA STATE                                                                 
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PRESENTATION:   COMMISSIONER JOHNSON DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION AND                                                               
EARLY DEVELOPMENT:  THE IMPLEMENTATION OF HB 156                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MICHAEL JOHNSON, EdD, Commissioner                                                                                              
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Assisted with  both EED  presentations and                                                             
responded to questions.                                                                                                         
SUSAN MCCAULEY, PhD                                                                                                             
Education Policy Coordinator                                                                                                    
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided   both  EED  presentations,  and                                                             
responded to questions.                                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
2:02:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY called  the joint meeting of the  House and Senate                                                             
Education   Standing   Committees   to   order   at   2:02   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Keller,  Colver,  Drummond,  and  Talerico;  and                                                               
Senators Dunleavy, Huggins, and Gardner  were present at the call                                                               
to order.   Representative Seaton and Senator  Giessel arrived as                                                               
the meeting was  in progress.  Representatives  Hughes, Kito, and                                                               
Reinbold were also in attendance.                                                                                               
^Presentation:  Commissioner Johnson  Department of Education and                                                               
Early Development:   Update on the Development of  the ESSA State                                                               
Presentation:  Commissioner Johnson Department of Education and                                                             
Early Development:  Update on the Development of the ESSA State                                                             
2:02:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be a  presentation by Commissioner  Johnson, from  the Department                                                               
of  Education  and  Early  Development  (EED):    Update  on  the                                                               
Development of  the ESSA [Every  Student Succeeds  Act, 12/10/15]                                                               
State Plan.                                                                                                                     
2:03:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  pointed  out the  importance  of  putting                                                               
parents  in  the  "driver's  seat,"   as  regards  their  child's                                                               
education, which  he expounded, is  the thrust  of Sec. 1,  in HB
156.   The bill provides a  third law in the  educational statute                                                               
series contained in  AS 14.03.  The first  law establishes public                                                               
schools, the second  sets forth purpose, and HB  156 provides the                                                               
third  by   addressing  parental  control.     Additionally,  the                                                               
deletion [Sec. 5,  (c)(5)] is significant as a  means for keeping                                                               
parents in  the loop by  removing the language that  required EED                                                               
to conform to federal law.                                                                                                      
2:10:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL JOHNSON,  EdD, Commissioner, Department of  Education and                                                               
Early  Development  (EED),  introduced  himself  and  turned  the                                                               
presentation over to the Education Policy Coordinator.                                                                          
2:12:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN MCCAULEY, PhD, Education  Policy Coordinator, Department of                                                               
Education  and  Early  Development (EED),  established  that  the                                                               
State Board of  Education (board) and EED do not  hold, or desire                                                               
to hold, ESSA [Every Student  Succeeds Act, 12/10/15] and federal                                                               
education rules,  as the vision  for public education  in Alaska.                                                               
Referring  to  AS  14.03.015,  she  paraphrased  the  section  to                                                               
underscore the  purpose of  education in  Alaska, which  reads as                                                               
     It  is the  policy of  this state  that the  purpose of                                                                    
     education  is to  help ensure  that  all students  will                                                                    
     succeed in  their education and work,  shape worthwhile                                                                    
     and  satisfying  lives  for themselves,  exemplify  the                                                                    
     best values  of society, and be  effective in improving                                                                    
     the character and quality of the world about them.                                                                         
2:14:11 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY  said a mission  statement was newly adopted  by the                                                               
board, to assist educators in  upholding the education policy, to                                                               
wit:  "An excellent education for  every student every day."  The                                                               
board  has also  revised  the strategic  priorities, focusing  on                                                               
five key  points, which  are to:   increase  student achievement;                                                               
inspire community ownership  of educational excellence; modernize                                                               
the  education system;  ensure excellent  educators; and  promote                                                               
safety  and well-being.   Specific,  actionable  goals are  being                                                               
created  to address  each  of these  priorities.   When  speaking                                                               
about ESSA,  she said, it is  necessary to ensure that  the state                                                               
priorities  and the  federal  law are  complimentary  and not  in                                                               
conflict.   Much of HB 156  is synchronous with aspects  of ESSA,                                                               
which enjoyed a high level of  bipartisan support as a vehicle to                                                               
supplant the  widely unpopular  No Child  Left Behind  Act (NCLB)                                                               
[2001].  Laws  typically state what is  required and infrequently                                                               
state what  is not allowable,  but ESSA is full  of prohibitions,                                                               
she pointed out, and opined  that it represents a direct response                                                               
to the "bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all,  and heavy handed nature                                                               
of No Child Left Behind."                                                                                                       
2:16:51 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY reviewed the evolution  of the national approach for                                                               
education  reform beginning  with  the  Elementary and  Secondary                                                               
Education Act (ESEA), 1965.  The  goal of ESEA was to improve the                                                               
quality  of   education  for   low  income   students.     It  is                                                               
periodically reauthorized  by Congress, which resulted  in the No                                                               
Child Left  Behind (NCLB) version  that was in effect  from 2002-                                                               
2015.   "For all intents  and purposes,"  she said, "It  became a                                                               
system  of puppet  schooling, with  prescribed metrics  that were                                                               
imposed  on all  schools  in  the country."    The Every  Student                                                               
Succeeds Act (ESSA)  is the most current  reauthorization and was                                                               
signed into  law on December 10,  2015.  It authorizes  states to                                                               
control the  majority of educational  decision making,  which was                                                               
withdrawn  under NCLB.   Residing  under Title  I, are  three key                                                               
elements, she  continued, which are:   standards and assessments;                                                               
accountability;  and   school  support  and  improvement.     The                                                               
approach  the department  is taking,  in  establishing the  state                                                               
educational plan  in concert  with ESSA, is  to lay  a foundation                                                               
that will provide  the maximum benefit for  Alaska's students and                                                               
ensure that the plan represents  what Alaskans value the most for                                                               
their children.  To that end,  the department and board have been                                                               
meeting with stakeholders and engaging  in conversations meant to                                                               
inform  the  plan.    The   development  process  is  reliant  on                                                               
participation   from   diverse  audiences,   practitioners,   and                                                               
leaders.   Thus, some  decisions are  still being  formulated and                                                               
formalized, pertaining  to the requirements  of the  key elements                                                               
being presented today.                                                                                                          
2:19:38 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MCCAULEY  proposed to  address  each  key element  by  first                                                               
visiting  what ESSA  requires, identifying  how  it differs  from                                                               
what was held by NCLB,  and reviewing Alaska's status for meeting                                                               
the requirement,  as held in  statute.  Beginning  with education                                                               
standards,  she said  ESSA requires  assurance  that states  have                                                               
adopted  challenging   academic  content  standards   in  English                                                               
language  arts  (ELA), mathematics,  and  science,  and that  the                                                               
adopted standards  are aligned with  public college  and relevant                                                               
Career  Technical Education  (CTE)  entrance  requirements.   The                                                               
major difference between  ESSA and NCLB, throughout,  is what the                                                               
U.S. Department  of Education (USED)  is not allowed  to mandate.                                                               
Thus, for this  element, it prohibits the  Secretary of Education                                                               
from:   exercising  authority over  states' standards,  requiring                                                               
states  to submit  their standards  for review,  or incentivizing                                                               
the  adoption  of any  particular  set  of standards.    Alaska's                                                               
current  status shows  that ELA  and  mathematics standards  were                                                               
adopted   in  2012   and  science   standards  and   grade  level                                                               
expectations  were  last  revised  in  2006.    In  this  ongoing                                                               
process,  the department  will  continue  collaborating with  the                                                               
board, as it considers adoption/revision of standards.                                                                          
2:22:00 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY addressed the assessments  aspect, stating that ESSA                                                               
requires  annual content  assessments for  ELA, mathematics,  and                                                               
science.   The  ELA  and  math assessments  are  to be  conducted                                                               
annually in  grades 3-8, and at  least once in grades  9-12.  The                                                               
science  assessments are  to  be administered  at  least once  in                                                               
grades  3-5, 6-9,  and 10-12.    The differences  from NCLB  are:                                                               
states can use a single  summative assessment or multiple interim                                                               
assessment to produce a summative  score; districts may choose to                                                               
use other "nationally-recognized  high school assessments" rather                                                               
than the state's  assessment - with state  permission; states are                                                               
allowed  to   establish  their   own  laws   regarding  "opt-out"                                                               
provisions;   and  ESSA   maintains  a   95  percent   assessment                                                               
participation  rate,   but  consequences  for  not   meeting  the                                                               
requirement are to be determined  by the state.  Alaska's current                                                               
status shows that assessments are  being annually administered in                                                               
ELA and  mathematics in grades 3-10  and in science in  grades 4,                                                               
8,  and 10.    Thus,  continuing the  status  quo  will meet  the                                                               
requirements of ESSA.                                                                                                           
2:24:40 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY  continued with the  committee handout  page titled,                                                               
"Key  Element  2:    Accountability,"  page  18,  and  said  ESSA                                                               
provides that  the state will determine  an accountability system                                                               
using  requirements  that  must:    "meaningfully  differentiate"                                                               
school qualities and student  achievements; have ambitious state-                                                               
designed  long-term  goals  for   all  students  and  traditional                                                               
subgroups   such  as   economically  disadvantaged   and  ability                                                               
challenged; include five  required indicators; include additional                                                               
indicators  at   the  state's  discretion;  weigh   the  academic                                                               
measures more heavily than the  other indicators; and incorporate                                                               
a  participation  factor of  at  least  95  percent.   The  five,                                                               
required  ESSA accountability  indicators  must  show:   academic                                                               
achievement  as measured  by proficiency  on state  assessments -                                                               
what  percent  of children  are  proficient;  another measure  of                                                               
academic achievement,  such as student  growth from year  to year                                                               
to indicate movement towards  proficiency; high school graduation                                                               
rates;  a  measure  of  school quality  or  student  success  and                                                               
recognition  of  a  measure  of  non-academic  achievements;  and                                                               
measure  of progress  in learning  English for  English learners.                                                               
The final  two requirements  are newly  added indicators.   Under                                                               
NCLB districts  were required to submit  adequate yearly progress                                                               
(AYP) reports, attain standardized metrics,  such as 100 per cent                                                               
student  proficiency by  a  date certain,  and  the Secretary  of                                                               
Education was allowed to prescribe  aspects of the accountability                                                               
system.    Currently  the   Alaska's  status  for  accountability                                                               
includes  the  Alaska  School Performance  Index  (ASPI),  and  a                                                               
summative  star rating  for schools  on a  1-5 scale.   The  ASPI                                                               
elementary/middle  school  indicator  percentage  weightings  for                                                               
students  in  grades  K-8  are:   school  progress  40,  academic                                                               
achievement 35, and  attendance at 25.  The  percentages for high                                                               
school  are:    school  progress  40,  academic  achievement  20,                                                               
graduation rate 20,  college and career ready  10, and attendance                                                               
rate 10.   She said that,  should the board choose  to retain the                                                               
star  system,  the  measures,  with  little  alteration,  are  in                                                               
keeping with ESSA  standards; however, the star  system itself is                                                               
not a requirement.                                                                                                              
2:31:`03 PM                                                                                                                   
DR.  MCCAULEY  said the  ESSA  requirement  for "Key  Element  3,                                                               
School Support  & Improvement," [handout page  25] directs states                                                               
to identify schools that require  comprehensive support.  Schools                                                               
to be identified  are Title I facilities that rank  in the lowest                                                               
five percentile,  and any high  school with a graduation  rate of                                                               
less than  67 percent.   However, ESSA provides  vague guidelines                                                               
to indicate what constitutes comprehensive  support - a departure                                                               
from  the  prescribed  interventions dictated  under  NCLB  which                                                               
included  steps for  replacing  the  administration and  faculty.                                                               
Additionally,  any school  in  which a  subgroup  of students  is                                                               
consistently  underperforming,  must  be  targeted  for  support;                                                               
however,  the   state  is  given  with   the  responsibility  for                                                               
identifying  what  constitutes   a  consistently  underperforming                                                               
school and the best means  for providing support.  The strategies                                                               
the state  undertakes to  fulfill these  requirements, are  to be                                                               
evidence-based;   another  significant   departure  from   NCLB's                                                               
research-based  approach.   By removing  prescribed interventions                                                               
and  employing  an  evidence  v.  research  based  approach,  the                                                               
department  and  districts are  allowed  a  welcomed latitude  of                                                               
flexibility.   Alaska's  current status,  she explained,  is that                                                               
the  agency has  been identifying  "focus and  priority schools,"                                                               
monitoring school  improvement plans, and using  the State System                                                               
of  Support  coaching  model  to  assist  the  lowest  performing                                                               
schools.   All  of this  was  put in  place to  comply with  NCLB                                                               
requirements and to be consistent the NCLB waiver.                                                                              
2:34:39 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY addressed  the topic of what to expect  with the new                                                               
administration,  quoting  from  department advisors  who  report,                                                               
"There's no appetite  in Congress for revisiting ESSA;"  - it has                                                               
garnered bipartisan  support, it includes  appropriate guardrails                                                               
while providing  adequate flexibility,  and the  developers would                                                               
like to see  implementation given a chance.   The U.S. Department                                                               
of Education  has issued draft  regulations and EED  has gathered                                                               
and  submitted public  comments in  response to  key areas.   The                                                               
first  issue  addressed  was  the  timeline  for  implementation.                                                               
Next, a  move was  made to require  an overall  summative rating,                                                               
such as  the star rating,  to which  objections were noted.   She                                                               
said, "It's not that we think  that's a bad idea, necessarily, we                                                               
just don't  think that  the U.S.  Department of  Education should                                                               
tell us to  do that, if the  law doesn't require it."   The final                                                               
area for  comment was  graduation.  The  law is  not prescriptive                                                               
regarding the use of a 4-year  graduation rate.  The initial ESSA                                                               
draft  regulations did  not permit  a  5-year graduation  period,                                                               
referring  only  to an  extended  year  graduation.   The  5-year                                                               
allowance is  integral in Alaska,  particularly for  schools that                                                               
serve special  populations, where it  can be  used as one  of the                                                               
comprehensive support  possibilities.   She provided  examples of                                                               
how   the  5-year   graduation   allowance   works  in   Alaska's                                                               
educational  matrix, to  stress its  importance.   These concerns                                                               
were raised and comments were submitted  to USED.  The final ESSA                                                               
regulations  were   released  on  11/28/16,  and   the  revisions                                                               
reflected  all of  the expressed  concerns:   the  implementation                                                               
timeline has been delayed by one  full school year, now 2019; the                                                               
summative rating was  made optional; and the  5-year and extended                                                               
year graduation rate  was accepted for special  populations.  Dr.                                                               
McCauley explained  that, although the regulations  won't go into                                                               
effect until  1/31/17, pending review  by the  incoming Secretary                                                               
of Education, Alaska's issues of  concern have been addressed and                                                               
incorporated.   Further, there is general,  widespread acceptance                                                               
for  ESSA,  and  the  expectation  is  that  the  latest  version                                                               
received by EED is what will go forward for full implementation.                                                                
2:40:08 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MCCAULEY reviewed  the decision  points that  have not  been                                                               
finalized in each  of the key elements,  beginning with standards                                                               
and assessments.   Consideration  is being  given to  high school                                                               
assessments,  and whether  one  or more  grade  levels should  be                                                               
tested.  The  law only requires testing of only  one grade level,                                                               
but the  choice is  up to the  state.   Regarding accountability,                                                               
she said the size for a  subgroup is being questioned, as well as                                                               
what measures to apply in  determining school quality and student                                                               
success.   A subgroup size is  limited under ESSA to  30 or less,                                                               
but Alaska  currently has  subgroups with as  few as  5 students.                                                               
The  number  of   small  schools  across  the   state  makes  the                                                               
appropriate  determination  of  a   subgroup  size  crucial,  for                                                               
accountability  purposes.     Apropos   to  school   support  and                                                               
improvement,  she stressed  that determinations  need to  be made                                                               
regarding  what  will  be  perceived as  most  helpful  and  what                                                               
innovative approaches  will best  support school  improvement, as                                                               
well as meet Alaska's unique opportunities and challenges.                                                                      
2:42:50 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MCCAULEY  expanded  on  the   process  used  for  developing                                                               
Alaska's  state   plan,  which   include:     incorporating  work                                                               
generated  from ESSA  stakeholder groups  to help  prepare tribal                                                               
organizations,    school    districts,   parent    groups,    and                                                               
associations;  consistent   agency  consultation  with   a  broad                                                               
representation of education stakeholders;  use of focus groups at                                                               
various  events/meetings across  the state;  formation of  topic-                                                               
specific work groups  to identify ways and means  for meeting the                                                               
new  requirements; draft  plan delivery  geared for  March, 2017,                                                               
with September as the delivery  target; continued efforts to seek                                                               
broad input  to complete the  draft; engagement of,  and approval                                                               
by,  the board  regarding related  regulations; and  consultation                                                               
with the legislature, as required  by law.  Dr. McCauley finished                                                               
by  providing images  of the  EED website  and describing  how to                                                               
access  the  ESSA  information  page,  which  the  department  is                                                               
maintaining for the public's edification and comments.                                                                          
[Chair Keller assumed the gavel.]                                                                                               
2:47:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD recalled  that the  federal common  core                                                               
standards were called the Alaska  academic standards, and are now                                                               
known as  the college  and career  academic standards  which, she                                                               
opined, are all virtually identical,  and USED mandates a student                                                               
participation  rate  of  95  percent  on  the  assessment.    She                                                               
referred  to  the committee  packet  and  the department  handout                                                               
titled,  "Joint   Meeting  of   the  House  &   Senate  Education                                                               
Committees," [39 numbered,  undated pages] page 10,  to point out                                                               
that,  in accordance  with "Key  Element 1,"  assessments are  to                                                               
align with college entrance requirements  and asked what specific                                                               
tests are being considered.                                                                                                     
2:49:00 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY  responded that the law  requires Alaska's standards                                                               
be  aligned  with  college entrance  requirements  but  does  not                                                               
specify an assessment.  Alaska  has accomplished this requirement                                                               
by having UA  review the K-12 standards.  It  determined that any                                                               
Alaska, public  school graduate,  by meeting the  standards, will                                                               
be  prepared  to  take  college, credit  bearing  classes.    She                                                               
stressed that there  is no requirement for a  particular score on                                                               
a  specific  assessment,  neither  was  the  university's  review                                                               
linked to  a specific  assessment.   In further  elaboration, she                                                               
said  the  university  received  no  prescription,  nor  was  one                                                               
required under ESSA, in evaluating  the standards and arriving at                                                               
its  determination.   The  intent behind  the  requirement is  to                                                               
eliminate learning  gaps and ensure that  public school graduates                                                               
will be  well prepared  when they enter  university.   The public                                                               
schools  and  postsecondary  institutions   are  supposed  to  be                                                               
working  in  concert  to ensure  a  student's  preparedness,  she                                                               
reiterated,  and underscored  that the  standards must  align for                                                               
that  reason.   Thus,  there  is no  prescription  under ESSA  to                                                               
accomplish that end,  but assurances need to be made  to the USED                                                               
that college readiness is the goal and can be met.                                                                              
2:52:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER   asked  [due  to  technical   difficulties,  Chair                                                               
Keller's question was not captured on the record.]                                                                              
DR.  MCCAULEY said  there is  not  a set  process in  regulation;                                                               
however, there is  a requirement in statute for  EED to establish                                                               
standards, as  well as the federal  expectation.  She said  it is                                                               
necessary  to   consider  what  Alaska's  process   will  be  for                                                               
measuring the requirements and standards.                                                                                       
CHAIR  KELLER commented  [due  to  technical difficulties,  Chair                                                               
Keller's comment was not captured on the record.]                                                                               
2:53:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON, recalled  that the  University of  Alaska                                                               
(UA) practices an  open enrollment policy, and  has reported that                                                               
every  year a  percentage of  Alaskan graduates  require remedial                                                               
classes.   He asked whether the  criteria UA used to  comply with                                                               
ESSA was designed to eliminate the need for remedial courses.                                                                   
2:54:34 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MCCAULEY  said  yes,  and explained  that  a  committee  was                                                               
convened  to  assure that  the  standards  aligned with  Alaska's                                                               
postsecondary expectations  and that graduates would  be ready to                                                               
enroll at college in credit bearing, non-remedial courses.                                                                      
2:55:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  noted that many  UA students enroll  nation and                                                               
international locales.   Considering  the transient  populace, he                                                               
asked  how  it would  be  possible  to eliminate  education  gaps                                                               
between  K-12  and  college  level  study.   The  system  is  not                                                               
unified,  he opined,  nor  was it  ever intended  to  be, as  the                                                               
college level is  entirely different.  He asked  whether there is                                                               
an expectation  that, by adopting  certain standards at  the K-12                                                               
level,  by the  time a  student  enters college  "they should  do                                                               
fine, and if not, what happens,  or whose fault is it, or where's                                                               
the responsibility."   He posited  that a  differentiation should                                                               
be  made between  remedial and  developmental as  being two  very                                                               
different  concepts.   Perhaps  the  concept  is to  create  K-12                                                               
feeder schools to universities, he conjectured.                                                                                 
DR.  MCCAULEY offered  that the  thrust  is to  ensure that  high                                                               
school graduates  choosing to enter  college will be  prepared to                                                               
enroll in  credit bearing classes.   The new law  stipulates that                                                               
the K-12 academic standards need to  be in line with relevant CTE                                                               
standards.   This  is  a  new requirement,  she  pointed out  and                                                               
opined that  it speaks  to [the  federal government]  not holding                                                               
the  perspective that  K-12 institutions  are  feeder schools  to                                                               
universities,  but  rather  establishes  a goal  to  ensure  that                                                               
graduates  are  prepared  to   pursue  any  chosen  postsecondary                                                               
program or the work force.                                                                                                      
2:58:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER  directed attention to  the handout, page  30, to                                                               
ask  whether Alaska's  schools were  invited and  participated in                                                               
developing the state plan.                                                                                                      
DR.  MCCAULEY deferred  comment  and offered  to provide  further                                                               
2:58:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  recalled that  the initial federal  team, which                                                               
worked  to establish  the Secondary  Education Act  (ESEA), 1965,                                                               
called  for the  bypass  of state  governments  and viewed  state                                                               
legislatures  as a  hindrance,  particularly in  relation to  the                                                               
civil  rights movement.   He  posited  that this  is an  attitude                                                               
still  held   today,  despite  the  law   requiring  governmental                                                               
consultation,   and   asked,   "Under  ESSA,   what   does   that                                                               
consultation look like?"                                                                                                        
DR.  MCCAULEY responded  that the  law is  not prescriptive,  and                                                               
     It  says consultation  with the  legislature, and  that                                                                    
     language  is  included  in a  paragraph  that  requires                                                                    
     consultation with  a whole lot  of entities:   parents,                                                                    
     administrators,  teachers, the  governor, state  boards                                                                    
     of education  - the  legislature is  in that  list ...,                                                                    
     but  it doesn't  say at  all  what that  needs to  look                                                                    
SENATOR   DUNLEAVY  opined   that   ambiguity   resides  in   the                                                               
[reauthorized  ESEA]   bill  and  asked  what   the  department's                                                               
approach will  be for interpreting  any vagueness.   He suggested                                                               
that a  minimalist view would  be to  leave off any  actions that                                                               
aren't   required,  allowing   maximum   flexibility  for   state                                                               
initiatives.  Using subgroups as an example he said:                                                                            
     The question  would be  why would we  want to  have any                                                                    
     subgroups at all  if we don't have to, or  why would we                                                                    
     not want to  minimize those subgroups and  why would we                                                                    
     want to maximize those subgroups.                                                                                          
DR. MCCAULEY  said the department began  engaging stakeholders in                                                               
the planning  process as  early as  March 2016,  which was  not a                                                               
requirement,  thus,  in  some  cases,   the  agency  has  already                                                               
exceeded federal  consultation law.   She said there has  been no                                                               
indication, from any of the  state educational entities including                                                               
the  legislature,  that  a minimalist  consultation  approach  is                                                               
expected, and  opined that  focusing on  what the  state entities                                                               
anticipate   will  be   sufficient  for   keeping  with   federal                                                               
3:02:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  returned to the strategic  priorities, committee                                                               
handout  page  4,  to  highlight the  third  and  fourth  points.                                                               
"Modernize the education  system," he said, "that's  an 800 pound                                                               
gorilla; I  hope you're serious  about that."  The  fourth point,                                                               
[to]  ensure excellent  educators, may  be difficult  considering                                                               
the  national forecast  that educators  are soon  to be  in short                                                               
supply, he said, and predicted,  "You're going to be getting warm                                                               
bodies."    The  state  has  little prerogative  as  far  as  the                                                               
qualification/production of  quality teachers.   The  tenant that                                                               
is  most   important  for  the   state,  however,  is   that  the                                                               
responsibility  to educate,  as was  established under  NCLB, has                                                               
now been significantly changed  to include educational authority.                                                               
It's important  that the department  exercise that  authority and                                                               
get on with  [achieving the strategic points.]   Education in the                                                               
state is  now "accountable to  ourselves," he stressed,  and it's                                                               
important to  be candid, frank,  and honest,  without camouflage,                                                               
as to  what is being  accomplished.  The educational  outcomes in                                                               
the  state will  be the  fault of  all involved  whether students                                                               
excel or  not and can  no longer  be attributed to  an unworkable                                                               
system - NCLB.  Alaska's scholar  program is a prime example of a                                                               
failed system,  with a  large number  of students  not completing                                                               
college despite their  way being paid, he finished,  and said the                                                               
possibilities under ESSA are exciting.                                                                                          
3:08:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  turn   to  the  handout,  page   10,  and  the                                                               
requirement to have standards and  assessments align with college                                                               
entrance  requirements  to  ask whether  university  requirements                                                               
have  changed  recently.    He  pointed  out  that  the  entrance                                                               
requirement to  UA may or may  not involve holding a  high school                                                               
diploma, as there may be other avenues for entering the system.                                                                 
DR. MCCAULEY  answered that ESSA  is not specific and  allows the                                                               
state to make college ready determinations.                                                                                     
3:10:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked how many pages comprise ESSA.                                                                       
DR.  JOHNSON  responded  that  it   is  over  300  pages  without                                                               
references, and including the references it is 1,000 pages.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  conjectured that,  given its  volume, ESSA                                                               
may well be  specific on how to relate and  receive feedback from                                                               
stakeholder groups; noting  that it would only be  fair to extend                                                               
standards to  all entities.   Regarding the regulations  of ESSA,                                                               
he  suggested  that  it  is   on  the  agencies  back  to  gather                                                               
information  that  reflects  what  the sovereigns  of  the  state                                                               
desire.   Such information,  he opined may  best be  obtained via                                                               
the legislators  who represent  their constituents  interests and                                                               
EED may want to use  legislative resources to ensure equal access                                                               
to entities across the state.                                                                                                   
DR. MCCAULEY  said that  the public  comment process  permits any                                                               
entity to  submit feedback on  the draft regulations  directly to                                                               
EED.   In addition,  the agency  assembled an  advisory committee                                                               
for the  purpose of ensuring  representation comprised  of peers,                                                               
principals, and superintendents.   The department's final comment                                                               
was based on  that input, but did not  include conversations with                                                               
legislators.    The public  comments  were  not developed  behind                                                               
closed doors in Juneau, she stressed.                                                                                           
3:15:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD queried whether  EED, or the state board,                                                               
are able  to completely change  the standards; does  ESSA provide                                                               
that level of freedom.                                                                                                          
DR. MCCAULEY answered yes, full discretion is allowed.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  noted that  the AMP  (Alaska Measurement                                                               
of  Progress)  assessments have  been  a  challenge and  the  new                                                               
assessments  still need  to be  fair,  reliable and  valid.   She                                                               
questioned how a  home school, international, or  students new to                                                               
the state might be impacted, when  trying to enter the UA system.                                                               
Finally, she asked whether ESSA  presents any additional costs to                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
3:17:45 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY assured the committee  that the requirements held by                                                               
the state, to  provide assessments that are  valid, reliable, and                                                               
of high  technical quality,  remain in place.   For  any students                                                               
who  are schooled  outside  of Alaska's  public  system, the  age                                                               
level standards and achievements are available.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD restated  the question:   will  students                                                               
who are  not a  product of  the state  public system,  not having                                                               
been  through  the assessments,  be  able/eligible  to enter  the                                                               
university system.                                                                                                              
DR.  MCCAULEY  said  not  necessarily,  and  explained  that  the                                                               
requirements are in  place for students who  have attended public                                                               
school in Alaska exclusively; not  those who prepared for college                                                               
via other  means.  Regarding  additional costs to the  state, Dr.                                                               
McCauley  contrasted the  costs  of the  NCLB flexibility  waiver                                                               
with ESSA.   The provisions under NCLB, and the  NCLB waiver that                                                               
caused consternation  are completely absent from  ESSA, she said,                                                               
and provided two  examples:  1) NCLB required  teachers to obtain                                                               
highly  qualified  status, which  necessitated  a  great deal  of                                                               
record keeping, reporting,  and planning; and 2)  the NCLB waiver                                                               
required evaluation  systems that used student  performance data.                                                               
She opined that there are  no requirements contained in ESSA that                                                               
will   result  in   unfunded  mandates,   new  requirements,   or                                                               
complicated systems, as was the case under NCLB and the waiver.                                                                 
3:22:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  directed attention to the  key element for                                                               
school support  and improvement, pages  25-27 of the  handout, to                                                               
report  that  there is  a  current  movement away  from  applying                                                               
evidence-based  criteria, and  replacing it  with research-based.                                                               
Evidence-based  is restrictive,  he  noted, and  best applied  to                                                               
"randomized  control  experiments  or designed  projects."    The                                                               
national  conference for  state  legislators,  which he  recently                                                               
attended, spoke  to this  specific topic,  he said  and expressed                                                               
concern  whether this  facet of  the EED  strategy is  in keeping                                                               
with  the latest  approaches, unless  the department  is defining                                                               
the term differently for this  application.  If not redefined, he                                                               
posited, its  use would  be restrictive and  run contrary  to the                                                               
flexibility that EED is espousing.                                                                                              
DR. MCCAULEY  said the department's  intent is to move  away from                                                               
the heavy  hitting technical requirement  of research-based  to a                                                               
softer  evidence-based  requirement.     Under  NCLB  unless  the                                                               
intervention  methods   or  support  strategies  used   a  strong                                                               
research-base approach,  the U.S.  Department of  Education would                                                               
disapprove  the  action.     An  evidence-based  approach  allows                                                               
latitude for  strategies that indicate a  likelihood of improving                                                               
student achievement.   There will  need to be some  evidence that                                                               
the  action will  attain the  intended outcome,  but there  is no                                                               
need to  reach the threshold  requirement of a  random controlled                                                               
trial.   It's  perceived  that  the [research-based]  requirement                                                               
impedes  innovation  that  might  likely  result  in  significant                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON explained  that  the federal  terminology,                                                               
discussed  at the  conference,  was exactly  the  opposite as  it                                                               
relates to  health department,  and he asked  to have  EED ensure                                                               
that it is being applied appropriately for education purposes.                                                                  
3:25:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER asked  what evidential source could be  applied to a                                                               
strategy.   For  example,  he said,  could  the teacher  coaching                                                               
program,  widely  used  in  Alaska,  be  supported  by  anecdotal                                                               
evidence and receive federal approval.                                                                                          
DR. MCCAULEY  said the  new regulations  indicate that  the state                                                               
can   make   determinations   and  approvals   for   intervention                                                               
strategies.   State  determined intervention  strategies must  be                                                               
supported "to  the extent practicable  by the strongest  level of                                                               
evidence."  Thus,  she pointed out, vagueness exists  - what does                                                               
practicable mean -  but the sentiment is clear  that there should                                                               
be   some   evidence   of   effectiveness   without   restricting                                                               
innovations that could be useful.                                                                                               
3:27:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  pointed out  that,  for  the majority  of                                                               
research  where  reference is  made  to  the strongest  level  of                                                               
evidence,  it  relates  to randomized,  controlled  trials.    He                                                               
underscored  the  need to  explore  how  these  terms are  to  be                                                               
understood in the  field of education, given that  it is opposite                                                               
when applied to the area of health.                                                                                             
3:28:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY noted  the various  ways  for entering  college                                                               
that wouldn't  require a high  school diploma, or  other program,                                                               
that has  been aligned with  college entrance requirements.   One                                                               
means  is  by  taking  college classes,  while  in  high  school,                                                               
similar to a  junior college approach, but which  may extend high                                                               
school for six  to seven years because of the  class level focus.                                                               
He asked whether such an approach would be allowable under ESSA.                                                                
DR. MCCAULEY explained the waiver  structure, which EED submitted                                                               
under  NCLB  for  use  as  an  alternate  graduation  metric  for                                                               
specific alternative  schools; allowing  for an extended,  5 year                                                               
graduation period  and alleviating any punitive  aspects attached                                                               
to a late  graduation.  The same will be  allowed under ESSA, she                                                               
SENATOR DUNLEAVY asked what  assessment approaches the department                                                               
is  considering,  and  suggested   various  existing,  low  cost,                                                               
established assessments that should be available.                                                                               
DR.  MCCAULEY deferred  response to  the  HB 156  section of  the                                                               
SENATOR DUNLEAVY posed  another question for that  section of the                                                               
presentation regarding  any penalties  a school might  receive if                                                               
it  doesn't achieve  a 95  percent testing  quota due  to parents                                                               
opting their students out of assessments.                                                                                       
3:34:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND said  the flexible  graduation rate  has                                                               
been beneficial  for special populations,  and asked  whether the                                                               
metric  can be  applied to  comprehensive high  schools to  track                                                               
graduates in a similar way.                                                                                                     
DR. MCCAULEY said  that, as per ESSA requirements,  the four year                                                               
graduation  rate  must be  used  unless  a  school is  serving  a                                                               
special population and justification has been made to USED.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  opined on  the  need  for a  five  year                                                               
graduation  rate,  and  that it  exists  outside  of  alternative                                                               
programs.  Perhaps  a comprehensive high school  could qualify an                                                               
identified subgroup.                                                                                                            
DR.  MCCAULEY  stressed  that  the  degree  to  which  the  state                                                               
supports  students  to graduate  is  important,  as well  as  the                                                               
accountability  to  the  federal   government.    The  law  makes                                                               
frequent references  to four year  and extended  year graduation,                                                               
which,  she opined,  is  a  move in  the  right  direction.   The                                                               
required caveats are for schools  which serve special populations                                                               
and schools where special justification has been provided.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  indicated  interest  in  exploring  the                                                               
flexibility options beyond alternative schools.                                                                                 
3:38:36 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 3:38 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.                                                                       
^Presentation:  Commissioner Johnson  Department of Education and                                                               
Early Development:  The implementation of HB 156                                                                                
Presentation:  Commissioner Johnson Department of Education and                                                             
        Early Development:  The implementation of HB 156                                                                    
3:45:18 PM                                                                                                                      
CHAIR KELLER announced that the final order of business would be                                                                
a presentation by Commissioner Johnson, from the Department of                                                                  
Education and Early Development (EED):  The Implementation of HB
156.  [Contains discussion of HB 156 passed into law without                                                                    
governor's signature 7/28.16.]                                                                                                  
3:45:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN MCCAULEY, PhD, Education  Policy Coordinator, Department of                                                               
Education and  Early Development (EED) provided  a review focused                                                               
on the sections of HB 156 with  target actions for EED.  She drew                                                               
attention  to Sec.  5, which  requires a  comparison of  Alaska's                                                               
public  school system  to public  schools in  other states.   The                                                               
department is still  in the process of determining  how this will                                                               
be approached.   Expectations are  being clarified as  to whether                                                               
the  National Assessment  of  Educational  Progress (NAEP)  tests                                                               
will  suffice, or  if other  assessments need  to be  considered.                                                               
Moving to Sec. 7, she said  special recognition is to be given to                                                               
school's   based   on   overall  improvement   and   performance.                                                               
Recognition measures  are not  required under  ESSA, but  will be                                                               
incorporated into the accountability aspect of the state plan.                                                                  
3:47:19 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY  continued with Sec. 8,  of HB 156, and  referred to                                                               
AS 14.03.123 (f), which reads:   Standards-based assessments must                                                               
be selected with the input  of teachers and school administrators                                                               
and minimize  disruption to classroom  instruction.   The process                                                               
for  selecting   new  assessments   included  a  great   deal  of                                                               
stakeholder input,  she said.   The section  provides flexibility                                                               
for the department  and alleviates it from  the state procurement                                                               
processes,  she explained,  and detailed  how the  new assessment                                                               
selection  was undertaken  to comply  with  HB 156  requirements.                                                               
Considerable time  was focused on minimizing  the disruption that                                                               
assessment  instruction  and  administration  can  cause  in  the                                                               
classroom  schedule.   The proctoring  method  chosen will  allow                                                               
districts   to   choose   from  computer-based   or   paper-based                                                               
assessments  and allows  schools  to set  specific schedules  for                                                               
testing  while allowing  flexibility within  the testing  window.                                                               
Neither of these  facets are going to be  prescribed to districts                                                               
by EED, she underscored.                                                                                                        
3:50:25 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCAULEY  paraphrased Sec. 9,  AS 14.07.020(a),  which reads:                                                               
"The  department may  consult with  the University  of Alaska  to                                                               
develop  secondary  education  requirements  to  improve  student                                                               
achievement in  college preparatory courses."   She reported that                                                               
there has been increased partnership  with UA, as directed by the                                                               
State Board of  Education and the Board of Regents,  in an effort                                                               
to strengthen the alignment between  the two educational systems.                                                               
She described  how the agencies  are interacting, in light  of HB
156, and  said that,  of primary consideration,  has been  how to                                                               
reduce   the  number   of  UA   students  needing   developmental                                                               
3:51:14 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MCCAULEY  paraphrased  additional  language  from  the  same                                                               
section and  statute, which reads:   "The department  may consult                                                               
with businesses and labor unions  to develop a program to prepare                                                               
students  for apprenticeships  or internships  that will  lead to                                                               
employment   opportunities."     She   reported   that  the   EED                                                               
commissioner, the president of the  statewide chamber of commerce                                                               
and  the  UA  president,  have  been  involved  in  conversations                                                               
focused on  ways and  means to  promote internship/apprenticeship                                                               
opportunities  in  the  business  community and  how  to  provide                                                               
students with opportunities to learn  and earn credits outside of                                                               
the traditional high school or college classroom settings.                                                                      
3:52:10 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MCCAULEY  paraphrased  from  Sec. 10,  AS  14.07.175,  which                                                               
     The  department may  not require  a school  district or                                                                    
     school  to  administer   a  standards-based  assessment                                                                    
     after  July 1,  2016, and  before  July 1,  2018.   The                                                                    
     department  and  the  board shall  create  a  plan  for                                                                    
     working  with school  districts  to  develop or  select                                                                    
     statewide  assessments  that  are  approved  by  school                                                                    
     districts.    The  plan  must  provide  for  the  first                                                                    
     administration of  the assessments  not later  than the                                                                    
     school  year that  begins in  2020. ...  The department                                                                    
     shall   require  a   school  district   or  school   to                                                                    
     administer  a statewide  standards-based assessment  if                                                                    
     the  United  States  Department of  Education  provides                                                                    
     notice that it intends to  withhold all or a portion of                                                                    
     the  state's  education  funding  as a  result  of  the                                                                    
     department's compliance with this section.                                                                                 
DR. MCCAULEY  said the  department is moving  forward to  offer a                                                               
standards-based  assessment  to  districts, consistent  with  the                                                               
language   in  HB   156,  allowing   districts   the  choice   of                                                               
administering assessments.   Districts annually  sign assurances,                                                               
when applying for  federal funds, which contain  a statement that                                                               
a standards-based assessments  will be administered.   It will be                                                               
the   district's  prerogative   whether  or   not  to   sign  the                                                               
assurances;  to date,  all districts  have signed  the statement.                                                               
The bill makes  it very clear that EED cannot  require a district                                                               
to  administer an  assessment and,  if  the decision  is made  in                                                               
favor of assessing,  parents have the right to  choose whether or                                                               
not to  have their student  participate.  The U.S.  Department of                                                               
Education  (USED) has  confirmed that  the state  is required  to                                                               
administer  an assessment,  and  the department  is offering  the                                                               
choice  to the  districts.   The  requirement was  waived by  the                                                               
federal  government,   by  agency   request,  for   2016  without                                                               
consequence; however, USED expressly  stated its expectation that                                                               
Alaska would resume compliance in 2017.                                                                                         
3:54:40 PM                                                                                                                    
[Due  to  technical  difficulties  a  dialogue  exchange  between                                                               
Representative Colver and Chair Keller was not captured.]                                                                       
3:55:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY asked  for clarity  on  the federal  assessment                                                               
requirement and compliance by the department.                                                                                   
DR. MCCAULEY  said the  department agreed  to offer  a standards-                                                               
based assessment to districts.                                                                                                  
SENATOR DUNLEAVY said:                                                                                                          
     As part  of accepting the  [federal] grant, we  have to                                                                    
     administer an assessment.   ...  But  parents are under                                                                    
     no  obligation  to force  their  children  to take  the                                                                    
     assessment.   ...  Will school  districts be threatened                                                                    
     in  any  form  or  fashion,  coerced  in  any  form  or                                                                    
     fashion, or made to feel bad  ... if there are a number                                                                    
     of  parents in  a specific  school that  choose not  to                                                                    
     send  their children  to school  that day  to take  the                                                                    
     assessment; yes or no.                                                                                                     
DR. MCCAULEY replied, "No."                                                                                                     
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  asked if the federal  government has threatened                                                               
the  state   or  school  districts  with   penalty,  monetary  or                                                               
otherwise, should students not participate in the assessment.                                                                   
DR.  MCCAULEY  said  the  answer depends  on  the  definition  of                                                               
threatened:  ESSA holds that  schools, districts, and states will                                                               
assess at a participation rate of 95  percent.  The rate is to be                                                               
factored into the  state accountability system.   The federal law                                                               
is  vague regarding  consequences for  non-compliance.   The ESSA                                                               
regulations indicate  that a state  will use one of  four methods                                                               
to respond  to test  participation rates that  fall below  the 95                                                               
percent  threshold:   1) the  summative performance  rating of  a                                                               
school  may  be lowered;  2)  the  school  may be  identified  to                                                               
receive  targeted support  and  improvement  measures -  although                                                               
targeted support  and improvement is  not defined under  ESSA; 3)                                                               
the school's  academic performance  indicator may be  lowered one                                                               
level;  or 4)  a  consequence may  be imposed  based  on a  state                                                               
determined action that is sufficiently  rigorous and described in                                                               
the state plan.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY noted  that ESSA  contains  no indication  that                                                               
federal funding  will be jeopardized  if a parent decides  to not                                                               
have their  student take the test.   He asked for  assurance that                                                               
there will be no concern, notes  home or finger pointing, if only                                                               
5  students in  a  class of  30  are in  attendance  to take  the                                                               
DR. MCCAULEY said, "No."                                                                                                        
3:58:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER predicted  that the  Department of  Law may  become                                                               
3:59:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   COLVER    expressed   concern    regarding   the                                                               
administration and  procedures surrounding  assessments.   It has                                                               
been the  norm, he said,  for other  school work to  be disrupted                                                               
for  perhaps  several  weeks to  accommodate  the  proctoring  of                                                               
assessments.     Additionally,   the  resulting   score  can   be                                                               
acquainted  to being  a  speedometer  reading versus  identifying                                                               
specific areas where  a student needs to improve.   He asked what                                                               
the department's plan is for providing a meaningful assessment.                                                                 
DR.  MCCAULEY explained  that state  law defines  the purpose  of                                                               
assessment, which is  to inform policy level  decision making for                                                               
the improvement of  student learning.   One of  the problems with                                                               
the  last   assessment,  she  opined,  is   that  the  department                                                               
attempted to  make it be  everything to everyone.   Inadvertently                                                               
and   unintentionally,  the   state   assessment  was   basically                                                               
competing  with the  local level  assessments,  which are  better                                                               
able to provide  specific student information; far  better than a                                                               
state level, summative assessment.   The department then moved to                                                               
develop reports  to provide useful  data, however,  the statutory                                                               
purpose for  assessment is for  policy level decision  making and                                                               
general  accountability.   The districts  already  have in  place                                                               
highly   valuable  tests   that   inform  classroom   instruction                                                               
insights.    However,  she assured,  lessons  have  been  learned                                                               
regarding what the state summative  assessments should and should                                                               
not  do to  meet state  law, without  being overly  burdensome or                                                               
creating a duplication of effort,  and which will render valuable                                                               
data for state  reporting purposes.  The  flexibility provided by                                                               
HB 156, removing the requirement  for the department to obtain an                                                               
assessment via the state procurement  process, is very helpful to                                                               
this end, she stressed.                                                                                                         
4:03:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  commented on the need  to hold education                                                               
sovereign within  the state, versus  responding to  dictates from                                                               
the  federal  government,  and  opined on  the  failures  of  the                                                               
national approach to education since  1965.  Assessments occur in                                                               
a window period, she noted  and asked about the implementation of                                                               
a standardized  opt-out procedure.   Further, she  requested that                                                               
copies of correspondence  between EED and USED  be made available                                                               
to committee members for their own interpretation.                                                                              
DR. MCCAULEY responded that EED  is not developing a standardized                                                               
opt-out procedure for districts.   She opined that doing so would                                                               
be inconsistent with  HB 156, which requires  local school boards                                                               
to  establish policies  and procedures  to  permit opting-out  by                                                               
parents.     Districts   will   choose   different  methods   for                                                               
approaching this topic, and she  suggested various means that may                                                               
be instituted at the local level.                                                                                               
4:06:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER agreed  that the bill language  directs local school                                                               
districts to  establish and standardize  opt-out procedures.   He                                                               
indicated his interest  in having a future response  for how this                                                               
requirement is  being addressed by districts  and the department,                                                               
and pointed out  that there is no  consequence for non-compliance                                                               
included in the statute.                                                                                                        
4:07:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  returned  to the  ESSA  requirement  that                                                               
schools,  districts,  and  states   will  assess  students  at  a                                                               
participation rate of  95 percent, to be factored  into the state                                                               
accountability  system.    He  noted that  one  action  for  non-                                                               
compliance would  be that a  school with an  academic performance                                                               
indicator could have  their star rating reduced from a  four to a                                                               
three or three to  a two, say, and asked to  have the other three                                                               
possible actions repeated.                                                                                                      
DR. MCCAULEY  reiterated that  the school  may be  identified for                                                               
targeted support  and improvement  measures, that it  receive the                                                               
lowest  performance level  on the  academic indicator  portion of                                                               
the metric,  or be subject to  a state determined action  that is                                                               
sufficiently rigorous and described in the state plan.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  asked   if  there   is  anything   being                                                               
contemplated for inclusion in the state plan.                                                                                   
DR.  MCCAULEY responded  that the  department has  not determined                                                               
which  of  the  four  options  will be  chosen  as  a  means  for                                                               
complying with the ESSA requirement.                                                                                            
4:09:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER directed  attention  to  the committee  handout,                                                               
page 33,  and paraphrased the  final bullet point, which  read in                                                               
part:  "Comparisons with some  other states are possible with our                                                               
new  assessment."    She  queried  how  an  assessment,  uniquely                                                               
crafted  for Alaska,  will  allow comparisons  to  be drawn  with                                                               
other states in terms of student performance.                                                                                   
DR.  MCCAULEY  answered  that  the new  assessment  is  not  used                                                               
exclusively  by Alaska.   She  said it's  possible that  a metric                                                               
calibration will  be available, and  said the parameters  for the                                                               
assessment are  still be formed.   A question is whether  the new                                                               
assessment options will  be superior to NAEP, given  that NAEP is                                                               
administered in  all 50 states.   Determinations are  being made,                                                               
she emphasized.                                                                                                                 
4:10:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER interjected that HB  156 inserts compliance language                                                               
regarding a  requirement that has  long existed.  He  opined that                                                               
NAEP could  be an appropriate  assessment, but the board  and EED                                                               
will choose the mechanism for compliance.                                                                                       
SENATOR  GARDNER agreed  that  NAEP would  be  appropriate, as  a                                                               
national assessment,  and suggested  that the bullet  point would                                                               
be more accurate if it  read, "Comparisons with some other states                                                               
might be  possible with our  new assessment," as  the possibility                                                               
has yet to be ascertained.                                                                                                      
4:11:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND   referred  to  the   committee  handout                                                               
titled, "Enrolled  HB 156 Sectional Analysis,"  [unnumbered] page                                                               
2,  provided  by  Chair  Keller's  office,  and  paraphrased  the                                                               
language, which read:                                                                                                           
     Section  10.    Adds  a  new  section  prohibiting  the                                                                    
     department from  requiring a school district  or school                                                                    
     to  administer a  statewide standards-based  assessment                                                                    
     after July 1, 2017, and before July 1, 2019.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  pointed  out  that  the  EED  committee                                                               
handout, page 38, reads: "... after  July 1, 2016 and before July                                                               
1, 2018.   She  questioned the inconsistency  on these  dates and                                                               
expressed concern  for the length  of time that will  have lapsed                                                               
between the  state proctored,  standards-based assessments.   She                                                               
opined  that there  may  be a  lack of  data  available to  guide                                                               
policy decisions.                                                                                                               
CHAIR  KELLER pointed  out  that all  the  school districts  have                                                               
agreed to take statewide assessments.                                                                                           
DR.  MCCAULEY  said  it  appears   that  the  sectional  analysis                                                               
document may  be incorrect,  and concurred  that the  law doesn't                                                               
prohibit  the  department  from  administering  assessments,  but                                                               
rather  prohibits  the  department   from  making  assessments  a                                                               
4:14:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNLEAVY voiced  that the impetus for HB 156  serves as a                                                               
reminder to  the federal government  that the state is  in charge                                                               
of education for the people of  Alaska.  Services provided by the                                                               
department  are to  the  state, not  the  federal government,  he                                                               
reminded, and  said, "When in doubt,  ... err on the  side of the                                                               
people of  Alaska; when in  doubt, work with  the representatives                                                               
on the educational matters; ... work with us; side with us."                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  echoed the  final  sentiments  offered by  Senator                                                               
Dunleavy and thanked the day's participants.                                                                                    
4:15:29 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business  before the committees, the joint                                                               
meeting  of the  House  Education Standing  Committee and  Senate                                                               
Education Standing Committee was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB0156F.PDF HEDC 12/7/2016 2:00:00 PM
HB 156
Jt Meeting Education Committee 12_07_2016 FINAL.pdf HEDC 12/7/2016 2:00:00 PM
Enrolled HB 156 Sectional Analysis.pdf HEDC 12/7/2016 2:00:00 PM
HB 156