Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

01/30/2017 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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09:03:34 AM Start
09:04:10 AM HB64
10:15:23 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 64 READING PROFICIENCY TASK FORCE; DYSLEXIA TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                 
                HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                            
                         January 30, 2017                                                                                       
                            9:03 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harriet Drummond, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Justin Parish, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Zach Fansler                                                                                                     
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                                
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATIVE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Geran Tarr (Alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 64                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the establishment of the Task Force on                                                                      
Reading Proficiency and Reading Instruction for All Students and                                                                
on the Effects of Dyslexia on Some Students."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
      - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 64                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: READING PROFICIENCY TASK FORCE; DYSLEXIA                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) DRUMMOND                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/20/17         (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
01/20/17         (H)        EDC                                                                                                 
01/30/17         (H)        EDC AT 9:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN KRANENDONK, Staff                                                                                                       
Representative Harriett Drummond                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 64 on behalf of Representative                                                              
Drummond, sponsor.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MARGIE GILLIS, President                                                                                                        
Literacy How                                                                                                                    
New Haven, Connecticut                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 64.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SERENA ELFTMAN-MOLLENKOPF, Teacher                                                                                              
Anchorage School District (ASD)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 64.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LISA CONNER                                                                                                                     
Alaska Reading Coalition                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 64.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
LARRY "WOODY" WILSON, Educator                                                                                                  
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified with opposition to HB 64.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANTHONY HABRA, Superintendent                                                                                                   
Haines Borough School District                                                                                                  
Haines, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified with concern for HB 64.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
AMY SPARGO, Executive Director                                                                                                  
Instruction                                                                                                                     
Matanuska-Susitna School District                                                                                               
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified with concern for HB 64.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LUCY HOPE, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Student Support Services                                                                                                        
Matanuska-Susitna School District                                                                                               
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified with concern for HB 64.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
POSIE BOGGS                                                                                                                     
Alaska Reading Coalition                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 64.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT BOYLE, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District (KGBSD)                                                                               
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 64.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JANET DONNELLY, Representative                                                                                                  
Future Frontiers Tutoring                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 64.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MIKE BRONSON, Volunteer                                                                                                         
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 64 and SB 27.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
LISA SKYLES PARADY, PhD                                                                                                         
Executive Director                                                                                                              
Alaska Counsel of School Administrators (ACSA)                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 64.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:03:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   HARRIET   DRUMMOND   called   the  House   Education   Standing                                                       
Committee    meeting   to   order   at   9:03   a.m.   Representatives                                                          
Drummond,   Talerico,   Spohnholz,   Johnston,  Fansler,   Parish,   and                                                        
Kopp  were   present  at  the   call  to  order.     Also  present   was                                                        
Representative Dan Ortiz.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          HB 64-READING PROFICIENCY TASK FORCE; DYSLEXIA                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
               [Contains brief discussion of SB 27]                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:04:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AIR  DRUMMOND  announced  that  the  only order  of  business  would  be                                                        
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 64,  "An Act  relating  to  the establishment   of  the                                                        
Task  Force  on  Reading   Proficiency  and  Reading   Instruction   for                                                        
All Students and on the Effects of Dyslexia on Some Students."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:04:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN   KRANENDONK,   Staff,   Representative    Harriett   Drummond,                                                         
Alaska  State   Legislature,  presented   HB  64  paraphrasing   from  a                                                        
prepared statement, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                 
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
      HB  64  establishes   a   fifteen  member   task   force  on                                                              
      reading  proficiency   and  instruction  with  the  goal  of                                                              
      increasing  statewide  reading  proficiency   scores  within                                                              
      3 years.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
      Section   1  of  the   bill  lays   out   some  legislative                                                               
      findings  demonstrating   the  need   for  the  task  force.                                                              
      About  47,000   students    in  K-12   in   Alaska   do  not                                                              
      currently  meet   AMP,  or  Alaska   Measures  of   Progress                                                              
      standards.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      Dyslexia  is  the  most  common   learning  disability   and                                                              
      affects up to 17 percent of the student population.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
      Section 2  of the  bill lays  out  the purpose  of the  task                                                              
      force,  which  is  to evaluate   and  make  recommendations                                                               
      to the  legislature  and  examine  how current  regulations                                                               
      affect reading proficiency.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      On page  3  of  the bill  starting   on line  20,  the  bill                                                              
      also  lays  out  the  makeup   of  the  task  force,   which                                                              
      includes:                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
      3  members   of   the  House,   including    at  least   one                                                              
      minority member, appointed by the Speaker.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      3 members   of  the  Senate,   with  at  least   1  minority                                                              
      member appointed by the Senate President.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
      The commissioner   of Education  and  Early  Development  or                                                              
      the commissioner's designee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
      1  active   or  retired   K-3   teacher   with  significant                                                               
      experience teaching reading.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
      1 member   of the  Alaska   Association   of School   Boards                                                              
      who is knowledgeable about reading and dyslexia.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
      1 non-voting   member  who  is a  judge  or  representative                                                               
      of the   judicial  branch.    We  feel  a  member   familiar                                                              
      with   federal   education    laws   such   as   IDEA,   the                                                              
      Individuals  with  Disabilities  Education   Act, is  needed                                                              
      to  help   make  informed   recommendations.      IDEA   has                                                              
      implications   for  early   identification   of  struggling                                                               
      readers  and  the task  force   will need  legal  expertise                                                               
      to help navigate federal laws.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
      1 member  representing   the University   of Alaska   who is                                                              
      highly knowledgeable teaching reading.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
      The remaining   4 members  will  be  recommended  by  member                                                              
      organization  of  the  Alaska  Reading   Coalition.    Those                                                              
      members   include   Reading   Write   Alaska,   the   NAACP,                                                              
      Literate   Nation  Alaska,   the   Alaska   branch   of  the                                                              
      International   Dyslexia  Association,   Decoding   Dyslexia                                                              
      Alaska,  Juneau  Dyslexia,   Longboard4Change,   907Boards,                                                               
      Connections  That  Work,  Future  Frontiers   Tutoring,  and                                                              
      Turning Leaf Literacy Center.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
      No   member    of    the    task    force    will    receive                                                              
      compensations.          Meetings     will     take     place                                                              
      telephonically  and  no  member  will  receive  per diem  or                                                              
      travel expenses.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
      The task force expires on Jan. 31, 2019.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:07:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARGIE  GILLIS,   President,   Literacy  How,  provided   testimony   on                                                        
the  advances  that  Connecticut  has  made in  the  past six  years  in                                                        
a  concerted  effort   to close  the  achievement   gap.    Connecticut                                                         
has   established   a   commission   that   works   closely   with   the                                                        
legislature   to   keep  members   informed   of  issues   and  address                                                         
measures   that  are  proposed.    Additionally,   at  the  legislative                                                         
office  building,   a forum  regularly   meets  to  focus  specifically                                                         
on  reading   issues.    In  2010,  the  Connecticut   State  Board   of                                                        
Education   adopted   a  policy   mandating    that  pre-service,    K-3                                                        
trainees    pass    the   [Foundations     of   Reading    (90)   Exam:                                                         
Massachusetts   Tests  for  Educator   Licensure  (MTEL)],   as  a  pre-                                                        
requisite  for  becoming   a state  certified   teacher.   The  mandate                                                         
was  the first  step  in  the  strategic  plan,  to  ensure  that state                                                         
teacher    training    programs   included    a   focus    on   reading                                                         
instruction.    Previously   certified   teachers  were  also  assisted                                                         
in  their  efforts  when  legislation  was  adopted   to have  students                                                         
in  grades  K-3  subjected  to  a universal   screening  program.    The                                                        
measure  allows  teachers  to  identify  and  address  individuals   who                                                        
require  additional   help.    In the  first  year,  the  results   were                                                        
dramatic,  she  reported.    Building  on that,  a  state wide  reading                                                         
model  was   developed  based   on  a  principle   called  response   to                                                        
instruction,   also  known   as  a  multi-tiered   system  of  support.                                                         
She  explained  how the  approach  works  to ensure  that  all students                                                         
receive     the    attention     they     need,     based    on     tier                                                        
assignments/achievements.        It   provides    the   most   targeted                                                         
instruction   available.    The model  was  piloted  in  5 schools,   in                                                        
2012,  and due  to success  rates,  today  65 schools  have  replicated                                                         
the  model.   Financing   has been  a  challenge  and  means  are still                                                         
be  sought  to provide   all schools   with funding   to implement   the                                                        
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:15:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SERENA   ELFTMAN-MOLLENKOPF,    Teacher,   Anchorage  School   District                                                         
(ASD),  opined  that an  extreme  dichotomy  exists  for what  is known                                                         
about  teaching  reading  skills  and  what  is actually  practiced   in                                                        
the  classroom.   It  is well  documented   how to  teach  reading,  she                                                        
said,  but  unfortunately  only  30  percent  of Alaskan  children   are                                                        
being  taught  to read  proficiently.    The teaching  degree  that  she                                                        
received  at  Ohio State  University  did  not adequately   prepare  her                                                        
to  teach  reading,  and  thus,  she is  currently  taking   classes  in                                                        
reading  science.    In fact,  she  said, one  professor  stood  in  the                                                        
way  of the  teacher  trainees   wanting  to learn  more  about  how  to                                                        
teach reading.  "We can change this," she finished.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:18:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSTON  recalled   the Slingerland   Approach  being                                                         
used  in the  district  at  one  time,  and asked  whether   it's still                                                         
being   implemented    or  if   it's   been   integrated    into  other                                                         
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ELFTMAN-MOLLENKOPF   answered  that  ASD discontinued   the option                                                         
of that program, circa 2000.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSTON  asked  whether  it was  discontinued  due  to                                                        
lack of results or supplanted by a better program.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ELFTMAN-MOLLENKOPF   recalled   that it  was  phased  out  but  did                                                        
not conjecture on possible reasons for the curtailment.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:19:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA  CONNER,  Alaska  Reading  Coalition,  stated  support  for HB  64,                                                        
paraphrasing   from  a  prepared  statement,   which  read  as  follows                                                         
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      Please  find attached   a chart  out  lining  the education                                                               
      history   of   my  three   school-aged    children.      The                                                              
      information  shows  an aggressive   and earnest  attempt  to                                                              
      locate   educational   programs,    methodologies,    tools,                                                              
      techniques,  etc.,  to  help  my  students  learn  to  read.                                                              
      We tried  private,   public,  traditional,   Montessori  and                                                              
      Waldorf  methods  and philosophies.    We tried  schools  in                                                              
      the Anchorage  School  District  and  MatSu  Borough  School                                                              
      District.    After   years  of  academic   trauma   we  have                                                              
      settled   nicely  with   a  personalized    and  individual                                                               
      approach  to education   at home.   My  three  children  are                                                              
      thriving   socially   and   emotionally    and  progressing                                                               
      academically    as    we   erase    years    of   misguided                                                               
      instruction.     I  am  determined   to  keep  their   self-                                                              
      esteem  intact   as  they   "inhibit"   incorrect   teaching                                                              
      methods while incorporating effective learning models.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
      As a  family,  we  support  HB 64  and  sincerely  hope  our                                                              
      personal  story  compels  you  to  end the  trail  of  tears                                                              
      for thousands   of children   Alaska  schools  are  failing.                                                              
      We realize  our  family  will  not  benefit  from  the  task                                                              
      force  nor  any  future  legislation   as our  time  in  the                                                              
      system  has  expired.    If  laws  had  been  in  place  and                                                              
      enforced,    my     children     would    have    benefited                                                               
      significantly      from     early      screening,      early                                                              
      identification,   and   early  intervention   up   to  grade                                                              
      three.   Years  of  frustration   would  have  been  avoided                                                              
      if  screening,   identification,    and   intervention   had                                                              
      been policy  for  the school  districts  they  encountered.                                                               
      The critical   point  for  Alaska's  students   is  training                                                              
      all relevant  educational   staff in  the use  of evidence-                                                               
      based  screening   and  identification    instruments;   and                                                              
      identification     of    evidence-based,     multi-sensory,                                                               
      direct,    explicit,      structured,     and    sequential                                                               
      approaches   to  instruction    of  students   affected   by                                                              
      dyslexia.   Our  family's  journey  is  a prime  example  of                                                              
      what our schools lack.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
      We  remain   optimistic   that   the  next   generation   of                                                              
      children  will  travel  a more  appropriate   and enriching                                                               
      educational  path.   After  all,  it  is the  birthright  of                                                              
      all Alaskan's  to  have an  equal  opportunity  to learn  to                                                              
      read.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:21:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked Ms. Connor about her knowledge of                                                                 
the Slingerland Approach program.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CONNOR  responded  that  the name  is  familiar,  but it  wasn't  a                                                        
program offered to her children.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:22:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY  "WOODY"  WILSON,  Educator,  described  his  extensive,  40  year                                                        
career  as an  educator.    He said  his tenure  has  included  serving                                                         
as  a special   education  diagnostic   teacher,  director  of  special                                                         
education,    teacher    mentor,   principal,    and   superintendent.                                                          
Stating  opposition  to  HB 64,  he  opined  that it  suffers  a number                                                         
of   short   comings   and   requires   significant    changes.      The                                                        
assumption   that  the  47,000  students   falling  below  the  English                                                         
language   standards    suffer   from   some   form   of  dyslexia    is                                                        
undocumented   and may  or may  not  be accurate.    Further,  treating                                                         
for  dyslexia   and  expecting  statistics   to  improve   may  also  be                                                        
inaccurate.     The  bill  specifies   dyslexia   as  the  most  common                                                         
learning   disability   and  cites  17  percent   of  Alaska's  student                                                         
population,     and    approximately    80    percent    of    learning                                                         
disabilities    as   dyslexic   issues.      He   opined   that   these                                                         
assumptions   would be  difficult  to  document  as dyslexia   is not  a                                                        
common  term  used in  education.    Federal  and state  laws,  as  well                                                        
as regulations,   do not  contain  the term  dyslexia,  and  neither  is                                                        
it   included   in   commonly   used   school   terminology.      Thus,                                                         
documentation   of  how  the  disorder   effects  student   populations                                                         
would  prove  a  challenge.     Assuming  that  the  47,000  figure   is                                                        
correct,  there  could  be  any  number  of  contributing  reasons   for                                                        
the  students  to  be below  standards,   such  as a  lack of  adequate                                                         
vocabulary   skills  or  low  attendance  rates.    He  suggested   that                                                        
the  task  force   scrutinize   the  multitude   of  reasons  that   may                                                        
contribute  to  poor reading  levels.    Lacking  a common  definition,                                                         
the  term   dyslexia   should   be  removed   from  the   bill  and   be                                                        
replaced  with  terminology   that  educators  use  on  a daily  basis.                                                         
The  bill shows  good  intent,  he  stressed,  but  use of  terminology                                                         
that   isn't   represented    in   statute,   and   not   proposing    a                                                        
definition,  presents   a problem.   Referring  to  the first  speaker,                                                         
he  said  Margie   Gillis  offered   a  good  model  to  consider.     A                                                        
variety   of  approaches   are,  and  need  to  be,   implemented   when                                                        
teaching  reading,  recognizing   the  ineffectiveness   of a  one  size                                                        
fits  all  method.   Align  the  language   of the  bill  with  that  of                                                        
existing statute prior to passage, he urged.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:29:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANTHONY   HABRA,   Superintendent,     stated   concern   for   HB   64,                                                        
shadowing   the   sentiments   of   the   previous   testifier,   Woody                                                         
Wilson,  and  the focus  on dyslexia  without  consideration   of other                                                         
detrimental   effects   on  early   reading.     Implementation    of  a                                                        
universal  screening  model  would  be a  benefit,  he said.   Students                                                         
who  enter  school  with  a low  vocabulary,   and  those  experiencing                                                         
trauma  may  have  their  reading  skills   affected.    Haines  uses  a                                                        
program  called  Fast  ForWord  to  great  benefit  with  annual  gains                                                         
that  average  1.75  percent;  however,  there  are  no silver  bullets                                                         
for  identifying    reading   issues.    Two   questions   need  to   be                                                        
addressed:      what's  good   for   students,   and  what's   fiscally                                                         
responsible.    He urged  the  committee,  when determining   seats  for                                                        
the task force, to rely heavily on educators.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:32:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    SPOHNHOLZ   noted   that  some   sources   report   20                                                        
percent  of  the  learning   population   showing  signs  of  dyslexia,                                                         
and asked what other major factors impede reading progress.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HABRA  said  learning   to read  is  influenced   by  a  number  of                                                        
factors,   which   include   limited   learning    time,   trauma,   and                                                        
poverty.    Homes  where  there  is  a lack  of  conversation   and  few                                                        
words  are  spoken  can  also   be an  issue.    He  said  focusing   on                                                        
dyslexia  alone  will not  solve  the hurdles  involved  in  teaching  a                                                        
child to read.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ  clarified  that  dyslexia  is  one problem,                                                         
and other contributing factors complicate the issue.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. HABRA agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ORTIZ  pointed  out  that  the  term  dyslexia  is  not                                                        
identified   in  educational    forums  as   a  topic   connected   with                                                        
reading deficiency.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HABRA  opined  that  citing  dyslexia   as  the cause  for  47,000                                                         
students   being  identified   as  reading  challenged   is  inaccurate                                                         
and limiting.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  referred   to  the  bill,  page  2, lines  14-15,   and                                                        
the  language  indicating  that  the task  force  will address  reading                                                         
proficiency   for  all  students,   and  the  effects  of  dyslexia   on                                                        
some  students.     The  intent  of  the  bill,  she  stressed,   is  to                                                        
address  the  critical  issue   of reading   deficiencies  in  general.                                                         
Further,  she  reported  that  dyslexia   has been  a  topic  at school                                                         
board meetings for the twenty years that she's been involved.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:38:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMY  SPARGO,   Executive  Director,   Instruction,   Matanuska-Susitna                                                          
School  District,   opined,  "Next   to student   safety,  certainly   a                                                        
public  schools  responsibility   to  teach  students  to  read  is  one                                                        
of  the most  important   things,  if  not the  most  important  thing,                                                         
we  can  do."   The  Palmer   School  District  undergoes   a  six  year                                                        
curriculum  review,  as  per state  regulations,   she reported,  where                                                         
only  evidence-based    programs   are  considered   and   implemented.                                                         
The  situation  is different  in  the charter  schools,  as  they enjoy                                                         
a level  of  academic  freedom  and  means  to address  learning  needs                                                         
in  accordance   with  their  specific  charter   versus  the  district                                                         
system.    The  district   monitors   student  reading   progress,   and                                                        
when  it is found  to  be static  the schools  and  families  engage  in                                                        
a  responsive  intervention   problem   solving  approach,  similar   to                                                        
what  was   described  as  being   used  in  Connecticut.     She   said                                                        
dyslexia  is  a concern.    She reported  that  dyslexia  is  used as  a                                                        
general   term  related  to  reading   disabilities,   similar   to  the                                                        
relationship    of  dysgraphia,    or  dyscalculia    to   writing   and                                                        
mathematical    difficulties.       Consideration    is   given   to   a                                                        
student's   ability  to  read   fluently,  as  well   as  comprehension                                                         
skills,  to  determine   how  to  meet  an  individual's   needs.    She                                                        
cited  a plethora  of  information  and  named a  myriad of  approaches                                                         
that  are   available   to  identify   reading  issues   and  assist   a                                                        
student.   She  said,  "What  is driving  our  practices  right  now  is                                                        
our  ability  to provide  small  group,  and  one on  one  instruction;                                                         
and  that's   a  human  resources   issue."    The  fulltime   literacy                                                         
coach  position,   that  served  the  district's  elementary   schools,                                                         
has  been  cut  to  halftime  and  it's  tenuous   whether  it  will  be                                                        
retained  due  to budget  constraints.    The  district  maintains   the                                                        
stance  that  those   closest  to  the  issue,  most  invested   in  the                                                        
students,   and   who  are   knowledgeable   about   local   needs   and                                                        
resources   are   best  suited   to   make  the   decisions   regarding                                                         
instructional    practices   and  use   of  evidence-based    programs.                                                         
Thus,  HB   64  presents  a  concern   as  an  encroachment   on  local                                                         
control.    The  district   certainly   welcomes  legislative   support                                                         
for  improving  reading  in  the  state.   However,   the best  support                                                         
would  be increased   staffing,  increased  professional   development,                                                         
and  the  opportunity  to  team-up   with  focus  groups,  such  as  the                                                        
Reading   Coalition,  she   opined,  and  questioned   whether   a  task                                                        
force is the best means for approaching the reading issue.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:42:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LUCY   HOPE,    Executive   Director,    Student   Support    Services,                                                         
Matanuska-Susitna   School  District,   expressed  concern  for  HB  64,                                                        
and  echoed  the  sentiments  of  the  previous  speaker,  Amy  Spargo.                                                         
She   said    it's   important    to   identify    effective    reading                                                         
instruction.    Regardless  of  a student's   diagnosis,  the  focus  is                                                        
in  helping  them  to  gain  reading  skills.    Early  detection  of  a                                                        
student's   reading   difficulties    is   key;   however,   the  state                                                         
repealed    the   early   literacy   screening    legislation.       The                                                        
Matanuska-Susitna    School   District,   like   many  districts,    has                                                        
continued   to  perform  K-3  literacy   screening.     It  is  a human                                                         
resources  dilemma:    the  district  has  effective   measures  to  put                                                        
into  place  but it  can't  be  done  when large  numbers  of  students                                                         
are  entering  the system  and staff  and  time is  limited.   Finally,                                                         
she  said,   Dyslexia   is  included   in  the  umbrella   of  specific                                                         
learning   disabilities    under   federal    law;   Individuals    with                                                        
Disabilities   Education  Act (IDEA).   Special  education   is an  area                                                        
that  is routinely   under staffed,   and anyone  who  is hired  should                                                         
receive   effective,   professional    development   in   the  area   of                                                        
teaching reading, she opined.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:44:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PARISH  pondered   what  other  approach,  outside   of                                                        
assembling    a   task   force,   might   be   taken   to   provide    a                                                        
comprehensive   report  for  the legislature   to review  and  consider                                                         
on this important topic.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HOPE  pointed  out  the steps,  as  previously   stated,  that  the                                                        
district  is  exercising  and which  have  improved  graduation  rates.                                                         
She  said   it  is   important   to  determine   what   approaches   are                                                        
working and how best to apply effective programs.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PARISH  congratulated    the  district  on  increasing                                                         
its graduation rate, and restated his question.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.   SPARGO  responded:      direct   work  with   the   commissioner,                                                         
"leaning   in"  with  other   educators,   and  keeping   actions   site                                                        
specific.    The  most efficient   mechanism  for  change  is  a direct                                                         
approach, she opined.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:47:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ORTIZ  noted that  a human  resources  issue  has  been                                                        
mentioned   as the  best  means  for  making   gains  and  improvements                                                         
statewide  in  the area  of  reading.   He  said it  appears  that  what                                                        
works  is a  known,  and it  revolves  around  financial  resources   to                                                        
put what works into play.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. SPARGO concurred.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:49:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ  commented  that  the value  of  the physics                                                         
education  task  force  was  bringing  people  together  to  share  best                                                        
practices   and  establish   a   baseline   of  understanding   at   the                                                        
policy  maker's  level.   One  of the  challenges  is  that  the policy                                                         
makers   don't  hold   the  same   understanding   as   those  who   are                                                        
specialists   in  a given   area.    A task  force   is helpful   as  it                                                        
serves  to  level  the playing   field,  she  opined,  and asked  about                                                         
the  early  literacy  screening  that  was  repealed  from  statute  and                                                        
asked when that occurred.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HOPE  recalled  that  it may  have  been  repealed  in  the spring                                                         
2015.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    SPOHNHOLZ   asked  for   the  rationale   behind   the                                                        
repeal.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOPE reserved speculation on the reason(s) for the action.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:51:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
POSIE  BOGGS,  Alaska  Reading  Coalition,  stated  support   for HB  64                                                        
and  said  a  task   force  would  be  a  good  vehicle   for  bringing                                                         
attention  to  the issue  and  achieve consensus   among the  districts                                                         
about   implementation   factors   and  to   identify   effective   site                                                        
specific  applications   of  programs   to improve   student  outcomes.                                                         
She  referred   to  the   committee   packet  and  a   guidance  letter                                                         
[Assistant   Secretary,  U.  S.  Department  of  Education,   Office  of                                                        
Special  Education   and  Rehabilitative   Services,   dated  10/25/15]                                                         
which  explains  explicitly   how  the term  dyslexia  is  to  be used.                                                         
"It  should  answer  anybody's  questions,"   she  said.   The  goal  of                                                        
the  reading   coalition   is  that   every  child   learning  to   read                                                        
should  have  the  best teacher   before  them  at all  times  and  that                                                        
the dose of intervention be correct for each child.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:53:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  BOYLE,   Superintendent,   Ketchikan   Gateway  Borough  School                                                         
District   (KGBSD),   stated  support   for  HB  64   and  opined   that                                                        
reading  ability  may be  the most  critical  aspect  for a  student  to                                                        
succeed  through   their  educational  career,   as it  is  fundamental                                                         
to  academia.      Current   best  practices    begins  with   parent's                                                         
engaging  their  child  at an early  age  and creating  a  rich reading                                                         
environment.    The  best  educational   practice  is  to screen  early                                                         
and  identify   any  pre-reading   deficiencies   by  age  four.     The                                                        
early  identification   screening  that was  established  has  been  cut                                                        
by legislative   action;  however,  he reported,   KGBSD still  screens                                                         
children   enrolling   in  kindergarten   and  necessary   intervention                                                         
strategies   are  immediately   provided.     The  district's   reading                                                         
programs    for   K-6   uses   research    based   diagnostic    tools,                                                         
curriculum,    and   intervention    techniques.      Trained   reading                                                         
specialists    are   on   staff   to   administer   the   response    to                                                        
intervention   (RTI)  program   in each   of the  elementary   schools.                                                         
The  result is  that Ketchikan   students  have a  high literacy  rate.                                                         
The  district   has learned   that  early  screening,   early  support,                                                         
and  professionally   applied  research   based  programs  will  result                                                         
in   successful   students.      Please,   consider   reinstating    the                                                        
statute  for  an early  screening   process  and  provide  departmental                                                         
funding,   he  implored.    Pre-school   may   be  the  most  effective                                                         
intervention   possibility,   he  suggested,   when   it's  constructed                                                         
with  teachers   who  have  the   appropriate   skills.    He  referred                                                         
members   to  the   Diagnostic   and  Statistical   Manual   of  Mental                                                       
Disorders,  5th  Edition,  also  referred  to as  the DSM-5,  published                                                       
by  the American  Psychiatric   Association,   to point  out  that  page                                                        
67   includes   a  description    of  reading   with   word   accuracy,                                                         
fluency,  and  comprehension.     The manual   defines  dyslexia  as  an                                                        
alternative   term,   used   to  refer   to  a   pattern   of  learning                                                         
difficulties,   characterized   by problems   with accurate   or fluent                                                         
reading  recognition.    There  is  more  to be  gleaned  on  the topic                                                         
from  this   manual,  he   stressed,  and   suggested   that  committee                                                         
members use it as a reliable resource.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:58:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JANET   DONNELLY,    Representative,    Future   Frontiers    Tutoring,                                                         
recounted   how her  teacher   training  lacked  instruction   specific                                                         
to  identifying   a  student's  reading   disabilities;   a  deficiency                                                         
which  she  realized   in  her  first  year  of  teaching.    Following                                                         
that   initial    year,   she   discovered    and    incorporated    the                                                        
Slingerland    Approach,   which   she   used   to   benefit   students                                                         
throughout   the   remainder   of  her  career.     Now   retired,   she                                                        
continues  to  tutor students.    The majority  of  them have  specific                                                         
language  disabilities,   or English  as  a second  language,  but  none                                                        
have  been  identified   as  such  by their   classroom  teachers,   she                                                        
reported.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:01:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MIKE    BRONSON,    Volunteer,    National     Association    for    the                                                        
Advancement   of Colored  People  (NAACP),   expressed  support  for  HB                                                        
64  and  SB  27,  stating  that  a  task  force  will  be  a  fantastic                                                         
opportunity   for   the  legislature    to  meet   its  constitutional                                                          
obligation   to  provide  an  adequate,  public  school   system.    The                                                        
Alaska  Measures   of  Progress   (AMP)  scores   indicate  that  about                                                         
80,000  students   are  lagging  behind   the  national  standards   for                                                        
reading,  writing  and  mathematics.    A task  force  will  be helpful                                                         
to  provide  the legislature   with  a means  to understand   the issue                                                         
and  consider   policy   for  rectifying    the  reading   and  writing                                                         
skills  of Alaska's  K-12  students.   Although   the bill's  time  line                                                        
could  be shortened,   he opined,  the  NAACP  likes  what  it proposes                                                         
and  holds the  expectations  that,  through  the  clear objectives   it                                                        
establishes,   it will  serve  to  bring  dyslexia  into  a  firm light                                                         
to  be addressed   appropriately   by  the professional   educators   of                                                        
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:04:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LISA  SKYLES-PARADY,   PhD,  Executive   Director,  Alaska  Counsel   of                                                        
School  Administrators    (ACSA),  reported   that  recently  over   one                                                        
thousand  educators   came  together   for a  hosted  workshop   on  the                                                        
response   to   intervention/instruction     (RTI)   program   and   the                                                        
multi-tiered   support   method.    She  explained   her  understanding                                                         
that  dyslexia  is a spectrum  that  manifests  in  a variety  of forms                                                         
along  with  many other  reading  disabilities,   such  as  autism,  and                                                        
intense   trauma.     It  is  known   that   targeted  instruction    in                                                        
reading,  as  provided  by  specialized  teachers,   is effective,   she                                                        
reported,  and  districts  employ  staff  to  the extent  that  budgets                                                         
allow.    She commented   that  the need  to  avoid  unfunded  mandates                                                         
appears  to  have  been  taken  into  account  in  the  drafting  of  HB                                                        
64.   Educators,   literacy  specialists,   and school  administrators                                                          
should   be  seated   on   the  task   force,   to  ensure   a  working                                                         
partnership with the legislature, she suggested.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND closed public testimony.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:09:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    KOPP  commended   introduction   of   the  bill,   and                                                        
acknowledged   that literacy  issues  exist,  as  well as  deficiencies                                                         
in math.   Reforms  are  often  challenged,  and  the task  force could                                                         
serve  as  a  forum  to identify   the  necessary,  best  practices   to                                                        
apply.   The  bill  does not  present  an  unfunded  mandate,  he noted                                                         
and  opined  that the  labor  force  for Alaska  will  be  bolstered  by                                                        
eradicating reading disabilities.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:11:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PARISH   moved  to  report  HB  64  out  of  committee                                                         
with  individual    recommendations   and   the  [forthcoming]   fiscal                                                         
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:12:04 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO objected for discussion.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:12:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TALERICO  suggested   holding  the  bill  in  order  to                                                        
address  the  concerns   that  have  been  raised  through   testimony.                                                         
However,   he   said   the   bill   appears   to   be   in   order   and                                                        
supportable.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:13:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   FANSLER  noted   that  concerns  raised  in  testimony                                                         
were  relevant,  particularly   regarding  who  is on  the  task force.                                                         
Lacking  an  immediate   amendment,  he  said  he  would  also  like  to                                                        
see the bill held in committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:14:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:14:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   DRUMMOND   concurred   with   the   sentiments   expressed    by                                                        
members and announced that HB 64 was held over.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[The  motion  made by  Representative  Parish  and  the objection   made                                                        
by Representative Talerico were left pending.]                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:15:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  thanked   the  participants  and  announced   the  next                                                        
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no further  business   before  the committee,   the House                                                         
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB64A.PDF HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 Sponsor.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Dyslexia Laws in US.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 AMP Results.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 Letter of Support Reading Write.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Letter of Support NAACP.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 Letter of Support Decoding Dyslexia.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 Letter of Support Kilpatrick.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Letter of Support IDA.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 Letter of Support MGingras.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Letters of Support Public.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 Public Support Additional Documents.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB 64 Additional Letters of Support.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Invited Testimony Conner.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Dyslexia Guidance Yudin.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Fiscal Note LEG-COU-O2-23-17.pdf HEDC 1/30/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 64