Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

03/01/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 102 LIMITED TEACHER CERTIFICATES; LANGUAGES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 86 STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT/OCC. LICENSE RENEWAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 86 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 1, 2017                                                                                          
                           8:07 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                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lora Reinbold (Alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Geran Tarr (Alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 102                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to instruction in a language other than                                                                        
English; and relating to limited teacher certificates."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 86                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to nonrenewal of occupational licenses for                                                                     
default on a student loan."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 86 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 102                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LIMITED TEACHER CERTIFICATES; LANGUAGES                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/03/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/03/17       (H)       EDC                                                                                                    
03/01/17       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 86                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT/OCC. LICENSE RENEWAL                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) CLAMAN                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/27/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/17       (H)       EDC, L&C                                                                                               
03/01/17       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JONATHAN KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, introduced HB 102.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REID MAGDANZ, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions on HB 102, on behalf                                                              
of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins, prime sponsor.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SONDRA MEREDITH, Administrator                                                                                                  
Teacher Education and Certification                                                                                             
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions during the hearing                                                                
on HB 102.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BOB WILLIAMS, Director                                                                                                          
Division of School Finance and Facilities                                                                                       
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Outlined official concerns and responded to                                                              
questions during the hearing on HB 102.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER HUTCHINS, Principal                                                                                                    
Fronteras Spanish Immersion Charter School                                                                                      
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 102.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BRANDON LOCKE, Director                                                                                                         
World Languages                                                                                                                 
Anchorage School District (ASD)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 102.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MATT CLAMAN                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, introduced HB 86.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
OWEN PHILLIPS, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HB  86,   on   behalf   of                                                             
Representative Claman, prime sponsor.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
STEPHANIE BUTLER, Executive Director                                                                                            
Postsecondary Education Commission                                                                                              
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Responded  to questions during  the hearing                                                             
on HB 86.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:07:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HARRIET  DRUMMOND  called  the  House  Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  8:07 a.m.  Representatives Parish,                                                               
Spohnholz, Fansler,  Johnston, and  Drummond were present  at the                                                               
call to order.  Representatives  Kopp and Talerico arrived as the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
         HB 102-LIMITED TEACHER CERTIFICATES; LANGUAGES                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:08:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 102,  "An Act  relating to  instruction in  a                                                               
language  other than  English; and  relating  to limited  teacher                                                               
certificates."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:08:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    JONATHAN     KREISS-TOMKINS,    Alaska    State                                                               
Legislature, as prime  sponsor, introduced HB 102.   He explained                                                               
that  the  intent of  HB  102  is  to create  fewer  bureaucratic                                                               
pathways  for hiring  teachers with  specific subject  knowledge.                                                               
Language  education   is  a  major   aspect  to   be  considered,                                                               
particularly due to the language  immersion schools that exist in                                                               
Alaska, where urban immersion schools  primarily focus on foreign                                                               
languages, while rural  schools seek a means  to remain connected                                                               
to the Native  tongues of Alaska.  Requiring a  fluent speaker to                                                               
be certified  can present a  major stumbling block in  the effort                                                               
to bring unique, specific knowledge into the classroom.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:10:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REID MAGDANZ, Staff,  Representative Kreiss-Tomkins, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins, prime                                                               
sponsor of HB 102, described  the immersion system as an approach                                                               
widely used  around the world  that employs a model  requiring at                                                               
least  50 percent  of the  instructional time,  including content                                                               
areas,  be presented  in the  target language,  which in  America                                                               
would be any other than English.   Four of these programs operate                                                               
within   Alaska's  public   school  districts   located  in   the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna,  Anchorage,  and Bethel  areas.    One of  the                                                               
primary  challenges is  to locate  and staff  qualified teachers,                                                               
for continuance  of the programs.   The proposed bill  amends the                                                               
scope  of  teaching  certificates.    Under  current  regulation,                                                               
limited "Type  I" and "Type  M" certificates  can be issued  to a                                                               
person  with  expertise in  specialty  areas  for vocational  and                                                               
technical training.   The proposed  bill adds language  to expand                                                               
the scope of coverage and  provides districts and charter schools                                                               
the flexibility to  hire on a case-by-case  basis for instructors                                                               
in  the  areas  of  Alaska   Native  Culture;  military  science;                                                               
vocational  or  technical  education;   or  any  subject  if  the                                                               
language  of instruction  is not  English.   The  State Board  of                                                               
Education is  empowered to pass regulations  ensuring that anyone                                                               
issued  a  certificate  will  possess  instructional  skills  and                                                               
expertise  sufficient  to  be  competent   as  a  teacher.    The                                                               
commissioner  has the  discretion  whether or  not  to issue  the                                                               
certificate, the school district has  the authority to request it                                                               
be issued, and  the certificate is only valid in  the district of                                                               
request.   He noted that in  addition to local school  boards, HB                                                               
102  also  empowers the  academic  policy  committees of  charter                                                               
schools to make certification requests.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:15:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked how  HB 102  alters the  status quo  of the                                                               
Type I and M certificates.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:16:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SONDRA   MEREDITH,    Administrator,   Teacher    Education   and                                                               
Certification,  Teaching  and  Learning  Support,  Department  of                                                               
Education and Early Development  (EED), replied that the proposed                                                               
bill allows  an individual  to be certified  in areas  outside of                                                               
their cultural  and language expertise, as  recommendation by the                                                               
district  requiring  no  other evidence  of  their  abilities  to                                                               
assume a teaching position.   For example, a community member who                                                               
is fluent/expert in Tlingit language/culture  would be allowed to                                                               
teach  mathematics.   The  department  would  be unable  to  test                                                               
someone's  expertise  on  subject  content unless  the  exam  was                                                               
proctored in the target language.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:17:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOB   WILLIAMS,  Director,   Division  of   School  Finance   and                                                               
Facilities, Department of Education  and Early Development (EED),                                                               
interjected that the point of  concern lay in the added verbiage:                                                               
"(4) any subject if the  language of instruction is not English."                                                               
The  agency focuses  on three  educational  kingpins of  quality,                                                               
capacity, and  trust.   The bill seeks  to increase  the capacity                                                               
and means for  people to become certified.   The department holds                                                               
a concern for ensuring a  quality education, and if someone isn't                                                               
required  to demonstrate  expertise in  the subject  matter being                                                               
taught, the delivered content may be compromised.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:20:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND referred  to the bill page 1, line  6, and pointed                                                               
out  the use  of  "may"  versus "shall"  and  the resulting  zero                                                               
fiscal note.   She  asked if  there is a  means to  estimate "how                                                               
much it would cost to certify beyond the language."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAMS  said it  would be difficult  to estimate  the cost;                                                               
however,  creating valid  tests in  languages other  than English                                                               
could prove to be expensive.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:21:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  asked  how   student  testing  will  be                                                               
handled in  the third through  eighth grades, in  accordance with                                                               
the ESSA requirements,  specifically whether statewide proctoring                                                               
will occur.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEREDITH  replied that  the  grade  school testing  will  be                                                               
continued, along  with one grade  in high school, as  required by                                                               
ESSA.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON noted  the  department's  interest in  a                                                               
local  control policy  while ensuring  a level  of excellence  in                                                               
learning  and  maintaining  public  trust.   She  asked  how  the                                                               
parents  of  a classroom  of  elementary  students, being  taught                                                               
mathematics by a Tlingit speaker  who hasn't been state certified                                                               
to teach math, could be ensured  that the class is receiving what                                                               
is expected;  could access to  specific testing  show appropriate                                                               
academic performance.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEREDITH  answered  that  the  first  statewide  assessments                                                               
available for that type of  review are initially proctored in the                                                               
third   grade;  however,   many  districts   use  other   interim                                                               
assessments at earlier grades.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  clarified that  the agency's  concern is                                                               
to  have some  means  to establish  confidence  that any  teacher                                                               
conducting a  class in  a target  language holds  the appropriate                                                               
academic skills to impart the subject content.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEREDITH agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  asked,  "If   this  bill  withdrew  the                                                               
language aspect of  the testing for the teacher,  would the state                                                               
be more comfortable?"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEREDITH responded, "I believe we would."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:24:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH   queried  how  the  bill   addresses  the                                                               
responsibility to  provide students with a  quality education, as                                                               
legally  required.   He theorized  and asked,  "If there  were an                                                               
emersion school in  which none of the teachers  ... were required                                                               
to  demonstrate competency  in a  subject unless  that test  were                                                               
given in the language of  instruction - would that interfere with                                                               
the ability of  the department to assure a  quality education for                                                               
the students."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAMS responded  that the Type I  certification provides a                                                               
mechanism for  bi-lingual education in Native  languages that can                                                               
probably attain  the majority  of the  goals set  out in  HB 102.                                                               
The  difference  is  opening  inclusion of  the  wording:    "any                                                               
subject  if the  language of  instruction is  not English."   The                                                               
department  lacks a  mechanism  to test  the  proficiency of  the                                                               
depth  of  knowledge   of  the  content  area,   the  teacher  is                                                               
instructing.  These  two items present unknowns  that are crucial                                                               
to  ensuring quality  instruction and  academic achievement.   It                                                               
would  require an  expensive fiscal  note to  develop a  means to                                                               
assuage these two points of concern.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:27:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  asked how a Type  I certificate contrasts                                                               
with  a  Type M,  what  each  covers,  and  what is  entailed  in                                                               
receiving one.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.   MEREDITH   said   the   Type   I   certificate   allows   a                                                               
paraprofessional to  instruct a class,  under the oversight  of a                                                               
certified teacher, while  pursuing a Bachelor of  Arts degree and                                                               
attending  a teacher  preparation program;  not unlike  a student                                                               
teacher position.   It is understood that a  competency test will                                                               
be part  of the process.   The Type M certificate  is similar and                                                               
reviewed annually  to ensure progress  by the  individual towards                                                               
receiving a teaching certificate.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER   asked  about  the   existing  immersion                                                               
schools, such as  in Bethel, and how its quality  of education is                                                               
being monitored.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEREDITH  replied that the  department relies heavily  on the                                                               
district to vet  the individuals involved and to keep  a check on                                                               
the   curriculum.     She   reported   that   there  is   regular                                                               
collaboration between  the fully certified teachers  and the Type                                                               
I certified instructors, at the existing immersion facilities.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER noted  the two causes for  concern held by                                                               
EED:  vetting of the content  and quality of the curriculum being                                                               
taught in the  target language.  He asked how  these concerns are                                                               
currently  being allied  in the  existing immersion  programs and                                                               
whether the department is vetting and approving the instructors.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEREDITH answered the vetting  and approving is being handled                                                               
at the  district level, and  the department does not  examine the                                                               
curriculum  as offered  in  the target  language.   However,  the                                                               
department  has mechanisms  in place  to  evaluate the  teacher's                                                               
competency level over the subject matter.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  surmised  that  the  hesitation  of  the                                                               
department is  due to the  schools making decisions that  EED has                                                               
historically made.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:32:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WILLIAMS  interjected  that  allowing a  charter  school  to                                                               
initialize  a  request  for,  or   renewal  of,  an  instructor's                                                               
certification, is  a departure from  the current practice  of the                                                               
district making  the request.   The  proposed action  changes the                                                               
balance of influences  and allows the school  versus the district                                                               
champion the confidence in an individual's abilities.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEREDITH added,  "The change  that  the bill  allows is  the                                                               
actual endorsement  in math and  science on a Type  M certificate                                                               
in the  language of instruction  that hasn't been  there before."                                                               
The bill  will remove restrictions  regarding content  areas that                                                               
can be taught by the Type M certified teachers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER pointed out math  is being taught in Yupik                                                               
language in Bethel and asked  how the teachers/programs are being                                                               
vetted.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WILLIAMS  said the  goals  of  the  bill  and those  of  the                                                               
department are  similar, as both  want to  support revitalization                                                               
of languages  and to  maintain strong immersion  programs.   If a                                                               
district has  a bi-lingual program  and has instituted  means for                                                               
checks   and  balances   by  utilizing   the   approved  Type   I                                                               
certification,   EED  can   trust  the   established  mechanisms.                                                               
However, when  a school makes  the request,  EED does not  have a                                                               
means to  test the  content and  whether the  teacher understands                                                               
the subject matter.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER reviewed  the major  concern held  by EED                                                               
for  passage of  HB 102,  stating,  "This allows,  in an  extreme                                                               
situation, schools  within a  district to go  rogue and  start to                                                               
authorize anybody teaching  anything because they can  teach in a                                                               
different language."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAMS  clarified that the  agency understands the  bill to                                                               
be an  effort for  increasing teacher  capacity.   The department                                                               
maintains a concern  for ensuring that quality is  not being lost                                                               
in  the process.    The  bill poses  an  additional challenge  by                                                               
shifting  authority  to a  school  facility  versus the  existing                                                               
district purview.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:37:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ asked  about the  characteristics of  a                                                               
Type M certificate.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEREDITH explained  that a  Type M  certification allows  an                                                               
individual,  with a  specific expertise,  to instruct  in one  of                                                               
three areas:   Alaska Native culture/language,  military science,                                                               
and vocational/technical education (CTE).                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:39:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  recalled that the  Type I and M  certificates are                                                               
held in statute.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEREDITH said  the certificates  were adopted  into statute,                                                               
and the  State Board of  Education promulgated regulation  and to                                                               
refine the use and add competency requirements.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  pondered whether it  would be possible  to revise                                                               
the  regulations   associated  with  these   certificates  versus                                                               
changing statute to accomplish the same intent.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEREDITH said  current statute doesn't allow  the issuance of                                                               
a Type  M certificate  for world languages.   The  quality checks                                                               
could be included in regulation, she opined.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND noted  that the  Anchorage School  District (ASD)                                                               
hosts   several   immersion   programs  and   asked   about   the                                                               
qualifications/certification   of    the   teachers    at   those                                                               
facilities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEREDITH responded  that the teachers at  the charter schools                                                               
and  public facilities  are state  certified  and competency  has                                                               
been tested appropriately for quality assurance.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAMS reiterated that the  majority of the goals presented                                                               
in  the bill  can  be achieved  through  the use  of  the Type  I                                                               
certification.  However,  not being able to  proctor a competency                                                               
test,  or  having  to  develop  new  tests  is  what  presents  a                                                               
challenge to the department.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:44:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  opined  that  the  bill  is  responsive  to                                                               
parental interests,  many of whom  may be  the best judge  of the                                                               
quality of  any program, being the  first to be aware  of the end                                                               
result [via  their child].   Instruction in a target  language is                                                               
different than  an immersion program,  he observed, and  said the                                                               
door should be open to accommodate  this type of emphasis and the                                                               
districts given free rein.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:47:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER   HUTCHINS,  Principal,   Fronteras  Spanish   Immersion                                                               
Charter School, stated support for HB  102 and said the public K-                                                               
8 immersion program  at Fronteras is growing due  to the benefits                                                               
that  are understood  from having  bi-lingual skills.   Immersion                                                               
constitutes teaching  academic content in a  target language, not                                                               
instructing the language  per se.  The enrollment  has climbed in                                                               
six  years  from  207,  in  2011, to  the  current  289,  with  a                                                               
projected  fall enrollment  of 312;  close  to maximum  capacity.                                                               
The  wide  spread  support  in   the  Matanuska-Susitna  area  is                                                               
testament  to   the  parental  interest   for  the   program  and                                                               
manifested in various ways including  the construction of the new                                                               
building  which  houses the  facility.    Culture is  not  taught                                                               
separately; it is woven into the subject matter of every lesson.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUTCHINS described the situation  of two specific teachers at                                                               
the  facility,  one  from  Columbia and  one  from  Puerto  Rico.                                                               
Although  their  English is  limited,  they  are fully  qualified                                                               
teachers from the  countries of their origin.   Under the current                                                               
state  requirements,  one  is  paid  the  same  as  a  substitute                                                               
teacher, $16.00 versus $21.00 per  hour.  The other was receiving                                                               
a  teacher's salary  while working  towards receiving  her highly                                                               
qualified status and certification with  the state.  However, due                                                               
to the difficulty  of the process, the second  teacher suffered a                                                               
wage reduction from  $5,100.00 per month $2,600.00.   The hurdles                                                               
for a non-English  speaker taking a state  certification test can                                                               
prove to  be insurmountable.   The test is proctored  in English,                                                               
meaning  that these  individuals,  with  minimal English  skills,                                                               
must first  translate the directions  and questions  into Spanish                                                               
to  formulate  an answer,  and  then  translate the  answer  into                                                               
English, while  finishing the test  within the  time constraints.                                                               
The proctored test is expected to take four hours and a fifty-                                                                  
minute extension  can be requested.   She said achieving  a state                                                               
certificate in this manner is not beneficial.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUTCHINS opined  that requiring a teacher who  does not teach                                                               
content  in other  than  his/her  native tongue  to  take a  test                                                               
proctored in English  to prove that he/she can  teach the subject                                                               
makes no  sense, prohibits excellent  teachers from  being hired,                                                               
and  causes   challenges  for   immersion  schools   to  maintain                                                               
qualified  staff.    The  mission of  Fronteras,  to  provide  an                                                               
authentic  immersion academic  experience, is  being hampered  by                                                               
these unnecessary requirements.  She urged passage of HB 102.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:54:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  clarified that  the exam is  a national  test and                                                               
proctored only  in English.   She  asked whether  translators are                                                               
allowed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUTCHINS answered no.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked if  the  principal  is familiar  with  the                                                               
"alternative route practice."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUTCHINS replied no.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:55:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  queried whether access to  an electronic                                                               
device to  assist in the  translation process, is  allowed during                                                               
the test.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUTCHINS answered no.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:55:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked if  immersion teachers generally hold                                                               
certificates  from their  country of  origin, as  prerequisite to                                                               
hire.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.   HUTCHINS   explained   that   Fronteras   primarily   hires                                                               
individuals  who  hold a  teaching  certificate  from their  home                                                               
country,  as  it  can  help  to expedite  the  process  of  being                                                               
certified by the  state.  However, an individual  identified in a                                                               
community as an  excellent instructor would require  a minimum of                                                               
four years to achieve a state certification.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:57:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRANDON  LOCKE,  Director,   World  Languages,  Anchorage  School                                                               
District  (ASD),  stated support  for  HB  102 and  outlined  the                                                               
immersion and  traditional foreign  language programs  offered by                                                               
ASD, that serve 8,000, K-12  students of which 2,500 are enrolled                                                               
in  immersion programs  offered  in  Japanese, Russian,  Spanish,                                                               
Mandarin Chinese, and German.   Also, a charter facility provides                                                               
an Alaska  Native Yupik program,  and a wide variety  of language                                                               
offerings are administered in American  Sign Language (ASL).  The                                                               
immersion programs  have been very  successful and  popular, with                                                               
lengthy wait  lists.  Parents  find that a bi-lingual  ability is                                                               
important  in  today's society  and  to  meet work  force  needs.                                                               
Requests  are  continually being  received  for  the district  to                                                               
expand  into  other  languages.     The  bill  does  not  specify                                                               
immersion  only  programs  and  should  prove  helpful  to  other                                                               
language  needs, he  said and  provided an  anecdote of  a recent                                                               
situation  that  occurred  when two  language  teachers  were  on                                                               
lengthy, unrelated but simultaneous  medical leave.  The district                                                               
managed to  find a person  in the community, with  an engineering                                                               
degree  from her  home  country, to  take the  class,  paid as  a                                                               
substitute  at  $100.00 per  day,  for  the entire  year  despite                                                               
completing  all  the lesson  plans  and  performing other  duties                                                               
associated with a  lead teacher.  Another situation  arose from a                                                               
new hire  declining the post  at the  last minute.   The director                                                               
covered  the  class,  and  finally  located  a  community  member                                                               
holding a  teaching certificate from  her home  country; however,                                                               
she was not able to pass  the test proctored in English to obtain                                                               
the  state certificate.   She  substituted for  the entire  year,                                                               
also.   Thus, despite qualifications  and abilities  the district                                                               
is  not   necessarily  able   to  appropriately   hire  available                                                               
candidates.   He  said the  bill does  not preclude  the district                                                               
from  vetting candidates  and ensuring  abilities.   He clarified                                                               
that the ASD  offers partial immersion programs,  with 50 percent                                                               
of the  day in  the target  language and  50 percent  in English.                                                               
Furthermore,   an   agency    known   as   Language   Proficiency                                                               
International (LPI)  is available, offering proficiency  tests in                                                               
hundreds of languages, and has  long been used nationally to test                                                               
teachers, diplomats,  and others  that require a  vetting process                                                               
to ensure  skill levels.   He stressed the challenges  of filling                                                               
foreign language teacher positions  and helping candidates secure                                                               
a state certificate.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:06:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  for confirmation  of  her  understanding,                                                               
stating, "So my  concern that an academic  policy committee would                                                               
override  the local  control of  the  school district,  is not  a                                                               
factor."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. LOCKE said  correct, all of the teachers hired  in the ADS go                                                               
through the same vetting and human resources process.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  clarified, "The  language of the  bill, as  it is                                                               
before  [the committee]  - the  Anchorage  School District  would                                                               
override that, by your policies that are currently in place."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. LOCKE  assured that  district channels  are followed  for all                                                               
employees, save  the hiring of  principals, to allow  fluidity in                                                               
staff  transfer  opportunities.   The  bill  provides a  one-year                                                               
renewable certificate,  which is  an excellent timeframe  to work                                                               
within.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  referred to the  Praxis® Subject  Assessments and                                                               
said  that  several  states,   including  Maryland,  New  Jersey,                                                               
Mississippi,  and New  Hampshire, have  alternative route  Praxis                                                               
exams.   She  asked  if  the alternative  route  exams have  been                                                               
considered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LOCKE said he would look into the possibility.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:10:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  asked about practices of  other districts                                                               
and  whether  they are  similar  to  what  ASD does  to  maintain                                                               
quality control.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. LOCKE said, "I'm not aware of that, no."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:11:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  said  every school  district  was                                                               
been visited, during the crafting of the bill.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:12:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAGDANZ pointed out that  quality schools and instructors are                                                               
important  and local  districts  are  relied on  to  a degree  to                                                               
ensure vetting and quality control,  which is currently practiced                                                               
under  the  existing  certificates.    A  school  would  find  it                                                               
difficult to go  rogue, as was suggested, he  opined.  Addressing                                                               
another  voiced   concern,  he  said  the   bi-lingual  programs,                                                               
referred to  by EED,  are aimed at  improving English  skills and                                                               
are not designed  to improve world language skills.   He said the                                                               
sponsor is  not expecting,  nor asking,  the department  to craft                                                               
competency exams  in foreign  languages, but  rather to  seek out                                                               
and accept creative  means to ensure a  teacher's abilities, such                                                               
as letters  of recommendation  and competency  statements, versus                                                               
taking an exam proctored in English.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:16:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  suggested   that  the  conversation  is                                                               
bogging  down  the   intent  of  the  bill,   which  isn't  being                                                               
introduced to fill the staffing needs  of a school, but rather to                                                               
allow  the  opportunity  to  hire where  and  when  necessary  to                                                               
address a vacancy  and take advantage of local  talent to benefit                                                               
the students.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  agreed and said the  problem to be                                                               
solved  by this  legislation is  to address  situations in  which                                                               
educators who  are deemed a  good fit can be  appropriately hired                                                               
using  local  discretion.    The   ability  to  have  a  one-year                                                               
certificate  issued  would  be adequate  and  allow  schools  the                                                               
flexibility to  provide high quality educational  experiences for                                                               
students.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:20:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND announced HB 102 was held over.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
        HB 86-STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT/OCC. LICENSE RENEWAL                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:21:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  86,  "An  Act  relating  to  nonrenewal  of                                                               
occupational licenses for default on a student loan."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:21:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MATT  CLAMAN, Alaska  State Legislature,  as prime                                                               
sponsor,  introduced   HB  86,   paraphrasing  from   a  prepared                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Thomas Jefferson  said, "That government is  best which                                                                    
     governs least ..."  Our  goal in bringing forward House                                                                    
     Bill  86   is  to  revoke  the   Alaska  Commission  on                                                                    
     Postsecondary Education's  authority to  use nonrenewal                                                                    
     of  occupational licenses  as  an  incentive to  ensure                                                                    
     repayment of student loans in  the instance of default.                                                                    
     As the  consequences of defaulting are  already severe,                                                                    
     and  the commission  has not  exercised this  authority                                                                    
     since 2010, it makes sense to repeal these statutes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:22:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
OWEN PHILLIPS,  Staff, Representative  Matt Claman,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  HB  86,  paraphrasing  from  a  prepared                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill  86 repeals current statutes  that allow the                                                                    
     Alaska Commission on  Postsecondary Education (ACPE) to                                                                    
     threaten  nonrenewal   of  occupational   licenses  for                                                                    
     individuals who have defaulted  on their student loans.                                                                    
     Repealing   this   authority    will   allow   licensed                                                                    
     individuals to continue their work  in order to earn an                                                                    
     income and pay back  their defaulted loans without fear                                                                    
     of losing their license.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     There are  already many difficulties that  one faces if                                                                    
     they  default on  their student  loans, not  limited to                                                                    
     late fees, court costs, liens  on property, and adverse                                                                    
     reports to consumer reporting agencies.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The current statute states that  the commission has the                                                                    
     authority to  provide notice  to a  licensing authority                                                                    
     for nonrenewal of a license  upon default.  If the ACPE                                                                    
     posts such  notice, the licensing entity  may not renew                                                                    
     said license  during the next  renewal cycle.   Many of                                                                    
     these laws  were passed in  the 1990s and  early 2000s,                                                                    
     when student  aid was often  provided by states.   Now,                                                                    
     however,  most loans  are federal.   In  addition, this                                                                    
     authority  has not  been  used since  2010  - prior  to                                                                    
     which it was utilized in 155 instances.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Last  year, Montana  became the  first state  to repeal                                                                    
     similar statutes and  now only 21 states  remain.  This                                                                    
     bill allows  us to follow Montana's  example and reduce                                                                    
     that  number  to 20  states  and  protect our  licensed                                                                    
     nurses,   pharmacists,    social   workers,   teachers,                                                                    
     correctional officers, and many others.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I'll  now provide  a brief  sectional  analysis of  the                                                                    
     bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section  One   deletes  language  that  is   no  longer                                                                    
     necessary after the repeals mentioned in section two.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section  Two  repeals:   the  following  statutes:   AS                                                                    
     14.43.145(a)(4)   which   gives    authority   to   the                                                                    
     commission to provide notice of  default to a licensing                                                                    
     entity for nonrenewal of a license.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     AS 14.43.148  which indicates  that a  licensing entity                                                                    
     may not  renew a license  if they have  received notice                                                                    
     from the commission that the  licensee has defaulted on                                                                    
     a loan issued by the commission.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     AS 21.27.390(d) which references temporary licenses.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:26:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER asked whether  there are any concerns that                                                               
removing the provision will result in a rise of default loans.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PHILLIPS  pointed  to  the  fiscal  note,  included  in  the                                                               
committee  packet,  which  shows  no plans  to  re-implement  the                                                               
practice.  He deferred further comment.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:27:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEPHANIE  BUTLER,  Executive Director,  Postsecondary  Education                                                               
Commission, Department of Education  and Early Development (EED),                                                               
replied  that the  commission holds  no  concerns for  a rise  in                                                               
default rates, should  the bill become law.  Further,  a suite of                                                               
authorities  exists  to  address  students  who  have  difficulty                                                               
repaying loans, she said.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:29:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND closed public testimony on HB 86.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:29:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  stated support  for HB  86 and  said the                                                               
prospect  of  seizing  someone's  license  to  cover  a  debt  is                                                               
counter-productive.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:30:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH moved  to report  HB 86  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no  objection, HB  86 was reported  from the                                                               
House Education Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:31:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:31 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB102 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 102
HB102.PDF HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 102
HB102 Supporting Document-ASD Resolution.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 102
HB102 Supporting Document-Language Immersion and Student Achievement.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 102
HB102 Supporting Document-Demand High for Immersion Programs.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 102
HB86 Support Document ACPE Loan Default Consequences.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 86
HB86 Supporting Document NPR States Review.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 86
HB86.PDF HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 86
HB86 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 86
HB86 Fiscal Note EED.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 86
HB102 Fiscal Note EED.pdf HEDC 3/1/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 102