Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

03/02/2020 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 2, 2020                                                                                          
                           8:05 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                 
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Prax                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 136                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to public school funding for social and                                                                        
emotional learning; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 260                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the state education policy."                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 136                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC SCHOOLS: SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL LEARNING                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) HOPKINS                                                                                           
04/16/19       (H)      READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                         
04/16/19       (H)      EDC, FIN                                                                                                
05/08/19       (H)      EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                              
05/08/19       (H)      Heard & Held                                                                                            
05/08/19       (H)      MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                             
02/28/20       (H)      EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                                
02/28/20       (H)      Heard & Held                                                                                            
02/28/20       (H)      MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                             
03/02/20       (H)      EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                                
BILL: HB 260                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATE EDUCATION POLICY: EARLY CHILDHOOD                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
02/19/20       (H)      READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                         
02/19/20       (H)      EDC, HSS                                                                                                
02/28/20       (H)      EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                                
02/28/20       (H)      Heard & Held                                                                                            
02/28/20       (H)      MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                             
03/02/20       (H)      EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRIER HOPKINS                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 136 as prime sponsor.                                                                      
TANIA CLUCAS, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 136 on behalf of                                                                            
Representative Hopkins, prime sponsor.                                                                                          
ERIN HARDIN, Special Assistant/Legislative Liaison                                                                              
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Education & Early Development                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information during the hearing on                                                               
HB 136.                                                                                                                         
TAMERA WAN WYHE, Division Director                                                                                              
Department of Education &  Early Development                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information during the hearing on                                                               
HB 136.                                                                                                                         
DAVID NEES                                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 136.                                                                          
NATALI JONES, School Counselor                                                                                                  
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 136.                                                                          
HERMAN MORGAN                                                                                                                   
Aniak, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 136.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 260 as prime sponsor.                                                                       
KATIE BOTZ                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 260.                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:05:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HARRIET  DRUMMOND called the  House Education Standing                                                               
Committee  meeting  to  order  at  8:05 a.m.    Representatives                                                                 
Hopkins, Tuck, Zulkosky, Prax, Story, and Drummond were present                                                                 
at the  call to order.   Representative Johnson  arrived as the                                                                 
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
        HB 136-PUBLIC SCHOOLS: SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL LEARNING                                                                    
[Contains discussion of SB 6 and HB 181.]                                                                                       
8:06:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  announced that the  first order  of business                                                                 
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 136 "An  Act relating to public school                                                                 
funding for social and emotional learning; and providing for an                                                                 
effective date."   [Before the committee, adopted  as a working                                                                 
document on  2/28/20, was a  proposed committee substitute (CS)                                                                 
for HB  136, Version 31-LS  0827\U, Caouette, 2/17/20 ("Version                                                                 
8:07:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRIER   HOPKINS,   Alaska   State  Legislature,                                                                 
introduced  HB  136 as  prime  sponsor.    He  recalled several                                                                 
previous  meetings'   testimony  centered  on   Social/Emotional                                                                
Learning (SEL) and its importance to all grade levels in Alaska.                                                                
He  endorsed public  education's role  in  teaching  the "whole                                                                 
student" beyond maximizing test scores, to help prepare students                                                                
for success in life.                                                                                                            
8:08:00 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at ease.                                                                                             
8:08:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS noted that a fiscal note for HB 136 would                                                                
be forthcoming.                                                                                                                 
8:09:02 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at ease.                                                                                             
8:09:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  postulated that  should  a  fiscal note                                                                 
require a cost for implementation of the proposed bill, he would                                                                
expect it  to be comparable to  that of HB 181  providing for a                                                                 
gathering of stakeholders and he does not anticipate any ongoing                                                                
costs.  He explained Collaborative Academic Social and Emotional                                                                
Learning (CASEL) is a private contractor working with districts                                                                 
throughout  the  nation  on  implementing  SEL  curricula  that                                                                 
includes self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision                                                                 
making,   self-management,  and   relationship   skills.     He                                                                 
differentiated  SEL   curricula  from  standard   education  by                                                                 
describing  SEL as  an  overall  approach  to  teaching in  the                                                                 
8:11:04 AM                                                                                                                    
TANIA CLUCAS, Staff, Representative Grier Hopkins, Alaska State                                                                 
Legislature,  presented  HB  136  on  behalf of  Representative                                                                 
Hopkins, prime sponsor.   She added that  SEL is already taking                                                                 
place in Kindergarten through twelfth grade  (K-12), and HB 136                                                                 
would provide an acknowledgment of  the work already being done                                                                 
throughout the state and provide for standardization of SEL.                                                                    
8:11:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  referred to the  State of  Alaska early                                                                 
learning guidelines, which contain some nexus of SEL in Alaska,                                                                 
although  he noted  that  in  the intervening  years since  the                                                                 
development of  the guidelines, much research  has taken place,                                                                 
and HB  136 would extend SEL  into all grade levels  and not be                                                                 
confined to Pre-K.                                                                                                              
8:12:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS referred  to the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-                                                                 
Su) School District Pre-K  through second grade SEL guidelines,                                                                 
which he  lauded as  exemplary standards  that depict  what SEL                                                                 
standards are, including key concepts and tactics to deploy SEL                                                                 
at various levels,  from the student, to  the classroom, to the                                                                 
school, to the district.  He exemplified the Mat-Su standard of                                                                 
self-awareness; at third-  to fifth-grade level  a student must                                                                 
have  the ability  to accurately  recognize one's  emotions and                                                                 
thoughts and their  influence on behavior, accurately assessing                                                                 
one's  own strengths  and limitations,  and possessing  a well-                                                                 
grounded sense of  confidence and optimism.   He then explained                                                                 
that  the school's  role would  be to  develop the  approach to                                                                 
implementing the standard.  He explained that this example is a                                                                 
bottom-up approach  wherein the role  of the  school is  in the                                                                 
closest position to understanding the individual's needs.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS indicated that there are several schools                                                                 
that have  worked with CASEL to  implement standards with great                                                                 
success.   He  noted  that  Alaska's Education  Challenge (AEC)                                                                 
identified overall goals which include "To Cultivate Safety and                                                                 
Well-Being" among students, which is the goal area in which SEL                                                                 
would apply.  He drew this correlation to demonstrate alignment                                                                 
of goals with prior administrations, the current administration,                                                                
the Department of Education &  Early Development (DEED), and HB                                                                 
136 and other proposed legislation.                                                                                             
8:15:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. CLUCAS indicated that the AEC contains an entire chapter on                                                                 
SEL  which further underscored  the point  that SEL  is already                                                                 
taking place throughout Alaska and  suggested that HB 136 would                                                                 
not  obligate an  entire  novel undertaking  but  instead enact                                                                 
standards for activities already taking place.                                                                                  
8:15:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS exemplified that the AEC safety and well-                                                                
being goal compels that culturally relevant standards should be                                                                 
implemented, which aligns community and family relevance to SEL                                                                 
by school district.   He highlighted in  the committee packet a                                                                 
presentation to  the  House  Education Standing  Committee from                                                                 
April 2019,  entitled "K-12 Investing in  Effective Measures by                                                                 
Mark Foster."  He highlighted page 3 of the presentation section                                                                
on  caveats  and  limitations  that  caution  the  reader  that                                                                 
standardized  testing  for  student  success  is  singular  and                                                                 
summative, and  that "'Standards Based Tests  are only modestly                                                                 
correlated with success in life'  (Raj Chetty)."  He emphasized                                                                 
the third caveat in the presentation, "'Social skills tend to be                                                                
better  predictors of  success  in life'  (Kirabo  Jackson, Raj                                                                 
Chetty)," and SEL sets  the foundation for teaching skills that                                                                 
lead  to student  life success  beyond  test scores.   He  drew                                                                 
attention to pages 38-39  in the presentation and recalled that                                                                 
during the April 2019 presentation to the committee, Mr. Foster                                                                 
repeatedly  emphasized  that  while  core  academics  are  very                                                                 
important and  relevant to  education, the key  determinants of                                                                 
positive adult outcomes are SEL skills.                                                                                         
8:19:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  referred  to   a  publication  by  the                                                                 
Association   of   Alaska   School   Boards  (AASB),   entitled                                                                 
"Transforming Schools: A  Framework for Trauma-Engaged Practice                                                                 
in  Alaska" which  outlines  approaches that  may  be taken  to                                                                 
implement SEL and positive outcomes of including SEL in schools                                                                 
in Alaska.   He  highlighted that  tenets of SEL  include self-                                                                 
awareness, self-management, and co-regulation.                                                                                  
8:20:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   revealed  that  during   research  in                                                                 
preparation for HB 136, he claimed further justification for SEL                                                                
in schools correlated with success later in life.  He noted that                                                                
research  has  shown that  prospective  employers seek  workers                                                                 
skilled in the following areas:  speaking, knowing how to learn,                                                                
working with others, positive attitude, able to work as part of                                                                 
a team, respect for others, willingness to learn and understand                                                                 
rewards, responsibility, and self-discipline.                                                                                   
8:21:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   drew  attention  to   the  additional                                                                 
committee  packet   items  demonstrating  research  documenting                                                                 
positive outcomes for  students with well-developed SEL skills,                                                                 
including the documents, entitled "Transforming Students' Lives                                                                 
with Social  and Emotional Learning" and  "Social and Emotional                                                                 
Skills Well-being,  connectedness and  success." He  noted that                                                                 
extensive research  exists and  consistently indicates positive                                                                 
outcomes when SEL  is taught and learned.   He complimented SEL                                                                 
programs  currently  incorporated  into  districts  in  Mat-Su,                                                                 
Anchorage,  and Juneau,  with  success.   He  recalled previous                                                                 
testimony  from Anchorage  School  District  (ASD) staff  which                                                                 
detailed "pockets of excellence" emerging in discrete settings.                                                                 
He recalled that ASD incorporated district standards for SEL to                                                                 
replicate pockets of  excellence throughout the  district.  Mr.                                                                 
Hopkins concluded that  the statewide standards  proposed in HB                                                                 
136 would apply to  all schools and proposed that more positive                                                                 
student outcomes would be achieved as  a result.  He emphasized                                                                 
that culturally relevant SEL should be considered.                                                                              
8:23:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS again  referenced the study  included in                                                                 
the committee packet, conducted by the Yale Center for Emotional                                                                
Intelligence, entitled "Transforming Students' Lives with Social                                                                
and Emotional Learning," which exemplified Promoting Alternative                                                                
Thinking Strategies (PATHS)  as an example  of SEL methodology,                                                                 
among others.   He concluded by recalling the  summation at the                                                                 
end of the Yale study, "keeping SEL separate from academics is a                                                                
disservice to educators, students, and families.   The time has                                                                 
come to  ensure that all children and  adults develop skills to                                                                 
maximize  their full  potential    academically,  socially, and                                                                 
emotionally."  He  spoke about ongoing efforts for professional                                                                 
development and  emphasized  that SEL  is  most  effective when                                                                 
incorporated throughout all academic areas.  He offered that the                                                                
committee consider an  unattributed quote:  "If  a child cannot                                                                 
read, we teach him to read.  If a child does not know how to do                                                                 
a math problem, we  teach that child how to  do a math problem.                                                                 
If a child does not know how to behave, we punish him."                                                                         
8:26:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  inquired whether  this bill  is  the first                                                                 
instance of  implementing a measurable standard.   He expressed                                                                 
concern whether  a standard would  be the  appropriate means or                                                                 
whether to allow work that is already taking place to continue.                                                                 
8:28:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS answered  that  SEL  standards are  not                                                                 
measurable quantitatively; rather, qualitatively as outlined in                                                                 
the Mat-Su standards included in the committee packet.  He noted                                                                
that  Mat-Su standards consist  of objectives,  activities, and                                                                 
examples; individual schools and districts would retain autonomy                                                                
in how they meet those standards.                                                                                               
8:29:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  provided  an example  of  the  standard of                                                                 
measurement of air quality, which he explained was contentious.                                                                 
8:30:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  noted that  math, science,  and reading                                                                 
standards exist  in  Alaska, and  that SEL  standards  would be                                                                 
developed in a manner that is not prescriptive.                                                                                 
8:30:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  postulated  that  increased  skills  in  self-                                                                 
regulation - including  regulating fear, anger, and  loss - may                                                                 
result in  a decrease in  domestic violence, cases of  Child In                                                                 
Need  of Aid  (ChINA) may  be reduced,  and extolled  the wider                                                                 
benefits  of  restorative practices.    She  asked whether  the                                                                 
University of Alaska (UA)  is teaching SEL to education program                                                                 
students, and whether teaching of SEL is occurring on a national                                                                
level at colleges and universities.  She  asked how many of the                                                                 
53 school districts in Alaska are currently engaged with SEL.                                                                   
8:32:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  indicated  that he  has  not identified                                                                 
whether UA  is  providing instruction on  SEL in  its education                                                                 
program and  has not  aggregated data either from  districts in                                                                 
Alaska  or nationally,  and  he stated  his  intent  to conduct                                                                 
additional research into those three topics.  He suggested that                                                                 
the standards proposed in HB 136 would likely provide a vehicle                                                                 
for  reporting on  the  data that  Representative  Story sought                                                                 
regarding SEL practices in the 53 districts in Alaska.                                                                          
8:34:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY asked whether DEED may understand district level                                                                 
SEL activities, so  that it may be able  to predict the impacts                                                                 
and  increase in workload,  including professional development.                                                                 
She added that implementation would come with direct costs.  She                                                                
said it  seems  that resources are  important for  "making this                                                                 
thing happen," and  there is small fiscal note  attached to the                                                                 
8:35:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   allowed   that   cost  is   a   major                                                                 
consideration, which is "why we stepped back from our bill last                                                                 
year that required school districts to spend a certain amount of                                                                
money on  [creating standards for] social/emotional learning to                                                                 
creating standards and the rationale to exclude the mandate that                                                                
...."   He related that  smaller schools had  opposed that bill                                                                 
because of the  tightness of their budgets; some  of the larger                                                                 
school districts had been okay with it, because they could more                                                                 
easily "shift  money around,"  and "most  of them  were already                                                                 
spending that  one half of  1 percent  of their state  money on                                                                 
social/emotional learning."  He added that the resistance to the                                                                
previous bill has been supplanted by one of support for HB 136.                                                                 
8:36:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY added that  funding to these and other important                                                                 
educational programs should  be maintained and  increased.  She                                                                 
noted that there have been advancements and increased awareness                                                                 
in  brain  science,  and  these  should  be  incorporated  into                                                                 
8:37:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS expressed his agreement.                                                                                 
8:37:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK indicated  that standards such as  math and                                                                 
science are measurable based on  testing.  He asked whether the                                                                 
standards for SEL would  be measured in behavioral outcomes and                                                                 
how that would relate to instruction.                                                                                           
8:38:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS referred to Mat-Su standards as a working                                                                
example  of   how  SEL   measurements  might  be  accomplished,                                                                 
consisting of  a  model of  a set  goal and  reported outcomes,                                                                 
analogous to a student's understanding a multiplication table.                                                                  
8:39:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked  where in the  proposed language this                                                                 
point was made clear.  He suggested a contradiction between the                                                                 
proposed language regarding  "instruction" and student outcomes                                                                 
described.  He questioned adopting regulations as compared with                                                                 
legislating standards as a point  of discussion.  He questioned                                                                 
whether the  proposed legislation would result  in autonomy for                                                                 
districts  in implementing  SEL, including  culturally relevant                                                                 
SEL, and  indicated his  understanding that SEL  was explicitly                                                                 
connected with student outcomes.   He sought further discussion                                                                 
to ensure that the bill would achieve the results as discussed.                                                                 
He suggested the  possibility that the mandate of instructional                                                                 
standards could result in increased autonomy for districts.  He                                                                 
inquired whether SEL would be required.                                                                                         
8:42:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  affirmed  that the  standards would  be                                                                 
required to be adopted.                                                                                                         
8:42:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK asked  to  clarify  whether the  standards                                                                 
should be adopted by each district or by the board.                                                                             
8:42:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS explained that the board would adopt the                                                                 
standards, which  districts would  then  deploy on  a mandatory                                                                 
8:43:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK drew  attention to line  7 of the  bill and                                                                 
indicated that, as drafted, it is  not a clear directive to any                                                                 
entity other  than the  board.   He suggested that  language be                                                                 
included to  direct districts  or other responsible  parties to                                                                 
adhere to a mandate.                                                                                                            
8:44:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS indicated that  he would  follow up with                                                                 
the  board and  DEED to  ascertain their interpretation  of the                                                                 
language,  which   had  been   drafted  in   consultation  with                                                                 
Legislative Legal Services.                                                                                                     
8:44:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  recalled Representative  Tuck's earlier                                                                 
question  about   the  distinction  between  the   mandate  for                                                                 
instruction and  for student outcomes.   He indicated  that his                                                                 
intent in drafting the bill pertained more to student outcomes,                                                                 
and he  would follow  up likewise  with DEED  and the  board to                                                                 
ensure that their interpretation of the proposed legislation as                                                                 
written is the same.                                                                                                            
8:45:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON indicated that outcomes are the goal with                                                                
education in  general,  and that  the wording  of  the language                                                                 
distinguishing instruction versus  outcome should  be carefully                                                                 
considered.  She stated her understanding that many other states                                                                
do not require SEL and suggested that SEL should be implemented                                                                 
on a non-mandatory basis until more is understood.                                                                              
8:46:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  suggested that  students  who  do  not                                                                 
possess the skills  taught in SEL may  be held back  and do not                                                                 
experience success  to their potential.   He allowed  that some                                                                 
states may  not have  mandatory standards in SEL;  however, the                                                                 
states that do experience positive outcomes.                                                                                    
8:47:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY expressed her pride in co-sponsoring the                                                                
bill.     She  emphasized  that  age-appropriate  programs  are                                                                 
necessary.   She cautioned that outcomes mandated  by law might                                                                 
not  be achieved  as intended,  and  the measurements  of those                                                                 
outcomes can  become unwieldy.    She encouraged Representative                                                                 
Hopkins' stated intent of cooperation with DEED and the board in                                                                
order to maintain the focus of the holistic nature of SEL in the                                                                
classroom.  She suggested the analogy of SEL as a "lens" through                                                                
which educators might teach.                                                                                                    
8:50:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS    expressed   his    agreement   with                                                                 
Representative Zulkosky's expressed viewpoint of  the intent of                                                                 
the  proposed  bill  and  agreed  to  continue development  and                                                                 
refinement  of  the  language  to  ensure alignment  with  that                                                                 
8:51:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  inquired as  to  the  number  of  districts                                                                 
currently using SEL.                                                                                                            
8:51:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  stated that  standards may  exist at  a                                                                 
variety of  levels, from individual classrooms,  to schools, to                                                                 
districts; therefore,  the  data is  not easily  compiled.   He                                                                 
suggested that implementation of the proposed bill would lead to                                                                
more transparency in terms of where SEL is used and thereby its                                                                 
efficacy.   He suggested  that an  attempt to obtain  that data                                                                 
would result in granular results due to the variety of standards                                                                
and methods in SEL in a variety of settings.                                                                                    
8:53:34 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:53 to 8:54 a.m.                                                                            
8:54:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND drew attention to fiscal note HB136-EED-SSA-1-                                                                
8:55:05 AM                                                                                                                    
ERIN HARDIN,  Special Assistant/Legislative Liaison,  Office of                                                                 
the Commissioner, Department of  Education & Early Development,                                                                 
explained that  the fiscal note  reflects changes adopted under                                                                 
the CS  before the committee, Version  U.  She  noted that DEED                                                                 
analysis of  HB 136 was completed  using similar methodology as                                                                 
was used for analysis of HB 181.  She listed the itemized fiscal                                                                
considerations for  fiscal  year 2021  (FY 21)  as  $60,000 for                                                                 
travel, $41,000 for services, and $12,000 projected expenditures                                                                
for FY 22 to align best practices in standards development.  She                                                                
explained that FY 21 costs are associated with a contractor that                                                                
would facilitate stakeholder engagement, and FY  22 costs would                                                                 
be  used to  cover  printing and  distribution of  standards to                                                                 
8:57:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked whether  DEED examined development of                                                                 
standards for teaching methods, curriculum, or both.                                                                            
8:58:05 AM                                                                                                                    
TAMERA WAN  WYHE,  Division Director, Innovation  and Education                                                                 
Excellence,  Department  of   Education  &  Early  Development,                                                                 
explained that  the fiscal  note was  based  on the  process of                                                                 
development of  any  set  of standards,  including non-assessed                                                                 
standards.  She added that assessed standards are language arts,                                                                
math, and science.  She suggested that SEL efficacy is maximized                                                                
when the teachers  adopt standards, and that the interpretation                                                                 
of the proposed bill is directed towards instruction and what a                                                                 
teacher does in the classroom.                                                                                                  
9:00:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  inquired  as  to  the  role  of  DEED                                                                 
regarding development of curricula.                                                                                             
9:00:42 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  VAN WYHE  explained the  difference between  standards and                                                                 
curricula:   standards  are what  students need  to  know -  as                                                                 
developed by DEED  - whereas curricula are  tools and resources                                                                 
developed to impart the standards to students - as developed by                                                                 
the districts.                                                                                                                  
9:02:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY asked  what resources are  received and                                                                 
needed by DEED for standards development.                                                                                       
9:02:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE  outlined the standards development process, which                                                                 
in  general  includes   a  contracted  subject  matter  expert,                                                                 
stakeholder  engagement, draft  versions,  multiple stakeholder                                                                 
reviews, and public comment in advance of adoption by the board.                                                                
She emphasized that broad and thorough stakeholder engagement is                                                                
critical to standards development.                                                                                              
9:05:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  suggested  that  concurrent  proposed                                                                 
legislation under HB 136 and  HB 181 being related to education                                                                 
standards could result in "cross-pollination," cost savings, and                                                                
efficiencies,  while  she   underscored  the  uncertainties  of                                                                 
predicting outcomes based  on proposed legislation prior  to it                                                                 
becoming enacted.                                                                                                               
9:07:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE  noted that DEED has  been tracking both bills and                                                                 
allowed that they each  would require similar work to implement                                                                 
once enacted, and DEED has been preparing for the potential that                                                                
both bills  would pass, and  agreed that  efficiencies could be                                                                 
achieved.  She added that HB 136 and HB 181 include fiscal notes                                                                
that would be duplicative should both bills pass.                                                                               
9:08:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  asked for clarification of  the difference                                                                 
between standards and guidelines.                                                                                               
9:08:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE  explained that standards with regard to education                                                                 
reflect what students  are expected to know.   She allowed that                                                                 
the concept  of guidelines, by  definition, accurately reflects                                                                 
the  intent  of  what  educational  standards are  designed  to                                                                 
9:09:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX asked  whether the amounts  detailed in the                                                                 
fiscal note reflect only DEED's direct costs.                                                                                   
9:09:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE confirmed that is correct.                                                                                         
9:09:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX asked whether DEED had  an estimate of what                                                                 
costs stakeholders may be required to bear during the standards                                                                 
development process.                                                                                                            
9:09:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE asked for clarification on who Representative Prax                                                                 
referred to as stakeholders.                                                                                                    
9:09:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  explained that districts would  bear costs                                                                 
during  the  standards   development,  namely  the  time  spent                                                                 
reviewing and  contributing through  the stakeholder engagement                                                                 
9:10:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN  WYHE explained that cost  analysis for districts would                                                                 
vary widely through the standards development and implementation                                                                
phases, and she could  not project an accurate estimate of what                                                                 
those costs might entail.                                                                                                       
9:10:44 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:10 a.m. to 9:11 a.m.                                                                       
9:11:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked  whether non-assessed  standards are                                                                 
9:12:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE confirmed they  are.  She explained that standards                                                                 
in  math  and  language arts  are  very  prescriptive and  that                                                                 
districts may adopt their own; however, they would be similar to                                                                
the state standards when adopted.                                                                                               
9:12:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked whether the proposed legislation would                                                                
result in a non-assessed standard if passed.                                                                                    
9:12:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MS VAN WYHE confirmed that DEED's interpretation of the proposed                                                                
legislation is one that would result in non-assessed standards.                                                                 
9:13:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked   for  further  differentiation  between                                                                 
instruction  and outcomes,  such  as  the  question of  teacher                                                                 
professional development.   She asked  whether DEED coordinates                                                                 
with UA  regarding its behavior  management programs, which she                                                                 
indicated is analogous to  SEL, and what  insight DEED has into                                                                 
the instruction taking place at UA.                                                                                             
9:14:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE explained that DEED does not approve UA coursework.                                                                
She allowed  that SEL  is trending as  important throughout the                                                                 
country.   She cautioned that while  she could not definitively                                                                 
confirm that SEL is included in UA's coursework, she stated her                                                                 
confidence that SEL exists and is being taught.                                                                                 
9:15:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY suggested  that  the  committee  contact UA  to                                                                 
confirm  the  extent to  which  SEL  is  incorporated into  its                                                                 
education  programs.    She  asked DEED  to  confirm  that  the                                                                 
standards in  the proposed legislation would  be implemented in                                                                 
the classroom and not implemented to instructors.                                                                               
9:15:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE acknowledged that the answer to the question posed                                                                 
is  complex  and  explained  that SEL  is  implemented  in  the                                                                 
classroom, in  the manner  that teachers engage  with students.                                                                 
She noted  that SEL is  implemented in a variety  of methods at                                                                 
school, local,  and state  levels throughout  the nation.   She                                                                 
offered that the committee substitute would direct the standards                                                                
to be implemented through  teachers to the students directly in                                                                 
the  classroom, though teacher  professional standards  are not                                                                 
addressed in the bill.                                                                                                          
9:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY asked whether the language in the bill should be                                                                 
changed to replace "instruction" with "learning".                                                                               
9:17:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN WYHE suggested that she confer with colleagues in order                                                                 
to confirm whether a change to the language would be recommended                                                                
by DEED.                                                                                                                        
9:17:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND continued public testimony on  HB 136, [which                                                                 
had been left open from the previous bill hearing on 2/28/20].                                                                  
9:17:44 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID NEES offered  biographical information.  He expressed his                                                                 
appreciation  of  the  change  incorporated  in  the  committee                                                                 
substitute that resulted in the removal of an unfunded mandate,                                                                 
but cautioned that  in communities such as  Boston and Chicago,                                                                 
the  cost has  been estimated  to be  between $20  and  $50 per                                                                 
student   for   the   implementation  of   SEL   training   and                                                                 
administrative support.  He postulated that there would be costs                                                                
within limited resources and  that districts would be compelled                                                                 
to make  decisions to  cut other  programs.  He  recounted that                                                                 
Anchorage and Milwaukee both have  had SEL implemented in their                                                                 
districts for approximately 25-30  years and that  no study has                                                                 
taken place to determine the efficacy of the programs.  He noted                                                                
that studies including Alaska's Education challenge suggest that                                                                
SEL  is   effective;  however,  data  has   not  been  obtained                                                                 
specifically  demonstrating benefit  to  students  and  that  a                                                                 
research component should be  added to measure effectiveness of                                                                 
SEL  under the  proposed  bill.   He  suggested  that the  word                                                                 
"instruction"  in   the  proposed   bill  is   problematic  and                                                                 
recommended that existing standards may provide the framework in                                                                
which  SEL  standards   could  be  included;  however,  teacher                                                                 
certification requirements may  need to  be examined  to ensure                                                                 
proper training.                                                                                                                
9:21:17 AM                                                                                                                    
NATALI JONES, School  Counselor, Kenai Peninsula Borough School                                                                 
District, shared  that  the schools  in which  she  serves are:                                                                 
Nanwalek  School,  Port  Graham  School, Nikolaevsk,  Susan  B.                                                                 
English School, Chapman School, and Homer Flex High School.  She                                                                
expressed appreciation that SEL  is being addressed in proposed                                                                 
legislation, and that teachers have a diversity of skillsets in                                                                 
SEL.   She cautioned that counselors, while  supportive of SEL,                                                                 
would not be  the ideal vehicle to  implement SEL in districts;                                                                 
rather, SEL  skilled teachers and  school culture would  be the                                                                 
appropriate channels.   She suggested  that students exhibiting                                                                 
the behavioral problems that SEL seeks to mitigate can often be                                                                 
handled in the classroom environment through teachers skilled in                                                                
SEL.  She expressed her support of SEL and acknowledged that the                                                                
topic of policymaking for SEL  is a complex undertaking and one                                                                 
of importance to student success.                                                                                               
9:23:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY acknowledged there exists a shortage of                                                                 
school counselors, in some communities to an extreme.  She asked                                                                
Ms.  Jones how  many students  she supports  and what  level of                                                                 
professional support she receives.                                                                                              
9:24:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JONES described the conditions in  her district as having 3                                                                 
itinerant counselors among  43 schools,  each counselor serving                                                                 
approximately 5  schools.   She noted  that the  national model                                                                 
suggests one counselor to 250 students in urban areas, and rural                                                                
areas the  ratio is  one counselor to  125 students due  to the                                                                 
challenges rural logistics impose.   She added that, at current                                                                 
levels, counselors provide services for ten minutes per student                                                                 
per year.                                                                                                                       
9:24:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX asked for  additional information about the                                                                 
schools in which Ms. Jones works.                                                                                               
9:25:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JONES explained that Susan  B. English School is located in                                                                 
Seldovia;  Port Graham  School  and  Nanwalek  School are  both                                                                 
located in  Native villages; Nikolaevsk School is  in a Russian                                                                 
Orthodox village; Homer  Flex High School is  located in Homer;                                                                 
and Chapman School is a middle school located in Anchor Point.                                                                  
9:25:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  asked  whether  there  was   a  need  for                                                                 
culturally different approaches to the work she conducts at each                                                                
9:26:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MS  JONES  suggested  that  local  cultural  customization  and                                                                 
autonomy would be important for effective implementation of SEL.                                                                
9:27:21 AM                                                                                                                    
HERMAN MORGAN testified  in opposition to HB  136 and suggested                                                                 
that other legislative priorities should be established.                                                                        
9:30:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  closed  public  testimony  on  HB  136  and                                                                 
announced that the bill would be held over.                                                                                     
9:30:21 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 9:30 a.m.                                                                                 
9:30:47 AM                                                                                                                    
         HB 260-STATE EDUCATION POLICY: EARLY CHILDHOOD                                                                     
[Contains discussion of HB 181, HB 136, and SB 6.]                                                                              
9:30:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  announced that the  final order  of business                                                                 
would  be HOUSE  BILL NO.  260 "An  Act  relating to  the state                                                                 
education policy."                                                                                                              
9:31:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR,  Alaska State Legislature, presented                                                                 
HB  260  as  prime sponsor  and  offered  her  availability for                                                                 
questions or further discussion of HB 260.                                                                                      
9:31:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND suggested that HB 181, HB 136, and HB 260 are                                                                 
conceptually similar  and would  shape  DEED's approach  to SEL                                                                 
standards and practices and  child development, but they remain                                                                 
separate proposed legislation.                                                                                                  
9:32:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  requested that Representative Tarr  explain the                                                                 
concepts of restorative practices as proposed under HB 260.                                                                     
9:32:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR recalled  work that had  taken place during                                                                 
restorative justice summits and noted that restorative practices                                                                
and SEL fall under a wider umbrella of  trauma-informed approach                                                                
to learning.   She suggested that  HB 260 was  drafted with the                                                                 
intent and  addresses these concepts from  the broader umbrella                                                                 
perspective.  She recalled that Senate Bill 105 [passed into law                                                                
during  the  Thirtieth  Alaska  State  Legislature]  instructed                                                                 
trauma-informed approach to  the Department of  Health & Social                                                                 
Services, whereas HB 260 is instructive to DEED.  She referenced                                                                
AS  14.03.015 and opined  that it  is brief  and lacking.   She                                                                 
emphasized her  belief and experience that  changes proposed to                                                                 
education  policy  should  be  undertaken with  caution  and  a                                                                 
measured  and deliberate  approach to  include  the educational                                                                 
community in the development of policy.                                                                                         
9:34:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR noted that work  has been taking place over                                                                 
the  last four  years  to  shape the  proposed  legislation and                                                                 
include  stakeholder input  from Anchorage,  Fairbanks, Palmer,                                                                 
Wasilla, Valdez, Homer, Sitka, Juneau, Bethel, Chevak, Chignik,                                                                 
and Kwethluk.  She explained that stakeholder feedback revealed                                                                 
a  consensus to  include trauma-informed approach  to education                                                                 
policy,  and  that  local  districts and  schools  deploy  that                                                                 
approach in  SEL, restorative practices,  and other strategies.                                                                 
She recalled previous testimony in which witnesses revealed that                                                                
students experience trauma  and bring  it with them  to school.                                                                 
She explained that HB 260 would serve to orient thinking towards                                                                
trauma-informed approach as compared to a  policy mandate.  She                                                                 
noted that the State  of Alaska conducts a significant level of                                                                 
crisis intervention, and the bill was drafted with the intent of                                                                
9:36:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY proffered that the proposed legislation would be                                                                 
a policy  statement regarding social/emotional learning and the                                                                 
addition of mental health education standards.                                                                                  
9:36:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR indicated that research conducted during the                                                                
formation of HB 260  from a variety of locations throughout the                                                                 
country revealed a desired trend from educators and stakeholders                                                                
wherein policy intent is stated, and SEL and other standards can                                                                
be deployed with local and culturally relevant implementation.                                                                  
9:37:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  noted that SB  6 is  a detailed  bill that                                                                 
contains funding  considerations and, comparatively, HB  260 is                                                                 
intended  to  inform overall  policy  formation  and imparts  a                                                                 
gradual approach to  policy reform.   She indicated her support                                                                 
for SB 6, HB 136, and HB 181 and expressed hope that funds will                                                                 
be  made  available  for  implementation  of  these  and  other                                                                 
legislation which  trend toward  a trauma-informed  approach to                                                                 
9:37:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  restated  the  concept  of  "orienting  our                                                                 
thinking"  as  a suitable  description  of  the  intent of  the                                                                 
proposed language.                                                                                                              
9:37:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX referred  to AS 14.03.015  as consisting of                                                                 
only one  paragraph and  inquired how  adding a  subsection "b"                                                                 
would occur when there exists no subsection "a" currently.                                                                      
9:38:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR explained that this is due to the technical                                                                 
draft requirements as provided by the "revisor of statutes" and,                                                                
if passed, the subsections would appear as intended.                                                                            
9:38:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  opined  that  AS  14.03.015  is  a  broad                                                                 
statement and  asked whether  the intent could  be accomplished                                                                 
without amending statute, to  avoid any unintended consequences                                                                 
that might result.                                                                                                              
9:39:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR indicated  that  the  proposed legislation                                                                 
included stakeholder feedback and reflects the modern classroom                                                                 
environment,  and  the  policy  statement  under  the  proposed                                                                 
legislation would codify the  need to meet the  issues that are                                                                 
confronted in the classroom.                                                                                                    
9:41:33 AM                                                                                                                    
KATIE BOTZ  shared her personal experience of  assault that she                                                                 
endured as a school aged  child.  She explained that the stigma                                                                 
surrounding sexual abuse perpetuated her abuse, and the criminal                                                                
justice  process  that   ensued  interfered  greatly  with  her                                                                 
education.  She indicated that in her job as a school bus driver                                                                
she has noticed and  is sympathetic toward children who may not                                                                 
exhibit outward signs of trauma and abuse.                                                                                      
9:45:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  expressed  his gratitude  for  the courage                                                                 
demonstrated by the public testimony Ms. Botz had provided.                                                                     
9:45:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  closed  public  testimony  on  HB  260  and                                                                 
announced that the bill would be held over.                                                                                     
9:46:02 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:46 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects