Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

03/16/2020 08:30 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:33:09 AM Start
08:34:10 AM Presentation: the State of Alaska K-12 Schools by the Alaska Council of School Administrators
10:02:17 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
Joint with Senate EDC
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
+ Presentation: "The State of Alaska K-12 Schools" TELECONFERENCED
by the Alaska Council of School Administrators
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 16, 2020                                                                                         
                           8:33 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                             
 Senator John Coghill                                                                                                           
 Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                             
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 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                                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                           
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: THE STATE OF ALASKA K-12 SCHOOLS BY THE ALASKA                                                                    
COUNCIL OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LISA SKILES PARADY, Ph.D., Executive Director                                                                                   
Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA)                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Introduced  the presentation  on  State  of                                                             
Alaska K-12 Schools.                                                                                                            
ROBIN JONES, President                                                                                                          
Alaska Council of School Administrators; President                                                                              
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals; Principal                                                                    
Chief Ivan Blunka School                                                                                                        
Southwest Region School District                                                                                                
New Stuyahok, Alaska                                                                                                            
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for the  Alaska  Association  of                                                             
Secondary School Principals.                                                                                                    
ERIC PEDERSON, President                                                                                                        
Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals; Principal                                                                   
Paul Banks Elementary                                                                                                           
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for the  Alaska  Association  of                                                             
Elementary School Principals.                                                                                                   
KAREN MORRISON, President                                                                                                       
Alaska  Association   of  School  Business   Officials  (ALASBO);                                                               
Finance Director                                                                                                                
Petersburg School District                                                                                                      
Petersburg, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for the  Alaska  Association  of                                                             
School Business Officials.                                                                                                      
SAM JORDAN, Grants Administrator and Outreach Coordinator                                                                       
Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN)                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented on  the work  of the  Alaska Staff                                                             
Development Network.                                                                                                            
SHAWN ARNOLD, President                                                                                                         
Alaska Superintendents Association; Superintendent                                                                              
Valdez School District                                                                                                          
Valdez, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  for the  Alaska  Superintendents                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:33:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY called  the joint meeting of the  Senate and House                                                               
Education Standing  Committees to order  at 8:33 a.m.  Present at                                                               
the call to  order were Representatives Hopkins,  Tuck, Prax, and                                                               
Co-Chair  Drummond  and  Senators Coghill,  Hughes,  and  Begich.                                                               
Chair Stevens  and Representatives  Johnson and  Zulkosky arrived                                                               
shortly thereafter.                                                                                                             
^Presentation: The  State of  Alaska K-12  Schools by  the Alaska                                                               
Council of School Administrators                                                                                                
 ^PRESENTATION: THE STATE OF ALASKA K-12 SCHOOLS BY THE ALASKA                                                              
                COUNCIL OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS                                                                            
8:34:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  announced the presentation:  The State  of Alaska                                                               
K-12 Schools by the Alaska Council of School Administrators.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  noted  that the  presentation  would  be  unique                                                               
because the committees, meeting  jointly, are practicing being as                                                               
healthy as  possible and  the guest  presenters will  present via                                                               
teleconferencing. She called on Dr. Parady to testify.                                                                          
8:35:22 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA SKILES PARADY, Ph.D., Executive  Director, Alaska Council of                                                               
School   Administrators   (ACSA),   Juneau,  Alaska,   said   the                                                               
committees would  hear from  Alaska's finest  administrators. The                                                               
mission statement of the Alaska  Council of School Administrators                                                               
is to create  a common voice, advocating for  public education by                                                               
shaping policy and growing leadership capacity across the state.                                                                
8:37:29 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY said  she could not proceed without  talking about the                                                               
coronavirus and  school closures. She explained  that the council                                                               
has  created  a website  with  resources  for members,  including                                                               
links  to  the  Department  of Education  and  Early  Development                                                               
(DEED)  page,  to   try  to  be  a  clearing   house  for  school                                                               
administrators during this time.  The council is working hand-in-                                                               
hand with Commissioner Michael Johnson  and DEED. The council has                                                               
a weekly call with all  superintendents and the commissioner. She                                                               
thanked Commissioner Johnson and his  team for working so closely                                                               
with the  council to keep  everyone updated with  the information                                                               
needed during this crisis.                                                                                                      
8:40:40 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  displayed an  illustration that  showed that  ACSA is                                                               
the   umbrella   organization    that   represents   the   Alaska                                                               
Superintendents  Association, the  Association of  Elementary and                                                               
Secondary  School  Principals,  and  the  Alaska  Association  of                                                               
School  Business  Officials. ACSA  is  a  private nonprofit  that                                                               
supports statewide public education.                                                                                            
8:41:36 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY said  ACSA presents  joint position  statements every                                                               
year  that   prioritize  the  most  important   areas  of  public                                                               
education policy to  advocate for. She introduced  Robin Jones; a                                                               
principal who  has been recognized  in the state for  100 percent                                                               
retention of teachers in one of the state's most rural areas.                                                                   
8:42:34 AM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN JONES, President, Alaska  Council of School Administrators,                                                               
President,  Alaska Association  of  Secondary School  Principals,                                                               
Principal,  Chief Ivan  Blunka  School,  Southwest Region  School                                                               
District, New Stuyahok,  Alaska, said she was born  and raised in                                                               
Anchorage, but  for 11 years  she has  been in rural  Alaska. She                                                               
cautioned that  she wrote  her testimony  before any  real threat                                                               
from  the  coronavirus   and  hopes  that  it   does  not  appear                                                               
insensitive. She  noted that  she changed her  plans in  the last                                                               
few  days  to   return  to  support  her   students,  staff,  and                                                               
8:44:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  JONES stated  that as  president  of the  Alaska Council  of                                                               
School Administrators she has the  opportunity to create a vision                                                               
and  guide  the  council.  This   year  her  theme  is  "creating                                                               
meaningful connections through unity in leadership                                                                              
8:44:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JONES  said she has been  in the same school  district for 11                                                               
years  as   school  counselor,   assistant  principal,   and  now                                                               
principal. She  realized early  on that to  make a  difference in                                                               
the life of her students she  had to first immerse herself in the                                                               
community and then help her staff connect in the same way.                                                                      
8:45:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  JONES related  that a  recent report  from the  Pew Research                                                               
Center identified principals  as the most trusted  leaders in the                                                               
country's  most prominent  institutions. This  public trust  puts                                                               
principals in  a better  position to  advocate for  all students.                                                               
However, with a 38 percent turnover  rate for principals and a 36                                                               
percent turnover  rate for teachers  in rural, remote  Alaska has                                                               
caused  communities  to  develop  a deep  sense  of  mistrust  in                                                               
schools, principals, and teachers,  which makes teacher retention                                                               
efforts more important than ever.                                                                                               
8:46:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JONES  said principals affect student  learning through their                                                               
influence over schools, support of  staff, and work to maintain a                                                               
positive culture  and climate. Research shows  that a principal's                                                               
ability   to   create   positive   working   conditions   and   a                                                               
collaborative, supportive  learning environment plays  a critical                                                               
role  in attracting  and retaining  qualified teachers.  Teachers                                                               
cite principal  support as one  of the most important  factors in                                                               
their decision  to stay at  a school  or in the  profession. When                                                               
principals leave,  teachers' view of their  schools and classroom                                                               
conditions  are  less  favorable.   When  principal  turnover  is                                                               
frequent, teachers and  the community are less  likely to support                                                               
the new leader. Principal turnover  can derail school improvement                                                               
initiatives  and  result in  higher  teacher  turnover, which  is                                                               
related  to lower  student achievement.  ACSA  and its  affiliate                                                               
association have  joined forces  to improve retention  across the                                                               
8:48:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JONES  said that when she  first became a principal,  she had                                                               
access  to  a  rural  Alaska principal  preparation  and  support                                                               
program  and the  Alaska  administrator  coaching project.  Those                                                               
programs have long  been cut due to funding,  but the partnership                                                               
of  ACSA,  the  Alaska  Staff   Development  Network,  DEED,  the                                                               
Anchorage School  District, the  principal associations,  and the                                                               
University  of  Alaska Southeast  have  been  able to  offer  the                                                               
Alaska School  Leadership Academy  (ASLA), which  provides early-                                                               
career principals with  a mentor and a collegial  cohort. She has                                                               
been a  mentor coach to  six new  principals. The second  year of                                                               
ASLA is  just finishing.  It has  provided limitless  benefits to                                                               
principals, staff, and students across the state.                                                                               
8:50:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  asked when  and how outreach  happens when  a new                                                               
principal is hired.                                                                                                             
8:51:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  JONES explained  that first-  and second-year  principals go                                                               
through a  fairly simple identification and  application process.                                                               
They  are asked  if they  are willing  to commit  to the  program                                                               
through the year, which includes  several in-person trainings and                                                               
a lot of distance delivery work.  There is also a narrative about                                                               
how they would take that training back to their schools.                                                                        
8:51:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES  asked  if the  leadership  academy  is  tracking                                                               
whether turnover is reduced if a new principal is mentored.                                                                     
8:52:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  JONES  replied  the  ASCA  is tracking  that  data  and  she                                                               
believes they could provide it.                                                                                                 
8:53:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JONES said  stable leadership matters. She  made a commitment                                                               
to be  consistent for students,  staff, and community  year after                                                               
year.  She has  guided people  to  be deeply  connected to  their                                                               
work, community, and each other.  At the school level, principals                                                               
are  the second  most  important factor  associated with  student                                                               
achievement, right  after teachers.  The average cost  of teacher                                                               
turnover  is $20,000  as opposed  to $75,000  for each  principal                                                               
turnover.  Her site  has had  many  years of  nearly 100  percent                                                               
retention.  But   instead  of  investing  in   these  exceptional                                                               
teachers and principals to combat  this alarming turnover, public                                                               
education is continually on the chopping block.                                                                                 
8:54:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  JONES said  staff  members function  as counselors,  nurses,                                                               
social  workers,  law  enforcement   agents,  and  mental  health                                                               
providers for students  with some of the highest  rates of trauma                                                               
and  Adverse   Childhood  Experiences.  These   communities  lack                                                               
adequate  public safety  supports  and health  services. Each  of                                                               
these teachers  go above and  beyond for these children  each day                                                               
with  limited  resources  and  training  to  be  everything.  One                                                               
hundred percent  of her certified staff,  including herself, fall                                                               
into  the  Tier  III   defined  contributions  retirement  system                                                               
without  access to  Social Security  or safety  in their  future.                                                               
Many rural  Alaska leaders  model what  has been  accomplished in                                                               
New Stuyahok. However, until education  funding is prioritized, a                                                               
more competitive retirement system  is adopted, and school safety                                                               
measures  are adopted,  including social,  emotional, and  mental                                                               
health  supports, the  students and  communities will  suffer the                                                               
most. She  urged the  committee to  support any  legislation that                                                               
helps  to create  these meaningful  connections through  unity in                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS called on Eric Pederson.                                                                                          
8:56:42 AM                                                                                                                    
ERIC  PEDERSON,  President,   Alaska  Association  of  Elementary                                                               
School  Principals,  Principal,  Paul  Banks  Elementary,  Homer,                                                               
Alaska, said he  has been the president of  Paul Banks Elementary                                                               
for  seven years.  He has  three  children in  the public  school                                                               
system. He  noted that  he prepared his  testimony over  the last                                                               
few months.  His thoughts are with  his community in Homer  as it                                                               
deals with this changing situation.                                                                                             
8:57:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PEDERSON said  he wanted  to  address the  current state  of                                                               
education  as an  elementary  principal. In  the  past he  always                                                               
spoke of staffing  uncertainty due to funding. This  is the first                                                               
year in a  long time that this  was not the case.  He thanked the                                                               
legislators  for allowing  his  district to  capitalize on  early                                                               
staffing  and  budgeting. It  has  had  a  direct effect  on  his                                                               
building, community, and most importantly,  on the future success                                                               
of his students. Timely and  reliable funding of education is the                                                               
most important topic in the budget discussion.                                                                                  
8:58:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PEDERSON said  the ACSA  joint  position statement  supports                                                               
early  childhood   education.  Paul   Banks  has   two  preschool                                                               
programs; one is  for students with special needs  and the second                                                               
is a Title  I program. Each year  the 20 students in  the Title I                                                               
pre-K program are the leaders  in kindergarten, both academically                                                               
and   socially.  This   is  confirmed   by   research  on   early                                                               
intervention and instruction.                                                                                                   
8:59:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PEDERSON  said cost-benefit  analysis shows  positive returns                                                               
for early  childhood programs. All  Alaskan children  deserve the                                                               
opportunity to  attend preschool. He thanked  the legislature and                                                               
governor  for looking  at ways  to make  this a  reality for  all                                                               
students. He also applauded the  committee for shining a light on                                                               
early  literacy acquisition.  It is  a major  building block  for                                                               
student success and confidence.                                                                                                 
9:00:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PEDERSON said that in his  19 years of education in Alaska, a                                                               
disturbing  trend  is  the  increase  of  students  with  adverse                                                               
childhood  experiences (ACEs).  The opioid  crisis plays  a large                                                               
role in the data about ACEs.  Schools are serving the children of                                                               
this drug  epidemic. Many schools  do not have counselors  and it                                                               
falls upon teachers to provide  support. This year, the number of                                                               
Office  of  Children  Services reports  and  homeless  rates  are                                                               
increasing in all districts.                                                                                                    
9:01:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PEDERSON  noted that Dr.  Linda Chamberlain, one  of Alaska's                                                               
foremost experts on  childhood trauma, said there is  no point in                                                               
talking about trauma unless something  can be done about it, such                                                               
as  teaching resiliency  skills  that benefit  every child.  Next                                                               
year,  the Kenai  Peninsula Borough  School  District is  funding                                                               
school counselors to help students who experience ACEs.                                                                         
9:02:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PEDERSON  said the single most  important contributing factor                                                               
to  student achievement  is a  quality teacher.  The second  most                                                               
important  factor  is  a quality  principal.  Every  October  his                                                               
organization  provides the  principals' conference  that provides                                                               
national caliber professional development.                                                                                      
9:04:06 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
9:04:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS introduced Karen Morrison.                                                                                        
9:04:19 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN MORRISON, President, Alaska  Association of School Business                                                               
Officials   (ALASBO),   Finance   Director,   Petersburg   School                                                               
District,  Petersburg,  Alaska, said  she  has  been the  finance                                                               
director for the Petersburg School District since 2011.                                                                         
9:05:04 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
9:05:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS reconvened the meeting.                                                                                           
9:05:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MORRISON  said the  mission  of  ALASBO  is to  promote  the                                                               
highest standards in school business  practices. Its vision is to                                                               
educate stakeholders  in the effective  use of resources  for the                                                               
benefit of Alaska's children.                                                                                                   
9:06:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MORRISON  said   that  for  FY  2020,   the  total  budgeted                                                               
expenditures for  all Alaska school  districts is just  over $2.1                                                               
billion.  Districts spend  about 76  percent of  their budget  on                                                               
instructional  costs and  an  average of  24  percent on  support                                                               
functions.  The U.S.  Census  Bureau has  a  different method  of                                                               
calculating education  costs. It calculates that  for 2017 Alaska                                                               
spent   53.3  percent   on  instructional   costs.  The   average                                                               
instructional  cost  for all  states  in  2017 according  to  the                                                               
Census Bureau is  61 percent. In Alaska, DEED's  Uniform Chart of                                                               
Accounts provides standardization for  districts to develop their                                                               
budgets.  It  also  provides  a   framework  for  compliance  and                                                               
comparability. The  definition of  instruction funding  in Alaska                                                               
is  based on  function  codes  100 through  400.  Prior to  2016,                                                               
public school  districts were mandated  to allocate a  minimum of                                                               
70  percent  of their  budgets  for  direct student  instruction.                                                               
While this requirement  is no longer in  statute, districts still                                                               
work  to ensure  that  at  least 70  percent  is  still spent  on                                                               
instructional costs.                                                                                                            
9:08:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MORRISON  displayed a slide  to show the  instructional costs                                                               
included in the  U.S. Census calculations vs.  the costs included                                                               
in Alaska's calculations.                                                                                                       
9:09:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MORRISON said  costs are higher in Alaska.  The CPI increased                                                               
by 17.2  percent from  2011 to 2019.  Alaska's health  care costs                                                               
are the most  expensive in the nation. This  directly affects the                                                               
high  cost of  worker's  compensation. Alaska  has higher  energy                                                               
costs,  which impacts  districts  differently  due to  geographic                                                               
MS. MORRISON said Alaskans pay  their teachers a fair salary, but                                                               
the state's  competitiveness is eroding.  In 2018,  Alaska ranked                                                               
25th in  the nation with  teacher salaries adjusted for  the cost                                                               
of living.                                                                                                                      
MS. MORRISON said  shipping and transportation costs  are high in                                                               
Alaska.  It  is the  most  geographically  diverse state  in  the                                                               
nation. The  additional cost of  operations in Alaska due  to the                                                               
coronavirus is unknown.                                                                                                         
9:11:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MORRISON said the base student  allocation (BSA) for FY 20 is                                                               
$5,930.  That  is a  4.4  percent  increase  from 2011  to  2020,                                                               
although  the funding  has been  flat since  2017. Districts  are                                                               
grateful  for   the  funding  that   has  occurred   outside  the                                                               
foundation formula,  but districts are still  challenged with how                                                               
to  financially plan  for the  short-term  and long-term  without                                                               
predictable and reliable funding.  The BSA adjusted for inflation                                                               
in FY20 would  be $6,451. The modest increase proposed  in HB 236                                                               
is greatly needed.                                                                                                              
CHAIR STEVENS called on Mr. Jordan.                                                                                             
9:12:31 AM                                                                                                                    
SAM  JORDAN,  Grants   Administrator  and  Outreach  Coordinator,                                                               
Alaska Staff Development Network  (ASDN), Juneau, Alaska, said he                                                               
has been an  educator for 19 years. ASDN is  a private, nonprofit                                                               
organization  that  has been  in  existence  for over  35  years.                                                               
Outside  of school  districts, ASDN  is the  largest provider  of                                                               
education professional development in the state.                                                                                
9:13:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JORDAN  said the  mission  of  ASDN  is to  provide  Alaskan                                                               
educators   with  multiple   pathways  to   refine  instructional                                                               
practice  and  maintain  certification.  ASDN  has  responded  to                                                               
tightened   budgets   and    fewer   travel   opportunities   for                                                               
professional  development with  online  classes.  ASDN has  5,000                                                               
overall registrations  annually and  serves over  2,000 educators                                                               
with  online classes.  ASDN hosts  the largest  Alaskan education                                                               
conference. One in 10 educators  attends the annual RTI (Response                                                               
to Intervention) Conference. ASDN  brings national experts to the                                                               
9:16:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JORDAN  shared that  a  national  expert on  trauma-informed                                                               
schools, Ricky  Robertson, spent time at  the conference learning                                                               
about  the  landscape  of  trauma in  Alaska's  schools.  He  was                                                               
alarmed by  the level  of trauma students  were dealing  with and                                                               
the impact of  that trauma on educators.  The presenters continue                                                               
to  work  with  Alaska  educators  through  online  classes.  Mr.                                                               
Robertson has 180 educators enrolled in his course.                                                                             
9:17:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JORDAN  reviewed the Alaska  School Leadership  Institute and                                                               
noted  that ASDN  is the  lead professional  learning partner  in                                                               
four  federal  grants. ASDN  partners  with  the Lower  Kuskokwim                                                               
School  District/Bering Strait  School District  for the  federal                                                               
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness  and Readiness for Undergraduate                                                               
Programs)  grant.  He  reviewed   the  Alaska  School  Leadership                                                               
Academy, which will graduate its  first cohort this May and begin                                                               
recruiting next month.                                                                                                          
9:20:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JORDAN said  ASDN  is leading  the  advancement of  computer                                                               
instruction in  Alaska as the  regional partner with  Code.org to                                                               
empower  teachers to  teach  coding. This  year  ASDN offered  40                                                               
professional development trainings to over 580 educators.                                                                       
9:21:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.   JORDAN  described   the  Statewide   Professional  Learning                                                               
Network, which addresses the need  for educators to be connected.                                                               
The AkPLN online platform is  more relevant with COVID-19. It has                                                               
1,500 registered users and can be  used in a variety of ways. His                                                               
passion  project  is  Our Alaskan  Schools  blog.  It  highlights                                                               
positive things happening in schools.                                                                                           
9:24:17 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
9:25:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS reconvened the meeting.                                                                                           
9:25:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SHAWN  ARNOLD,  President,  Alaska  Superintendents  Association,                                                               
Superintendent, Valdez  School District, Valdez, Alaska,  said he                                                               
first came  to Alaska in 1994  with the military. After  10 years                                                               
he  left active  duty for  a career  in education.  He previously                                                               
served  as superintendent  in Nome  for four  years. This  is his                                                               
second year in Valdez.                                                                                                          
9:26:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ARNOLD  said  districts  must  have  timely,  reliable,  and                                                               
predictable revenue. School  districts cannot operate efficiently                                                               
and effectively without knowing what their revenue will be.                                                                     
9:26:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD  said it is almost  April and in four  months teachers                                                               
and  students will  return for  the 2020-2021  school year.  As a                                                               
school superintendent, he wants to  be able to provide a globally                                                               
competitive   education  that   will   enable   students  to   be                                                               
successful. The  only problem is  that he probably will  not know                                                               
what his district funding will  be until summer. Despite that, he                                                               
must turn in  a balanced budget to his local  municipality by May                                                               
1  and he  must hire  teachers. The  value of  predictability for                                                               
Alaska's school  districts cannot be overstated.  It takes months                                                               
during  the school  year  to  comprehensively evaluate  spending,                                                               
reflect on  progress, and  develop new budgets  and then  wait on                                                               
word  from legislators  to finalize  local budgets.  If districts                                                               
are expected  to spend responsibly,  they must be given  the time                                                               
to  plan accordingly.  Early notification  of funding  is crucial                                                               
for sound  financial management, as  well as for  recruitment and                                                               
retention   of    quality   educators.    Stabilizing   districts                                                               
budgetarily will improve student achievement.                                                                                   
9:27:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD  said high  superintendent turnover  is an  issue that                                                               
plagues the state, not just  individual school systems. He showed                                                               
a  slide   titled  K-12  Instability  Equation   with  photos  of                                                               
superintendents  from  five years  ago.  The  x's on  the  photos                                                               
indicate superintendents  who are no  longer there. If  the state                                                               
wants  to turn  the tide  on superintendent  turnover, the  state                                                               
must adopt a rational mindset.  Superintendents and school boards                                                               
must work  together to create  synergy among all  stakeholders in                                                               
the system. School leaders cannot  take credit for singlehandedly                                                               
improving  student outcomes  any more  than these  administrators                                                               
can blame themselves for poor test  scores, but it can create the                                                               
conditions to  coalesce school  communities and  transform school                                                               
systems.  Teamwork  is  at  the  heart  of  school  systems,  but                                                               
superintendents  undeniably have  a role  in creating  conditions                                                               
that   matter   for   students.  School   districts   reel   when                                                               
superintendents leave  after only  one year.  Superintendents are                                                               
not afraid  of accountability and  want to work across  the state                                                               
for solutions.                                                                                                                  
9:29:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD  said the state  has teacher shortages  throughout the                                                               
system.  At the  beginning of  the  year, there  were 63  special                                                               
education teacher vacancies. These are  for the students who have                                                               
the greatest needs. College special  education enrollment is down                                                               
while needs are going up.                                                                                                       
9:30:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD  presented Zogby  polling data  to show  that Alaskans                                                               
support public education.                                                                                                       
9:31:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ARNOLD  said the Superintendents Association  is committed to                                                               
providing  support  for  superintendents  in  transition  through                                                               
professional development in their first  two years on the job and                                                               
mentors. The  association does this  as a private  nonprofit with                                                               
no outside funding.                                                                                                             
9:32:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked Dr. Parady for any wrap-up comments.                                                                        
9:32:38 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  said she  was available to  answer any  questions and                                                               
her  association would  be  happy to  be  a resource,  especially                                                               
considering the present circumstances.                                                                                          
9:33:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS asked  Karen  Morrison  about instructional  costs                                                               
because  the ALASBO  comparisons  do not  seem  to be  apples-to-                                                               
apples. He asked what an apples-to-apples comparison would be.                                                                  
9:34:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MORRISON  replied she  didn't  have  one because  there  are                                                               
inconsistencies from  state to  state about  what is  included in                                                               
instructional  costs.  She  said she  included  this  information                                                               
because there  are still  questions about  the comparison  of the                                                               
state of Alaska vs. the U.S. Census Bureau.                                                                                     
9:34:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS suggested  that  she  help legislators  understand                                                               
that in the future.                                                                                                             
9:34:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK related that  the Alaska Leadership Institute                                                               
will be  held at the downtown  Hilton Hotel and he  hoped that in                                                               
the future  Mr. Jordan  could pick  a hotel  that is  more worker                                                               
9:35:20 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES responded to Senator  Stevens' comment on the U.S.                                                               
Census  Bureau. She  said it  is an  apples-to-apples comparison;                                                               
ALASBO  includes some  things in  instructional  costs while  the                                                               
U.S. Census  Bureau includes  the same costs  for all  50 states.                                                               
She reported that the states'  average for instructional spending                                                               
is  61 percent.,  but the  Alaska average  is only  53.3 percent.                                                               
Although  costs for  health care  and  worker's compensation  are                                                               
high, Alaska still  needs to focus on how to  get more dollars in                                                               
the  classroom.  Regarding  the  comment  about  how  the  public                                                               
supports increased funding for education,  she was sure if asked,                                                               
that the public  would support more dollars in  the classroom but                                                               
would not likely support more funding for school administration.                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES said she hoped to  hear from the Council of School                                                               
Administrators about  what the  state can  do to  improve student                                                               
outcomes and  scores, but she has  not heard it. She  pointed out                                                               
that Senator  Begich introduced SB 6,  but it seems a  shame that                                                               
policy makers  must put a  reading bill forward.  An organization                                                               
like this  should be working on  what the state needs  to do. Her                                                               
concern is that legislators should not  have to put it in a bill.                                                               
Educators should be doing it.  She listened to whole presentation                                                               
with  excellent presenters  and great  slides, but  she found  it                                                               
lacked any focus  on students and student learning.  She said she                                                               
would like  this association to  take greater  responsibility for                                                               
that. One of  the presenters said superintendents  are not afraid                                                               
of accountability,  yet this association is  resisting any strong                                                               
promotion/retention policy  in that legislation, even  though the                                                               
data is clear that that  will improve student outcomes. She would                                                               
ask  the association,  if  it does  this  presentation again,  to                                                               
focus on  student outcomes and  what the association is  doing to                                                               
turn the tide.                                                                                                                  
9:39:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS commented  that she made some  excellent points. He                                                               
said he is still hearing from  people in education who say that a                                                               
reading  program  is  an  unfunded mandate.  "We  put  a  billion                                                               
dollars  into education.  How  can  you say  that  reading is  an                                                               
unfunded  mandate? That's  why we  have any  money in  education,                                                               
primarily for reading skills.                                                                                                   
9:40:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND said  she  takes issue  with  the U.S.  Census                                                               
Bureau parsing  budgets when  their job is  to count  people. She                                                               
questioned  why  the  figures  are   not  coming  from  the  U.S.                                                               
Department  of  Education  working   with  state  departments  of                                                               
education  and perhaps  the  Department of  Labor.  She said  she                                                               
understands the  costs of delivering  education and the  costs of                                                               
building, operating,  and maintaining school buildings.  In rural                                                               
Alaska those costs  are tremendous and cannot be  compared to the                                                               
rest of the states.                                                                                                             
9:41:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS said he appreciates her comments.                                                                                 
9:41:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  said  the DEED  commissioner  has  been                                                               
straightforward in saying that one  metric cannot measure student                                                               
success.  As legislators  consider  what Representative  Drummond                                                               
said and  look at  schools holistically,  there are  many factors                                                               
that may  or may not  be contributing  to success in  Alaska. The                                                               
ACSA presentation focused on all  of the considerations that have                                                               
to be  made as  the state moves  forward, understanding  that not                                                               
all schools, not  all school districts, not  all communities have                                                               
the  same  starting  line.  This  presentation  gave  a  thorough                                                               
analysis of  all considerations that  policy makers need  to make                                                               
as  the  districts  put  forward   policies  to  improve  student                                                               
outcomes across the  state. She asked Dr. Parady to  speak to the                                                               
intention  of  providing  this information  today  and  how  they                                                               
relate to student outcomes.                                                                                                     
9:43:10 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  said  she  wanted  to  reaffirm  that  every  school                                                               
administrator  is 100  percent focused  on  student needs,  which                                                               
includes  student   outcomes.  She  said  she   agrees  with  the                                                               
reference  to  Commissioner  Johnson's statement  that  measuring                                                               
student success  by one  metric falls short  of the  big picture.                                                               
She explained that  the presentation was designed  to indicate it                                                               
is not unidimensional.  Of course, ACSA prioritizes  its focus on                                                               
academics, but it  would be na?ve and ill-advised to  say that it                                                               
is a unidimensional picture. It is multidimensional she said.                                                                   
DR  PARADY  said the  presentation  was  focused on  sharing  the                                                               
reality of  what is happening  in the field. Teachers  and school                                                               
administrators cannot  penetrate a child's learning  if the child                                                               
is suffering from ACEs, is hungry,  or has abuse in the home. She                                                               
said this  is not  an excuse but  represents reality.  Mr. Jordan                                                               
spoke  to an  expert  on trauma  at the  RTI  Conference who  was                                                               
alarmed when  he was  debriefed about the  level and  severity of                                                               
student trauma that teachers must  contend with. While it easy to                                                               
state that  scores are not high  enough, it is more  realistic to                                                               
state that in  order to address scores in Alaska,  the state must                                                               
address other factors impacting students' ability to learn.                                                                     
DR.  PARADY  said  this  also  includes  the  crisis  in  teacher                                                               
turnover. The  Northwest Regional Educational Lab  research shows                                                               
that Alaska  has 36 percent  turnover of teachers and  38 percent                                                               
turnover of principals each year.  It almost does not matter what                                                               
program  is given  to a  rural,  remote school  because of  these                                                               
turnover rates. All these things  need to be addressed in concert                                                               
to move the  needle forward. Mr. Pederson agreed  that reading by                                                               
third grade is critical but it is affected by these issues.                                                                     
DR. PARADY  said she  has heard many  positives about  the Alaska                                                               
Reads  Act,  but   the  main  hesitation  has   been  on  student                                                               
retention. Dr.  John Hattie    international research  shows that                                                               
retention  of   children  has  negative  consequences,   akin  to                                                               
corporal punishment for students. Any  resistance to that part of                                                               
SB  6 is  related to  student well-being  and the  recognition by                                                               
educators across the state that retention hurts kids.                                                                           
9:47:29 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.   PARADY  said   school   administrators  support   universal                                                               
preschool  100 percent  and largely  support and  feel optimistic                                                               
about the  bill. All the pieces  must be taken together  to shift                                                               
the terrain in Alaska. Each  administrator today focused on their                                                               
reality  in  the field.  In  terms  of apples-to-apples,  the  76                                                               
percent figure  cited for instructional  costs is higher  in most                                                               
of the  larger school  districts. ACSA will  work with  ALASBO to                                                               
provide  an  apples-to-apples  comparison with  the  U.S.  Census                                                               
Bureau. She said she agrees  with Representative Drummond that it                                                               
should be  coming from  another source. ACSA  will verify  that a                                                               
high proportion  of dollars goes into  instruction across Alaska.                                                               
ACSA is leading  in accountability across the state  not only for                                                               
student  outcomes but  considering the  whole child  and ensuring                                                               
student safety. For example,  administrators are working overtime                                                               
to keep  students and  schools safe in  the most  recent COVID-19                                                               
outbreak. Administrators  will be  leaders in the  communities to                                                               
help do that, she said.                                                                                                         
9:49:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  said she  appreciates  what  Mr. Jordan  said                                                               
about the impact of trauma on  students, as well as educators. It                                                               
reminded  her that  reading is  not  the only  thing schools  are                                                               
doing.  House  Education has  heard  bills  this year  on  mental                                                               
health curriculum, on  social and emotional learning,  as well as                                                               
on literacy. The  committee is working on a bill  to increase the                                                               
BSA. The  House has passed resolutions  on the impact of  ACEs on                                                               
citizens. Under  Governor Walker,  the state  held a  summit with                                                               
all state agencies on trauma  as it impacts state employees, such                                                               
as OCS workers  who have to deal with  dysfunctional families and                                                               
public  safety workers  who  have to  enter  homes where  extreme                                                               
domestic violence or murders have  occurred. The state has to pay                                                               
attention  to that  as it  impacts everyone  and costs  a lot  of                                                               
money. She  said she is  pleased that the  administrators pointed                                                               
out that trauma impacts students  and educators and everyone else                                                               
in the  state. The uncertainty  of budgets must be  traumatic for                                                               
people  trying to  plan their  near futures.  The state  has lost                                                               
dozens, if not hundreds, of  teachers to other states because the                                                               
state is not funding education sufficiently.                                                                                    
9:51:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  thanked everyone  for the information.  She asked                                                               
for some follow-up information about  changes to districts' fixed                                                               
costs in  the last  two years for  things like  energy, workmans                                                                
compensation,  and   health  care.  Legislators  need   a  better                                                               
education  funding  policy.  Their   method  of  providing  money                                                               
outside  of the  formula funding  needs  to be  looked at.  House                                                               
Education saw a  chart showing 19 years of funding.  In 18 years,                                                               
the  state has  done a  BSA  increase or  done one-time  funding.                                                               
Uncertain  funding   is  well  documented.  She   asked  why  the                                                               
legislature  puts districts  in the  position of  having to  wait                                                               
until the end  of the year to plan. The  legislature is not doing                                                               
a good  job with a funding  policy. She said she  understands why                                                               
the  Supreme Court  said the  legislature can  fund two  years of                                                               
education  funding, which  is critical  for staff  stability. She                                                               
would  like another  presentation about  reading curriculum.  She                                                               
said she  would like  to know what  districts are  using science-                                                               
based  curriculum with  the five  criteria for  teaching reading.                                                               
She   said  she   is  excited   about  the   Alaska  Reads   Act.                                                               
Interventions are critically important,  but the legislature must                                                               
be   confident  that   all   teachers   have  good   professional                                                               
development in  reading and are using  evidence-based curriculum.                                                               
She  would appreciate  a  session  on that.  She  added that  she                                                               
appreciated the work  on coding. She would like to  know how many                                                               
districts are  offering that  program to  middle and  high school                                                               
students, even elementary students.  She commended the presenters                                                               
for their dedication to students and staff.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  said  he  was  contemplating  the  idea  of                                                               
apples-to-oranges.  He asked  if all  the states  can fit  into a                                                               
national accounting standard since  it seems similar to comparing                                                               
urban to rural schools in Alaska.                                                                                               
9:57:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  said  that  is  a question  for  ACSA  since  the                                                               
committee would like to see a breakdown of that information.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  said the  real question is  if the  state is                                                               
meeting the  needs of each  individual region. He  suggested that                                                               
each region might  not need the same degree  of computer science,                                                               
for example.                                                                                                                    
9:58:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  D.  JOHNSON  pointed  out that  the  U.S.  Census                                                               
determines  a lot  of the  funding  regarding special  education,                                                               
technology, Head  Start and afterschool programs.  The bureau has                                                               
a responsibility  to put forward apples-to-apples  types of data,                                                               
so  legislators should  not discount  it. It  is a  helpful tool.                                                               
ACSA specifically  disagrees with retention, although  many high-                                                               
performing schools  across the country  have a  retention policy.                                                               
She said the  state is looking for ways to  increase reading, and                                                               
according to  some statistics retention  is important  to success                                                               
of a  reading program. She  expressed interest in  obtaining more                                                               
information about the mix up in data.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE D. JOHNSON said she  is hearing the concerns about                                                               
consistency  of   funding,  which  is  critical   for  districts.                                                               
However,  the legislature  is often  presented with  problems and                                                               
the answer  is more  funding. She  would like  to hear  how these                                                               
problems will be fixed and the funding necessary to do so.                                                                      
10:00:52 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES said research shows  that the more dollars that go                                                               
into  the classroom,  the better  the  student outcomes.  Keeping                                                               
that in mind, the census data  is important because Alaska is the                                                               
worst  in   the  country   according  to   that  apples-to-apples                                                               
comparison. Regarding  retention, there  is recent  research from                                                               
Harvard  and   the  University  of  Chicago   showing  that  with                                                               
comprehensive reading  intervention programs,  like the  ones the                                                               
legislature is  looking at, student  GPAs go up and  students who                                                               
repeat a grade  with a different type of instruction  catch up to                                                               
10:02:17 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the committees,                                                                  
Chair Stevens adjourned the joint meeting of the House and                                                                      
Senate Education Committees at 10:02 a.m.                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Final ACSA Joint Committee Presentation 3.16.20.pdf JEDC 3/16/2020 8:30:00 AM
"The State of Alaska K - 12 Schools" by the AK Council of State Administrators
ACSA Joint Education Committee Packet_16Mar2020.pdf JEDC 3/16/2020 8:30:00 AM
"The State of Alaska K - 12 Schools" by the AK Council of State Administrators