Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

03/27/2020 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:07:07 AM Start
08:08:17 AM HB153
10:20:55 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 153 PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 27, 2020                                                                                         
                           8:07 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                 
Representative Mike Prax                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 153                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to early education programs  provided by school                                                               
districts; relating to funding for  early education programs; and                                                               
relating to the duties of the  state Board of Education and Early                                                               
Development."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 153                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) DRUMMOND                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
05/07/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/07/19       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/09/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/09/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/09/20       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/11/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/11/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/11/20       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/14/20       (H)       EDC AT 1:00 PM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/14/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/14/20       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/25/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/25/20       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
03/26/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/26/20       (H)       -- Continued from 3/25/20 --                                                                           
03/27/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LOKI TOBIN, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the  hearing  on  HB 153,  gave  a                                                             
continuation of the sectional analysis begun on 3/26/20.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL JOHNSON, Ph.D., Commissioner                                                                                            
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information and  answered questions                                                             
during the hearing on HB 153.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KAREN MELIN, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Provided information during  the hearing on                                                             
HB 153.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:07:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HARRIET DRUMMOND  called the  House Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:07 a.m.   Representatives Story,                                                               
Hopkins, Zulkosky (via teleconference),  Tuck, Prax, and Drummond                                                               
were present at the call to order.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
             HB 153-PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:08:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  announced that  the  only  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 153,  "An Act relating to early education                                                               
programs provided  by school districts;  relating to  funding for                                                               
early  education programs;  and  relating to  the  duties of  the                                                               
state Board  of Education  and Early  Development."   [Before the                                                               
committee was the proposed committee  substitute (CS) for HB 153,                                                               
Version  31-LS0928\U,  Caouette,  3/4/20, adopted  as  a  working                                                               
document during  the House  Education Standing  Committee meeting                                                               
on 3/9/20.]                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND noted  that at its last  meeting, the committee                                                               
had left off part way through  a sectional analysis of Version U.                                                               
She  told  the  committee  that Legislative  Legal  Services  was                                                               
unable  to take  on amendments  for anything  other than  "end of                                                               
session bills," so  she said she would like  to discuss potential                                                               
amendments that  might go  into a  committee substitute  when the                                                               
committee moves forward with HB 153.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:09:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOKI TOBIN, Staff, Senator Tom  Begich, Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
recollected  that  committee  members   had  indicated  they  had                                                               
questions regarding  Section 12 in the  sectional analysis, which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  12. Amends  AS 14.07.165(a),  relating to  the                                                                    
     duties  of  the  state  Board of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
     Development  (board) and  directs  the  board to  adopt                                                                    
     regulations   establishing  standards   for  an   early                                                                    
     education program  that is (1) half-day,  (2) full-day,                                                                    
     and (3) less than half  day and is locally designed and                                                                    
     evidence-based.  The lead  teacher  of  a program  must                                                                    
     hold a  valid teacher  CS HB  153 v. U  | 3.4.2020  | 3                                                                    
     certificate   and  have   satisfactorily  completed   a                                                                    
     minimum  of   six  credit  hours  in   early  childhood                                                                    
     education or completed the six  credits within one year                                                                    
     of the teacher's  employment or have two  or more years                                                                    
     of  experience  teaching  kindergarten or  other  early                                                                    
     education  programs.  Regulations must  also  establish                                                                    
     the   development   of   appropriate   objectives   and                                                                    
     accommodations for all  children, which allow districts                                                                    
     to adapt content to be  culturally appropriate to local                                                                    
     communities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:10:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:10 a.m. to 8:11 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:11:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  noted that  Section 12 was  on pages  10-11 of                                                               
Version U.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:11:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  directed attention to language  in paragraph (5),                                                               
on page 11 of Version U, beginning on line 5, which read:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
         (5) regulations establishing standards for an                                                                      
     early education program provided by a school district                                                                  
     for children who are four and five years of age                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  posited that the  language would  be strengthened                                                               
by  adding  "locally   designed,  evidence-based"  before  "early                                                           
education  program".   She said  as the  analysis continued,  she                                                           
would be pointing out areas where  the policy being put forth was                                                               
perhaps  too  specific,  when  policy  is  usually  broader  than                                                               
regulation.   She  then brought  attention to  page 11,  line 11,                                                               
which specified  a full-day program  as consisting of  six hours,                                                               
and  she offered  her understanding  that a  lot of  the programs                                                               
were four hours.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:13:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  recommended inserting the Alaska  statute that defines                                                               
school hour days instead of  delineating standards for a half-day                                                               
program, and full-day program, and a locally designed program.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  directed  attention  to  language  on  page  11,                                                               
beginning on line 14, which read as follows:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
              (B) a requirement that a teacher in                                                                           
      charge of a program hold a valid teacher certificate                                                                  
     issued under AS 14.20                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  said she would  like clarification as  to whether                                                               
that refers  to a school-level or  school district-level program.                                                               
She  said  there are  instances  where  certified teachers  would                                                               
oversee  many  schools;  there   would  be  different  levels  of                                                               
teachers working there, and there may be paraprofessionals.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN   indicated  that  Anji  Gallanos   and  the  National                                                               
Institute for  Early Education  Research (NIEER)  worked together                                                               
to draft the standards, which  delineate the qualifications for a                                                               
pre-K  program.    One  of   those  qualifications  is  having  a                                                               
certified teacher  in charge of  the classroom.  She  offered her                                                               
understanding that  the language  of sub-paragraph (B)  refers to                                                               
the  lead  teacher in  a  classroom,  who  would be  assisted  by                                                               
paraprofessionals or educational aides.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY expressed  her interest  in hearing  more on  the                                                               
topic from [feet]-on-the-ground leaders.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:16:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  noted  that   Anji  Gallanos  was  the  early                                                               
learning  director  for the  Department  of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development (DEED)  before moving  to Colorado  to run  its early                                                               
learning program.   She said these standards were  written by Ms.                                                               
Gallanos before she left Alaska.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN confirmed  that Ms.  Gallanos wrote  the standards  in                                                               
collaboration with NIEER.  Further,  she noted the standards were                                                               
drafted  in consultation  with "the  Oklahoma  model," which  she                                                               
said  is  one  of  the   longest-running  early  education  pre-K                                                               
programs in  the nation.   She indicated that the  standards were                                                               
from SB 6,  which was introduced at the beginning  of the current                                                               
legislative session.   She said the precursor to  that was Senate                                                               
Bill 99.   In response  to Co-Chair Drummond, she  confirmed that                                                               
SB 6 addressed preschool.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:17:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  commented  that in  the  industrial  world,                                                               
standards take  away local  decision making.   He asked  for more                                                               
information  regarding the  following terms,  in relation  to the                                                               
field of  education:  national standards,  teacher certification,                                                               
and local control.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:18:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  noted  that  the  section  being  discussed                                                               
addresses that which is the  responsibility of the board, and the                                                               
board  has  regulatory  authority.   Under  Version  U,  the  new                                                               
language in  paragraph (5) would be  adopted [language previously                                                               
provided], and he said he  thinks that would leave local control.                                                               
He  expressed  concern  that getting  too  prescriptive  in  this                                                               
section would result in micromanaging  local districts.  He said,                                                               
"If people have  a problem with half-day, full-day,  then we just                                                               
go  right back  to the  statutes if  that makes  things simpler."                                                               
[Regarding the  suggested language from Co-Chair  Story], he said                                                               
he thinks  "this whole thing"  is about  evidence-based programs.                                                               
He  added, "If  we need  to put  it in  other statutes  and other                                                               
areas of the bill,  I guess I'm okay with that,  but I think this                                                               
whole thing is designed around evidence-based programs."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:19:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  pointed out that "locally  designed, evidence-                                                           
based" is already on page  11, line 12; therefore, she questioned                                                           
whether it needs to be  repeated.  Regarding what the regulations                                                               
must   include   [under   Version  U],   she   then   paraphrased                                                               
[subparagraph (A)], which read as follows:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                    (A) standards for a                                                                                     
               (i) half-day program consisting of                                                                           
     not less than two and one-half hours;                                                                                  
                (ii) full-day program consisting                                                                            
     of six hours; and                                                                                                      
                (iii) locally designed, evidence-                                                                           
     based program that is less than half a day that meets                                                                  
     early education program standards;                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND observed that  it looks like "locally designed,                                                               
evidence-based" applies just to and half-day program.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:20:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  echoed Co-Chair  Story's recommendation  by suggesting                                                               
that "locally  designed, evidence-based"  could be added  on page                                                           
11, line  5.  She then  suggested that "(A) standards  for a" [on                                                           
line 8]  be deleted and  replaced with language referring  to the                                                               
statute pertaining to  the definition of a school day.   She said                                                               
[sub-subparagraphs] (i) and (ii) could  be removed.  She deferred                                                               
to Commissioner Johnson for more input.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:21:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  JOHNSON, Ph.D.,  Commissioner,  Department of  Education                                                               
and  Early  Development,  related  that  there  are  no  mandated                                                               
national  standards in  education.   He  explained that  national                                                               
groups come  together to create  standards from which  states can                                                               
draw to  create their own  unique standards.  Further,  he stated                                                               
that  Alaska  has  state-adopted  standards,  but  they  are  not                                                               
mandated.   He  listed two  of the  five questions  pertaining to                                                               
students.  The  first is:  What  do we want them to  know and do?                                                               
That is answered  with effective standards.   The second question                                                               
is:   How  will we  teach them  those standards?   The  answer is                                                               
effective curriculum  and instruction.   In response  to Co-Chair                                                               
Drummond, he named  the remaining five essential  questions to be                                                               
answered daily  on behalf of  every student.  Question  three is:                                                               
How  will we  know  if  they've learned  it?    That question  is                                                               
answered through effective assessments.   Question four is:  What                                                               
will  we do  if  they don't  learn  it?   The  answer is  through                                                               
effective intervention.   Question five is:   What will we  do if                                                               
they already  know it?  The  answer to that is  through effective                                                               
enrichment.    He  said  answering   those  questions  for  every                                                               
student, every day, will lead to an excellent education.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:24:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND recapped  that the  committee would  make sure                                                               
that  the  term  "locally   designed,  evidence-based"  would  be                                                           
applied to all [paragraph (5)] on page 11.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:25:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS recollected  that Commissioner Johnson had                                                               
mentioned  at  a   previous  meeting  "having  a   lot  of  these                                                               
regulations  in front  of the  state  school board"  by March  or                                                               
April.  He asked whether that timeline was still in effect.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said he  does not have  a timeline;  he has                                                               
had to readjust the schedule.   He said the department would like                                                               
the  regulation writing  process  to  be an  inclusive  one.   He                                                               
expressed  excitement  over  passage   of  HB  153  and  bringing                                                               
stakeholders  together  and  gathering  input  from  parents  and                                                               
others around the state to  put together regulations to implement                                                               
the bill as effectively as possible.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS expressed  his  hope  that the  committee                                                               
would  find ways  to add  language to  include educators'  voices                                                               
from all levels of the field.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:27:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  expressed confidence  that  HB  153 would  be                                                               
passed by the legislature.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:27:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY asked  how Head Start fits into the  picture.  She                                                               
returned  to her  previous question  about  programs and  whether                                                               
that applies to  Head Start and other partners  with which [DEED]                                                               
works closely.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:29:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN responded that HB  153 does address regulation, reform,                                                               
or change that would apply to  Head Start and change the way DEED                                                               
interacts with Head Start.   She deferred to Commissioner Johnson                                                               
for further comment.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:29:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON proffered  that  HB 153  would provide  the                                                               
opportunity to grow  the early childhood community.   He said the                                                               
Alaska Early  Childhood Coordinating  Council (AECCC) is  a group                                                               
that advocates for  early childhood, and passage of  HB 153 would                                                               
add   another  element   in  that   group's  conversation   about                                                               
supporting  Head Start  and other  early  childhood programs  and                                                               
ensuring work is done with  the shared vision of getting students                                                               
reading  by the  end of  third grade.   In  response to  Co-Chair                                                               
Drummond's question  of who comprised  the AECCC, when  the group                                                               
met,  and how  they  were  supported, he  replied  the AECCC  was                                                               
comprised  of over  20 experienced  representatives from  various                                                               
early  childhood advocacy  and  support programs  in Alaska,  met                                                               
quarterly,  and  was  co-chaired   by  the  commissioner  of  the                                                               
Department of  Education and the  commissioner of  the Department                                                               
of  Health  and  Social  Services.  The  AECCC  was  begun  under                                                               
Governor Sean Parnell, he imparted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:32:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  returned to the  language [in  subparagraph (B)],                                                               
on page 11,  lines 14-15, [text previously provided].   She asked                                                               
Commissioner Johnson  her question about whether  the program was                                                               
at the school district level or school level.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON responded  that program participation varies                                                               
by school; therefore, he suggested  that "program" could refer to                                                               
the  school  level.    He  deferred  to  Ms.  Tobin  for  further                                                               
response.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:35:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN said  the standards were drafted based  on NIEER, which                                                               
states  that  highly  qualified,  well-compensated  teachers  are                                                               
critical  for  the success  of  a  high-quality, early  education                                                               
program.   She said in  a small school  there may be  a certified                                                               
teacher  overseeing   several  classrooms,   with  the   help  of                                                               
paraprofessionals  and  instructional  aides;  in  other  schools                                                               
there may be one teacher in  the classroom.  She said the program                                                               
has  not  yet  been  implemented,  so  that  information  is  yet                                                               
unknown.   She stated  that because  of the  stair-stepping grant                                                               
program delineated in Section 8,  there will be opportunities for                                                               
districts  to   receive  additional  resources  to   build  their                                                               
capacity and  offer training.   Those receiving grants  will have                                                               
the opportunity  to earn the  certifications necessary  to ensure                                                               
high   quality  early   education   programs   are  produced   in                                                               
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:37:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN,  in response to  Co-Chair Drummond, said  currently 26                                                               
districts offer some kind of pre-K program.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:37:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON,  to the question  of whether each  of those                                                               
26 districts  have at  least one teacher  with a  valid teacher's                                                               
certificate in early childhood education,  said he would research                                                               
for an answer.  He said the  programs vary a great deal; some are                                                               
in partnership with municipalities,  while others are partnership                                                               
with Head Start or other programs.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:38:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked whether,  under statute,  there was                                                               
currently a certificate for early education teachers.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON   answered  that  he  knows   there  is  an                                                               
endorsement for  early childhood  on a teaching  certificate, but                                                               
he said he would need to  research to confirm whether there was a                                                               
standalone early childhood certificate.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked whether that  would be like having a                                                               
secondary teacher's  certificate and  then having  an endorsement                                                               
to teach art or biology, for example.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON answered that  he thinks what Representative                                                               
Hopkins was  saying was  correct.   He related  that he  had just                                                               
been made  aware that there is  a "type E" certificate  for early                                                               
childhood.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:40:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said she had  received a note from Posie Boggs,                                                               
of the Alaska Reading Coalition,  who has been helpful concerning                                                               
HB 153.   She  said Ms.  Boggs has asked  the committee  to think                                                               
about  the locally  designed, evidence-based  program term.   Co-                                                               
Chair  Drummond said  she  does not  know  where that  definition                                                               
would be derived.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:41:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  said the  definition is  provided in  Version U  of HB
153, [in Section 18, subsection  (l), paragraph (1)], on page 19,                                                               
beginning on line 28, which read as follows:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
               (1)  "evidence-based   reading  intervention"                                                                    
     means an  intervention based on  reliable, trustworthy,                                                                    
     and valid  evidence that has  a demonstrated  record of                                                                    
     success  in adequately  increasing a  student's reading                                                                    
     competency   in  the   areas  of   phonemic  awareness,                                                                    
     phonics, vocabulary development,  reading fluency, oral                                                                    
     language skills, and reading comprehension;                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN explained  that "intervention" was included  as part of                                                               
drafting from Legislative Legal and  Research Services and may be                                                               
considered for  deletion.   As for  "locally designed,"  she said                                                               
she  thinks  there are  Alaska  standards,  and she  deferred  to                                                               
Commissioner Johnson for comment.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:42:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  remarked that  on page 11  the subject  is the                                                               
early  education program,  and "hopefully  we're not  yet at  the                                                               
reading intervention stage with those  kids."  She said she would                                                               
like to see a definition added.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:42:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS, returning  to the  subject of  a type  E                                                               
certificate, indicated  that a  staff person  from Representative                                                               
Story's office  had handed him  some information that the  type E                                                               
childhood certificate is  earned with an associate  degree and 20                                                               
hours of supervised practice.   He asked whether this certificate                                                               
is what will be used going  forward to determine who is qualified                                                               
as a certificated early education teacher.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:43:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON   confirmed  that   that  is   the  current                                                               
requirement to earn a type E  certificate, and he said he has not                                                               
contemplated a  change to that  requirement; however, he  said as                                                               
the  bill is  interpreted and  regulations are  created, that  is                                                               
something that could be revisited.   He surmised that requirement                                                               
is based on  the practice of other states,  but information could                                                               
be gathered as to what other states are doing.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  concluded that those regulations  had not                                                               
yet been decided.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:44:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN moved  on to Sections 13-16 of  the sectional analysis,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 13.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.17.500 by adding new  subsection (d) that                                                                    
     establishes  an   early  education  student   shall  be                                                                    
     counted   in  the   school  district's   average  daily                                                                    
     membership (ADM) as  a half day student  once the early                                                                    
     education program has been approved by the department.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 14.                                                                                                                
     Amends  AS 14.17.905(a)  to include  students in  early                                                                    
     education programs  approved by  the department  in the                                                                    
     definition of an elementary school.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 15.                                                                                                                
     Amends  AS 14.17.905  by adding  new subsection  (d) to                                                                    
     avoid  letting school  districts  count pre-K  students                                                                    
     twice in Foundation Formula ADM calculations.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 16.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.20.015(c) to ensure  teaching certificate                                                                    
     reciprocity for teachers moving  to Alaska from out-of-                                                                    
     state  and adds  that  such teachers  must complete  at                                                                    
     least  three credits  or equivalency  in evidence-based                                                                    
     reading  instruction in  order  to be  eligible for  an                                                                    
     Alaska teaching endorsement in elementary education.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:46:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  asked whether  the federal  funding referred                                                               
to in Section 15 pertains to the Head Start program.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN answered  that  Section 15  essentially  says that  an                                                               
early education student  cannot be counted twice,  for example if                                                               
a student is  in a Head Start  program and a pre-K  program.  She                                                               
clarified, "You can't  receive state funds and  federal funds for                                                               
the same student."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:47:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND shared  that what makes this  confusing is that                                                               
the federal  money for Head Start,  which she said she  thinks is                                                               
about  $48 million  to  Alaska,  must be  triggered  by about  $6                                                               
million seed money from the state.   She said the language should                                                               
read "state and federal funding".                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:47:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY said she can see  it could be valuable for a child                                                               
to attend  Head Start in the  morning and another program  in the                                                               
afternoon, and  she would  not want  funding compromised  in this                                                               
scenario.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN said as the regulations  are not yet written, she would                                                               
defer to Commissioner Johnson.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:48:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON said he thinks  that would need to be worked                                                               
out in regulation.  Head Start,  being a federal program, has its                                                               
own  rules and  regulations, so  DEED would  want "to  be careful                                                               
that we don't inadvertently bump into  those in a way that is not                                                               
helpful."   He said  it would  be necessary  to consider  all the                                                               
programs out there to ensure  whatever regulations are worked out                                                               
do not interfere with the federal rules surrounding Head Start.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:49:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAREN  MELIN, Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of Education  and                                                               
Early  Development,  stated  that  because  Head  Start  is  both                                                               
federally and state-funded, DEED  would work to write regulations                                                               
in a way  that maximizes opportunity for students  first and then                                                               
ensures  that  partnerships  between  districts  and  Head  Start                                                               
programs work to the best advantage of students.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:53:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MELIN,  in  response  to  a  request  for  information  from                                                               
Representative  Prax,  explained  that  Head  Start  is  national                                                               
program, which has  ways to support children in poverty.   It has                                                               
half-day  and full-day  programs; it  has center-based  and home-                                                               
based programs.  Further, there  is early Head Start, which tends                                                               
to the needs of  those from birth to age three.   She said across                                                               
Alaska, there  are programs in  each of those categories:   home-                                                               
based, part-time, and  full-time.  She said  there is partnership                                                               
with school  districts where the  district sends  instruction and                                                               
support for students.  She said,  "All of them have an agreement,                                                               
or [memorandum of  agreement] (MOA) with Child  Find, which helps                                                               
them locate those students that are  in the greatest need of this                                                               
kind  of  support."    She  described  Head  Start  as  an  "all-                                                               
encompassing ... opportunity  for the children in  poverty."  She                                                               
said she could provide more information to Representative Prax.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  mentioned  competition   in  the  realm  of                                                               
business  but  proffered that  the  state  does  not want  to  be                                                               
competing with  Head Start;  therefore, "we'd  need to  know what                                                               
they do so we're doing something different."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MELIN confirmed  that  DEED  wants to  make  sure Alaska  is                                                               
complementing Head Start programs  with its district programs, to                                                               
"work in concert instead of in conflict."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:56:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN moved  on to  Section  17 in  the sectional  analysis,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 17.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.20.020 by adding new  subsection (l) that                                                                    
     requires  all  teachers  to  complete  at  least  three                                                                    
     credits  or   equivalency  in   evidence-based  reading                                                                    
     instruction in order to be  eligible for an endorsement                                                                    
     in elementary education.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:57:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN,  in response to  a question from Co-Chair  Story about                                                               
the  requirement   to  complete  instruction,  pointed   out  the                                                               
language about equivalency on page 13, line 8.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:58:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN returned  attention to  the sectional  analysis.   She                                                               
began reading Section  18, which starts out  as follows [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 18.                                                                                                                
     Establishes Article 15, Reading Intervention Programs.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Establishes  AS  14.30.760,   a  comprehensive  reading                                                                    
     intervention  program,  designed to  increase  literacy                                                                    
     for children  in kindergarten through grade  three. The                                                                    
     department will  be required to  establish a  system of                                                                    
     support  for  teachers  of kindergarten  through  grade                                                                    
     three   students,  adopt   a  statewide   screening  or                                                                    
     assessment  tool  to  identify  students  with  reading                                                                    
     deficiencies,  and  provide   support  to  teachers  of                                                                    
     kindergarten  through  grade   three  students  through                                                                    
     training  on  the use  of  the  statewide screening  or                                                                    
     assessment tool and on the science of reading.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:59:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS noted  that  at a  previous meeting,  the                                                               
commissioner  had   said  students  would  be   assessed  on  the                                                               
effectiveness  of  their reading  through  the  development of  a                                                               
number of  different assessments  and opportunities  to determine                                                               
the proficiency of each reader.   Representative Hopkins observed                                                               
that  what Ms.  Tobin had  just read  seems to  indicate that  it                                                               
would be one  type of assessment given several times  a year.  He                                                               
said he assumes  that assessment has not yet been  developed.  He                                                               
asked Commissioner Johnson to discuss  who he sees being involved                                                               
in the  development and whether  "active educators" would  "be at                                                               
that table."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:00:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON responded that what  is being discussed is a                                                               
screener,  which he  compared  to  triage.   The  purpose of  the                                                               
screener is to  identify when a student may be  struggling on the                                                               
pathway to reading proficiency.   The screeners are based on five                                                               
components  of  reading; they  are  also  used to  identify  when                                                               
dyslexia may  be an issue.   He  said most districts  are already                                                               
providing these screening  tools.  He said  there certainly would                                                               
be public  input in  the selection process  and board  process of                                                               
choosing a  statewide screener.   He said DEED would  allow those                                                               
districts  that  already  have   an  evidence-based  screener  to                                                               
continue using  it, as long  as it meets "those  requirements" so                                                               
that no previous progress is lost.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:01:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS remarked that he  would work with the bill                                                               
sponsor and the  committee to ensure an active  educator voice is                                                               
involved in  the project.   Regarding the mention of  dyslexia in                                                               
the  bill language,  he  said  there are  many  types of  reading                                                               
deficiencies, and he recommended  the language indicate a broader                                                               
picture for the sake of inclusivity.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:02:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  suggested  the   language,  instead  of  just                                                               
"including students with characteristics  of dyslexia", could say                                                               
"including but  not limited to".   She offered  her understanding                                                               
that this is  the first time "dyslexia" would  appear in statute,                                                               
which  she  opined  would  be   "a  huge  step  forward  for  ...                                                               
education."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  emphasized his  goal of not  limiting the                                                               
scope of "what those deficiencies look like."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  reminded   Representative  Hopkins  that  the                                                               
entire Alaska Reads  Program is based on  reading proficiency and                                                               
the dyslexic task force she chaired  a couple years ago that drew                                                               
attention to the  issue of dyslexia, and she said  she would like                                                               
committee members  to receive the  reported results of  that task                                                               
force.   In  response  to Representative  Hopkins,  she said  she                                                               
thinks more  than just dyslexia  was the focus of  the taskforce,                                                               
but dyslexia is the most common form of reading deficiency.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  opined that  while  it  is good  to  get                                                               
scientific words in statute, he  does not think "that's the right                                                               
limiting factor we should look at."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:05:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  recommended  omitting  "dyslexia",  because                                                               
"reading deficiencies" is a broad term.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND explained  that would not happen  because it is                                                               
critical  to   include  "dyslexia"   as  the   principle  reading                                                               
deficiency  of students,  and it  has taken  years for  it to  be                                                               
recognized; teachers have  been told not to talk about  it in the                                                               
past.  She said dyslexia needs  to be addressed early on, so that                                                               
students  with   it  can   be  given   an  opportunity   to  read                                                               
proficiently.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  explained  that  he  was  focusing  on  the                                                               
writing style, and he suggested  that instead of "including", the                                                               
committee  could choose  "especially" or  "such as".   He  opined                                                               
that  when a  broad term  is used,  followed by  an example,  "it                                                               
tends to exclude everything else."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:06:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  indicated  he  saw  both  Representative                                                               
Prax' and Co-Chair  Drummond's points.  He said,  "If we included                                                               
the  words 'reading  disabilities such  as dyslexia',  that might                                                               
allow  us to  also  start including  other physical  disabilities                                                               
...."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said she thinks "such  as" is a good idea.  She                                                               
offered her belief  that one of the  principal recommendations of                                                               
the task  force was to make  sure dyslexia was named  and defined                                                               
in  statute.   She said  she  would not  be surprised  to find  a                                                               
definition of dyslexia "further back in this bill."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  said he  hoped  dyslexia  "has a  common                                                               
definition, as well."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:08:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY directed  attention to  page 13,  line 14,  which                                                               
introduces reading  intervention programs.   She said  she thinks                                                               
this is part of a core  reading program and what many schools are                                                               
incorporating in  a basic Tier I  reading program.  She  said she                                                               
would  like to  know where,  in  standards, is  written what  the                                                               
state's core reading program should  comprise.  She noted line 29                                                               
[on page 14] shows "district  reading intervention services", but                                                               
she  opined that  Article 15  should say  "evidence-based reading                                                               
programs",  because  intervention  should  be part  of  the  core                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:09:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON responded,  "Those would  be in  our Alaska                                                               
state  standards for  English language  arts, and  they would  be                                                               
embedded  there in  our standards."   He  said Co-Chair  Story is                                                               
correct  that intervention  should  not be  outside  of the  core                                                               
program.    He said  any  amendment  that emphasizes  that  every                                                               
classroom should  be using  evidence-based reading  strategies is                                                               
good, because  teaching reading based  on the five  components of                                                               
reading has been scientifically proven to work.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:12:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY opined  that it would strengthen  the Alaska Reads                                                               
Act to change "Reading  Intervention Programs" to "Evidence-based                                                               
Reading Programs".  She indicated that  [on page 13, at line 27,]                                                               
a [subparagraph]  (D) would need  to be added to  state, "reading                                                               
for comprehension".                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:12:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said she thinks  the committee should also look                                                               
at  existing  statute AS  14.3  to  ensure  it does  not  already                                                               
include a section on reading programs.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:13:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  shared that  the  statute  to  look  at would  be  AS                                                               
14.07.180.    She  offered her  understanding  that  Commissioner                                                               
Johnson may have some recommended language.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:13:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON recalled that a  few years ago, then Senator                                                               
McKinnon had  proposed language to  review curriculum  around the                                                               
state to  report what each  school was  using as curriculum.   He                                                               
said  DEED  has  that  language  and  could  share  it  with  the                                                               
committee for consideration.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  reiterated  her  view  that  starting  with  the                                                               
evidence-based  reading   program  and  following  that   with  a                                                               
description  of what  the interventions  are will  strengthen the                                                               
Alaska Reads Act.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:14:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  referred to page 13,  lines 17-20, regarding                                                               
the mention  of dyslexia, and  he asked  if the concern  was that                                                               
"we're  not going  far enough  with dyslexia"  or that  "dyslexia                                                               
isn't the only thing."  He  said he reads the current language as                                                               
identifying students with reading  deficiencies, with an emphasis                                                               
on dyslexia.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  said the sense  she got from the  committee is                                                               
that  they do  not want  to  limit reading  deficiencies to  just                                                               
dyslexia.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said he  does not  see where  the limitation                                                               
is.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  said she does  not either.   She asked  how it                                                               
could read "including but not limited to" dyslexia.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  suggested:   "identify  students  with  any                                                               
reading deficiencies, including dyslexia".                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND concurred.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:16:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  suggested  that  since  dyslexia  is  "a                                                               
physical issue  in the brain  wiring," the committee may  want to                                                               
consider utilizing the word "disability".                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND responded,  "You begin to get  into the special                                                               
education area; that's what we're  trying to avoid."  She offered                                                               
her  understanding  that  a  lot   of  teachers  have  identified                                                               
students  for special  education, when  what the  students really                                                               
needed was early  intensive reading interventions.   She said she                                                               
does not believe  dyslexia is considered a disability.   She said                                                               
she thinks Representative  Tuck had it right and that  it is "our                                                               
obligation  to identify  students with  any reading  deficiency."                                                               
In   response   to    Representative   Hopkins,   she   clarified                                                               
Representative Tuck's recommendation was to add "any".                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS opined that  "included but not limited to"                                                               
would be critical but allowed that "any" does help.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:18:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY   said  she   thought  it   would  help   if  the                                                               
commissioner were to  explain how many children in  Alaska do not                                                               
have sufficient reading standards.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:19:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON replied  that  he did  not  have the  exact                                                               
number  from  the  National Assessment  of  Educational  Progress                                                               
(NAEP).   He  said there  is  no statewide  data on  kindergarten                                                               
through  third  grade,  and he  indicated  that  the  Performance                                                               
Evaluation  for Alaska's  Schools (PEAKS)  assessment shows  that                                                               
approximately 60  percent of students  in the third-  and fourth-                                                               
grade range were  not proficient in reading - far  too many - and                                                               
HB 153  seeks to  provide the  support and  focus to  ensure more                                                               
students are reading.   He said one of the  more prominent issues                                                               
in  reading  difficulties   is  dyslexia.    He   said  the  word                                                               
"including" is  not limiting but is  an inclusive word.   He said                                                               
if the  screener flags a student  as having difficulty in  one of                                                               
the  five  components  of  reading, then  there  may  be  further                                                               
diagnostic testing  to determine  whether that  student qualifies                                                               
for  special  education  or  just needs  "extra  support  in  the                                                               
regular classroom to  overcome that challenge, which  is the case                                                               
many, many times."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:21:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  emphasized that  the  goal  is not  to  refer                                                               
students  to special  education  unless  necessary, "and  keeping                                                               
them  with  their peers  in  the  regular reading  program,  with                                                               
appropriate intervention and support, is the way to do it."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:22:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY said  she has  been talking  with Alaska                                                               
Native  educators  across  the  state,   and  she  spoke  of  the                                                               
acknowledgment  of   "the  significant  and  deep   and  painful,                                                               
historic and  generational trauma  that exists  in Alaska."   She                                                               
said there  is a bias, as  well as cultural irrelevance,  in many                                                               
assessment and learning  tools used or available  for purchase in                                                               
Alaska.   She  asked Commissioner  Johnson whether  DEED has  the                                                               
resources  for developing  culturally relevant  tools.   She said                                                               
she heard appointees  to the state board  charged with developing                                                               
regulations  for the  department, and  many of  them do  not have                                                               
experience related to indigenous  English language learners.  She                                                               
said she  would like to hear  how the department plans  to ensure                                                               
rural  Alaska   Native  students  "are  protected   and  not  ...                                                               
disproportionately impacted  by the tools  that are being  put in                                                               
place ...."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:24:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON replied  that  DEED has  a tribal  liaison,                                                               
Joel   Isaak,  who   has  done   a  lot   of  work   on  language                                                               
revitalization  and culturally  relevant, sensitive  instruction,                                                               
and Mr.  Isaak would be  part of the  review process.   He added,                                                               
"But  we  wouldn't be  dependent  just  on resources  within  the                                                               
department.   Joel has a  network of Native educators  and others                                                               
throughout the  state that  we do  and will  draw upon  for those                                                               
kinds of  reviews and analyses."   He related that the  nature of                                                               
the screeners in the early grades  are different from some of the                                                               
other assessments  where students are presented  with "passages."                                                               
He  said  there  are  passages associated  with  these  types  of                                                               
screeners,  but they  can be  culturally relevant  and sensitive.                                                               
He indicated these screeners measure  things like rate of reading                                                               
and whether the student recognizes  the alphabet.  He stated that                                                               
with guidance from Native educators,  those screeners are adapted                                                               
and  made  relevant and  "in  keeping  with traditional  ways  of                                                               
knowing in rural Alaska."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY expressed her  desire for an amendment in                                                               
the proposed  legislation that  would ensure  culturally relevant                                                               
assessment  tools, including  screeners  and reading  curriculum,                                                               
can be  regionally and culturally  relevant, and  explicitly that                                                               
schools  would be  allowed  to select  their  own tools  "without                                                               
bearing the  expense of creating those  locally developed tools."                                                               
She said  she has great  respect for Mr.  Isaak, a large  part of                                                               
the decision-making  body would  be comprised of  individuals who                                                               
do  not have  "a solid  background"  in rural  and Alaska  Native                                                               
conditions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON thanked  Representative  Zulkosky for  that                                                               
suggestion.  He  said DEED wants to do everything  it can to work                                                               
with people all  over Alaska to ensure they  have "confidence and                                                               
the tools and resources that this bill calls for."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS pointed  to language on page  13, line 17,                                                               
which  would  require  adoption  of  "a  statewide  screening  or                                                               
assessment tool to administer to  students in grades kindergarten                                                               
through three".   He  said that  indicates that  "we are  doing a                                                               
one-size-fits-all assessment."  He asked Ms. Tobin for comment.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:28:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  responded  that  all   instances  of  "the  statewide                                                               
screener  and assessment  tool" were  replaced with  "a statewide                                                               
screener and assessment  tool" to allow for  more flexibility and                                                               
multiple  screeners  to be  adopted.    As  an example  of  added                                                               
flexibility,  she  directed attention  to  language  on page  14,                                                               
beginning on line 11, which read as follows:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
               (4)  establish  a  process  that  allows  the                                                                    
     commissioner  to  waive,  upon   request,  use  of  the                                                                    
     statewide screening  or assessment tool  required under                                                                    
     this  subsection by  a school  district  if the  school                                                                    
     district   has   adopted  an   evidence-based   reading                                                                    
     screening  or  assessment  tool and  the  screening  or                                                                    
     assessment tool is approved by the department;                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY acknowledged that  was a worthy inclusion                                                               
but  said  she  would  like  additional  language  regarding  the                                                               
state's financial and resource  partnership with school districts                                                               
such that  a locally and culturally  based tool "not be  borne at                                                               
the  expense  of  those  small   districts  and  that  it  be  in                                                               
partnership with the state's resources."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:29:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  concurred.  She  said she believes  the intent                                                               
of  the bill  was that  DEED would  be hiring  and providing  the                                                               
teachers,  support, and  resources to  districts and  not placing                                                               
the burden on districts to pay out of their own budgets.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:30:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY said  she would  like those  protections                                                               
explicitly stated rather than assumed.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:30:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  returned attention to  language on page  13, line                                                               
14, regarding  the removal of  "intervention", and  she suggested                                                               
"local" or  "cultural" could  preceded "evidence-based"  to honor                                                               
"the cultural, local  ... work that we're striving  to provide to                                                               
all of our districts."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:31:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  suggested page  14, line  18, may be  a good  place to                                                               
insert  an  amendment  regarding  culturally  and  locally  based                                                               
screening and  assessment tools.   In response  to Representative                                                               
Prax, she read the language, which read as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          (b)   In  adopting   a   statewide  screening   or                                                                    
     assessment  tool  under  (a)(1) of  this  section,  the                                                                    
     department shall consider the following factors:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  clarified   that  "locally"  and  "culturally                                                               
relevant" should be one of the factors.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY said  the hope is that that is  what all districts                                                               
are doing.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:33:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  returned to where  she had left  off in Section  18 of                                                               
the  sectional analysis,  which  continued  as follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  department  will  be required  to  administer  the                                                                    
     statewide  screening  or  assessment tool  three  times                                                                    
     each  school  year,  once  in the  fall,  once  in  the                                                                    
     winter, and once in the  spring, beginning in 2020. The                                                                    
     statewide screening  or assessment tool  must determine                                                                    
     specified  skills at  each  grade level:  kindergarten,                                                                    
     first grade, and second/third grades.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     School  districts will  be  required  to offer  reading                                                                    
     intervention  services  in  addition  to  core  reading                                                                    
     instruction  to all  students  in kindergarten  through                                                                    
     grade three who  exhibit a reading deficiency  as CS HB
     153 v.  U |  3.4.2020 | 4  determined by  the statewide                                                                    
     screening  or  assessment.   The  reading  intervention                                                                    
     services  must  be  provided   by  a  district  reading                                                                    
     teacher,  include explicit  and systematic  instruction                                                                    
     with  proven  results  based  on  scientific  research,                                                                    
     incorporate   daily   targeted  small   group   reading                                                                    
     instruction,  and  be  based   on  students'  needs  as                                                                    
     determined by  regular monitoring of  student progress.                                                                    
     The  reading  intervention  services must  be  reviewed                                                                    
     based on  department-approved response  to intervention                                                                    
     or multi-tiered system support models.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     For   each  student   participating   in  the   reading                                                                    
     intervention services,  the district must  establish an                                                                    
     individual  reading  plan.  For all  students  with  an                                                                    
     individual  reading  plan and  who  also  score in  the                                                                    
     lowest achievement  level on the district  screening or                                                                    
     statewide   reading  assessment,   the  district   must                                                                    
     provide the  reading intervention services  both during                                                                    
     and outside  the school term. Outside  the school term,                                                                    
     the reading intervention services  must be staffed with                                                                    
     reading  teachers  and  be  directed  by  the  students                                                                    
     individual reading plan.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:35:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  remarked that currently an  individual reading                                                               
plan is  not required.   She  noted that in  the area  of special                                                               
education, it  is called an  individual education plan  (IEP) and                                                               
is mandated  by federal  Individuals with  Disabilities Education                                                               
Act  (IDEA)  requirements.     She  indicated  that  intervention                                                               
services are for those students  not making adequate progress, as                                                               
determined by screenings.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN suggested Commissioner  Johnson speak about the reading                                                               
intervention plan.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:36:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON clarified  that these individualized reading                                                               
plans  would  not be  like  an  Individualized Education  Program                                                               
(IEP),   which  he   distinguished  as   a  multi-page   document                                                               
addressing different areas required  by federal law and regarding                                                               
IDEA.  In comparison, the  individual reading plans, as mentioned                                                               
in  the  proposed  legislation,  would   be  based  on  the  five                                                               
components of  reading, and he  expressed his hope to  limit them                                                               
to one page in order to keep  the focus on the components and the                                                               
needs  of students.    He  said the  plan  for  a student  should                                                               
address  that student's  reading  deficiency.   He  said this  is                                                               
another  place to  address the  concerns Representative  Zulkosky                                                               
had discussed regarding culturally based plans.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:38:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  directed attention to  language on page  15, line                                                               
21, which  states that ["intensive reading  intervention services                                                               
must"]  "be implemented  outside  of the  regular school  hours".                                                               
She  said  teachers do  not  work  outside regular  school  hours                                                               
unless they have a contract to  do so, which costs money, and she                                                               
indicated that otherwise this is  an unfunded mandate.  She noted                                                               
that  similarly, the  language [of  paragraph (4)],  on page  16,                                                               
line  [8] states  that ["an  individual reading  improvement plan                                                               
developed under this section must"]:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
               (4)  provide  reading  intervention  services                                                                    
     outside  of  regular school  hours  for  a student  who                                                                    
     scores  at   the  lowest   achievement  level   on  the                                                                    
     statewide screening or  assessment tool consistent with                                                                    
     (a)(8) of this section; and                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY questioned  why "evidence-based"  is repeated  in                                                               
[paragraph] (3), on page 15,  lines 10-11, because "that's just a                                                               
given  to  me."   She  pointed  out  the requirement  for  "daily                                                               
targeted small group reading instruction"  in [paragraph] (5), on                                                               
page 15,  lines 14-15,  and she  said it may  not be  possible to                                                               
make  that happen  every day.    She then  directed attention  to                                                               
[lines 4-7], which would  require "intensive reading intervention                                                               
services"  be provided  by  "a district  reading  teacher to  all                                                               
students  in   grades  kindergarten   through  three",   and  she                                                               
suggested that "or a paraprofessional" be added.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:42:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON stated  that based on some  of what Co-Chair                                                               
Story said, language  could be tweaked.  He  said perhaps instead                                                               
of "services must" the language  could read "must include some of                                                               
the  following".   In terms  of after  school hours,  he remarked                                                               
that  many schools  have after  school reading  support programs,                                                               
such as reading  camps, and "those would qualify  as places where                                                               
they could  address some of  these."   He reiterated the  idea to                                                               
state "must include some of the following".                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY responded that amendments  of that nature would be                                                               
realistic.   She  asked Commissioner  Johnson for  feedback about                                                               
her idea to add "or a paraprofessional".                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said he would be  fine with that.   He said                                                               
especially  in smaller  districts where  there is  high turnover,                                                               
some  of  the most  trained  and  qualified interventionists  are                                                               
instructional  aides in  whom districts  have invested  a lot  of                                                               
money.     He  said   educational  support   professionals  could                                                               
certainly  be  part  of  the  solution  when  working  under  the                                                               
supervision of a certified teacher.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:44:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  requested that  the committee hear  the rest                                                               
of  the sectional  analysis in  the time  remaining and  hold off                                                               
discussion of  amendments.   He indicated he  would not  have any                                                               
ideas for  amending the  bill language  without having  heard the                                                               
entire analysis.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:44:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  recapped the paragraph  of the sectional  analysis she                                                               
had read before, pausing for  questions.  In response to Co-Chair                                                               
Drummond, she confirmed  that "term" meant the school  year.  She                                                               
continued with  the sectional analysis, within  Section 18, which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Districts or  schools must notify parents  if a student                                                                    
     exhibits a  reading deficiency at  any time  during the                                                                    
     school year. Notification must occur  within 15 days of                                                                    
     the   deficiency   being    identified.   The   initial                                                                    
     notification   must  state   the  district   or  school                                                                    
     identified the  student as having a  reading deficiency                                                                    
     and  that  an  improvement   plan  will  be  developed,                                                                    
     describe the current services  the student receives and                                                                    
     the proposed additional services  the student will need                                                                    
     to remedy  the deficiency, and identify  strategies the                                                                    
     parent  or  guardian could  use  at  home to  help  the                                                                    
     student succeed in reading. If  the student is in grade                                                                    
     three, the  notification must include  a request  for a                                                                    
     meeting  with the  parent, the  student's teacher,  and                                                                    
     other  district  staff  to  discuss  appropriate  grade                                                                    
     level  progression.  The  meeting must  take  place  at                                                                    
     least 45 days prior to the end of the school year.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Establishes  that  a  student  in  grade  three  should                                                                    
     demonstrate  proficient reading  skills to  progress to                                                                    
     grade   four.  Multiple   pathways  are   provided  for                                                                    
     students to  demonstrate sufficient reading  skills for                                                                    
     progression  to grade  four,  including performance  on                                                                    
     the  statewide reading  screening or  assessment or  an                                                                    
     alternative  reading assessment  as  determined by  the                                                                    
     State  Board of  Education, or  as evidenced  through a                                                                    
     student  reading portfolio.  Good cause  exemptions are                                                                    
     included, such  as having a disability,  or the student                                                                    
     is learning  English as a  second language.  Provides a                                                                    
     process  for   parents  or  guardians  to   request  an                                                                    
     exemption for their student.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Districts must  provide intensive  reading intervention                                                                    
     services  to  all  students  who  do  not  progress  or                                                                    
     receive  a good  cause exemption.  For students  who do                                                                    
     not progress  to grade four who  previously experienced                                                                    
     delayed   grade   level   progression,   an   intensive                                                                    
     acceleration  class  must  also   be  provided  by  the                                                                    
     district.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:48:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Establishes  a  literacy   program  to  provide  direct                                                                    
     support  and intervention  services to  up to  ten low-                                                                    
     performing Alaska schools each  year that apply for the                                                                    
     services.  The  department   will  be  responsible  for                                                                    
     providing  each  selected  school  up  to  two  reading                                                                    
     specialists. A  reading specialist  is a person  who is                                                                    
     employed  and funded  by the  department and  who meets                                                                    
     requirements established  by the board.  One specialist                                                                    
     would  be  focused  on the  implementation  of  reading                                                                    
     intervention  services consistently  across classrooms,                                                                    
     modeling  effective instructional  strategies, coaching                                                                    
     and mentoring teachers  and paraprofessionals, training                                                                    
     teachers  in  data  literacy,  leading  and  supporting                                                                    
     reading leadership  teams, and reporting on  school and                                                                    
     student performance  to the department.  The supporting                                                                    
     reading   specialist   would   assist  with   all   the                                                                    
     activities described above CS HB  153 v. U | 3.4.2020 |                                                                    
     5 or serve  as the reading specialist  for the school's                                                                    
     early  education program,  depending on  the makeup  of                                                                    
     the specific school.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The department will be required  to establish a process                                                                    
     for  the  reading  specialists  to  report  on  program                                                                    
     implementation,  work with  the reading  specialists to                                                                    
     establish  improvement  goals,  including  measures  of                                                                    
     interim  progress, to  select  and purchase  additional                                                                    
     reading   materials    to   supplement    the   reading                                                                    
     intervention  services,  and  pay travel  costs  for  a                                                                    
     reading   specialist  to   attend  relevant   trainings                                                                    
     identified or hosted by  the department. The department                                                                    
     will  also be  responsible  for periodically  reviewing                                                                    
     staff  development  programs  and recommending  to  the                                                                    
     board  programs that  meet  high  quality standards  as                                                                    
     defined under AS 14.07.065.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Establishes   AS   14.30.770,   schools   selected   to                                                                    
     participate  in  an  intensive school  reading  program                                                                    
     will   be  required   to   ensure   that  the   reading                                                                    
     specialist(s)  were not  required to  perform functions                                                                    
     that   divert  from   the   duties   assigned  by   the                                                                    
     department, coordinate with  the reading specialists to                                                                    
     redesign the  school's daily  schedule to  provide time                                                                    
     dedicated to  literacy program activities,  hold public                                                                    
     meetings  to present  information on  the literacy  and                                                                    
     reading  intervention program  services to  parents and                                                                    
     guardians, present  an annual  update to the  public on                                                                    
     these  program services  at a  noticed public  meeting,                                                                    
     and create  partnerships between the  school, families,                                                                    
     and  community that  focus  on  promoting literacy  and                                                                    
     increasing time spent reading.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Under  this   new  section,  the  department   will  be                                                                    
     required to  publish on its website  and make available                                                                    
     to the public a  completed application from each school                                                                    
     selected to  participate in  the literacy  program, the                                                                    
     literacy plan implemented at  each selected school, and                                                                    
     a data analysis of the  success of the literacy program                                                                    
     and intervention  services conducted by  an independent                                                                    
     contractor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     AS 14.30.775 aligns use of  the word "district" in this                                                                    
     Act  with the  definitions given  elsewhere in  statute                                                                    
     when referring to a school district.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:51:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  about  the language  pertaining to  the                                                               
school holding public meetings.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  said that  language  is  on  page  22 of  Version  U,                                                               
beginning on  line 24.   She  said it  falls under  AS 14.30.770,                                                               
Department Reading Program.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND remarked  that that  is "a  pretty substantial                                                               
requirement placed on  the schools."  She  questioned whether the                                                               
public meeting would address all  students in the reading program                                                               
or just individual students.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN deferred to Commissioner Johnson.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:52:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON said DEED knows  that increasing the reading                                                               
proficiency levels  of students  in Alaska "must  include parents                                                               
[and]  communities   and  be  informed  by   those  communities."                                                               
Parents  and communities  need  strategies  for supporting  their                                                               
students  to  become readers.    He  said districts  are  already                                                               
required through  federal programs to hold  public meetings about                                                               
the varied aspects of their programs,  so this is not a new idea.                                                               
He  said  this is  in  the  section  of school  improvement;  the                                                               
employee  DEED  hires to  go  out  to  the communities  would  be                                                               
responsible  for "organizing,  collaborating,  and holding  these                                                               
meetings to provide that information."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:53:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  recapped that Commissioner Johnson  had stated                                                               
that the public meetings are not a new requirement.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:53:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN covered  the remaining Sections 19-24  of the sectional                                                               
analysis, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 19.                                                                                                                
      Directs early education program staff to be included                                                                      
     in those organizations required to report evidence of                                                                      
     child abuse.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 20.                                                                                                                
     Repeals  AS   14.03.410,  the  early   education  grant                                                                    
     program,  in 11  years once  all school  districts have                                                                    
     had the opportunity to participate.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 21.                                                                                                                
     Establishes a Teacher Retention  Working Group as a new                                                                    
     uncodified law of the State of Alaska.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 22.                                                                                                                
     Is applicability language,  relating to endorsements in                                                                    
     elementary education  issued on or after  the effective                                                                    
     date of this act.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 23.                                                                                                                
     Is  transition language,  directing  the department  to                                                                    
     use 2018-19  school accountability  rankings for  CS HB
     153 v.  U |  3.4.2020 | 6  purposes of  determining the                                                                    
     first cohort of lowest  performing schools, to identify                                                                    
     their pre-K grant eligibility for FY 21.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section 24.                                                                                                                
     Establishes an effective date of July 1, 2020.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND expressed doubt that  that target date would be                                                               
reached.   She offered  her understanding  that there  were "some                                                               
proposed changes  ... depending on when  the legislation actually                                                               
passes."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:55:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY directed  attention to  [paragraph (2)],  on page                                                               
22, [beginning  on] line  9, of  Version U,  which states  that a                                                               
"school selected to participate in the reading program" shall:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
               (2)  coordinate with  the reading  specialist                                                                    
     or specialists to redesign  the school's daily schedule                                                                    
     to  dedicate   time  to  reading   program  activities,                                                                    
     including   intensive  reading   intervention  services                                                                    
     identified in  a written  agreement between  the school                                                                    
     and the department;                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   STORY  recommended   "principal"   be  inserted   with                                                               
"specialist" because  she knows  that the  most critical  thing a                                                               
principal does is set the schedule.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:56:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  responded that  this section  is completely                                                               
voluntary;  this  is  a collaborative  relationship  between  the                                                               
district and the department.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY, to  another issue, said she knows the  goal is to                                                               
ensure  all  students  are  reading  by the  third  grade.    She                                                               
expressed concern with the "good  cause exemption language."  She                                                               
observed that the  language does not seem to say  that the parent                                                               
or guardian has the last decision in the matter.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  proffered  that  Co-Chair   Story  was  referring  to                                                               
language on page 17, line 10.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:58:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY directed  attention  to a  sentence  on page  17,                                                               
[beginning on line 15 through line 18], which read as follows:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     School staff  shall work with the  parents or guardians                                                                    
     to schedule  a date,  time, and  place for  the meeting                                                                    
     and, if no parent or  guardian attends the meeting, the                                                                    
     teacher and  school staff  shall determine  grade level                                                                    
     progression.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  indicated she  was uncomfortable  requiring those                                                               
involved  to pinpoint  a certain  date and  time and  encouraged,                                                               
instead,  simply to  state that  the parents  will work  with the                                                               
school  to  make the  determination.    In response  to  Co-Chair                                                               
Drummond,  she  clarified  that  she  would  like  to  amend  the                                                               
sentence so that it would read as follows:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     School staff shall work with the parents or guardians                                                                      
     to determine whether retention or progression is in a                                                                      
     student's best interest.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:00:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  said she thinks the  proposed change would be  in line                                                               
with the bill sponsor's intent.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked Commissioner Johnson to  clarify for the                                                               
committee "who is or is not requiring retention to happen."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:00:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  responded that the proposed  legislation is                                                               
not  a retention  bill; it  does  not include  "a hard  retention                                                               
clause."  He said  he thinks the bill is inclusive.   He said the                                                               
language referenced  by Co-Chair  Story references a  meeting but                                                               
would not be  limited to one meeting.   He pointed out  that if a                                                               
student has  a reading  plan, then  there has  been communication                                                               
going on for  some time.  Even if the  language were changed, the                                                               
determination must  be made at  a meeting  on some date,  at some                                                               
time.  Regarding retention and  progression, he stated, "What the                                                               
bill  acknowledges is  that  when you  get to  the  end of  third                                                               
grade, whether you've progressed  without the skills necessary to                                                               
read well  or you're retained,  that is a  consequential decision                                                               
either way;  one doesn't diminish the  impact of the other."   He                                                               
said retention  is just  one of many  interventions from  which a                                                               
classroom teacher  and family  can choose in  order to  support a                                                               
student.  It  is rarely used but can be  beneficial for a student                                                               
depending on his/her start date and  age.  He said the exemptions                                                               
are  in  place   to  ensure  that  [retention]   is  not  applied                                                               
inappropriately,  and  safeguards  are in  place  to  give  every                                                               
chance for  success to the student.   He said how  a student does                                                               
in reading  by the end of  the third grade will  predict how that                                                               
student  does  in  his/her  assessments  in  tenth  grade.    For                                                               
students  who exit  third grade  with lower  reading proficiency,                                                               
the gap  grows bigger as they  progress to the upper  grades.  He                                                               
said  he  thinks the  bill  gives  the opportunity  for  parents,                                                               
teachers,  and  principals  to  be  at the  table,  and  for  the                                                               
legislature to know how policy  is being made and applied through                                                               
reporting, and that  decisions that affect students  are not made                                                               
based on one  test score but via "multiple ways  to show evidence                                                               
that they are proficient as they move on."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:03:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON, in  response  to  questions from  Co-Chair                                                               
Drummond, said  almost every  district has  a promotion/retention                                                               
policy in its board policy handbook.   He said he is not aware of                                                               
data  collected by  the department  reflecting how  many students                                                               
are retained  statewide.   He suggested  that information  may be                                                               
available in "the Oasis Report."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:04:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY directed  attention to language on  page 19, lines                                                               
1-5, which read as follows:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
               (4)  if the  student's  parents or  guardians                                                                    
     requested  a good  cause exemption  under  (g) of  this                                                                    
     section  and the  school  board  rejected the  request,                                                                    
     include a  statement that  the request  for a  good use                                                                    
        exemption was rejected and a copy of the written                                                                        
     notification the school board provided the parents or                                                                      
     guardians under (h) of this section.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   STORY  noted   that  the   language  that   lists  the                                                               
limitations of a good cause exemption  is found on [page 17, line                                                               
31, through  page 18, line  13, under subsection  (g), paragraphs                                                               
(1)-(4)].   She concluded  that the school  board can  reject the                                                               
parents' request.  She said she  does not feel that under law the                                                               
school  district  can tell  the  parent  their  child has  to  be                                                               
retained, and she asked Commissioner  Johnson whether the parents                                                               
could prevail if they took the matter to court.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:06:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON answered  that since he is  not an attorney,                                                               
he would  have to confer  with one  who could pull  up particular                                                               
cases.     He  said  he   thinks  everyone  involved   with  this                                                               
legislation would  advocate for  parents having the  authority to                                                               
make  those final  decisions.   He said  attendance rates  are an                                                               
issue  in some  districts, and  this affects  performance.   If a                                                               
student, who misses 80 days of  school can move to the next grade                                                               
level, that  is "consequential for  everyone involved."   He said                                                               
it is a monumental decision for all involved.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:07:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  encouraged the committee  find out the  answer to                                                               
the question.   Regarding  lost days, she  noted that  the Juneau                                                               
School  District  (JSD) had  truancy  officers  and at  one  time                                                               
established fines for  truancy, but for many  children the reason                                                               
they  were not  coming to  school  was economic,  so the  parents                                                               
could  not pay  the  fines.   She  said she  brought  that up  to                                                               
illustrate that  it would  be unwise to  say that  the district's                                                               
word overrides that of the parents.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:09:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  said she  was having  difficulty understanding                                                               
how, if a child who misses 80 days  of third grade can move on to                                                               
fourth grade  because of his/her parents'  insistence, the school                                                               
could  possibly provide  the  support that  child  would need  in                                                               
fourth grade.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:09:29 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK offered  his  understanding  that that  does                                                               
happen; in Fort Yukon "kids are  missing over 50 days of school."                                                               
The  question is  whether  to  allow the  child  to advance  when                                                               
professionals are saying it is not a  good idea.  He said some of                                                               
that needs to be left to local  control, and he does not have the                                                               
answer but appreciates the conversation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  said hopefully children will  receive the help                                                               
they need  in Kindergarten  so that the  situation never  gets to                                                               
that point.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  reiterated her  stance on  finding out  about the                                                               
legal aspect.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:1:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  said he  thinks it  is essential  "to figure                                                               
that question out."  He  asked, "If they're not participating, do                                                               
you have  to continue to  provide the service that  ultimately is                                                               
going to fail?"   He said it is an absurd  situation that must be                                                               
addressed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:11:16 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS said  this is a reading bill.   He offered                                                               
his understanding that "the  discussion that Representative Story                                                               
brought  up"   revolves  around  reading  ability   and  literacy                                                               
proficiency -  not truancy, which  he said would be  "an entirely                                                               
different  discussion."   He said  allowing the  school board  to                                                               
override the parents'  decision is concerning.   He mentioned the                                                               
National  Association  for  Primary Education  (NAPE)  score  and                                                               
noted that  the big five  school districts in Alaska  "are within                                                               
decimals of  national averages on  our reading scores,"  and thus                                                               
the issue of  retention and the school  board policies overruling                                                               
the  decision of  parents  will  disproportionately impact  rural                                                               
Alaska.  He  said parents will have to argue  for exemptions.  He                                                               
continued:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     We have the expectation  that parents and guardians are                                                                    
     going to understand the  discussions that are happening                                                                    
     throughout this process with the  teachers and with the                                                                    
     principals, and  we're assuming that those  parents are                                                                    
     going  to have  the  literacy levels  themselves to  be                                                                    
     able  to understand  what the  full  concept is  behind                                                                    
     this bill."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:14:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN brought attention to  language on page 16, beginning on                                                               
line  18, which  gives the  parameters of  the conversation  that                                                               
would be held with parents  if their third-grade child were being                                                               
considered for  retention.  She  informed committee  members that                                                               
legislation was introduced during  the Twenty-Eighth Alaska State                                                               
Legislature  by  then  Senator Berta  Gardner  and  Senator  Gary                                                               
Stevens,  which  spoke  to  the  issue  of  parental  choice  and                                                               
retention.   She  offered to  introduce that  language for  their                                                               
consideration as a possible amendment.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:15:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND turned  attention  to Section  6,  on page  3,                                                               
which  she  said  would  change  the  starting  age  of  a  child                                                               
[entering  kindergarten]  to  age  five   on  or  before  June  1                                                               
preceding the  beginning of the  school year.  She  indicated the                                                               
current  cutoff is  September  1.   She  said  that change  would                                                               
significantly change  the population entering kindergarten.   She                                                               
said she had discussed with  Senator Shelly Hughes, who serves on                                                               
the Senate Education Standing Committee,  about the importance of                                                               
Section  6, and  Senator  Hughes  said that  change  needs to  be                                                               
postponed  to allow  parents time  to plan,  because this  change                                                               
could result in  economic impact for those  parents with children                                                               
who would  have to wait a  year to start kindergarten  because of                                                               
the change in the cutoff date.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:16:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY encouraged  more discussion on the  date, based on                                                               
the  testimony   of  Abbe  Hensley,  [Executive   Director,  Best                                                               
Beginnings], who  discussed why she  thought it was  important to                                                               
keep the September date.  She  requested that the language in the                                                               
bill by  Senators Gardner and  Stevens be read to  the committee.                                                               
She said  she thinks there  were many parents, with  children not                                                               
at reading  proficiency by the  end of  the third grade,  who did                                                               
not want their children retained.   In response to Representative                                                               
Tuck, she clarified her concern as follows:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     My concern  is just that  the parent does not  have the                                                                    
     last word,  should have the  last word, and  that would                                                                    
     not  be upheld  in the  court of  law because  parental                                                                    
     authority seems to be sacred.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:18:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked who has the last word in this bill.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY answered  that  it seems  like  the local  school                                                               
board does.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said, "Not  the Department of  Education but                                                               
the local school board."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[AN UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER] said, "Um-hmm."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:18:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  proffered that an  amendment was  available pertaining                                                               
to  the conversation  that takes  place between  the parents  and                                                               
teacher regarding  retention in third  grade, but she said  it is                                                               
"very ambiguous."   She  said through  good cause  exemption, the                                                               
last word  is through the school  board.  She indicated  that "in                                                               
that previous  section," when  the parent is  not applying  for a                                                               
good cause  exemption "but would  like to have  the conversation,                                                               
there is no final decision-making power outlined in this bill.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:19:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  concluded that if  there were a  lawsuit, it                                                               
would  be against  the school  district.   He added,  "Right now,                                                               
this  still  doesn't  address  it;  it just  gives  it  to  local                                                               
control."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:19:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN, at  the  invitation of  Co-Chair  Drummond, read  the                                                               
language from Senators Gardner and Stevens, as follows:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     At  the  meeting described  in  this  section, ...  the                                                                    
     parent   or    guardians,   the   teacher,    and   the                                                                    
     participating  staff members  shall decide  whether the                                                                    
     student will  ... advance the  next grade level  in the                                                                    
     next  school year.    If the  parent  or guardian,  the                                                                    
     teacher, and  the participating  staff members  are not                                                                    
     in  agreement,  the  parent or  guardian  shall  decide                                                                    
     whether  the student  will advance  to  the next  grade                                                                    
     level, unless  circumstances exist as specified  in the                                                                    
     policy  adopted  by  the district  that  would  prevent                                                                    
     advancement.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:20:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND ascertained from Ms. Tobin that the proposed                                                                  
legislation had not passed.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[HB 153 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:20:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:21 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS for HB 153 ver. U.pdf HEDC 3/27/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 153
CS HB 153 v. U Sectional Analysis 3.12.2020.pdf HEDC 3/27/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 153