Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/10/1993 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 10, 1993 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair Rep. Al Vezey Rep. Pete Kott Rep. Harley Olberg Rep. Bettye Davis Rep. Irene Nicholia Rep. Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 106: "An Act establishing the Alaska education technology program; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD *HB 107: "An Act providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds in the amount of $40,000,000 for the acquisition of classroom instructional equipment and materials and library computer automation and resource sharing systems; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD Student presentation on computers in education. (* First public hearing.) WITNESS REGISTER REP. KAY BROWN Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 517 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 465-4998 Position Statement: Sponsor of HB 106 and HB 107 PAT HUNT P.O. Box 888 Tok, Alaska 99780 Phone: (907) 883-5161 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107 RICHARD M. SWARNER Executive Director, Business Management Kenai Peninsula Borough School District 44955 Ptarmigan Place Soldotna, Alaska 99699 Phone: (907) 262-4056 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107 BOB MEDINGER, Director Educational Technology and Distance Delivery Lower Kuskokwim School District P.O. Box 1063 Bethel, Alaska 99559 Phone: (907) 543-4876 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107 SHARON MACKLIN, Lobbyist Anchorage School District 4600 DeBarr Road Anchorage, Alaska 99508-3195 Phone: (907) 269-2255 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107 KAREN CRANE, Director Archives, Libraries, Museums Department of Education P.O. Box 110571 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0571 Phone: (907) 465-2910 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107 KAREN JORDAN, Technology Coordinator Juneau Public Schools S.E. Alaska Representative Alaska Society for Technology in Education 11575 Mendenhall Loop Road Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 463-1967 work Phone: (907) 789-1803 home Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107 JASON OHLER, Director Education and Technology Program University of Alaska-Southeast 1120 Glacier Highway Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 789-4417 work Phone: (907) 463-5685 home Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107 JIM KELLY Research and Liaison Officer Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation P.O. Box 25500 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5500 Phone: (907) 465-2047 Position Statement: Introduced student presentation on computers in education JACK DETZEL Delta/Greely School District Pouch 1 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Phone: (907) 895-4696 work Phone: (907) 895-4939 home Position Statement: Led student presentation on computers in education PAM RULE Delta/Greely School District Pouch 597 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Phone: (907) 895-4657 work Phone: (907) 895-4766 home Position Statement: Assisted in student presentation on computers in education CHRISTOPHER JARMAN JEREMY FLOYD CANDICE ROGERS JOSH MESCH Delta High School Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Position statement: Gave presentation on uses of computers in education PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 106 SHORT TITLE: EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)BROWN,Ulmer,Davidson,Bunde, B.Davis,Carney,Nordlund,Brice,Nicholia,Davies,Willis TITLE: "An Act establishing the Alaska education technology program; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/29/93 180 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/29/93 180 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/10/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 107 SHORT TITLE: APPROP: EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)BROWN,Ulmer,Davidson,Bunde, B.Davis,Carney,Nordlund,Brice,Nicholia,Davies,Willis TITLE: "An Act providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds in the amount of $40,000,000 for the acquisition of classroom instructional equipment and materials and library computer automation and resource sharing systems; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/29/93 180 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/29/93 180 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/10/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-32, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting to order at 3:09 p.m., noted members present, announced the calendar, and announced that the meeting was being teleconferenced to Anchorage, Barrow, Soldotna, and Tok. He brought HB 106 to the table and invited Rep. Kay Brown to testify. (Rep. Nicholia arrived at 3:10 p.m.) HB 106 - EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION HB 107 - APPROP: EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION Number 030 REP. KAY BROWN testified as PRIME SPONSOR of HB 106 and HB 107. She said most Alaska students do not have access to computers in school because schools have had problems securing state funding for the equipment and training. She and others have worked on the two bills to establish a way to fund computers in schools to help students learn more, she said. Computers help underachieving students best and can help disseminate information and educational programs all across the state, she said. Technology has not taken hold in schools because it is expensive, it is not integrated into the teaching process, and training is insufficient. Rep. Brown noted that these problems are addressed by her bills. Number 146 REP. BROWN made several points about her bills contained in her sponsor statement, which is on file in the committee room. The statement said that the bills would: establish the Alaska Education Technology Program in the Department of Education to provide assistance, training and coordinating services; establish the Alaska Education Technology Fund to offer matching grants for computer purchases and training; establish an Education Technology Committee to develop guidelines for a five-year fund distribution plan; require reports on school use of technology; require a survey of educational technology in state schools and libraries; and make grant-writing seminars available throughout the state. Rep. Brown said the state cost of the program would be $50 million over five years, $40 million from general obligation bonds to be considered by voters in 1994, and $10 million from the general fund. She supported funding the bills through bonds because of public support for technology and because of the coming reduction in bonded indebtedness. She said the fiscal notes call for about $200,000 to increase library support and in the Department of Education, which has less than one position dealing with technology. She said the bills would pay off in the long-run by improving the ability of state students to compete in the world economy while remaining in Alaska. Number 255 REP. BUNDE said he did not expect the committee to make a decision on the bills that day, as they had just then received new information on the bills. Number 260 CHAIR TOOHEY asked Alaska's national ranking in the use of computers in schools. Number 272 REP. BROWN answered that she did not know, but rural schools were further ahead than urban schools. She observed that the lack of information on computer usage in Alaska schools would be addressed by the bills' requirement for a statewide survey. Number 280 REP. B. DAVIS said that most states have developed plans for use of computers in schools as a result of the America 2000 plan. She said Alaska was not as bad off or well off as other states and had been trying since before the America 2000 program to improve the use of computers in schools. She said Alaska was behind other states in training, an important element in using computers already present in the schools. Number 305 REP. BRICE said the state's older schools in the Fairbanks area did not have as many computers as the newer schools, some of which were equipped with computers through capital appropriations when built. He said the bills would help address that disparity. REP. NICHOLIA said the Tanana School District had computers, and her niece in kindergarten would hurry through her homework so she could work with the computers. She noted that the Yukon School district also had computers and a staffer to program them with educational material. She said HB 106 and HB 107 would enhance those programs. (Rep. Kott arrived at 3:28 p.m.) Number 337 PAT HUNT testified via teleconference from Tok in support of HB 106. He said there was a need to have people who understood library conversion and educational technology in classrooms. He said teachers would use their computers if they knew how. He expressed concern about the makeup of the Education Technology Grant Committee and whether it would represent vocational education as well as academic education. He asked if the state would make the many existing educational databases available through the University of Alaska Computer Network (UACN). REP. BROWN answered that the bill directed the Department of Education to recommend training methods. She said the Education Technology Grant Committee would be appointed by the governor, and she detailed the membership requirements in the bill. She said the bill would facilitate establishment of networked data bases. Number 396 RICHARD M. SWARNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT FOR THE KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified via teleconference from Soldotna in support of HB 106 and HB 107. He encouraged the legislature to improve educational efficiency through technology by making a capital investment in computers. He approved the matching funding requirement, but said he believed the local contribution should be no greater than 30 percent. Number 424 REP. BUNDE asked if Mr. Swarner would consider technical limits on education computers to ensure they could not be used for playing games. MR. SWARNER said his district's business office would share its expertise with other districts and that technology could improve educational efficiency. He said his business staffers do not play games on their computers. Number 445 BOB MEDINGER, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND DISTANCE DELIVERY FOR THE LOWER KUSKOKWIM SCHOOL DISTRICT, and CHAIR OF THE DISTANCE DELIVERY CONSORTIUM, testified via teleconference from Bethel in support of HB 106 and HB 107. He said the bill had been revised several times and they were solid bills addressing many implementation concerns. He said they would help Bush schools, which have aging computers, but lack funds for training and upgrading. He said many rural school sites do not have access to statewide networks, satellite systems and other distance delivery systems, and he hoped the bills would address those needs. Number 475 REP. BROWN said those needs were addressed, though those elements might be made more explicit. Number 500 SHARON MACKLIN, LOBBYIST FOR THE ANCHORAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified in Juneau in support of HB 106 and HB 107. She said the district supported the bills in 1992 and supported them now. She said the WISE (Winning With Stronger Education) program, an area-wide study of the Anchorage school district, recommended spending $1,000 per student on technology. A 1992 poll of residents showed 66 percent supported a $7 million bond package for technology for schools. REP. BUNDE asked what level of match the district would feel comfortable with. Number 530 MS. MACKLIN said the district had not decided on what percentage it would support, but it did believe in the need for local contributions for computers and construction funds. The district believes it needs $20 million to $25 million in technology funding for computers, training and software in the next few years, she said. REP. BUNDE asked if the $25 million represented the total investment, or just the district's matching share. MS. MACKLIN indicated she meant the $25 million was the total amount needed, not just the district's share. Number 541 KAREN CRANE, DIRECTOR OF ARCHIVES, LIBRARIES, MUSEUMS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, testified in Juneau supporting HB 106. She said she was glad the bill had been changed since 1992 to include public libraries, as some small village libraries doubled as school libraries. She said the library network would help the Department of Education achieve its goal of disseminating information throughout the state. Number 558 KAREN JORDAN, TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR FOR JUNEAU PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND SOUTHEAST ALASKA REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE SOCIETY FOR TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION, testified in Juneau supporting HB 106 and HB 107. She said the bills were necessary if the school system wanted to emulate the improved efficiency brought by computers in business. She noted that technology in Alaska schools had heretofore been funded through capital improvements, and some schools have none. Urban schools are worse off than rural schools and have different needs, she said. Rural teachers deal with distance education, teach subjects in which they are not specialists, and teach students in many different grades, tasks that can be made easier through technology, she said. Technical support in education is good, but the Department of Education has only half a position for technological support. She encouraged the committee not to change the bills much, as they had gone through much work and revision in 1992. She expressed support for matching funding, for training, and for accountability. She said there was a need for networks and systems instead of stand-alone computers, and interconnectivity was becoming more and more important. TAPE 93-32, SIDE B Number 028 JASON OHLER, DIRECTOR OF THE EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA-SOUTHEAST, testified in support of HB 106. He said providing computers to schoolchildren today is analogous to providing them pencils in the past - an advance in technology to which resistance is understandable, if short-sighted. Without government guidance, public schools cannot fully prepare students for the challenges they will face, he said. He stated technical proficiency is the best preparation for children, and there is a need, especially in rural areas, for electronic highways and networks to allow connectivity of computerized systems. Number 087 REP. G. DAVIS asked if computer networks listed on page 3 of HB 106 already existed. REP. BROWN replied that they did. Number 138 REP. NICHOLIA asked how a computerized network funded by the bill would interact with an existing University of Alaska Rural Education program providing classes via teleconference. REP. BROWN said she could not answer the question specifically, but a network would coordinate many isolated programs. Number 160 REP. BUNDE called a brief at-ease at 4:00 p.m. and called the meeting back to order at 4:07 p.m. He invited the students from Delta High School to make their presentation on the use of computers in education. STUDENT PRESENTATION ON COMPUTERS IN EDUCATION Number 175 JIM KELLY, RESEARCH AND LIAISON OFFICER FOR THE ALASKA PERMANENT FUND CORPORATION, said the corporation has agreements with students at Delta High School in Delta Junction and West High School in Anchorage to convert the corporation's print-based public education materials into computer-based material. He suggested the presentation as a demonstration of the benefits of integrating technology into schools, as had been discussed earlier in the meeting during consideration of HB 106 and HB 107. He introduced students from Delta High School, who were to complete by the end of the 1993 school year a CD-ROM (compact disc-read-only memory) computer system that the corporation would use to teach students at other schools about the Permanent Fund Corporation. He introduced JACK DETZEL, A TEACHER AT DELTA HIGH SCHOOL who advised and assisted the students in their efforts. Number 202 JACK DETZEL introduced the four students accompanying him. He described the $11,000 CD-ROM computer system on which the students had developed their software. He described the benefits of computers in education, but said the schools need more computers to satisfy the demands of students at all grade levels, not just the juniors and seniors who have priority use of the scarce resource. He said hardware shortages cause delays in teaching students about computers that can deny them the benefits of early exposure to the technology that could help them throughout their educational careers. Number 362 The students described how they had transferred printed educational materials from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation into computerized form, combining CD-ROMs, video cameras and data bases to make the information educational, simple, and attractive to other students. Number 375 CANDICE ROGERS, STUDENT, demonstrated how she had used an Apple Macintosh computer to program information contained in a printed study guide on the Permanent Fund Corporation into a computer for use as an instructional program. Number 430 JEREMY FLOYD, STUDENT, demonstrated how he had used a computer to create a program presenting information contained on a time-line of Alaska history. Number 490 JOSH MESCH, STUDENT, demonstrated how he had used a computer to create a program displaying information on each investment property owned by the Permanent Fund Corporation, including video tape, digitally-scanned photographs, textual information, and recorded spoken words. Number 500 PAM RULE, AN OFFICIAL IN THE DELTA/GREELY SCHOOL DISTRICT, said the students were doing a good job with the equipment they had, but Delta High School needed money for more computers. She said there was no reason that students across the state could not duplicate the work of the students at her school, given the right equipment and training. REP. VEZEY asked whether it was possible to demonstrate whether the purchase of computer equipment for schools would provide a return on investment in terms of demonstrable increased value of education. He noted that private businesses usually have to justify investment in computers with demonstrated improvements in efficiency. MR. DETZEL said that providing computers at a rudimentary level now would open up the educational system to vastly greater efficiency in delivery of education services in the next decade. TAPE 93-33, SIDE A Number 000 MR. DETZEL said public education did not have to demonstrate competitive advantages as did private industry, but was obligated to provide useful education to students. He said computerized technology would raise the benefits of education and save personnel costs. He expressed confidence that providing the computers would help the state's students become and remain competitive workers. REP. VEZEY observed that education had become more labor intensive, not less over the last several decades, and asked what direct benefits computerizing schools would bring. He asked whether computers would help allow an increase in the pupil-teacher ratios. MR. DETZEL stated that computer networks have enabled some states to reduce the cost of delivering education in pilot programs and have allowed some people to work at home. He said establishing such computer networks would allow greater savings in the future. He described how such networks could allow students to receive instruction from experts in a field, not just their teachers, and to learn at their own pace. He said technology is definitely cost-effective. Number 060 MS. RULE stated that computers have helped school districts do more and better administrative work, and have improved worker morale and productivity. She cited examples. Number 125 REP. VEZEY asked if it was possible to cut the cost of education to justify the cost of purchasing computers. MS. JORDAN responded that it would take a leap of faith to jump into the purchase of computers, but it would save money and eliminate excessive teaching effort for slow learners. Computers would help prepare efficient, productive employees, she said. In five or ten years the computers will make a big difference and allow much more flexibility in education, she said. Number 168 REP. VEZEY noted that 85 percent of education costs are for personnel, and asked whether spending money for HB 106 and HB 107 would increase productivity or would merely be an additional cost. MS. JORDAN said that while it is hard to quantify the value of a good education, the additional computers would help give students a better education that would encourage public support for such technology in education. She said some school districts are willing to accept more students per classroom if they also get more computers per classroom. Number 184 REP. VEZEY stated that such a trade-off would demonstrate a measurable increase in productivity for the investment. He said bonding represents a long-term loan to provide services, and noted that it was the legislature's job to allocate resources carefully. CHAIR TOOHEY asked what a computer costs, and whether the Delta/Greely school district allows students to use computers on weekends. MS. RULE answered yes, and added that the students use all of the computers every spare minute, including nights and weekends. Number 216 CANDICE ROGERS said that computers make learning fun and attractive for students of all achievement levels. MS. RULE said a MacIntosh computer costs about $900, while a top-of-the-line CD-ROM system, similar to the one used in the display, costs about $11,000 because of the amount of memory and software it has. Number 231 REP. BRICE said that introducing technology into the educational system was not so much a financial calculation as an assessment of whether the schools could educate students to compete throughout their lives in the global economy. He said computers will be more and more important in the future in reading, writing, math and other subjects in education and in vocation. REP. BUNDE reminded committee members that there would be ample opportunity to discuss the bill and present their ideas, and said he had another appointment at 5 p.m. REP. BROWN said that Rep. Vezey had asked a meaningful question concerning the value of investment into technology for education. She stated experts in the field have said that the U.S. education system was stagnant and ineffective at preparing students. She said her bill was a step toward addressing those problems. REP. BUNDE thanked Mr. Detzel and the students for their presentation, and ADJOURNED the meeting at 5:00 p.m.