Legislature(2013 - 2014)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/31/2014 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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08:00:12 AM Start
08:01:01 AM HB162
09:41:35 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 162 TEACHER TENURE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
**Streamed live on AKL.TV**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 31, 2014                                                                                         
                           8:00 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Mike Dunleavy, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Charlie Huggins                                                                                                         
Senator Berta Gardner                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 162(EDC) AM                                                                             
"An Act relating to tenure of public school teachers; and                                                                       
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 162                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: TEACHER TENURE                                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) T.WILSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
03/11/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/11/13       (H)       EDC                                                                                                    
03/22/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/22/13       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/22/13       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/27/13       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/27/13       (H)       Moved CSHB 162(EDC) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/27/13       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/28/13       (H)       EDC RPT CS(EDC) 3DP 4NR                                                                                
03/28/13       (H)       DP: SADDLER, P.WILSON, GATTIS                                                                          
03/28/13       (H)       NR: LEDOUX, DRUMMOND, REINBOLD, SEATON                                                                 
04/04/13       (H)       AM NO 3 TABLED Y28 N8 E4                                                                               
04/04/13       (H)       PASSAGE OF BILL NOT IN ORDER MOTION                                                                    
                         WITHDRAWN                                                                                              
04/04/13       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/04/13       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 162(EDC) AM                                                                              
04/05/13       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/05/13       (S)       EDC                                                                                                    
03/31/14       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TAMMIE WILSON                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 162.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska,                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information related to HB 162.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY SMITH, President                                                                                                          
Fairbanks Teacher Association                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 162.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM ERNST, Teacher                                                                                                          
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska,                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Voiced opposition to HB 162.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:00:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY   STEVENS  called   the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:00  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were  Senators  Gardner,   Dunleavy,  and  Chair  Stevens.                                                               
Senator Huggins arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                     HB 162-TEACHER TENURE                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS announced  the consideration  of HB  162. He  said                                                               
version U.A was before the committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:01:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TAMMIE  WILSON, Alaska State  Legislature, Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, sponsor of HB 162, shared  the history of the bill's path                                                               
through the legislative process so  far. She discussed the change                                                               
of  tenure  from  after-three  to  after-five  years.  The  House                                                               
proposed  an   amendment  that   would  exempt   Rural  Education                                                               
Attendance Areas  (REAA) and communities with  5,500 residents or                                                               
less from  the provision  to change tenure  to after  five years.                                                               
The  following  school  districts were  left:  Anchorage,  Kodiak                                                               
Island,  Mat-Su, Fairbanks,  Juneau,  Kenai,  and Ketchikan.  She                                                               
noted that  those districts had  previously requested  the change                                                               
in tenure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON related  that flexibility  in new  hires -                                                               
related to budget cuts - was also  an issue as to why the bill is                                                               
needed.  She further  addressed the  reasons tenure  needs to  be                                                               
changed. She used Fairbanks as an  example of a district that has                                                               
its own tenure policy in  place. She opined that tenure decisions                                                               
should be  left up to districts  to determine. If HB  162 were to                                                               
pass,  districts  could  continue  allowing  tenure  after  three                                                               
years, but  they would not  be required  to do so.  She explained                                                               
that there is a portability  provision in the bill which provides                                                               
that a  teacher who has  taught in  a district for  several years                                                               
can take those years of experience to the next contract.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson suggested  that  the word  "tenure" has  a                                                               
variety  of  meanings.  Universities have  a  complicated  tenure                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:04:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS   spoke  from  experience  about   tenure  at  the                                                               
university. He questioned the decision  to go from three years to                                                               
five years  and what that  time extension might entail.  He asked                                                               
if there  would be more  classroom observation involved.  He also                                                               
inquired how student achievement enters  into it. He assumed that                                                               
the goal of having tenure is to help teachers become better.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  replied  that   districts  would  not  be                                                               
required to wait five years. There  is flexibility in the bill to                                                               
allow  excellent  teachers to  receive  tenure  sooner than  five                                                               
years. A  longer tenure  period allows districts  to draw  from a                                                               
larger pool  when making  cuts and allows  for more  mentoring of                                                               
new  teachers.   She  questioned  the  five-year   component  and                                                               
wondered if the decision could be left up to the district.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  shared that  his district has  a large  school and                                                               
five  small schools  that  the  bill does  not  exclude from  the                                                               
tenure provision because they are within a large district.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  explained   that  the  discussion  should                                                               
continue on  allowing each  district to decide  how to  deal with                                                               
tenure.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:09:49 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER inquired who within  the five districts requested                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  explained  that the  five  aforementioned                                                               
school districts joined  together and presented a  list of issues                                                               
that would provide them with more flexibility.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER  inquired if  the biggest  reason for  needing HB                                                               
162 is  so that  districts can  have control  over who  to retain                                                               
when there will be a layoff.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said  special education  teacher positions                                                               
are hard  to fill. Also, there  is the issue of  portability when                                                               
teachers  move into  new  districts  and only  have  one year  to                                                               
adjust  to   the  new  school.   She  noted  a   complaint  about                                                               
underperforming teachers and the method of releasing them.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER provided  an example of a teacher  with tenure in                                                               
a REAA district who moves to  a larger district. She asked if the                                                               
bill applies to them.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said  the  bill does  not  deal with  that                                                               
situation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER thought tenure did not transfer.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   WILSON  believed   each   district  makes   that                                                               
determination.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:13:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS asked  what happens  to a  teacher who  needs more                                                               
time after three  years. He wondered if the  tenure process could                                                               
be extended.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  did not  think  so,  currently. The  bill                                                               
provides for  an extension as  needed. At  the end of  the fourth                                                               
year the contract could be offered.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  said on page one  it says "shall". He  asked where                                                               
the bill permits giving tenure sooner than five years.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  explained that there is  nothing that says                                                               
you can't do it earlier, therefore you can.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:16:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS asked why tenure exists.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said  it came  from the  universities. She                                                               
opined  that there  were some  teachers who  had a  conflict with                                                               
their administration  and felt they  needed protection.  It began                                                               
during  the  BIA  schools.  She  stressed  that  it  is  not  the                                                               
responsibility of the state to tell schools what to do.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS added that the  reason tenure was introduced was to                                                               
protect teachers from unwarranted firing.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:18:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  said  every  profession  has  employee/employer                                                               
conflicts. He opined  that tenure is not exercised;  a very small                                                               
percentage of teachers are dismissed.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  did not  think he  was wrong.  She related                                                               
that tenure was  borrowed from the university where  tenure was a                                                               
reward. In  public schools it is  based on years. The  bill would                                                               
provide  flexibility  to  schools  to  manage  their  own  tenure                                                               
policies.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS recalled  how difficult  it is  to find  special                                                               
education  teachers. He  requested more  data about  tenure. Many                                                               
teachers  left teaching  due  to the  new  retirement system.  He                                                               
maintained that everyone receives tenure at three years.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:22:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked  how many teachers are  dismissed before they                                                               
are tenured.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS  provided an example  of how a teacher  could get                                                               
in "under the radar."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  said it  is  a  lot easier  for  marginal                                                               
teachers to stay on point for  three years. She said it was never                                                               
the intent  to speak  poorly about "good"  teachers. She  did not                                                               
think  there was  data at  the department  regarding non-retained                                                               
teachers.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS said  in  the past  he  heard that  administrators                                                               
didn't have  time for classroom  observations. He  voiced concern                                                               
about postponing the tenure decision  for two more years. He also                                                               
asked how  much it would  cost the  district to mentor  a teacher                                                               
for two  more years.  He said  he did  not understand  the rating                                                               
process and how student evaluations would be tied in.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said  that  teacher evaluation  was a  big                                                               
concern  in small  districts. She  opined the  bill is  not about                                                               
delaying the  decision for  two more years.  The classroom  is an                                                               
inconsistent  environment.  She  compared   it  to  being  a  new                                                               
legislature.  It is  the opposite  of delaying  the decision;  it                                                               
provides  more time  for evaluation.  She questioned  whether the                                                               
tenure period needs to be mandated.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:29:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS maintained  that another factor is  having to let                                                               
the non-tenured excellent teacher go, due to budget cuts.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS said one reason  for tenure is that districts might                                                               
choose to hire  a less expensive teacher and  tenure protects the                                                               
senior teacher from being fired.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS agreed. He noted  there are retirement incentives                                                               
that pay people to retire early.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  said, on one hand,  districts are measured                                                               
on  accountability  and  a  poor   teacher  will  interfere  with                                                               
results. On the  other hand, good teachers  provide good results.                                                               
She opined that with contracts  and union involvement protections                                                               
are in place.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:33:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER requested  a copy of the  five districts' request                                                               
list.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON offered to provide that information                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  requested that  NEA and  the Alaska  Council of                                                               
School Administrators testify.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:36:25 AM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE  JOHNSON,  Executive  director, Alaska  Council  of  School                                                               
Administrators,  Juneau, Alaska,  presenting information  related                                                               
to HB 162. He said Council  members have a variety of opinions on                                                               
the bill. He said the  rationale behind favoring the extension is                                                               
that, in times  of reduction, often beginning  teachers are moved                                                               
from one  site to another  and have three  different supervisors.                                                               
Sometimes, people fall between the cracks.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked if tenure transfers.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSON said  no, tenure is a district-awarded  concept. If a                                                               
teacher moves from  one district to another there  is a shortened                                                               
period until tenure  is acquired in the new  district. He pointed                                                               
out that  when there is a  dismissal of a tenured  teacher, it is                                                               
costly. Previously, there was a  tenure renewal clause, which was                                                               
removed. Districts  consider dismissal very purposely  due to the                                                               
cost, time, and  energy, as well as the morale  issues. For those                                                               
reasons,  the Council  would entertain  a  reinstatement of  that                                                               
clause in the future.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He said when it comes to  making a tenure decision in a district,                                                               
each  individual  teacher  is  evaluated  and  a  very  conscious                                                               
decision  is made  about whether  or not  the performance  of the                                                               
individual in  the first three  years has been sufficient.  It is                                                               
not taken lightly and is not left up to an individual principal.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He   noted  that   there  have   been  improvements   in  teacher                                                               
recruitment efforts.  He said  in smaller  districts there  was a                                                               
problem  with finding  outstanding  teachers  versus an  adequate                                                               
teacher who is willing to go to an outlying area.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSON  said  tenure  is  a  complicated  issue  worthy  of                                                               
discussion. He  suggested the issues surrounding  the bill should                                                               
be well  thought out. He  opined that it  is great to  have local                                                               
control, but  at the same time  there is a fairness  issue, which                                                               
collective bargaining addresses.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:43:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  thanked Dr. Johnson  for his years of  service. He                                                               
asked if it is a problem  having different tenure rules for small                                                               
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSON said no. It is  designed so that rural districts have                                                               
a good  recruitment tool  of offering tenure  in three  years. He                                                               
noted he  does not know of  any schools that offer  tenure before                                                               
the end of the third year.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY asked  if a principal who holds  a teaching Type                                                               
A endorsement  and an administrative Type  B endorsement receives                                                               
teacher tenure after three years.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS asked  for an  explanation of  Type A  and Type  B                                                               
endorsements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSON   explained  that  Type   B  is   an  administrative                                                               
endorsement;  Type   A  is  a  teaching   endorsement.  Often,  a                                                               
principal will have  teaching experience and will  have tenure as                                                               
a  teacher, or  will have  teacher  tenure awarded  for being  an                                                               
administrator.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DUNLEAVY asked  if an administrator who  has never taught                                                               
can be granted teacher tenure as an administrator.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSON said yes.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:48:43 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER asked what is  required to receive tenure after a                                                               
teacher has left the district and then returns.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSON said  if a  teacher  leaves a  tenured position  and                                                               
returns  to  the  district  at   a  later  time,  tenure  is  not                                                               
reinstated,  but would  have to  be earned  again. A  teacher can                                                               
move within a district and retain tenure.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER asked if an administrator  has to keep the Type A                                                               
license current.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSON said  yes. Administrators  also must  meet the  six-                                                               
credit requirement every five years  to maintain either Type A or                                                               
Type B, or both.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS inquired,  if a teacher has taught  for three years                                                               
and is not ready for tenure,  does the principal have a choice to                                                               
fire the teacher,  grant tenure, and extend  the tenure probation                                                               
period.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSON responded  that  he  has worked  with  the union  to                                                               
develop an  extension due to  a catastrophic incident, but  it is                                                               
rare.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:52:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   STEVENS  asked   for  more   information  about   teacher                                                               
observations.  He voiced  concern  that extending  the time  will                                                               
postpone  observations and  assistance  to a  teacher that  needs                                                               
more help.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSON   explained  that  observations  vary   district  to                                                               
district.  It  ranges  from observations  every  week  to  having                                                               
personnel hired to  do observations. The point  of observation is                                                               
to  help   teachers  improve  sooner,  rather   than  later,  and                                                               
intervene in  a way that  is helpful. He  opined it is  very rare                                                               
where  there are  few observations  of  non-tenured teachers.  He                                                               
concluded it is an area that has made great strides.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARDNER asked  about the  process of  becoming a  highly                                                               
effective teacher.  She related  some of  the components  to that                                                               
effect:   better   selection   of  teacher   candidates,   better                                                               
instruction  for teachers  in training,  longer student  teaching                                                               
time,  mentoring, continuing  education,  and  MAT programs.  She                                                               
inquired  if the  districts who  want  five-year tenure  programs                                                               
anticipate  needing  help  to assist  teachers  with  improvement                                                               
programs during the additional two years until tenure.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSON said  the point is well taken. He  said he could only                                                               
speak  about  districts  he  has  personal  knowledge  with.  For                                                               
example, Mat-Su  has advocated  for the increase  and has  a very                                                               
robust  teacher support  system, a  rich collection  of offerings                                                               
and assistance. Even with that  in place, some teachers will slip                                                               
between  the  cracks  because  they are  moving  from  school  to                                                               
school. He guessed  that three years is enough  time to determine                                                               
if a person  will be a quality teacher and  he would be reluctant                                                               
to grant  tenure to someone  who has not  demonstrated competency                                                               
after three years.  However, there are places in  Alaska where it                                                               
is difficult to attract and retain teachers.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:58:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER  recalled  the discussion  about  extending  the                                                               
tenure period because if  extenuating circumstances. She inquired                                                               
if there  has been an  example of a  teacher who is  marginal and                                                               
receives an extension for two years under an improvement plan.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSON  said that  instance would  be district  specific and                                                               
require an  agreement with their teacher  association. He thought                                                               
it was worthy of consideration.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:00:18 AM                                                                                                                    
TAMMY   SMITH,   President,    Fairbanks   Teacher   Association,                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in opposition  to HB 162. She shared                                                               
her history  and pride as  a teacher  for over thirty  years. She                                                               
opined that the way to improve  a system is not through extending                                                               
the  requirements, which  makes it  harder for  a new  teacher to                                                               
achieve  a sense  of commitment,  but to  guarantee that  all the                                                               
steps  are in  place to  ensure success.  She maintained  that it                                                               
must be  a system that  promotes the highest standards.  She said                                                               
she is  on the teacher  evaluation task force in  Fairbanks which                                                               
is selecting  a new teacher  evaluation and determining  the best                                                               
way  to  implement  it.  Additionally, the  task  force  will  be                                                               
determining  how  to  meet the  new  regulations,  tying  teacher                                                               
performance to student growth.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
She  related that  she  is also  a member  of  the Department  of                                                               
Education and Early Development  (DEED) teacher evaluation group.                                                               
That task  force is  also working on  useful components  for both                                                               
teacher and administrator evaluation  tools. She opined that this                                                               
work  being  done at  the  state  and  local level  will  provide                                                               
significant  growth  in  teacher performance  and  administrative                                                               
oversight. She  maintained, "If  we want  to improve  the overall                                                               
performance of  teachers, it cannot  be by holding a  hammer over                                                               
their heads, but  instead by putting into  place reasonable steps                                                               
to ensure  the high  quality of teaching  in the  classroom." She                                                               
said this can be done by  making sure there are rigorous teaching                                                               
programs  at  the  university, by  providing  administrators  and                                                               
supervisors excellent  evaluation tools to work  with, having job                                                               
collaboration  and professional  development, on-going  mentoring                                                               
programs,  increased  pre-service  teaching  opportunities,  more                                                               
training for school  boards, superintendents, and administrators,                                                               
setting aside  time for  professional learning  communities, and,                                                               
if necessary, for individuals not up  to the job, to educate them                                                               
out of the field.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
She opined that the current progress  being made by DEED with the                                                               
teacher  and  administrative  evaluation  tool is  the  most  key                                                               
element  to  support.  She  requested   support  for  a  rigorous                                                               
evaluation tool which research supports.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:04:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked if Ms.  Smith is  a better teacher  after 30                                                               
years.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SMITH said  yes.  She said  she  is at  her  peak, with  two                                                               
master's degrees  and the  desire to  try new  things. She  has a                                                               
better understanding  of what it takes  to be a good  teacher and                                                               
to help  her colleagues  and administrators.  She has  a thorough                                                               
understanding  of  education philosophy  and  an  ability now  to                                                               
provide guidance to newer teachers.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS thanked Ms. Smith.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked for Ms.  Smith's three priorities to help a                                                               
beginning teacher improve.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH  said a beginning teacher  needs to work with  a mentor                                                               
teacher  on site,  must know  their  content, and  there must  be                                                               
continuing mentorship in the classroom.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:08:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SMITH responded to a  question from Senator Huggins. She said                                                               
teachers  have to  be flexible  and change  with the  culture and                                                               
address  varying needs  of students.  She used  technology as  an                                                               
example.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER asked why teachers leave the profession quickly.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH said up to 50  percent leave the profession within five                                                               
years. She  said they need  to have  good mentors on  site. There                                                               
are  many challenging  requirements that  can be  overwhelming to                                                               
new teachers,  leading to a  sense of frustration.  She concluded                                                               
that teaching is a community job.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:14:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  said the bill  changes tenure from three  years to                                                               
five years.  He voiced concern  about what happens in  that extra                                                               
two years and about the cost.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH thought that what should  happen in the extra two years                                                               
is to allow a new evaluation  system to be in place. In Fairbanks                                                               
the  Danielson  Model has  been  adopted.  She suggested  putting                                                               
money into  evaluation tools. If  a teacher is not  seeing growth                                                               
in  the  second or  third  year,  there  needs  to be  an  honest                                                               
conversation with that person.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked about the five categories of ratings.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SMITH  said it  depends  on  the  tool; the  categories  are                                                               
specific to  a model. She  spoke of  the Danielson Model  and the                                                               
need for the  administrator to take the training for  it in order                                                               
for it to be effective.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:17:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked if student  achievement should be a  part of                                                               
tenure.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SMITH said  it  is a  tough issue.  She  said tying  student                                                               
performance to the teacher evaluation  is a work in progress. She                                                               
opined  that  testing  is  a   complex  issue.  There  is  a  new                                                               
regulation that addresses that issue.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS said special education is also a consideration.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SMITH agreed  that it  is  an issue.  She described  special                                                               
education intervention via the individual education plan.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:20:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS asked if she works on teacher evaluations.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH said yes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   HUGGINS  believed   in   two   elements  important   in                                                               
evaluations.  The  conversation  between the  principal  and  the                                                               
teacher should include the teacher  sharing their goals as a part                                                               
of the evaluation.  Later on the conversation  should include how                                                               
the teacher met their objectives.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH said pre-conferences  and post-conferences include both                                                               
the  teacher's goals  and the  principal's views.  She emphasized                                                               
how  important it  is for  administrators  to spend  time in  the                                                               
classroom.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS provided an example of evaluation benchmarks.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH said  in most cases there are  timelines throughout the                                                               
year for these conversations.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked how  many teachers did  not get  tenure in                                                               
Fairbanks.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH said  she is not privy to that  information. She shared                                                               
that tenure is a big deal to new teachers.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS  agreed tenure  is  important.  He restated  his                                                               
question  about the  number of  teachers in  Fairbanks that  were                                                               
denied tenure.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:28:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  suggested  they  will  research  the  numbers  of                                                               
teachers that did not receive tenure.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER asked how many  teachers quit before they were to                                                               
receive tenure.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS hoped those statistics are available.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS said  50 percent  leave the  teaching profession                                                               
within five years.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:29:22 AM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM ERNST, Teacher, Fairbanks  North Star Borough, Fairbanks,                                                               
Alaska, voiced  opposition to HB  162. He shared  his involvement                                                               
with  the teacher  association and  with  the teacher  evaluation                                                               
committee in Fairbanks.  He said  he is not in favor of extending                                                               
tenure for an extra two years.  He provided the history of tenure                                                               
and  what other  states do.  He maintained  that delaying  tenure                                                               
will hinder  the recruitment  and retention  of new  teachers. He                                                               
shared that young  teachers are leaving the state due  to the new                                                               
retirement  system and  high medical  and energy  costs. Delaying                                                               
tenure would be the third strike.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He  said the  three-year tenure  period is  working and  provides                                                               
security for teachers. He opined  that having a variety of tenure                                                               
policies is a disadvantage.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS recalled  when the  tenure policy  was increased                                                               
from two  to three years. He  asked how teachers reacted  to that                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERNST  opined that it did  not change anything and  it was in                                                               
line with national  standards. A change from three  to five years                                                               
will have  a negative  effect. Only  Missouri, Indiana,  and Ohio                                                               
have tenure laws past three years.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS said  there was  no  flight of  teachers out  of                                                               
state when the benefit program changed.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERNST commented on the two teacher retirement systems.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS  did   not  think  a  change   in  tenure  would                                                               
facilitate  teachers leaving.  He opined  that tenure  is a  non-                                                               
event.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERNST  agreed. It said it  is an administrator's job  to make                                                               
sure teachers  are competent. Extending  tenure two years  has no                                                               
benefits.  He  noted  tenure  is   a  different  process  at  the                                                               
university level.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:41:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS said  the bill will be discussed again  on April 2.                                                               
He set HB 162 aside.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:41:35 AM                                                                                                                    
There being nothing  further to come before  the committee, Chair                                                               
Stevens  adjourned the  Senate  Education  Standing Committee  at                                                               
9:41 a.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01_HB162_BillText_VersionUA.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
02_HB162_SponsorStatement.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
03_HB162 FiscalNote.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
04_HB162_Sectional.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
05_HB162_ExplanationofChanges_revised.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
06_HB162_Support Doc_ECS_TeacherQualityTenureStudy_2011.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
07_HB162_Support Doc_Time Mag. Artical Nov. 2008.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
08_HB162_Support Doc_The Next American 10-23-2012.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
09_HB162_Support Doc_Pro & Con_updated 02-05-2013.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
10_HB162_Support Doc_ShouldTeachersGetTenure_Updated 02-05-2013.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162
11_HB162_NEA_Opposed.pdf SEDC 3/31/2014 8:00:00 AM
HB 162