Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

03/29/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:03:42 AM Start
08:05:03 AM Presentation: Alaska State School Board
09:30:18 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ State School Board TELECONFERENCED
Joint Hearing with the House Education Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 29, 2017                                                                                         
                           8:03 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                  
 Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                           
 Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                          
 Senator John Coghill                                                                                                           
 Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                             
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Harriet Drummond, Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Justin Parish, Vice Chair                                                                                       
 Representative Zach Fansler                                                                                                    
 Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                   
 Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                               
 Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                      
 Representative David Talerico                                                                                                  
 Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 All members present                                                                                                            
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: ALASKA STATE SCHOOL BOARD                                                                                         
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JAMES FIELDS, Chair                                                                                                             
Alaska State Board of Education                                                                                                 
Glennallen, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
SUE HULL, First Vice Chair                                                                                                      
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
JOHN HARMON, Second Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
BARBARA THOMPSON, Member                                                                                                        
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Douglas, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
WILFRIED ZIBELL, Youth Advisor                                                                                                  
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Noorvik, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
CHARLES MICHAEL, Youth Advisor - Elect                                                                                          
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
REBECCA HIMSCHOOT, Member                                                                                                       
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
LT. COLONIAL JASON TOOLE, Military Advisor                                                                                      
Joint Base Elmendorf                                                                                                            
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
DR. KEITH HAMILTON, Member                                                                                                      
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Alaska Christian College                                                                                                        
Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary Education                                                                                   
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
KENNY GALLAHORN, Member                                                                                                         
Alaska State School Board                                                                                                       
Kotzebue, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information on  the State  School                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:03:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HARRIET  DRUMMOND called  the joint  meeting of  the Senate                                                             
and House  Education Standing  Committees to  order at  8:03 a.m.                                                               
Present  at the  call  to order  were  Senators Begich,  Giessel,                                                               
Coghill,  Stevens, and  Chair Hughes,  and Representatives  Kopp,                                                               
Fansler, Johnston, Spohnholz, Talerico, and Chair Drummond.                                                                     
^PRESENTATION: Alaska State School Board                                                                                        
            PRESENTATION: Alaska State School Board                                                                         
8:05:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  announced a  presentation  by  the Alaska  State                                                               
School  Board.  She noted  that  all  seven voting  members  were                                                               
present,  as  well  as  the military  advisor  and  both  student                                                               
members. She  said it  will be  a very  informal meeting  and Mr.                                                               
Fields will act as moderator.                                                                                                   
8:06:21 AM                                                                                                                    
JAMES FIELDS,  Chair, Alaska State Board  of Education, presented                                                               
information on the State School Board. He introduced himself.                                                                   
CHAIR  DRUMMOND noted  the presence  of Commissioner  Johnson and                                                               
that Representative Parish joined the meeting.                                                                                  
8:07:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS thanked the committees  for the opportunity to be here                                                               
today. He  was grateful for  the chance to collaborate  with both                                                               
Education  Committees.  He  related   that  the  State  Board  of                                                               
Education  has  been working  toward  a  plan  with the  goal  of                                                               
transforming the way  student learning happens in  the state. The                                                               
next  step in  the plan  is the  Alaska Education  Challenge with                                                               
five  strategic  objectives.  He  said  Commissioner  Johnson  is                                                               
forming  committees   to  dive   into  providing   "an  excellent                                                               
education  for every  student every  day," which  is the  Board's                                                               
mission statement.                                                                                                              
MR.  FIELDS  related that  with  committee  members from  a  wide                                                               
variety   of    stakeholder   groups,    including   legislators,                                                               
administrators,  local school  board members,  parents, teachers,                                                               
business leaders, the Board is  hopeful that transformative ideas                                                               
and action  steps will come  forward and have  widespread support                                                               
to then  move forward  and be  implemented throughout  Alaska. He                                                               
noted there are pockets of  transformative work in the state, and                                                               
the  goal is  to  take those  ideas  and allow  them  to be  used                                                               
throughout the state.                                                                                                           
MR.  FIELDS  pointed  out  that   the  Education  Committees  are                                                               
critical  in  the process  and  the  Board  wants to  hear  their                                                               
concerns,  comments, and  ideas related  to the  Alaska Education                                                               
Challenge. The  Board looks forward  to having  committee members                                                               
join the various committees Commissioner Johnson is forming.                                                                    
He introduced members of the Board.                                                                                             
8:08:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SUE HULL, First Vice Chair,  Alaska State School Board, presented                                                               
information  on the  State School  Board. She  said she  has been                                                               
active in  education for  years and  served on  the Board  in the                                                               
80s.  She  said  she is  excited  to  be  a  part of  the  Alaska                                                               
Education  Challenge. There  is  a hunger  for transformation  in                                                               
education among  education stakeholders and the  public. She said                                                               
the Board is strong and energetic and is focused on kids.                                                                       
8:09:57 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  HARMON,  Second  Vice Chair,  Alaska  State  School  Board,                                                               
presented information  on the State  School Board. He said  he is                                                               
from the Mat-Su  Valley and his family has been  in Alaska a long                                                               
time.  He practiced  law  for  many years  and  then returned  to                                                               
Alaska and  has worked as a  high school principal. Next  year he                                                               
will teach high school English.                                                                                                 
8:10:38 AM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA THOMPSON,  Member, Alaska  State School  Board, presented                                                               
information on the  State School Board. She said she  has been in                                                               
education  about  40 years  in  various  roles; adult  education,                                                               
Department  of Education,  and  at the  national  level with  the                                                               
Education Commission  of the States.  She is pleased to  serve on                                                               
the Board  and excited about  how the Alaska  Education Challenge                                                               
will  impact  student  achievement and  teacher  preparation  and                                                               
8:11:16 AM                                                                                                                    
WILFRIED  ZIBELL,  Youth  Advisor,  Alaska  State  School  Board,                                                               
presented information on the State School  Board. He said he is a                                                               
high school senior  and is an honor to have  served on the Board.                                                               
He is looking forward to the Alaska Education Challenge.                                                                        
8:11:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES  MICHAEL,  Youth Advisor  -  Elect,  Alaska State  School                                                               
Board, presented information  on the State School  Board. He said                                                               
he will be the next Youth Advisor on the Board.                                                                                 
8:12:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA HIMSCHOOT,  Member, Alaska State School  Board, presented                                                               
information on the State School Board.  She said she is a teacher                                                               
and  is she  is grateful  to serve  on the  energized Board.  She                                                               
recognized two former students in the room.                                                                                     
8:12:38 AM                                                                                                                    
LT.   COLONIAL  JASON   TOOLE,  Military   Advisor,  Joint   Base                                                               
Elmendorf, Alaska  State School  Board, presented  information on                                                               
the State School Board.                                                                                                         
8:12:45 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.   KEITH  HAMILTON,   Member,  Alaska   State  School   Board,                                                               
President,   Alaska  Christian   College,   and  Member,   Alaska                                                               
Commission on Post-Secondary  Education, presented information on                                                               
the State  School Board. He said  he is grateful for  the unified                                                               
Board which is moving ahead with the Alaska Education Challenge.                                                                
8:13:45 AM                                                                                                                    
KENNY  GALLAHORN, Member,  Alaska State  School Board,  presented                                                               
information  on the  State  School Board.  He  said education  is                                                               
important  to  him  and  his  family.  He  represents  the  rural                                                               
districts.  He  appreciated  the work  the  Education  Committees                                                               
does. He said he is result oriented.                                                                                            
8:15:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS  shared that  he  is  from  the Copper  River  School                                                               
District  and has  served on  the  local school  board there  for                                                               
seven years  and the State  Board for four  years. He said  he is                                                               
the REAA member to the Board.                                                                                                   
CHAIR HUGHES said she is delighted  that the whole Board is here.                                                               
She asked about  their work ensuring that graduates  are ready to                                                               
attend the  university and not needing  remediation. She referred                                                               
to  an article  about students  with high  GPAs needing  remedial                                                               
course work.                                                                                                                    
8:15:54 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HULL  said she chairs  a joint  committee of the  State Board                                                               
and the University  Regents which is charged  with nine elements:                                                               
creating a  culture of  education, reducing  developmental course                                                               
work,  expanding   concurrent  enrollment,   improving  educative                                                               
preparation,  expanding  Alaska  educator  recruitment,  ensuring                                                               
educator  retention,  simplifying  the transfer  of  credit,  and                                                               
ensuring smooth transitions.                                                                                                    
She   stated   that   education    needs   greater   systems   of                                                               
accountability, and the use of  today's technology as a method to                                                               
ensure  that quality  is tracked  all  along. Both  the Board  of                                                               
Regents  and  the  State  Board  are  aware  of  the  remediation                                                               
problem.  Several of  the Alaska  Education Challenge  committees                                                               
are focused  on student achievement  and accountability  and will                                                               
come out with recommendations.                                                                                                  
8:18:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND noted the presence of Representative Reinbold.                                                                   
MR. FIELDS assumed that student  achievement would be included in                                                               
all five of the Alaska Education Challenge priorities.                                                                          
8:18:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  commented that  students who did  not do                                                               
remedial courses  had a  greater success  rate than  students who                                                               
were put  into remedial  courses. She asked  how they  planned to                                                               
raise the bar for those students.                                                                                               
MS. HULL  responded that the  goal is  that students not  have to                                                               
take remedial classes at the university level.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  clarified  that maybe  bright  students                                                               
were being  put into  remedial classes  and didn't  belong there.                                                               
Expectations for success were not there.                                                                                        
MS.  HULL   said  she   believes  that   Representative  Johnston                                                               
suggested accelerating  remedial classes.  She said  the emphasis                                                               
should instead  be on  not having to  take remedial  classes. The                                                               
way  to  do  that  is   to  ensure  that  grades  reflect  actual                                                               
8:20:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HIMSCHOOT  added that defining "remedial"  should come first.                                                               
She also commented on the need  to have students reading by third                                                               
grade or they would need remediation all the way through school.                                                                
8:21:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND followed up on  the comment about reading by third                                                               
grade and how critical that is,  as is pre-K education. She asked                                                               
where pre-K is on the  Board's priorities. She emphasized that it                                                               
is the Department of Education and "Early Development."                                                                         
MS. HIMSCHOOT  noted there  is a lot  of interest  and importance                                                               
placed on pre-K education and it  will be addressed in the Alaska                                                               
Education  Challenge  in  every   committee.  She  stressed  that                                                               
working  with parents  is  important, as  is  high quality  pre-K                                                               
8:23:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  recommended looking  at the early  education bill                                                               
to be heard on the Senate Floor today.                                                                                          
8:24:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS pointed to the  importance of community involvement in                                                               
pre-K education.                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH noted  there is a specific  component for cultural                                                               
and community collaboration in the bill.                                                                                        
8:24:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  said he attended  the Juneau  School Board                                                               
meeting yesterday and  heard their budget process.  He asked what                                                               
support the legislature can provide to the State School Board.                                                                  
8:25:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS replied that a  sustained fiscal plan for local school                                                               
districts  and certainty  in the  state budget  are critical.  He                                                               
shared  his  viewpoint  as  a  business  owner.  Governor  Walker                                                               
proposed $250,000 for  the Alaska Education Challenge  to move it                                                               
forward. He  maintained that the  state has the  right leadership                                                               
in place  and the  right alignment between  the Governor  and the                                                               
legislature  to invest  in  education. Also,  there  is a  strong                                                               
State  Board and  buy-in with  stakeholders around  the state  to                                                               
move the plan forward.                                                                                                          
8:27:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. HARMON said  a quote from John Kennedy comes  to mind when he                                                               
is asked that question, "Children  are our most valuable resource                                                               
and our  best hope for  the future."  He opined that  the state's                                                               
priority should be to invest in children.                                                                                       
8:28:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND said, from her  experience being on a local school                                                               
board, the timing of the budget  is of the utmost importance. She                                                               
pointed out  that the state's  budget begins  on July 1,  and the                                                               
longer the legislature waits to  finalize a budget, the harder it                                                               
is for communities to write theirs.                                                                                             
8:29:08 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS  spoke of  concerns  about  dual credit  -  high                                                               
school/college credits.  He wanted  to ensure that  those credits                                                               
are at college credit level.                                                                                                    
8:29:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HULL said  in Fairbanks the same teacher teaches  a course at                                                               
the  university and  at  the high  school.  She suggested  having                                                               
teachers with  good credentials and  evidence of  performance for                                                               
students. She  sees a  need to  pursue dual  credits in  order to                                                               
save money.                                                                                                                     
8:30:54 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  HAMILTON said  that  Alaska  is behind  in  the dual  credit                                                               
program. The Alaska Education Challenge can change that.                                                                        
He noted the  transfer of university credits is  still a problem.                                                               
He provided  an example  of credits  earned from  Association for                                                               
Career  and  Technical  Education  (ACTE) colleges  that  do  not                                                               
transfer to  the UA  system. He suggested  continuing to  look at                                                               
how to take the barriers down  between the dual credit and credit                                                               
transfer issues.                                                                                                                
8:32:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ZIBELL agreed  with the previous comments.  He described what                                                               
is done in his school  district; students can take online courses                                                               
from the  university. He suggested to  forge partnerships between                                                               
the university and districts.                                                                                                   
8:34:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP followed  up on the need  for remediation and                                                               
integrating K-12  and post-secondary education. He  agreed with a                                                               
stronger  integration of  standards  and a  unified approach.  He                                                               
asked if  the discussion is  leading the Board to  encourage K-12                                                               
to  be less  focused on  a graduation  rate and  more focused  on                                                               
rigorous courses  and aligned standards that  match expectancy of                                                               
the university system.                                                                                                          
8:35:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MICHAEL said  part  of the  Board's goal  is  to have  local                                                               
control over  curriculum. An example  is that in the  Mat-Su they                                                               
are  updating the  history curriculum  to better  reflect what  a                                                               
college history course will be like.                                                                                            
8:36:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HULL  did not want to  get away from caring  about graduation                                                               
rates. She  thought students being  prepared was  also important.                                                               
She used  the state  of Virginia  as an  example of  how students                                                               
choose  a  track  to  follow  for  post-secondary  preparation  -                                                               
differentiated diplomas.                                                                                                        
8:37:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS  said the  Board  has  had training  in  standardized                                                               
learning  and aligning  all  standards so  every  student can  be                                                               
successful at all levels. Defining success is important.                                                                        
8:38:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HARMON  said Representative  Kopp  asked  a great  question.                                                               
Something  exciting in  education  now is  the implementation  of                                                               
Every Student Succeeds  Act (ESSA), which will  give more control                                                               
back to the  states in all areas. It will  provide an opportunity                                                               
to be innovative and to solve some of Alaska's challenges.                                                                      
8:39:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  voiced  concerned  about what  is  going  on  in                                                               
Washington, D.C.,  in terms of  ESSA. She  has heard that  it has                                                               
been paused  and asked  what that  means regarding  the September                                                               
8:40:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HIMSCHOOT  said  she  is  serving in  a  fellowship  on  the                                                               
National Science  Foundation for a  year. Their focus is  on ESSA                                                               
and  there is  no  pause,  only a  repeal  of Obama  regulations.                                                               
States are allowed to respond to  the law and Alaska is on track.                                                               
There has  been a lot  of stakeholder engagement.  She maintained                                                               
that ESSA and the Alaska Education Challenge fit well together.                                                                 
8:41:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked what the Board  is doing to ensure enough, and                                                               
the best,  teachers. There  is a  national shortage  of teachers,                                                               
the cost of  teacher turnover is very high, and  there is loss of                                                               
student  learning.   She  stressed   the  importance   of  family                                                               
involvement and great teachers in  a child's education. They have                                                               
been looking at  virtual education which would  provide access to                                                               
great teachers  statewide. She asked  what the Board is  doing in                                                               
those areas.                                                                                                                    
8:43:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. THOMPSON said  one of the major focus areas  of the strategic                                                               
plan is ensuring educator excellence; it  also will be a focus of                                                               
the Alaska  Education Challenge. The mentoring  program no longer                                                               
exists as it was. They  anticipate working with the university on                                                               
teacher preparation and alternative methods of certification.                                                                   
8:45:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  said she is  fascinated by  Representative Kress-                                                               
Thompkins'  bill on  the limited  teacher certificate.  She asked                                                               
whether the Board  is aware of HB 102, which  the House Education                                                               
Committee passed out of committee.                                                                                              
8:46:04 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS  said he was updated  on the bill, but  the Board does                                                               
not  have a  position  on  it. Any  time  they  can help  improve                                                               
teacher  proficiency and  increase  the number  of teachers  they                                                               
will. This issue is on the  Board's priority list. It is critical                                                               
that  the  Alaska Education  Challenge  committees  come up  with                                                               
ideas and action steps, so the Board can implement them.                                                                        
8:47:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HIMSHOOT drew attention to  the issue as a nationwide problem                                                               
of recruiting  and retention  of teachers.  She pointed  out that                                                               
looking at alternate pathways to  becoming teachers needs to be a                                                               
conversation with all  stakeholders involved. She wants  to see a                                                               
comprehensive  conversation   to  ensure  that  the   quality  of                                                               
teachers is maintained.                                                                                                         
8:48:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  suggested ensuring excellent educators  be a part                                                               
of the five priorities.                                                                                                         
8:49:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH said  he went to a hearing  on the proposed                                                               
defined  benefits  program  for  state workers.  He  provided  an                                                               
example  of  a teacher  who  was  leaving  Alaska for  a  defined                                                               
benefits  pension in  another state.  He also  knows of  a police                                                               
officer who  said the  same thing.  He opined  that Tier  4 state                                                               
workers  are  incentivized to  move  from  the state  after  five                                                               
years.  He  asked  if  a defined  benefits  option  might  retain                                                               
8:50:49 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  HAMILTON said  absolutely. He  pointed out  that "home-grown                                                               
educators"  are  retained  in Alaska.  The  investment  in  those                                                               
teachers is vital because they will not leave Alaska.                                                                           
8:51:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  pointed out  that  the  state is  not  producing                                                               
enough teachers and the Anchorage  District will be laying off 99                                                               
teachers. She suggested making a connection there.                                                                              
8:52:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   FANSLER  said   there  has   been  a   focus  on                                                               
cooperative  opportunities  between  districts  and  the  use  of                                                               
broadband for education.  He asked for options to  bridge the gap                                                               
for broadband disparity and for  suggestions about the advantages                                                               
of distance education.                                                                                                          
8:53:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HULL agreed that there  are significant broadband issues. The                                                               
key  is finding  how to  enable districts  to use  what bandwidth                                                               
they have. All  districts should be looking  for opportunities to                                                               
expand access to bandwidth. She agreed there are inequities.                                                                    
8:55:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS  commented  that  Valdez  and  Glennallen  have  used                                                               
federal  grant  money for  fiber  optic  expansion. He  suggested                                                               
collaboration between schools and businesses.                                                                                   
8:56:01 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HIMSHOOT  added that with  digital learning  the relationship                                                               
with the teacher  is the number one factor  for success. Teachers                                                               
often provide stability for students not available at home.                                                                     
8:56:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND agreed.                                                                                                          
8:56:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER  stressed   the  importance  of  cultural                                                               
integration into  the curriculum, including in  teaching methods.                                                               
He asked for recommendations in that area.                                                                                      
8:57:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HIMSHOOT agreed  it was  important. She  said the  Southeast                                                               
Regional Resource  Center is doing outreach  throughout the state                                                               
to  support cultural  competencies. She  noted the  importance of                                                               
including  all cultures.  The said  that the  Educator Excellence                                                               
Committee would be looking at that.                                                                                             
8:58:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ZIBELL agreed. He shared that  they have culture camp for all                                                               
new teachers in his district.                                                                                                   
8:59:58 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  THOMPSON said  curriculum  development  and execution  takes                                                               
place  at the  local level  and  the Board  encourages that.  The                                                               
members of the  Alaska Education Challenge support that  it is an                                                               
important  way to  get students  to  learn and  have learning  be                                                               
9:00:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSTON   spoke   of   great   innovation   and                                                               
entrepreneurial  work taking  place in  many districts.  They are                                                               
beginning,  on their  own, to  do some  cross fertilization.  She                                                               
asked how the Board plans to amplify this direction.                                                                            
9:01:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HULL  said the  Board  has  to encourage  collaboration  and                                                               
innovations.  She  thought  it  would   be  one  of  the  Board's                                                               
recommendations.  She  mentioned  digital possibilities  to  make                                                               
people aware  of what is  available. She thought the  Board could                                                               
provide  a  unified  system of  support  while  ensuring  quality                                                               
9:04:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSTON  said   she  sees   innovation  already                                                               
happening around  districts. She  understood that  the commission                                                               
and the  department could  act as a  clearinghouse, but  she also                                                               
wants to allow for growth and innovation to continue.                                                                           
MS. HULL agreed  and gave an example  a way to do that  - using a                                                               
model of choices related to professional development.                                                                           
9:06:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS said the goal is  to have districts choose to do that.                                                               
He said leadership matters and  he opined that good leadership is                                                               
in  place  and  he  thought stakeholders  were  aligned.  He  was                                                               
hopeful that it could be done.                                                                                                  
9:07:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS brought  up  the need  for,  and importance  of,                                                               
civics education to create student citizens.                                                                                    
9:08:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MICHAEL  said  he  is  on  the  curriculum  council  in  his                                                               
district.  They   have  been  working   on  the   social  studies                                                               
curriculum with  the goal  to make  good citizens,  starting with                                                               
Civics and ending with U.S. Government.  He opined that it is not                                                               
the  place of  the state  to tell  districts to  create citizens.                                                               
There is a need to focus on local control.                                                                                      
9:09:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. HARMON  shared that the Board  adopted a new vision  that all                                                               
students  can   succeed  in  their  education   and  work,  shape                                                               
worthwhile  and satisfying  lives for  themselves, exemplify  the                                                               
best  values  of  society,  and be  effective  in  improving  the                                                               
character and quality  of the world around them. He  said it is a                                                               
priority as it relates to civics and society.                                                                                   
9:10:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS stressed  that it is not enough to  say, "let the                                                               
local  community take  care of  it." He  recalled when  he was  a                                                               
student he studied  current events, history, and  wanted to vote.                                                               
He thought it  was the Board's job to ensure  that every child in                                                               
Alaska has  an understanding  of his or  her responsibility  as a                                                               
9:11:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HULL  offered that  a practical  tool is  looking at  what is                                                               
expected of  graduates. She said  that she and Ms.  Thompson will                                                               
be chairing  the Student Achievement  Committee and  will propose                                                               
to define  what is  expected from  graduates. A  graduate profile                                                               
will   include  content   knowledge,   but  also   communication,                                                               
collaboration,  and  civics.  Students  today  don't  have  clear                                                               
expectations of those other skill requirements.                                                                                 
9:13:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH asked  Mr. Michael what he hopes  to accomplish on                                                               
the Board.                                                                                                                      
He  echoed  Senator  Stevens'  comments  about  civics.  He  said                                                               
democracy fails  if we don't educate  students. Currently, school                                                               
success  is measured  by  content  area success,  but  that is  a                                                               
failed approach  to education. We don't  teach critical thinking.                                                               
We have gone the wrong direction.                                                                                               
He agreed  that digital  learning requires  a quality  teacher in                                                               
the classroom. Teacher retention  requires treating teachers well                                                               
and paying  them well. He  opined that Alaska-raised  teachers do                                                               
not remain in the state. He  stressed the need to address teacher                                                               
pay and teacher retirement benefits.                                                                                            
He noted, in  the process of this and  next legislative sessions,                                                               
several  issues may  pass into  law before  the Alaska  Education                                                               
Challenge has  been met. He asked  what the Board needs  from the                                                               
legislature in terms of policy education.                                                                                       
9:17:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS  responded that he has  looked at SB 96  and there are                                                               
many great  elements in the bill  that will be touched  on by the                                                               
Alaska Education Challenge.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  BEGICH  clarified  that  he  is  not  asking  about  any                                                               
specific  bills,  but about  how  the  legislature might  address                                                               
issues of policy that are important to the Board.                                                                               
MR. FIELDS  requested time  to get  through the  Alaska Education                                                               
Challenge process  and then  support for  it. He  reiterated that                                                               
leadership and  timing matter and  they are in place.  He pointed                                                               
out that the  legislature will participate on  the committees and                                                               
will have  a say.  In December  2017 the  Board will  have action                                                               
9:19:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HARMON recommended  the legislature  consider "an  excellent                                                               
education for every student every day" as the primary lens.                                                                     
9:20:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GALLAHORN  thanked  Senator  Begich for  his  comment  about                                                               
treating  teachers well.  He stressed  the  importance of  having                                                               
good teachers and paying them well by using part of the budget.                                                                 
9:21:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked outgoing student, Mr.  Zibell, and incoming                                                               
student,  Mr. Michael,  what  their experience  has  been on  the                                                               
Board and how it has changed how they views their schools.                                                                      
9:22:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ZIBELL said  he has  had  the opportunity  to shape  policy,                                                               
provide input, and help direct plans,  in a very real way. It has                                                               
been a  validating experience  to show  that students  are valued                                                               
and are  the first  stakeholders in  education. He  believes that                                                               
the education system in Alaska will persevere.                                                                                  
MR. MICHAEL  said it is nice  to see people working  hard to make                                                               
Alaska  education the  best  it  can be.  He  replied to  Senator                                                               
Begich's question saying  he will serve on  the Modernization and                                                               
Finance Committee for the Alaska Education Challenge.                                                                           
In  response to  the  civics  question, he  said  his school  now                                                               
offers  three Advanced  Placement  World  History courses  online                                                               
that are at the college level.                                                                                                  
He concluded  that he hopes  to help  make education the  best it                                                               
can be for students in Alaska.                                                                                                  
9:26:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  THOMPSON  responded  to  the  question  regarding  what  the                                                               
legislature can  do to help the  Board. She noted what  comes out                                                               
of the  Alaska Education  Challenge, no matter  when it  is done,                                                               
requires a sustainable fiscal plan.                                                                                             
She referred  to the  question on  civics education,  and pointed                                                               
out  that the  Civics Education  Task Force  has done  an amazing                                                               
amount of work. Their recommendations  are directly applicable to                                                               
the Board and DEED in many  ways. She maintained that their goals                                                               
can be achieved by many  methods, such as updating the standards.                                                               
She promised that civic education goals will not get lost.                                                                      
9:28:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL made announcements, as did Chair Drummond.                                                                      
9:30:18 AM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Drummond adjourned the  Joint Education Standing Committees                                                               
at 9:30 a.m.                                                                                                                    

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