Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/19/2018 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
07:58:00 AM Start
07:58:19 AM Confirmation Hearing(s): Board of Education and Early Development
08:38:48 AM Confirmation Hearing(s): University of Alaska Board of Regents
08:52:48 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees TELECONFERENCED
Board of Education & Early Development:
James Fields
Sandra Kowalski
Tiffany Scott
Lorri Van Diest
University of Alaska Board of Regents:
Stephen (Joey) Sweet
-- Testimony <Invited and Public> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 19, 2018                                                                                         
                           7:58 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                      
     James Fields                                                                                                               
     Sandra Kowalski                                                                                                            
     Tiffany Scott                                                                                                              
     Lorri Van Diest                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                         
     Stephen (Joey) Sweet                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JAMES FIELDS                                                                                                                    
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                        
Glennallen, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee for reappointment to                                                               
the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LORRI VAN DIEST                                                                                                                 
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                        
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  as  appointee to  the  Board  of                                                             
Education and Early Development.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SANDRA KOWALSKI                                                                                                                 
Board of Education and Early Development                                                                                        
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  as  appointee to  the  Board  of                                                             
Education and Early Development.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TIFFANY SCOTT                                                                                                                   
Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                           
Kotzebue, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  as  appointee to  the  Board  of                                                             
Education and Early Development.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN (JOEY) SWEET, Student Regent Appointee                                                                                  
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as  student regent appointee to the                                                             
University of Alaska Board of Regents.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ALEC BURRIS, Student Body President                                                                                             
University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA)                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported the confirmation of  Joey Sweet to                                                             
the University of Alaska Board of Regents.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
7:58:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY   STEVENS  called   the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 7:58  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Begich, Hughes, and  Chair Stevens. Senators                                                               
Coghill and Giessel joined shortly thereafter.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION   HEARING(S):   Board   of  Education   and   Early                                                               
Development                                                                                                                     
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
            Board of Education and Early Development                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
7:58:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  announced  the consideration  of  the  governor's                                                               
appointees  to  the Board  of  Education  and Early  Development.                                                               
These are  James Fields,  Lorri Van  Diest, Sandra  Kowalski, and                                                               
Tiffany  Scott. He  asked each  of the  appointees to  give their                                                               
personal background, what they bring  to the board, why they want                                                               
to serve, and their goals for the year.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
7:59:07 AM                                                                                                                    
JAMES FIELDS,  Chair, Board of  Education and  Early Development,                                                               
said he has  been the chair for  three years and has  been on the                                                               
board for five.  He was on the school board  for the Copper River                                                               
for nine  years. He's lived  in Glennallen  for 15 years.  He has                                                               
the longest  tenure on the  board. He  brings a history  of where                                                               
they have  been the last  five years. They  are in a  good place.                                                               
There's a different  feel from two to three years  ago. There's a                                                               
momentum to move forward.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:01:18 AM                                                                                                                    
LORRI  VAN  DIEST,  Appointee,   Board  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development, said  she is a  retired Mat-Su educator,  a lifelong                                                               
Alaskan who  grew up  in Seward.  Her father  was a  teacher. Her                                                               
first teaching  job was in  Seward High School. It  was rewarding                                                               
to teach  the students she had  babysat. She moved to  Mat-Su. At                                                               
Colony High School she taught  math, became a guidance counselor,                                                               
and  coached girls'  basketball. She  spent her  last 6  years as                                                               
curriculum coordinator.  In 2010  she retired  to become  a full-                                                               
time  teacher and  mother to  her three  children. Now  she works                                                               
part-time as a  substitute counselor for the district  and she is                                                               
president of  the local community  council. She offers  the board                                                               
her experience  as a teacher, counselor,  curriculum coordinator,                                                               
and  home school  educator. She's  interested in  serving on  the                                                               
board  because of  the commitment  leaders and  stakeholders have                                                               
taken  to  bettering Alaska's  education  for  all children.  The                                                               
Alaska   Education  Challenge   has  laid   the  foundation   and                                                               
philosophy for this to happen [with the three commitments]--                                                                    
increase  student  success,  support responsible  and  reflective                                                               
learners,  and cultivate  safety and  well-being. [Department  of                                                               
Education  and  Early  Development (DEED)]  Commissioner  Johnson                                                               
said their  shared commitment  to those  shared values  should be                                                               
deliberate  and  intense  as  they  transition  to  a  new,  more                                                               
efficient and effective education system.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:04:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SANDRA  KOWALSKI,   Appointee,  Board  of  Education   and  Early                                                               
Development,  said she  is currently  the Director  of Indigenous                                                               
Programs  for the  University of  Alaska  Fairbanks. Before  that                                                               
position, she  spent 28 years in  K-12 education. She has  been a                                                               
teacher  and  principal  in  rural  and  urban  Alaska.  She  was                                                               
Assistant Superintendent  for the Fairbanks School  District. Her                                                               
perspective  as a  public administrator  brings  strength to  the                                                               
position. She is  interested in serving because of  the work that                                                               
has been done  by the Alaska Education  Challenge, especially the                                                               
culturally   relevant   focus   and   student-centered   learning                                                               
initiatives. She is interested as well in tribal compacting.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:05:33 AM                                                                                                                    
TIFFANY   SCOTT,  Appointee,   Board  of   Education  and   Early                                                               
Development, gave her Inupiaq name.  She is from Kotzebue and her                                                               
family is from  Noorvik. Her children attend  school in Kotzebue.                                                               
She  is from  the  Northwest Arctic  Borough  but graduated  from                                                               
Colony High  School. She  just finished nursing  school and  is a                                                               
registered nurse  at the emergency department  at Maniilaq Health                                                               
Center in  Kotzebue. She worked  for Nenana  Regional Corporation                                                               
in the government affairs department.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked,  reflecting on the happenings  in the world,                                                               
such as the shootings in  Florida [in Parkland February 14, 2018]                                                               
and  the  marching  by  young  people in  front  of  the  Capitol                                                               
[Juneau-Douglas  High School  students protesting  gun violence],                                                               
whether they  have any reflections on  things to be aware  of and                                                               
how to deal with millennials.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:07:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KOWALSKI they  are learning  new  ways in  education to  get                                                               
students engaged  and own their  learning. When young  people are                                                               
out  making statements,  they  are finding  their  way. They  are                                                               
learning new  skills to be  future leaders. By giving  them space                                                               
and providing  leadership and respect  for their actions  so they                                                               
know  they are  listened to,  they can  have a  conversation with                                                               
millennials (millennial or  not, that is how  young people should                                                               
be  treated). It  teaches them  to be  the emerging  leaders that                                                               
they want them to be.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:08:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS  said it was a  horrible tragedy, but it  goes back to                                                               
the  Alaska Education  Challenge.  They talked  about safety  and                                                               
community  involvement.  They  need  to  own  their  schools  and                                                               
communities and what goes on in  them. The students have said the                                                               
want to take ownership, they want  to do what's right. The school                                                               
climate can be  good, but there can be small  pockets where it is                                                               
not good.  In his  district, they  have guidance  counseling, but                                                               
their emphasis  is on  getting a  social and  emotional counselor                                                               
who  can  reach  out  to  kids and  maybe  avoid  some  of  these                                                               
tragedies. In  the Alaska Education  Challenge, they  have talked                                                               
about  the  importance  of   the  behavioral  side.  Personalized                                                               
learning  is critical.  They need  to get  information out  about                                                               
what some  schools are doing. They  want it to be  locally owned,                                                               
not mandated.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:10:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS said  they have spoken about  civics education. The                                                               
figures are  that 17  percent of  young people  vote. One  of the                                                               
reasons  for public  education is  to create  citizens. He  asked                                                               
what they  can do to help  young people become more  involved and                                                               
voters.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:11:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SCOTT  said hers  began at home  with her  parents. Democracy                                                               
does  not  happen without  an  active  and engaged  public.  This                                                               
continued  through the  classroom  with her  U.S. government  and                                                               
history  teacher at  Colony High  School  who nurtured  in her  a                                                               
desire  to  be  an  active participant  in  the  public  process.                                                               
Encourage young folks  to serve in various  capacities. She hopes                                                               
her participation at this level encourages others as well.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:12:22 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN DIEST  said focus on getting the message  out that voting                                                               
is so important.  She asked how many of them  are supervoters who                                                               
vote  in every  election. Civics  and government  teachers should                                                               
work  with students  and have  that  be part  of curriculum.  The                                                               
students  who don't  vote probably  have parents  who don't  vote                                                               
either.  Schools have  elections. Maybe  those can  be more  like                                                               
public elections.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:14:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  said after the  march the  kids went back  to high                                                               
school and those who were eligible registered to vote.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:14:27 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH said  over  the last  few  years the  legislature                                                               
wrestled with  the issue  of the  explicit prohibition  of public                                                               
funds  for  private education  and  there  have been  efforts  to                                                               
change  that. The  board sets  policy  for Alaska.  He asked  for                                                               
their thoughts on the use of public funds for private education.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:15:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS said  as a  businessman, he  believes competition  is                                                               
always  good. Mat-Su  does  a  good job  of  making  sure it  has                                                               
competition within  its public  school system.  Competition makes                                                               
school  district compete,  whether homeschooling  or whatever  it                                                               
may  be. Anything  that makes  competition is  good for  schools.                                                               
Next year he will have six  kids in Copper River School District,                                                               
from a senior  to kindergarten. The more he can  get Copper River                                                               
to  be competitive,  whether it's  in the  homeschool program  or                                                               
online curriculum, it will benefit kids.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:17:17 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  said competition almost always  doesn't. He asked                                                               
Mr. Fields  if he is  in favor  of a constitutional  amendment to                                                               
change the prohibition of public funds for private education.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. FIELDS asked him to define private education.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  said by private  education he means  not publicly                                                               
funded,  not  publicly-provided  education.  Alaska  has  amazing                                                               
amounts  of   different  kinds  of  concepts,   charter  schools,                                                               
homeschools.  He is  talking about  funding  to private  entities                                                               
with public funds.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:18:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS said  would need  to  see specific  details to  state                                                               
whether he would be for or against something.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH said fair enough.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:18:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KOWALKSKI said  she does not have a  straight answer. Schools                                                               
and  communities  need to  develop  educational  systems to  meet                                                               
needs  of  students in  that  community  and  the goals  of  that                                                               
community. They started a tribal  school in Kotzebue when she was                                                               
a young mother and felt the  public school didn't meet the family                                                               
goals of two of her four children.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:19:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  said Tiffany  was on the  school board  in Mat-Su                                                               
and  went  to school  with  her  daughter. The  Alaska  Education                                                               
Challenge   is  all   about  addressing   the  achievement   gap,                                                               
particularly  in  the  rural  areas. She  has  lived  in  Hoonah,                                                               
Bethel, and Ft.  Yukon and had children in the  public schools in                                                               
the 70s and  80s. She grieves that the same  challenges exist and                                                               
in some  ways are worse. They  are faced with a  fiscal challenge                                                               
but still  have this  great need.  They are  second or  third per                                                               
student spending  in the nation,  but their academic  results are                                                               
at  the bottom.  She asked  what strategies  can transform  rural                                                               
schools. That  is at the  top of her list  and what she  wants to                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:21:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SCOTT  said that  Northwest  Arctic  through tribal  schools                                                               
serves  as  an  excellent  model  for  indigenous  engagement  in                                                               
education delivery,  one that  is culturally  focused, culturally                                                               
responsive, and includes community. In  rural areas it takes that                                                               
kind of  effort to  bring about  outcomes in  student achievement                                                               
required to insure a healthy  future not only for their students,                                                               
but their community.   Bringing in community,  having those tough                                                               
discussions  about how  education  is delivered  is important  to                                                               
success in rural areas.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:22:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. VAN  DIEST said she  has not lived  in rural Alaska.  They do                                                               
need  to involve  community  leaders. That  is  what excites  her                                                               
about the Alaska Education Challenge.  Part of that is the tribal                                                               
involvement. Tiffany  and Sandra  will bring in  that perspective                                                               
that she doesn't necessarily have.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:23:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  said he  does not  understand the  tribal compact.                                                               
Teachers have the responsibility to  prepare kids for careers and                                                               
life  and  success.  If  they   go  down  a  different  path  and                                                               
concentrate  on subsistence  living and  hunting and  fishing, as                                                               
important as that is  . . . He asked if they  can help him figure                                                               
that out  how they  succeed with tribal  compacts and  still help                                                               
their kids succeed in life.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:23:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KOWALSKI said that what is  important for her as a mother and                                                               
Alaska  Native is  that her  children and  grandchildren grow  up                                                               
grounded. For rural Alaskan students  to be successful, they must                                                               
have  a sense  of  place about  the world  around  them in  their                                                               
educational  system. Teaching  a student  to hunt  and their  own                                                               
traditional roots does  not ground them in a way  that holds them                                                               
back. It  gives them  a foundation  to move  forward. Two  of her                                                               
four  children went  to a  tribal school  in Kotzebue.  They were                                                               
well-grounded  academically when  they  transitioned  to the  big                                                               
school where  she was principal. They  were grounded. Nikaitchuat                                                               
Ilisagviat  has only  20 students.  They are  there for  three to                                                               
five years  immersed in  Inupiaq language  and culture.  They are                                                               
participating  in  cultural  activities.  They're  cutting  seal,                                                               
they're cutting  fish, they're preparing foods,  they're gong out                                                               
on the  ice with their teachers.  When they come to  June Nelson,                                                               
granted  they  haven't  had the  preschool  kindergarten  English                                                               
reading strategies  taught to them,  but they are  grounded, they                                                               
are  engaged. Academically  they do  well. As  a principal,  when                                                               
they gave out citizenship awards in  a school of 500, many of the                                                               
students who  got awards  came from  a tribal  school of  20 kids                                                               
because they  were grounded in  character and in values  as well.                                                               
Giving  communities  that space  to  plan  their own  educational                                                               
system  is not  going to  hold any  student back,  it's going  to                                                               
propel them forward.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:26:13 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SCOTT said  including cultural and language  components of an                                                               
education  help  reaffirm and,  in  some  instances, restore  the                                                               
cultural  identity  that is  so  important  to creating  a  well-                                                               
rounded and a  whole person, whether they stay in  rural areas or                                                               
move to urban areas.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:27:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH said early education means  a lot to him. He asked                                                               
about their  positions on early  education. He hopes  that Alaska                                                               
will one day have universal pre-k.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:27:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KOWALSKI  said  she  is hoping  they  can  expand  preschool                                                               
services across the state, especially  in rural communities. When                                                               
she  was   in  the   Northwest  Arctic,   they  had   a  two-year                                                               
kindergarten  program.  That was  a  strong  foundation of  early                                                               
learning experiences. Even in the  tribal school in Kotzebue they                                                               
started at school at three  years old. Families need that support                                                               
and opportunity.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:28:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  VAN  DIEST  said  she  would like  to  see  early  education                                                               
expanded.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:29:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  said the  Alaska Education  Challenge will  be a                                                               
big deal.  For him, the  focus is  on sixth and  seventh graders.                                                               
That is  when they lose  children as far as  academic excellence.                                                               
They enter  high school  unprepared in  many ways.  Everything in                                                               
the  world is  marketed to  them. They  hit that  emotional speed                                                               
bump  of life.  This is  when  predators and  marketers go  after                                                               
children and when  they are emotionally intense  with each other.                                                               
He asked how they can help kids get through that age in life.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:30:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KOWALSKI  said  as  a  former  middle  school  principal  in                                                               
Fairbanks, she did research on  whether students in middle school                                                               
settings had a  better chance of finishing  high school. Students                                                               
who went through a middle  school transition, meaning attending a                                                               
sixth or  seventh grade  middle school,  were more  challenged in                                                               
high  school  in grades  9  and  10  in  making good  grades  and                                                               
completing high school. Fairbanks  decided to decrease the number                                                               
of transitions and  give middle school students  a smaller school                                                               
setting. Fairbanks  is working on  having more K-8  settings next                                                               
year. Developmentally, that age group  is focused on their social                                                               
setting more than their academic  setting. The idea that students                                                               
attending middle  school are lost has  a lot to do  with the type                                                               
of middle school they are  in. Middle schools are harder settings                                                               
because  they   are  larger.  They   need  to  work   to  provide                                                               
opportunities to form positive relationships  with each other and                                                               
adults.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:32:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS said  in Glennallen, K-12 is all in  one building, but                                                               
at  different  ends  of  the  building. Many  times  there  is  a                                                               
disconnect from elementary school to  junior high and from junior                                                               
high to  high school.  If there  is a  connect between  fifth and                                                               
sixth grade,  teachers can  provide personalized  learning, which                                                               
gets the  academic piece out  of the way. Communication  needs to                                                               
happen from  K through 12.  Early education is not  something the                                                               
state has  to do.  Copper River Native  Association has  an early                                                               
learning   program.   Partnerships  and   collaboration   between                                                               
districts and  other Native  organizations or  private businesses                                                               
can happen. Communities  must own education. If  districts can do                                                               
this effectively, there are dollars  and programs that can be had                                                               
if  businesses  are  brought  in.  Education  must  be  relevant;                                                               
otherwise millennials won't show up.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:36:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES said  Sue Hull's  [former  board member]  parting                                                               
words  were old  fashioned,  back to  basics, family  engagement.                                                               
Great teachers will somehow bring families in.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:36:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  said   he  wished  he  had  time   to  ask  about                                                               
homeschooling. His district is losing  two schools because of the                                                               
lack of  population. The solution  from the district is  to offer                                                               
homeschooling. He would  like to know if they are  doing all they                                                               
can to help those homeschool parents.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:37:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS opened and closed public testimony.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:38:24 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL   moved  to  forward  the   following  names  of                                                               
appointees to  the Board  of Education  and Early  Development to                                                               
the  full   legislature  for   consideration:  James   Fields  of                                                               
Glennallen,  Sandra Kowalski  of  Fairbanks, Lorri  Van Diest  of                                                               
Palmer, and Tiffany Scott of Kotzebue.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS found no objection and the names were forwarded.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:38:44 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S): University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                 
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
             University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:38:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   STEVENS  reconvened   the  meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration of  the governor's  appointee to the  University of                                                               
Alaska Board  of Regents. He  asked Stephen (Joey) Sweet  to tell                                                               
the  members about  himself, what  he  brings to  the board,  his                                                               
interest in serving, and his goals.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:40:27 AM                                                                                                                    
STEPHEN  (JOEY) SWEET,  Student Regent  Appointee, University  of                                                               
Alaska Board  of Regents, said  he is originally from  Mat-Su and                                                               
now lives  in Anchorage. He graduated  in the fall with  a degree                                                               
in political  science. In  2016 he took  part in  the legislative                                                               
internship  program.  Currently  he  is pursuing  a  master's  in                                                               
public administration  with an emphasis  in criminal  justice. He                                                               
brings  the  student  perspective  to  the  board.  Students  are                                                               
feeling a lot of stress because  of budget cuts; they see that in                                                               
morale and declining  enrollment. His goal is  to course correct.                                                               
If they  can get one good  year for the university,  it can break                                                               
the spell  that has affected  the university the last  few years.                                                               
He feels that if  they can get one good year they  can go back to                                                               
normality.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:42:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SWEET  said  to  be  specific, he  would  like  to  see  the                                                               
university  increase  degree  completion. That  means  increasing                                                               
recruitment  and   keeping  students   at  the   university.  The                                                               
university has undergone  a lot of strategic  thinking about what                                                               
pulls in and  keeps student in a university and  what pushes them                                                               
out.  As  an example,  in  2019,  the  university will  offer  an                                                               
emergency scholarship fund that  will be available for unexpected                                                               
costs.  That  can  mean  the difference  between  staying  in  or                                                               
dropping out during  a semester. The university has put  a lot of                                                               
thought  and  effort  into  a   strategic  plan  for  the  future                                                               
regarding student  enrollment, which is a  mechanism for revenue.                                                               
They  need to  graduate on  pace.  The trend  is students  taking                                                               
longer time  to complete  undergrad degrees.  Graduating students                                                               
diversifies  the state  economy.  They  are graduating  political                                                               
scientists, such as himself, engineers,  economists, a whole host                                                               
of diverse graduates at every campus.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:44:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SWEET  said University of  Alaska President Jim  Johnsen says                                                               
having a  college diploma increases  any of the metrics  used for                                                               
measuring success, such as likelihood  for staying out of prison,                                                               
lifespan, amount of money made, etc.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:45:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked how long  the term  is for a  student regent                                                               
and  whether he  will  be able  to complete  his  term before  he                                                               
finishes his degree.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:45:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SWEET said  the appointment is May 31, 2017,  through May 31,                                                               
2019. The  other members  serve eight  years. He  does anticipate                                                               
being a student for two years.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:46:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked why it is  important to have a student on the                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWEET  answered for the  student perspective. They  see every                                                               
square inch  of the  campus. Students see  things that  staff and                                                               
administration wouldn't see. He is  at the Legislature because of                                                               
the Coalition  of Students Leaders legislative  advocacy trip. At                                                               
the  business  meeting  yesterday,   one  of  the  students  from                                                               
Fairbanks said  there are not  enough family  friendly bathrooms,                                                               
especially for single  male parents. That won't  occur to someone                                                               
who is not in that position.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:47:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES said  one of  the challenges  to recruiting  more                                                               
students and having them graduate  on time is the alarmingly high                                                               
number of students  who need remedial coursework.  There was some                                                               
discussion of  rather than  have these  students take  zero level                                                               
courses could  they be in  100 level courses with  stronger tutor                                                               
supports.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:48:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SWEET said that  as someone who took a zero  level class as a                                                               
freshman, he would  be supportive of that.  Better tutoring hours                                                               
would  be at  the  top of  the  list of  what  keeps students  in                                                               
school.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:49:24 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  said she  hoped he  could be  a bridge  to school                                                               
districts  across  the state,  so  graduates  will be  ready  for                                                               
college.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:49:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked him who  is his favorite faculty  member and                                                               
why.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:50:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SWEET said  that when he started at the  University of Alaska                                                               
Anchorage (UAA),  he knew  he wanted  to study  political science                                                               
but  didn't know  what he  wanted  to minor  in. Introduction  to                                                               
Justice  completely changed  his perspective.  He found  a world-                                                               
class staff with the Justice Center at UAA. There are many high-                                                                
caliber things about  UA, but he would highlight  the UAA Justice                                                               
Center.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:51:02 AM                                                                                                                    
ALEC  BURRIS,  Student  Body   President,  University  of  Alaska                                                               
Anchorage (UAA),  supported the  Student Regent  confirmation. He                                                               
said he has  worked with Regent Sweet for the  past two years. He                                                               
has truly  enriched their engagement  with the Board  of Regents.                                                               
He made  it his mission to  make students aware of  what is going                                                               
on at the  Board of Regents and  making sure they have  a seat at                                                               
the table.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:52:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS opened and closed public testimony.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:52:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  moved to  forward  the  name of  the  following                                                               
appointee to  the University  of Alaska Board  of Regents  to the                                                               
joint  session  of  the legislature  for  consideration;  Stephen                                                               
(Joey) Sweet of Anchorage.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS found no objection and the name was forwarded.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He   reminded  members   that  signing   the  reports   regarding                                                               
appointments  to  boards  and  commissions  in  no  way  reflects                                                               
individual members'  approval or  disapproval of  the appointees,                                                               
and  that  the  nominations  are merely  forwarded  to  the  full                                                               
legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:52:37 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:52:48 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Stevens adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                 
at 8:52.                                                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SEDC_ConfirmationHearing_Board of Regents_19March2018.pdf SEDC 3/19/2018 8:00:00 AM
Confirmation Hearing - Board of Regents
SEDC_ConfirmationHearing_Board of Ed_19March2018.pdf SEDC 3/19/2018 8:00:00 AM
Confirmation Hearing - Board of Education & Early Development