Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/05/2019 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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09:01:16 AM Start
09:01:26 AM SB56
10:50:55 AM Adjourn
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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 5, 2019                                                                                          
                           9:01 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Chris Birch                                                                                                             
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 56                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to health  education  and  physical  activity                                                               
requirements for  students in grades kindergarten  through eight;                                                               
and establishing  the Thursday in February  immediately following                                                               
Presidents' Day as PLAAY Day."                                                                                                  
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  56                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MAND. PHYS. ACTIVITY SCHOOLS; PLAAY DAY                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COSTELLO                                                                                                 
02/13/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/19       (S)       EDC                                                                                                    
02/26/19       (S)       EDC AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/26/19       (S)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/05/19       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
CHAZ RIVAS, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 56 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
ERIN LAUGHLIN, Intern                                                                                                           
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 56 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
DENALI DANIELS, President                                                                                                       
Denali Daniels and Associates                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented research on physical education and                                                              
recess policy survey during the hearing on SB 56.                                                                               
CAREY CARPENTER, representing ASD60                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 56.                                                                                          
KELLY LESSENS, Ph.D., representing ASD60                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 56.                                                                                          
POSIE BOGGS, Member                                                                                                             
Alaska Reading Coalition                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 56.                                                                                          
DOROTHY ORR, Executive Director                                                                                                 
SHAPE Alaska                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported the intent but not the language of                                                              
SB 56.                                                                                                                          
MIKE COONS, representing self                                                                                                   
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 56.                                                                                          
DAVID NEES, representing self                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 56 with some concerns.                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:01:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY   STEVENS  called   the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:01  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Costello, Hughes,  Begich, and Chair Stevens.                                                               
Senator Birch arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                       
         SB  56-MAND. PHYS. ACTIVITY SCHOOLS; PLAAY DAY                                                                     
9:01:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced the consideration  of SB 56. He announced                                                               
his  intent to  introduce the  bill, take  public testimony,  and                                                               
hold the bill in committee.                                                                                                     
9:02:02 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO invited  her aides to introduce the  bill on her                                                               
9:03:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAZ   RIVAS,  Staff,   Senator   Mia   Costello,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,  said that SB 56 is  an act relating                                                               
to physical  activity requirements  for students  in kindergarten                                                               
through grade  8. This bill  strengthens the law enacted  in 2016                                                               
so that  Alaskan students  have the  opportunity to  benefit from                                                               
physical activity during  the school day. Under  the bill, school                                                               
districts would  provide at least  90 percent of the  Centers for                                                               
Disease Control  (CDC) recommendation  for physical  activity for                                                               
adolescents.  School  districts  would have  the  flexibility  of                                                               
meeting the requirement of 54  minutes through physical education                                                               
(PE) classes, recess, classroom brain  breaks or a combination of                                                               
activity types.                                                                                                                 
9:04:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RIVAS said  breaks  in the  school day  have  been shown  to                                                               
improve  information retention  and focus.  Recess lets  students                                                               
process classroom lessons and allows  for an education outside of                                                               
the  classroom.   A  CDC  review  of   50  peer-reviewed  studies                                                               
documents  a   link  between   physical  activity   and  academic                                                               
performance, including  achievement, behavior,  cognitive skills,                                                               
and attitude. The American Association  for Pediatrics also found                                                               
that recess, either indoor or  outdoor, led to more attentive and                                                               
productive  students.  Various  peer-reviewed studies  show  that                                                               
students who are active in school do better in nearly every way.                                                                
MR. RIVAS said SB 56 does the following:                                                                                        
        • Requires school districts to "establish guidelines for                                                                
          schools in the district to provide opportunities                                                                      
          during each full school day for grades kindergarten                                                                   
          through eight                                                                                                         
        • Physical activity in schools must meet at least 90% of                                                                
          the Centers for Disease Control recommendation.                                                                       
        • Recognizes the Thursday after President's Day as PLAAY                                                                
MR. RIVAS  said PLAAY stands  for Positive Leadership  for Active                                                               
Alaska Youth.  PLAAY Day began a  few years as an  effort to meet                                                               
that physical activity requirement for the day.                                                                                 
MR. RIVAS  said the presentation  summarizes research  that helps                                                               
support  the  idea  that  physical   activity  in  schools  helps                                                               
students academically and behaviorally.                                                                                         
MR.  RIVAs  said  the  study  "Physical  Activity  and  Cognitive                                                               
Functioning of Children: A Systematic  Review,  published in 2018                                                               
in  the  International  Journal  of  Environmental  Research  and                                                               
Public Health, states a brain break can do the following:                                                                       
        • The ability to focus attention is improved among                                                                      
          children who participate in physical activities (pg.                                                                  
        • Classroom-based physical activity (a 10-min aerobic                                                                   
          physical activity integrated with math practice)                                                                      
          improved both physical activity levels and academic                                                                   
          achievement. (pg.5)                                                                                                   
9:07:22 AM                                                                                                                    
ERIN  LAUGHLIN,  Intern,  Senator   Mia  Costello,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  referred  to findings  from a  CDC                                                               
systematic review of 56 studies.                                                                                                
9:07:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH asked  if the  academic  improvement is  retained                                                               
over time.                                                                                                                      
MR. RIVAS  answered that  some of the  studies look  at retention                                                               
for academics and some focus on behavior.                                                                                       
SENATOR  BEGICH asked  if the  research speak  to retention  over                                                               
MS. LAUGHLIN said some of the  studies in the CDC systemic review                                                               
do. She offered to follow up with more information.                                                                             
CHAIR  STEVENS asked  if classroom  behavior  improves when  play                                                               
MR. RIVAS replied that it  does correlate positively with on-task                                                               
behavior. He showed a finding from the CDC review:                                                                              
     Time spent  in recess  has been  shown to  positively affect                                                               
     students'    cognitive    performance   (e.g.,    attention,                                                               
     concentration)   and  a   classroom  behaviors   (e.g.,  not                                                               
     misbehaving). 40-44 (pg. 3)                                                                                                
MR.  RIVAS displayed  a table  on slide  5 from  "The Effects  of                                                               
Recess  on Fifth  Grade Students  Time On-Task  in an  Elementary                                                               
Classroom" published  in the International Electronic  Journal of                                                               
Elementary  Education.  This  study  was  conducted  in  northern                                                               
Mississippi  with 12  students.  The table  shows  a doubling  to                                                               
tripling of on-task activity after recess.                                                                                      
MS. LAUGHLIN added that the sample  size is a limitation, but the                                                               
study  says  it  is  easily   repeatable.  It  shows  a  positive                                                               
correlation between recess and on-task behavior.                                                                                
9:13:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH   asked  if  this  information   is  available  to                                                               
educators  and  school  boards across  the  state.  He  expressed                                                               
concern  about changing  the law  from a  "must" to  a "may."  He                                                               
asked  what  kind of  engagement  has  occurred about  this  with                                                               
districts. He said seems that  a reasonable person would do this,                                                               
but  perhaps  there  are  tradeoffs. He  said  he  worries  about                                                               
sidelining local school boards.                                                                                                 
MR. RIVAS responded  that SB 56 is very similar  to the bill that                                                               
passed  in 2016.  A goal  is for  school districts,  schools, and                                                               
teachers  to  be  creative  in  how  to  reach  that  [54]-minute                                                               
threshold. School  districts across  the country have  found ways                                                               
to reach  this threshold without  major disruption  to classrooms                                                               
or academics.                                                                                                                   
9:16:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES asked  how many school districts  across the state                                                               
achieve  the [54]  minute threshold.  She expressed  concern that                                                               
time would be  taken out of academics because  children in Alaska                                                               
already  are  in school  several  weeks  less than  the  national                                                               
MR.  RIVAS said  there  would be  invited  testimony from  Denali                                                               
Daniels who did a study on the question.                                                                                        
SENATOR  HUGHES said  the bill  applies to  K-8, but  high school                                                               
students  benefit from  physical  activity too.  She said  youths                                                               
that participate in  an afterschool athletic program  can go home                                                               
to study with  their brains ready to go.  However, students can't                                                               
participate if  they don't  keep their  grades up.  She commented                                                               
that some of the kids who  start to slip through the cracks would                                                               
benefit from afterschool athletic programs.                                                                                     
MR. RIVAS said  the high school question is  worth exploring. The                                                               
bill  structure is  K-8 because  elementary schools  do not  have                                                               
access  to  accredited sports  like  in  high school.  In  middle                                                               
school,  sports  accessibility  is  more  limited  than  in  high                                                               
school. The bill has an  exemption clause for those participating                                                               
in accredited sports.                                                                                                           
9:22:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH said he too worries  about the mandate. He asked if                                                               
the sponsor  had any commentary  from school  organizations about                                                               
how school districts are reacting  to the mandatory nature of the                                                               
MR.  RIVAS replied  that  the sponsor  had  not received  written                                                               
testimony or heard concerns.                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH said he would be curious to know their position.                                                                 
CHAIR  STEVENS  advised  that  the   committee  would  hear  from                                                               
representatives from the Anchorage School District today.                                                                       
MR.  RIVAS  reviewed  information   from  "Physical  Fitness  and                                                               
Academic   Achievement  in   Third-  and   Fifth-Grade  Students"                                                               
published  in  2007   in  the  Journal  of   Sport  and  Exercise                                                               
Psychology. One  important takeaway was that  children benefitted                                                               
socially, particularly at the elementary level.                                                                                 
        • Opportunities for children to be physically active and                                                                
          become physically fit should be provided by the                                                                       
          school, especially at the elementary level. (pg. 248)                                                                 
        • This study confirms that physical fitness is generally                                                                
          associated with academic performance in elementary                                                                    
          school children. (pg. 250)                                                                                            
MR.  RIVAS reviewed  the Alaska  student  overweight and  obesity                                                               
rate,  which ranges  from 32  percent  in Mat-Su,  36 percent  in                                                               
Anchorage, and up to 53 percent on the North Slope.                                                                             
SENATOR BIRCH asked what the national benchmark is.                                                                             
9:25:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LAUGHLIN said  she would follow up with  the information. The                                                               
HA 2020  Indicator on the  graph stands for the  Healthy Alaskans                                                               
2020 initiative  from the partnership  between the  Department of                                                               
Health and  Social Services (DHSS)  and the Alaska  Tribal Health                                                               
Consortium. Healthy Alaskans  2020 has 25 benchmarks  to reach by                                                               
2020, and one is a 35 percent overweight and obesity rate.                                                                      
MR. RIVAS reviewed information from  "The Decline of Play and the                                                               
Rise of  Psychopathology in  Children and  Adolescents" published                                                               
in the 2011 American Journal of Play:                                                                                           
        • Play functions as the major means by which children                                                                   
          (1) develop  intrinsic interests and  competencies; (2)                                                               
          learn  how to  make  decisions,  solve problems,  exert                                                               
          self-control, and  follow rules; (3) learn  to regulate                                                               
          their  emotions;  (4) make  friends  and  learn to  get                                                               
          along with  others as equals;  and (5)  experience joy.                                                               
          (pg. 1)                                                                                                               
        • Through all of these effects, play promotes mental                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH said  he would  be interested  in the  correlation                                                               
between the decline in play and  the rise in screen time over the                                                               
last 20 years.                                                                                                                  
MR.  RIVAS asked  whether he  was referring  to during  school or                                                               
SENATOR BIRCH answered just generally as it relates to play.                                                                    
MR.  RIVAS  said  he  could  investigate  whether  there  is  any                                                               
correlation. He  would also  look at  K-8 policies  about student                                                               
access to cell phones during recess.                                                                                            
SENATOR BEGICH commented that the  title is apocalyptic. He asked                                                               
if  the  studies  looked  at  the structure  of  play  time.  For                                                               
example, what if kids only  looked at their phones during recess.                                                               
He asked if the bill or the  studies address that. He said he was                                                               
looking for guidelines of when it works and when it doesn't.                                                                    
MS.  LAUGHLIN  said  this  particular   study  does  mention  the                                                               
increase  in sedentary  lifestyle  in the  past  decades and  how                                                               
children  are not  as active  both  inside the  classroom and  at                                                               
home.  Many  studies  define structured  and  unstructured  play.                                                               
Recess  is unstructured  play. Almost  all the  studies that  are                                                               
available show the benefits of  unstructured play and that it may                                                               
be greater than structured play.                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH said that is fascinating.                                                                                        
CHAIR STEVENS commented, free range children.                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES  said it  would be valuable  to know  if districts                                                               
have  policies  about  children  not  taking  phones  out  during                                                               
recess.  She opined  that  by fourth  or fifth  grade,  a lot  of                                                               
students  have cell  phones, and  unstructured play  needs to  be                                                               
9:32:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RIVAS  shared  information  from   "The  Power  of  Play:  A                                                               
Pediatric  Role in  Enhancing Development  in Young  Children," a                                                               
clinical  report  published in  September  2018  by the  American                                                               
Academy of Pediatrics:                                                                                                          
        • Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and                                                                
          function  and promotes  executive  function (i.e.,  the                                                               
          process of  learning, rather  than the  content), which                                                               
          allows us  pursue goals  and ignore  distractions" (pg.                                                               
        • Advocate for the protection of children's unstructured                                                                
          playtime  because of  its numerous  benefits, including                                                               
          the development  of foundational motor skills  that may                                                               
          have lifelong  benefits for the prevention  of obesity,                                                               
          hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.                                                                                    
MR. RIVAS shared information from  "The Crucial Role of Recess in                                                               
Schools," an article  published in 2010 in the  Journal of School                                                               
        • Recess acts as a break from challenging mental tasks                                                                  
          performed  within a  confined  space.  As such,  recess                                                               
          offers  a  child a  means  for  relieving and  managing                                                               
MR. RIVAS shared  a quote from an opinion piece  published in the                                                               
Anchorage  Daily  New written  by  Dr.  Lily Lou,  Chief  Medical                                                               
Officer for DHSS and DHSS Commissioner Designee Adam Crum:                                                                      
        • Unfortunately,    children    today     have    fewer                                                                 
          opportunities to  play and grow in  healthy ways, which                                                               
          negatively  affects their  ability to  decrease stress,                                                               
          overcome adverse childhood  experiences, learn positive                                                               
          social  behaviors  and develop  higher-level  reasoning                                                               
MR. RIVAS shared the following information about PLAAY Day.                                                                     
        • PLAAY Day (Positive Leadership for Active Alaska                                                                      
          Youth)   is  a   synchronized,  statewide   event  that                                                               
          encourages  the  importance   of  physical  fitness  in                                                               
        • PLAAY Day is held on the Thursday following                                                                           
          Presidents' Day.                                                                                                      
        • Goal of PLAAY Day is to provide a day of opportunity                                                                  
          for Alaskan students to be  physically active and reach                                                               
          their daily physical activity goal.                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES asked if other states have something similar and                                                                 
why the Thursday after Presidents' Day was chosen.                                                                              
MR. RIVAS said the statewide organization suggested the day.                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES asked if this is being done in other states and                                                                  
if there is an organization called Positive Leadership for                                                                      
Active Alaska Youth.                                                                                                            
MR. RIVAS answered that the organization does exist. He offered                                                                 
to follow up with information about whether other states do                                                                     
9:38:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RIVAS provided the following sectional analysis for SB 56:                                                                  
     Section   1:  Amends   AS  14.30.360(c)   (Health  education                                                               
     curriculum; physical  activity guidelines).  Requires Alaska                                                               
     school   districts  to   meet  90   percent  of   the  daily                                                               
     recommended [60]-minute  physical activity guideline  set by                                                               
     the  Center  for Disease  Control  and  Prevention, and  the                                                               
     United States Department of Health and Human Services.                                                                     
     Section  2: Establishes  the Thursday  following President's                                                               
     Day  as PLAAY  Day  (Positive Leadership  for Active  Alaska                                                               
     Youth).  This day  will be  established for  recognizing the                                                               
     importance of  physical activity  in school; and  provides a                                                               
     certain day where students are able to meet the national                                                                   
     recommendation of physical activity in the school day.                                                                     
9:39:13 AM                                                                                                                    
DENALI  DANIELS,   President,  Denali  Daniels   and  Associates,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska,  said that in  2014 she conducted  research on                                                               
behalf of DHSS.  Her testimony is on behalf of  the work her team                                                               
conducted and does  not represent the state of  Alaska. That work                                                               
is part  of the public  domain and was part  of the basis  for SB
200  in 2016.  Her  team is  a consulting  firm  with offices  in                                                               
Anchorage   and   Juneau.   They  provide   strategic   planning,                                                               
facilitation,  public  involvement,  and  policy  research.  Most                                                               
clients  are   nonprofits  or  small  businesses   and  at  times                                                               
government agencies.                                                                                                            
MS.  DANIELS said  her team's  work was  specific to  policies in                                                               
Alaska. The  cost of obesity  is dramatic and the  statistics are                                                               
quite high.  The CDC  has tied  academic performance  to physical                                                               
activity. Her research  was focused on PE and  recess policies in                                                               
Alaska school districts.                                                                                                        
MS.  DANIELS said  the CDC  recommended that  school-age children                                                               
participate  in  at least  60  minutes  per  day of  moderate  to                                                               
vigorous  physical activity.  The National  Association of  Sport                                                               
and Physical Education recommends 150  minutes of PE per week for                                                               
elementary  students  and  225 minutes  per  week  for  secondary                                                               
MS. DANIELS  said that  two federal policies  have set  the stage                                                               
for  what happens  at the  state level.  The Child  Nutrition and                                                               
Women,  Infant, and  Children (WIC)  Reauthorization Act  of 2004                                                               
required that entities  eligible for the school  meal program had                                                               
to  have a  wellness policy.  The deadline  for establishing  the                                                               
policies was the  2006-2007 school year. She said  she will share                                                               
some data about Alaska's wellness  policies. The Healthy, Hunger-                                                               
Free Kids  Act of  2010 established  best practices  for wellness                                                               
9:44:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH  asked her  to  speak  about the  nuances  between                                                               
federal  policy  and guidelines.  For  example,  55 m.p.h.  is  a                                                               
policy  if states  want federal  highway money.  He asked  if any                                                               
federal education dollars  are dependent on following  any of the                                                               
MS. DANIELS said  it is all policy. It comes  down to enforcement                                                               
and the way legislation is written.                                                                                             
MS.   DANIELS  reviewed   the  elements   of  wellness   policies                                                               
established in 2010. She said  elements of a good wellness policy                                                               
address  nutrition, meal  guidelines, nutrition  education goals,                                                               
physical  activity, student  wellness, and  implementation. Today                                                               
the  scope  would be  limited  to  PE  and recess,  but  wellness                                                               
policies are an umbrella for wellness overall.                                                                                  
SENATOR BIRCH  said he was trying  to understand the role  of the                                                               
Alaska State  Board of  Education and  Early Development  in this                                                               
policy structure.  He asked if  she had opinions  about education                                                               
policy  and if  the committee  has  any obligation  to work  with                                                               
MS. DANIELS replied that she didn't have the answer.                                                                            
CHAIR  STEVENS  suggested  the committee  ask  someone  from  the                                                               
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED).                                                                           
9:48:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DANIELS said  there were two parts to the  project. The first                                                               
was a survey of 54 school  districts asking 29 questions about PE                                                               
and recess policies. All 54  school districts responded. She said                                                               
she is showing the  data that relates to SB 56,  which is only K-                                                               
8. She noted  that the number 53  is on some of  the data because                                                               
Mt. Edgecumbe is  a high school. The second part  was an analysis                                                               
of  the  51  written  policies that  were  collected.  A  scoring                                                               
methodology  established by  the Robert  Wood Johnson  foundation                                                               
was then applied.                                                                                                               
MS.  DANIELS said  written policies  are  important because  they                                                               
establish a clear  vision and accountability. Only  32 percent of                                                               
school  districts said  their elementary  schools  had a  written                                                               
policy about recess  and only six percent of  middle schools. The                                                               
majority said they  had no written policy but a  decent amount of                                                               
practice  in place.  Most  noteworthy was  the  number of  school                                                               
districts with no  policy at all. Ten districts said  they had no                                                               
elementary school policies  and 19 said they had  no policies for                                                               
middle school.                                                                                                                  
MS. DANIELS  said 53  percent of school  districts had  a written                                                               
policy for  PE at  the elementary and  secondary level.  A number                                                               
had no  written policy but  have practices in place.  Five school                                                               
districts at the elementary level had  no policy for PE and seven                                                               
school districts  had none at  the middle school level.  She said                                                               
she  found  not  having  a  policy  at  all,  even  in  practice,                                                               
MS. DANIELS  reminded the committee that  she surveyed districts,                                                               
not  schools; she  has  not  counted the  number  of schools  and                                                               
students involved.                                                                                                              
CHAIR STEVENS said the two percent  who didn't know at the middle                                                               
school level was surprising.                                                                                                    
MS.  DANIELS   said  the   survey  asked   open-ended  questions.                                                               
Anecdotally, people  at the school  districts were eager  to talk                                                               
about  this issue.  Some survey  comments were  about stipulating                                                               
the  number  of  minutes  needed, stronger  teeth  in  number  of                                                               
minutes  suggested  by  the state,  more  state-mandated  PE  and                                                               
recess, and increased compliance.                                                                                               
9:54:17 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH  commented  that this  didn't  take  into  account                                                               
soccer  moms,  who  are constantly  driving  children  to  sports                                                               
practices and other evening activities.                                                                                         
MS. DANIELS agreed  that the scope of work did  not include those                                                               
MS. DANIELS  said the team  scored the written policies  with the                                                               
Robert  Wood Johnson  Foundation coding  scheme. A  strong policy                                                               
required  an implementation  plan  and  included strong  language                                                               
such  as  "shall," "must,"  "will,"  and  "require," and  met  or                                                               
exceeded  CDC  recommendations.  A  weak  policy  included  vague                                                               
terms, suggestions, or recommendations, and  did not meet the CDC                                                               
recommendations.  There  were a  lot  of  "no policy"  responses,                                                               
which was an eye opener.                                                                                                        
MS. DANIELS said  that 33 percent of Alaska  school districts had                                                               
no  policy or  had  not updated  them since  2007.  The 2010  act                                                               
established guidelines for effective  policies, so the 33 percent                                                               
shows  that the  2010 act  did not  make an  impact in  improving                                                               
policies. Her  work was in  2014 and SB  200 passed in  2016. She                                                               
opined not much has changed since that time.                                                                                    
9:58:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES asked what SB 200 did.                                                                                           
MS.  DANIELS  responded that  she  would  prefer not  to  address                                                               
MR. RIVAS said  that SB 200 looks  similar to SB 56.  SB 200 said                                                               
that  school  districts  shall   provide  opportunities.  It  was                                                               
amended in  the state House  and the  "shall" became a  "may." SB
200 passed as a recommendation, not a requirement.                                                                              
MS. DANIELS  said physical  education would be  a component  of a                                                               
wellness  policy.  Forty  percent  of  school  districts  had  no                                                               
written  policy/provision  for  PE  at both  the  elementary  and                                                               
middle school level.                                                                                                            
MS. DANIELS  said 50  percent of school  districts had  no policy                                                               
about  the  daily minutes  for  recess.  One hundred  percent  of                                                               
middle schools  had no  policy. She said  she wondered  if recess                                                               
was the  correct term  to use  at middle school,  but it  was the                                                               
state that provided the questions for the study.                                                                                
10:01:13 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES said policy or  no policy, every elementary school                                                               
in the  state probably has  recess. She  said it is  important to                                                               
know  how  many  minutes  school  districts  have  scheduled  for                                                               
recess. She posited  that for middle school, it  is probably part                                                               
of the lunch period and they all take PE.                                                                                       
MS. DANIELS said  she would follow up with  that information. She                                                               
had it but didn't include it in the presentation.                                                                               
SENATOR HUGHES reiterated that it is important information.                                                                     
MS. DANIELS said that in  2014, school districts agreed about the                                                               
importance,  but  were hesitant  to  put  minutes in  policy  and                                                               
formally schedule  the time. By  asking about practices  the team                                                               
learned that  there is  a disconnect  between written  policy and                                                               
practice. She  said it sounds  like there  is a need  for further                                                               
exploration  about PE  and recess  at the  elementary and  middle                                                               
school and about the questions raised today.                                                                                    
10:04:05 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. DANIELS said that she had  jumped ahead to the conclusion, so                                                               
she  would go  over  some  more findings.  She  said some  school                                                               
districts  struggle   to  balance   time  between  PE   and  core                                                               
curriculum.  A direct  quote  from a  respondent  is, "School  is                                                               
focusing on attendance and grades, and PE has taken a backseat."                                                                
MS. DANIELS  said 50 percent  of districts  do not have  a recess                                                               
policy, but  50 percent do.  Recess is provided more  in practice                                                               
than in  written policies. The team  did hear that 63  percent of                                                               
districts provide middle school  recess/open gym in practice, and                                                               
77  percent  of  elementary  schools schedule  lunch  and  recess                                                               
separately. That means 23 percent  of school districts may not be                                                               
following best practices.                                                                                                       
MS. DANIELS  said she  personally supports  SB 56.  She recounted                                                               
that  her   daughter-in-law,  who   is  a  teacher   at  Kasilof,                                                               
mentioning  that  students were  doing  well  this year  with  30                                                               
minutes of recess and 30 minutes of PE.                                                                                         
10:07:40 AM                                                                                                                   
CAREY   CARPENTER,   representing   ASD60,   Anchorage,   Alaska,                                                               
supported SB 56.  She said that ASD60 is a  grassroots group that                                                               
supports increased  physical activity and appropriate  amounts of                                                               
time   for   students   to   eat   lunch,   following   the   CDC                                                               
recommendation.  She is  a parent  of two  students at  Sand Lake                                                               
Elementary  School   and  a  young  adult   cancer  survivor  who                                                               
understands the  importance of  health. Last  year, on  the first                                                               
day of  school, her children told  her that recess had  been cut.                                                               
She was  shocked. Recess  and PE  improve learning  and physical,                                                               
emotional,  and psychological  health. This  activity mandate  is                                                               
necessary  because   many  school  districts  have   not  changed                                                               
anything to  give students  more physical  activity since  SB 200                                                               
passed in 2016. Schools are  free to cut recess. Alaskan students                                                               
deserve the best  in education and opportunity  in life. Children                                                               
like her  daughter who sit  through three  days of school  a week                                                               
with only  20 minutes of recess  need someone to speak  for them.                                                               
Some  districts   in  Alaska  are  making   physical  activity  a                                                               
priority. They see the connection  it has to better education. It                                                               
makes learning more efficient.                                                                                                  
MS. CARPENTER said some schools  are doing it right, but children                                                               
don't  get to  pick where  they  go to  school. Children  deserve                                                               
equal access to these benefits. The  issue is so important in the                                                               
lives  of  children.  It's important  to  ensure  that  districts                                                               
across Alaska are doing the right things for students.                                                                          
10:10:20 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BIRCH asked if she  raised this issue with her daughter's                                                               
principal or anyone else in the Anchorage School District.                                                                      
MS. CARPENTER  said she asked  the principal why recess  was cut.                                                               
His response  was that  the school  had to  fit in  more academic                                                               
time. She  said just sitting  in a  chair does not  make children                                                               
learn; the  process is  about blood flow  to the  brain. Children                                                               
learn with  movement. As  part of that,  ASD60 formed.  They have                                                               
tried  to  work  with  the Anchorage  School  District,  and  the                                                               
district did  decide to  start a  health and  wellness committee.                                                               
ASD60  also started  a petition  for increased  physical activity                                                               
and lunchtime and over 6,000 people signed.                                                                                     
10:12:06 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BIRCH  said testimony earlier  was that the  tradeoff was                                                               
diminished  time for  core  academic curriculum.  He  said he  is                                                               
struggling with  intervening at a statewide  level with something                                                               
that  should  be a  school  district  or  school board  or  local                                                               
government  decision. He  asked if  recess is  20 minutes  in all                                                               
Anchorage K-8 schools.                                                                                                          
MS. CARPENTER answered that is the minimum.                                                                                     
SENATOR BIRCH asked if 20 minutes  is the actual time and if that                                                               
includes lunch periods.                                                                                                         
MS.  CARPENTER  answered  that  20 minutes  is  a  minimum.  Most                                                               
schools  meet that,  but  it is  not being  well  tracked by  the                                                               
Anchorage School  District. Some schools  are supposed to  have a                                                               
45-minute  block for  lunch  and  recess, and  some  only had  40                                                               
minutes. The  Anchorage School District  is not doing a  good job                                                               
making sure students  get the physical activity  they need, which                                                               
is why  ASD60 supports this  bill. She  noted that three  or four                                                               
schools  in  Anchorage  allocate  over  an  hour.  Those  schools                                                               
indicate teachers have  an easier time teaching  and the students                                                               
learn more.  She said everyone  wants all students to  have equal                                                               
opportunity  for  those huge  benefits.  There  are mountains  of                                                               
research  showing the  benefits.  Every single  student in  every                                                               
school deserves this opportunity.                                                                                               
10:15:47 AM                                                                                                                   
KELLY  LESSENS,  Ph.D.,  representing ASD60,  Anchorage,  Alaska,                                                               
supported  SB  56. She  said  she  has  a doctorate  in  American                                                               
culture and she studies race,  gender, and environmental history.                                                               
She  is the  cofounder  of  ASD60. She  cares  about the  overall                                                               
environment in  which her  children and  their peers  learn. Many                                                               
people emphasize the importance of  local control at the district                                                               
and classroom  level, but just  as they don't leave  the question                                                               
about  wearing seat  belts, smoking  in  restaurants, or  selling                                                               
alcohol to minors to  local jurisdictions, establishing evidence-                                                               
based minimums designed  to promote the health  and well-being of                                                               
all students  should not be left  to local control. She  said she                                                               
has  called  all  the  schools  in  Anchorage  and  the  data  is                                                               
analogous  to national  data, which  shows  that schools  serving                                                               
predominantly  poor students  and  students of  color grant  less                                                               
time  for   recess  than  their   whiter  and/or   more  well-off                                                               
counterparts. There is  a minimum, but charter  schools with very                                                               
high  SES  [socioeconomic  status]   with  a  low  percentage  of                                                               
nonwhite   students  exceed   the  minimum   time.  Because   the                                                               
legislature is  constitutionally obligated to ensure  the quality                                                               
and  equity of  education,  all Alaskan  children deserve  better                                                               
DR. LESSENS  said Senate  Bill 200 did  not require  districts to                                                               
schedule time for physical activity  or specify that all activity                                                               
should  be  of   moderate  to  vigorous  quality   that  the  CDC                                                               
recommends.  For  her daughter  in  second  grade, the  Anchorage                                                               
School District offers legal guidelines  of 100 minutes a week of                                                               
recess and 90 minutes of PE.  Her daughter's teacher must find 80                                                               
additional minutes  to remain in those  guidelines. The Anchorage                                                               
School  District  scheduling  requirements   are  so  tight  that                                                               
teachers talk  about not having  enough time to send  students to                                                               
the  bathroom.  That they  can  find  80 additional  minutes  for                                                               
physical activity  is laughable.  These totally  legal guidelines                                                               
mean  that her  daughter and  her classmates  receive 60  minutes                                                               
less  than  the 150  minutes  of  PE  recommended by  the  Alaska                                                               
Department of Health and Social  Services. Her daughter and peers                                                               
also receive far  less recess than peers Outside  are starting to                                                               
receive. Over the past two  decades, researchers have figured out                                                               
more recess leads to better  results. Virginia passed legislation                                                               
in 2018 saying up to 15 percent  of the school day could be given                                                               
to recess.  Texas has had  groundbreaking work with  LiiNK, Let's                                                               
Inspire  Innovation 'N  Kids. Those  students get  four 15-minute                                                               
recesses  during the  day. Her  daughter  and her  peers are  not                                                               
getting this. Recess  and PE matter in Alaska  because obesity is                                                               
expensive to treat.                                                                                                             
DR.  LESSENS  said  recess  and  PE  bolster  academic  outcomes,                                                               
improve behavior, and make learning  more efficient. She said she                                                               
is testifying  for own children,  but as a historian,  she thinks                                                               
about the big  picture and the social world  kids have inherited.                                                               
Mandating better  minimums for everyone  will make  learning more                                                               
efficient, more enjoyable, and more  effective. Recess and PE are                                                               
better for this than in-class brain breaks.                                                                                     
CHAIR STEVENS  said the  Department of  Education would  speak to                                                               
the fiscal note.                                                                                                                
10:21:29 AM                                                                                                                   
PAUL PRUSSING,  Project Coordinator, Department of  Education and                                                               
Early Development  (DEED), Juneau,  Alaska, said the  DEED fiscal                                                               
note is zero.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS asked if he had any comments about the bill.                                                                      
MR. PRUSSING deferred to Mr. Brocious.                                                                                          
TODD  BROCIOUS, Health  and Safety  Administrator, Department  of                                                               
Education and Early Development  (DEED), Juneau, Alaska, said the                                                               
department  is supportive  of SB  56. The  testimony highlighting                                                               
the data  about positive health  impacts is accurate  and similar                                                               
to what the department has identified.                                                                                          
10:22:37 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BIRCH  asked what role  the State Board of  Education has                                                               
in statewide policies such as this that impact schools.                                                                         
MR.  BROCIOUS  said the  state  board  is  not involved  in  this                                                               
policy.  Local  school boards  have  the  statutory authority  to                                                               
develop guidelines to comply with the statute.                                                                                  
SENATOR BIRCH  asked if this is  viewed as a local  guideline and                                                               
not something the state board would weigh in on.                                                                                
MR. BROCIOUS replied  that is correct; those  guidelines would be                                                               
established locally.                                                                                                            
SENATOR  BIRCH asked,  based  on  the testimony  that  SB 56  may                                                               
deprive  K-8 students  of core  curriculum instruction,  if there                                                               
would  be  an   adverse  impact  on  the   ultimate  mission  and                                                               
objectives of DEED.                                                                                                             
MR.  BROCIOUS  responded  that   the  bill  allows  for  creative                                                               
insertion of  physical activity  during the  day. He  opined that                                                               
much of the  required time could be implemented  during the class                                                               
period as  physical activity can be  integrated into instruction.                                                               
He  said he  listened to  the  testimony on  SB 200  in 2016  and                                                               
districts identified  challenges and limits with  time within the                                                               
school day. He said he wanted to acknowledge and honor that.                                                                    
10:25:19 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. PRUSSING described  SB 56 as a straightforward  bill. He said                                                               
it changes  the existing  statute from "may"  to "shall,"  adds a                                                               
waiver  for children  who participate  in afterschool  activities                                                               
like  basketball,  and it  implements  PLAAY  Day. These  changes                                                               
clarify and strengthen the existing statute.                                                                                    
10:26:29 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BIRCH   asked  if  K-8   students  who   participate  in                                                               
extracurricular  athletic  activities  typically  receive  school                                                               
credit for that.                                                                                                                
MR.  PRUSSING  answered that  local  school  districts can  adopt                                                               
those policies now.                                                                                                             
SENATOR BEGICH, in  response to Mr. Brocious'  statement that the                                                               
state board  did not have  any responsibilities in regard  to the                                                               
bill, he said  Senator Begich cited AS 14.07.180,  which is about                                                               
board  responsibilities  regarding  curriculum approval,  and  AS                                                               
14.07.175,   regarding   assessment   and  education   laws   and                                                               
regulations. Thus,  the state board does  have responsibility for                                                               
establishing curriculum statewide so SB  56 would clearly have an                                                               
impact on statewide  curriculum. He asked for  an explanation for                                                               
his statement.                                                                                                                  
MR.  PRUSSING  reviewed  AS 14.08.021  that  delegates  to  local                                                               
school boards the authority to operate the public schools.                                                                      
SENATOR BEGICH said his point is  that for years, the State Board                                                               
of  Education has  not  taken  on the  duties  it is  statutorily                                                               
responsible  for,  which includes  approval  of  curriculum on  a                                                               
regular  basis and  reporting  to the  legislature  on a  regular                                                               
basis. There  are significant responsibilities  the board  is not                                                               
exercising. He emphasized that it was  time for the board to step                                                               
up and do its job, which  is everything from reviewing the budget                                                               
to having  the commissioner take  responsibility for  the budget.                                                               
AS  14.07.168,  the  report to  the  legislature,  AS  14.07.170,                                                               
additional  powers  and  duties,   and  AS  14.07.180,  curricula                                                               
approval, which  is part  of the pilot  project that  passed last                                                               
year, all speak  to the importance of the board  taking an active                                                               
role in identifying what should or  should not be required at the                                                               
local level.  He said he  wants the legislation to  be integrated                                                               
as part of the board's overall responsibilities.                                                                                
MR. PRUSSING agreed  that there are multiple statutes  such as AS                                                               
14.07.050, the  selection of textbooks  as the  responsibility of                                                               
the local board,  so it does fall under  local responsibility. He                                                               
added that work  is being done to clarify the  roles of the state                                                               
board and local board regarding the selection of curriculum.                                                                    
10:31:29 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS opened public testimony.                                                                                          
10:31:40 AM                                                                                                                   
POSIE  BOGGS,   Member,  Alaska  Reading   Coalition,  Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, stated  that the  coalition supports SB  56 and  does not                                                               
see  it as  pitting reading  instruction against  play. She  said                                                               
everyone  needs play  and struggling  readers need  as much  play                                                               
time   and  brain   boost  time   as  possible   because  reading                                                               
instruction can  be intense for  those struggling.  She explained                                                               
that  some   struggling  readers  have  experienced   an  adverse                                                               
childhood   event   when  learning   to   read   that  leads   to                                                               
posttraumatic  stress syndrome  for  them. Data  from adults  who                                                               
suffer from  posttraumatic stress  from reading  instruction show                                                               
they have  anger and resentment toward  their childhood teachers.                                                               
She said the coalition feels  that anything that decreases stress                                                               
during  reading  instruction  will   reduce  the  emotional  cost                                                               
suffered by children  who struggle. She said the  coalition has a                                                               
lot  of confidence  in  the  report that  will  come  out of  the                                                               
reading task  force. They anticipate that  the recommendations in                                                               
the  report  will  lead to  efficiency  in  reading  instruction,                                                               
meaning less  conflict between play  vs. academic time.  She said                                                               
the coalition would support extending the  school day by 15 or 30                                                               
minutes  or  extending  the  school  year  to  ensure  a  healthy                                                               
environment for reading instruction  and students who struggle. A                                                               
large  factor in  that is  being able  to move  around and  use a                                                               
brain boost  to decrease stress  in the moment. Reading  is hard.                                                               
It is not  natural. It comes by instruction.  She reiterated that                                                               
the coalition supports play and SB 56.                                                                                          
10:35:48 AM                                                                                                                   
DOROTHY  ORR,   Executive  Director,  SHAPE   Alaska,  Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, stated support for the intent  but not the language of SB
56.  She expressed  concern that  the current  language will  not                                                               
actually  change  what  is  happening  in  classrooms  and  could                                                               
actually  decrease  the  amount  of physical  activity  for  some                                                               
children.  She  said  SHAPE Alaska  encourages  participation  in                                                               
PLAAY  Day  and  believes  the  intent  of  the  language  is  to                                                               
recognize and  participate in physical activity  across the state                                                               
but  it  does not  require  school  districts to  offer  physical                                                               
education  for students  in  grades K-8  or  deter teachers  from                                                               
withholding PE or  recess for whatever reason.  She concluded her                                                               
comments saying  that SHAPE Alaska  supports the intent  to bring                                                               
opportunities  for daily  activity and  movement into  the school                                                               
day. Healthy, active students are better students.                                                                              
10:41:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MIKE COONS,  representing self, Palmer, Alaska,  supported SB 56.                                                               
He  said that  America  has some  of the  fattest  people in  the                                                               
world. When he was  a kid there was no need to  push play. It was                                                               
assumed  children would  want  to play.  Not  having activity  in                                                               
classes creates  problems. He  is 110  percent behind  this bill.                                                               
Kids should be  out there having fun during  recess. He suggested                                                               
that removing the  pressure to teach advanced math  would free up                                                               
more time in the academic schedule.                                                                                             
10:48:10 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVID NEES, representing self,  Anchorage, Alaska, stated support                                                               
for SB  56 with some concerns.  He said he likes  the change from                                                               
"may" to  "shall" but worries that  a mandate may take  time from                                                               
instruction.  He  suggested  inserting language  to  ensure  that                                                               
local   boards   cannot   shorten   school-day   instruction   to                                                               
accommodate increased  physical activity. He highlighted  that as                                                               
written,  the   bill  does  not  mandate   a  physical  education                                                               
component taught by  a professional that does not  take time from                                                               
outdoor  recess or  academic instruction.  Responding to  Senator                                                               
Birch's  question, he  explained  that students  can  opt out  of                                                               
physical education beginning  in about sixth or  seventh grade if                                                               
they participate in an activity  outside of school hours. In high                                                               
school,  students  can  earn   credit  for  such  extracurricular                                                               
activities. He  summarized that  he likes  the concept  but would                                                               
like the implementation to be tightened.                                                                                        
10:50:48 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS held SB 56 in committee.                                                                                          
10:50:55 AM                                                                                                                   
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Stevens  adjourned the Senate Education  Standing Committee                                                               
meeting at 10:50 a.m.                                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01_SB056_PLAAY DAY_BillText_VersionS.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
02_SB056_PLAAY DAY_SponsorStatement_22Feb2019.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
03_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Sectional_VersionS.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
04_SB056_PLAAY DAY_FiscalNote01_DEED_StudentLearning_22Feb2019.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
05_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_HearingPowerPoint_05March2019.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
06_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_Power of Play_American Academy of Pediatrics_2018.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
07_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_Children’s Play is critical for healthy development_Anchorage Daily News_February 2018.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
08_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_Effects of Recess on Fifth grade students time on-task_International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education_February 2018.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
09_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_Physical activity and cognitive functioning of children_International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health_April 2018.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
10_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_AK Obesity Facts Report_Department of Health and Social Services_October 2017.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
11_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_Health Academic Achievement_Centers for Disease Control_ May 2014.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
12_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_D-DanielsReport_March2014.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
13_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_The decline of play and the rise of psychopathology in children_ Peter Gray_American Journal of Play_2011.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
14_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_The Crucial Role of Recess in Schools_Journal of School Health_April 2010.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56
15_SB056_PLAAY DAY_Research_Fitness and Academic Achievement_University of Illinois_2007.pdf SEDC 3/5/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 56