Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

04/02/2019 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
09:01:49 AM Start
09:02:01 AM Confirmation Hearing(s): University of Alaska Board of Regents Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development
10:57:19 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
- University of Alaska Board of Regents:
John Bania
Darroll Hargraves - Postponed to 3/4/19
- State Board of Education & Early Development:
Bob Griffin
Sally Stockhausen
Tiffany Scott - Postponed to 3/4/19
-- Public Testimony on Appointees --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 2, 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                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                         
John Bania - Wrangell                                                                                                           
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                         
Sally Stockhausen - Ketchikan                                                                                                   
Bob Griffin - Anchorage                                                                                                         
     - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                   
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JOHN BANIA, Appointee                                                                                                           
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                           
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION   STATEMENT:   Testified   as   appointee   during   his                                                             
confirmation hearing.                                                                                                           
DARROLL HARGRAVES, Appointee                                                                                                    
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Board of Regents                                                                                                                
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Confirmation hearing was rescheduled  due to                                                             
technical issues.                                                                                                               
SALLY STOCKHAUSEN, Appointee                                                                                                    
Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                           
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:   Testified   as   appointee   during   her                                                             
confirmation hearing.                                                                                                           
BOB GRIFFIN, Appointee                                                                                                          
Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:   Testified   as   appointee   during   his                                                             
confirmation hearing.                                                                                                           
KATHY CUDDY, representing herself                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported the  confirmation of Bob Griffin to                                                             
the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development.                                                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:01:49 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 Hughes, Begich,  Birch, Costello,  and Chair                                                               
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):  University of Alaska Board  of Regents                                                               
Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                           
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
             University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                          
     Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                  
9:02:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced the consideration  of the confirmation of                                                               
the governor's  appointees to the  University of Alaska  Board of                                                               
Regents. He  asked Mr. Bania to  speak about what he  would bring                                                               
to the  Board of Regents,  why he  is interested in  serving, and                                                               
what goals he may have to help improve the university system.                                                                   
9:02:41 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN BANIA,  Appointee, University  of Alaska, Board  of Regents,                                                               
Wrangell, said he  came to Alaska in 1983 to  seek a better life.                                                               
He was hiring for an  education position in the Northwest Arctic,                                                               
working in  various villages  near Kotzebue.  Over the  years, he                                                               
served  as principal  and assistant  superintendent.  He met  his                                                               
wife in  the Kotzebue area and  raised a family. He  later served                                                               
as superintendent in  Tanana for three years. When  he decided he                                                               
did  not want  to  retire, he  worked as  a  finish carpenter  in                                                               
Wrangell, where he  owns a business, Finish  Carpentry. He brings                                                               
a  unique perspective  to the  Board  of Regents  because of  his                                                               
experience  in   education  and  as  a   carpenter  working  with                                                               
tradesmen,  including  plumbers,  electricians  and  professional                                                               
engineers,  which  has  given him  more  community  contact  than                                                               
someone who has only worked in a professional category.                                                                         
MR. BANIA  said the  University of Alaska  need regents  who have                                                               
respect  for  the university  staff,  faculty,  and students.  He                                                               
offered  his belief  that the  University  of Alaska  is a  high-                                                               
quality   university,   but   any  institution   has   room   for                                                               
improvement.  He said  he hopes  he can  contribute based  on his                                                               
experience in  the field  of education.  Education has  played an                                                               
important  role  in his  family,  for  himself  and his  son.  As                                                               
parents, he  and his  wife stressed  the importance  of education                                                               
when  his son  was growing  up.  His son  is now  a physician  in                                                               
Wrangell, he said.                                                                                                              
9:06:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  asked Mr.  Bania to describe  his vision  for the                                                               
university, his view  on the governor's $140  million in proposed                                                               
cuts  to the  university  and if  it affects  his  vision of  the                                                               
University of Alaska (UA).                                                                                                      
MR. BANIA  responded by describing  his experience at  the Tanana                                                               
School District  (TSD). When he  was hired [as  superintendent in                                                               
2009]  the  school  district  was on  the  verge  of  bankruptcy.                                                               
Shortly thereafter,  the commissioner  called him to  ask whether                                                               
the  district would  need  to  close its  offices.  He asked  the                                                               
commissioner for time to address  the school district's financial                                                               
and  operational problems.  He  was  able to  do  so. The  school                                                               
district  is  working  well  today  and  thriving,  he  said.  He                                                               
acknowledged his budget experience at  TSD was on a smaller scale                                                               
than the severe budget problems the  UA faces. He said he was not                                                               
panicked   about  the   governor's   proposed   budget  for   the                                                               
university. He  offered his  belief that it  was a  proposal, one                                                               
that would  be modified before  it takes  its final form  and the                                                               
cuts will not likely be as severe.                                                                                              
SENATOR BEGICH asked for his  vision for the University of Alaska                                                               
and his  focus, given the  financial exigencies described  by the                                                               
governor and others. He related  his understanding that the TSD's                                                               
budget was not cut, but he was given an opportunity to fix it.                                                                  
MR.  BANIA replied  that the  university should  work toward  its                                                               
areas of strength,  such as research. The UA is  a great research                                                               
university  that provides  innovation  and growth  in Alaska  and                                                               
elsewhere, but  it could become  even greater. He  suggested that                                                               
the UA  should carefully review  individual programs with  only a                                                               
small  number  of  students to  determine  whether  the  programs                                                               
should  continue.  Most  institutions  have  areas  that  can  be                                                               
trimmed,  but  not  necessarily cut  out.  He  acknowledged  that                                                               
significant  discussion about  the accreditation  problem at  the                                                               
College  of  Education  in Anchorage  and  whether  accreditation                                                               
should be pursued was underway.  He suggested that the full board                                                               
should  consider  the  accreditation   issue  to  determine  what                                                               
benefits the  university as a  whole, not necessarily  one branch                                                               
of it.                                                                                                                          
CHAIR STEVENS remarked that the  committee just received an email                                                               
from UA  President [Jim Johnsen]  indicating his solution  to the                                                               
loss of accreditation for the  teaching programs in Anchorage was                                                               
to  handle   the  programs  through  the   Fairbanks  and  Juneau                                                               
campuses. It  would appear  that the  regents had  discussed this                                                               
and  were  not  willing  to  move  ahead  with  accreditation  in                                                               
Anchorage.  He  expressed  concern that  it  seemed  shortsighted                                                               
because  Anchorage  is  the  largest  school  in  the  university                                                               
system. It would  be great to have Anchorage  accredited in those                                                               
areas rather  than depend on  classes and professors  coming from                                                               
MR.  BANIA  related his  understanding  that  that the  Board  of                                                               
Regents  has not  yet approved  a solution.  However, so  long as                                                               
education   students   can   complete  their   programs,   obtain                                                               
certificates, and become  teachers, he was unsure  if it mattered                                                               
whether the accreditation  came from the UA  Anchorage College of                                                               
Education or the UA Fairbanks and UA Southeast.                                                                                 
CHAIR STEVENS said he appreciated his willingness not to panic.                                                                 
9:14:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH  said  that  the  University  of  Alaska  is  very                                                               
important to  him. He asked Mr.  Bania how he perceived  his role                                                               
on the  Board of Regents  and to share how  he would serve  as an                                                               
advocate for higher education in Alaska.                                                                                        
MR. BANIA  replied that it  was essential to respect  and protect                                                               
the needs of  the university's faculty, staff,  and students. The                                                               
Board of  Regents oversees  the University  of Alaska  system and                                                               
hires or dismisses the president.  He characterized it as a great                                                               
responsibility because education is  "a people business." When he                                                               
was  initially asked  to serve  on the  board, he  felt it  was a                                                               
great   honor,   but   he    also   recognized   the   tremendous                                                               
responsibility  the board  has since  its  decisions affect  many                                                               
people  and programs,  including the  president, staff,  faculty,                                                               
and residents.                                                                                                                  
9:16:47 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  said she hoped  that besides  considering faculty                                                               
and  students,  he  would  consider  the  state's  needs  as  the                                                               
university goes  through the restructuring process.  She reported                                                               
that the  UA has  over 400  programs. She  suggested that  the UA                                                               
could keep and  improve the programs most important  to the needs                                                               
of the  state and  its workforce.  These enhanced  programs could                                                               
draw  in Lower  48  students, which  could  bring in  nonresident                                                               
tuition.  She  said  she  liked  his  comments  on  research  and                                                               
innovation since technology can  create opportunities for Alaska.                                                               
She suggested that the university  should look ahead and consider                                                               
how to  prepare students  to bring in  new opportunities  for the                                                               
MR. BANIA replied that he  agreed wholeheartedly. He said that he                                                               
has a  master's degree  in vocational-technical  education. Since                                                               
he  has lived  in  many  places in  Alaska,  he  has a  statewide                                                               
perspective on the state needs,  including training and education                                                               
for people who  can accomplish things. He said he  hoped he could                                                               
contribute  by using  his work  history  in other  fields and  in                                                               
education  as  principal  or superintendent.  In  particular,  he                                                               
would like  to contribute by  helping to develop programs  in the                                                               
technical fields that will benefit the state over time.                                                                         
9:20:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   HUGHES  said   that  his   statewide  perspective   and                                                               
experience will  serve him  well in this  position. She  said she                                                               
appreciated  his  experience  in  the K-12  system  because  many                                                               
students  are not  prepared for  college and  must take  remedial                                                               
coursework. Once  confirmed, he  could provide a  beneficial link                                                               
to school districts to help  ensure that students graduating from                                                               
high school were prepared for the 100-level college courses.                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked him to  reflect on teacher education  in the                                                               
state, which he is knowledgeable  in since he has hired teachers.                                                               
The state  hires Lower 48  teachers to  work in Alaska  since the                                                               
state does  not have enough  teachers to fulfill its  needs. Each                                                               
year, the legislature requests the  Board of Regents to report on                                                               
measures  it   has  taken  to  address   teacher  education.  The                                                               
University of Alaska's president developed  the goal to achieve a                                                               
certain  percentage of  teachers  who from  Alaska  by a  certain                                                               
date.  He  asked whether  Mr.  Bania  had  any  ideas on  how  to                                                               
increase  the  number  of  rural Alaskans  who  go  into  teacher                                                               
MR. BANIA answered that he  has experience in hiring teachers for                                                               
many of  the schools  in the  Northwest Arctic.  He characterized                                                               
teaching  in rural  Alaska as  a way  of life.  In rural  Alaska,                                                               
educators are totally immersed and  involved in the community. He                                                               
explained  that Alaska  is  divided into  larger  towns and  Bush                                                               
villages, which  might seem like  living in a foreign  country to                                                               
many teachers.  Alaskans must bridge  the gap between  the larger                                                               
towns and  the smaller, rural  villages. He recalled  when Alaska                                                               
had an exchange program for  students from Anchorage or Fairbanks                                                               
to  spend two  or three  weeks in  a village  and vice  versa. He                                                               
suggested  developing  programs  to inform  people,  so  teachers                                                               
realize  what it  is  like  to live  in  rural Alaska.  Sometimes                                                               
living in rural  Alaska is tough: the climate  is tough. However,                                                               
some people who  are outdoor oriented and become  involved in the                                                               
community learn to love it.                                                                                                     
9:25:44 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS offered his belief  that the board has lacked the                                                               
perspective of someone who has  spent time in rural education. He                                                               
said that Mr. Bania would be a great addition to the board.                                                                     
CHAIR STEVENS  turned to the  next appointee,  Darroll Hargraves,                                                               
who  has been  involved  in many  legislative  issues during  the                                                               
chair's  tenure in  the legislature.  He asked  Mr. Hargraves  to                                                               
speak to  his interest  in serving  on Board  of Regents  and any                                                               
goals he has to help improve the University of Alaska.                                                                          
9:26:54 AM                                                                                                                    
DARROLL  HARGRAVES,  Appointee,  University of  Alaska  Board  of                                                               
Regents, Wasilla,  said he  arrived in  Fairbanks in  February in                                                               
1966,  on  his way  to  teach  English  in Barrow.  The  downtown                                                               
Fairbanks thermometer  read 70  degrees below  zero, which  was a                                                               
drastic change from  Missouri weather. He remarked  that he still                                                               
retains a  relationship with many  former students.  From Barrow,                                                               
he  went  to  Kivalina  and  then  Gambell  to  teach.  In  1969,                                                               
University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks recruited  him.  He  eventually                                                               
became director of UA Statewide  Programs and Services. He was in                                                               
charge of any classes not offered at the Fairbanks campus.                                                                      
9:29:43 AM                                                                                                                    
{Indisc.--technical difficulties]                                                                                               
9:30:34 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
9:30:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  reconvened the meeting.  He advised  Mr. Hargraves                                                               
the teleconference  was experiencing technical  difficulties with                                                               
the audio.                                                                                                                      
9:34:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES commented that she  served with Mr. Hargraves at a                                                               
number  of community  council meetings.  She  explained that  the                                                               
Mat-Su Valley lacked  representation on the Board  of Regents for                                                               
many years until Dr. Bishop  was appointed, but shortly after her                                                               
appointment, she was  hired by the Anchorage  School District and                                                               
stepped down.                                                                                                                   
She offered  her belief  that Mr. Hargraves  would bring  a broad                                                               
perspective  from his  experience  living in  many  areas of  the                                                               
state. She related  Mr. Hargraves currently lives  in the Mat-Su,                                                               
which is  an area  that has  evolved into  a good  community. She                                                               
said she  wanted the committee to  know Mr. Hargraves was  a good                                                               
candidate to serve on the Board of Regents.                                                                                     
9:36:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  remarked that  the committee  wanted to  hear more                                                               
from Mr.  Hargraves, but  the audio  was inaudible.  He announced                                                               
that Mr. Hargrave's confirmation hearing would be postponed.                                                                    
9:37:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  opened public testimony  and after  determining no                                                               
one wished  to testify, closed  public testimony. He  solicited a                                                               
9:38:11 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES stated  that in accordance with  AS 39.05.080, the                                                               
Senate Education  Standing Committee  reviewed the  following and                                                               
recommends the  appointment be forwarded  to a joint  session for                                                               
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                         
John Bania - Wrangell                                                                                                           
9:38:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS found no objection and the motion carried.                                                                        
[Signing  the  reports  regarding   appointments  to  boards  and                                                               
commissions in  no way reflects  individual members'  approval or                                                               
disapproval  of  the  appointees;   the  nominations  are  merely                                                               
forwarded   to  the   full   legislature   for  confirmation   or                                                               
9:38:42 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
9:38:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS reconvened the meeting  and turned to consideration                                                               
of  the  governor's  appointees  to the  Alaska  State  Board  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development.  He noted  that the  hearing of                                                               
Ms.  Tiffany  Scott  would  be  postponed  because  she  was  not                                                               
9:41:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked  Ms. Stockhausen to speak  to her background,                                                               
why she would like to serve  on the State Board of Education, and                                                               
any goals she has for the BOE.                                                                                                  
9:41:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SALLY  STOCKHAUSEN, Appointee,  Alaska State  Board of  Education                                                               
and  Early   Development,  Ketchikan,  said  she   is  a  special                                                               
education  teacher  at  Ketchikan  High  School.  She  began  her                                                               
teaching career  in 1998 in  Ft. Worth,  Texas. In 2002,  she and                                                               
her  husband  moved  to  Glenallen. Her  husband  was  a  history                                                               
teacher and  basketball coach. She  became a paraeducator  in the                                                               
special  education  program  and   through  that  experience  she                                                               
discovered her  passion was advocating for  and teaching students                                                               
in special  education. In the  Copper River School  District, she                                                               
received  outstanding professional  development  and worked  with                                                               
staff  and   the  district   to  create   an  RTI   [response  to                                                               
intervention] model before  it became popular. She  said earned a                                                               
master's degree in special education  at the University of Alaska                                                               
Anchorage (UAA) and taught special  education in the Copper River                                                               
School  District for  four years.  In 2008,  her family  moved to                                                               
Ketchikan.  She  said  that  she  has  two  children  who  attend                                                               
Ketchikan schools.                                                                                                              
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  reiterated that  her  greatest  passion was  to                                                               
advocate  for students  who struggle,  teaching them  to advocate                                                               
for  themselves,  creating  a   safe  learning  environment,  and                                                               
improving   postsecondary  outcomes   for  students   in  special                                                               
education. She said she is very  excited to be part of the Alaska                                                               
State  Board  of  Education  and  Early  Development  (BOE).  She                                                               
offered her belief  that this board is committed  to investing in                                                               
the future of Alaska and  the education of Alaska's children. She                                                               
agreed  with the  board's mission  statement  that every  student                                                               
should  receive an  excellent education  every  day. She  further                                                               
agreed  with  the  Alaska  Education   Challenge  and  its  three                                                               
commitments,  to increase  student  success, support  responsible                                                               
and  reflective learners,  and cultivate  safety and  well-being.                                                               
She   expressed   interest   in  the   trauma-informed   movement                                                               
transforming  schools. This  movement  focuses  on trauma  issues                                                               
that  classroom  teachers have  struggled  with  for many  years.                                                               
Schools can  make huge differences  in the future of  students by                                                               
becoming more  aware of  trauma, so  students and  their families                                                               
can overcome past or current trauma.                                                                                            
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  said she  brings  to  the  board her  years  of                                                               
experience  teaching at  the  elementary,  middle, and  secondary                                                               
level.  She has  taught  in  the inner  city,  rural Alaska,  and                                                               
small-town Alaska.  She has taught general  education, English as                                                               
a Second Language, and special  education. She has served on many                                                               
teams, committees, and  served as a department  chair for several                                                               
years. She  brings not  only a teacher's  perspective but  also a                                                               
special educator's perspective. She  acknowledged that we live in                                                               
challenging times.  In terms of  goals, she would like  to assist                                                               
districts in  meeting the Alaska  Education Challenge  by finding                                                               
innovative, creative  ways to  increase student  success, support                                                               
responsible  and reflective  learners, and  cultivate safety  and                                                               
well-being, she said. She  characterized educators as resourceful                                                               
people. She highlighted  other goals, including a  desire to make                                                               
the education system sustainable in  the changing economy, and to                                                               
help districts  implement the trauma-engaged  practice framework.                                                               
Only when  students feel safe  and connected at school  can these                                                               
students learn, she said.                                                                                                       
9:46:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. STOCKHAUSEN  said that often  during times of  adversity come                                                               
times of  great growth. She identified  some struggles, including                                                               
low  test   scores,  budget   issues,  UAA's   accreditation,  as                                                               
opportunities for  innovative growth. She cares  about the future                                                               
of students and is excited  about increasing career and technical                                                               
education  (CTE)  opportunities,  so  all students  will  have  a                                                               
chance for  a bright future.  CTE classes not only  give students                                                               
needed  life skills,  but also  help students  investigate career                                                               
paths  and motivate  them to  stay in  school and  pursue further                                                               
training.   She  has   observed  students   who  have   struggled                                                               
academically for  an entire school  career blossom in an  auto or                                                               
wood  shop.  She  would  like  schools to  offer  more  of  these                                                               
opportunities.   She   expressed   an   interest   in   improving                                                               
partnerships  with  families,  communities and  tribes.  Everyone                                                               
needs to work together to support Alaska's children.                                                                            
9:47:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS pointed  out one role that was  not being addressed                                                               
was  its  independence.  By  law, the  board  is  an  independent                                                               
organization.  The State  Board of  Education is  responsible for                                                               
voting  on the  budget,  but Alaska's  BOE has  not  done so.  He                                                               
acknowledged that  it was  a political  issue. However,  he asked                                                               
whether  she  could   speak  to  the  role  of   the  board,  its                                                               
independence, and its job as compared to the administration.                                                                    
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  said she  would  yield  to  the spirit  of  the                                                               
statement the board issued:                                                                                                     
     We are  supportive of our legislators  and the governor                                                                    
     as  you work  together  to create  a  budget that  will                                                                    
     carry us  into the  future and  that regardless  of how                                                                    
     much our  budget increases  or decreases,  we'll remain                                                                    
     steadfast to the Alaska Education Challenge.                                                                               
9:48:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH echoed  Chair Steven's  question. He  recalled an                                                               
attorney  general's   opinion  presented  at  an   earlier  joint                                                               
education  meeting  found that  the  board  was symbolic  in  its                                                               
decision-making  authority. He  said  that he  found the  board's                                                               
statement very  disappointing. He  paraphrased the  BOE's mission                                                               
statement to mean that the  board looks forward to decisions made                                                               
by others,  but it considers  its role  a symbolic one.  He asked                                                               
whether she was accepting of the BOE's role as symbolic.                                                                        
MS. STOCKHAUSEN offered her belief  that where the board can make                                                               
decisions that  were more than  symbolic in how it  allocates the                                                               
resources for  education. She said  that the board  looks forward                                                               
to reviewing the legislature's budget for education.                                                                            
9:50:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH asked  about her vision for pre-K and  the role it                                                               
plays in the education system  given her experience teaching pre-                                                               
K in  Copper Valley because it  would help inform the  writing of                                                               
the budget.                                                                                                                     
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  replied  that  the earlier  that  children  can                                                               
become  involved  in   pre-reading  instruction,  literature-rich                                                               
environments would  be best. She  explained her role in  pre-K in                                                               
the Copper River School District  with special education students                                                               
with  Individual  Education  Plans  (IEP) was  for  students  who                                                               
needed  assistance. At  the time,  that was  their only  scope of                                                               
SENATOR  BEGICH  related  from  data on  poor  test  scores  that                                                               
Caucasian students do better than  the national average. However,                                                               
according to  data presented  last week,  non-Caucasian students,                                                               
in  particular,   Alaska  Native  students  perform   poorly.  He                                                               
indicated  that districts  that perform  most poorly  have issues                                                               
around language, whether a student  comes prepared in English and                                                               
Yupik,  or English  and Athabascan,  or English  and Inupiaq.  He                                                               
asked  what the  board would  recommend for  weaker outcomes  for                                                               
dual  language  students  who  are  predominantly  Alaska  Native                                                               
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN recalled  that  the  Alaska Education  Challenge                                                               
[policy] suggested  districts should purposefully  increase their                                                               
relationships  with  tribes  and   families  to  support  [Alaska                                                               
Native] students.  She said sometimes  schools project  the sense                                                               
that teachers are experts who  know everything and tell students,                                                               
"You need  to do  this to  be successful."  She suggested  it was                                                               
also important to consider areas  which parents, communities, and                                                               
tribes need  their children to  show proficiency, and  to inquire                                                               
what will culturally work for  their children. She suggested that                                                               
the districts needed to increase these partnerships.                                                                            
SENATOR BEGICH  said that  he repeatedly  hears about  lower test                                                               
scores. However,  when the legislature  and educators  drill down                                                               
and examine  recent data, it  also shows higher  graduation rates                                                               
and   improved  school   outcomes  since   the  legislature   has                                                               
stabilized  education funding.  He  asked what  she  would do  to                                                               
address teacher  turnover, which  seems to  be a  chronic problem                                                               
and is one of the drivers of the rural education challenges.                                                                    
9:54:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN said  she appreciated  Mr.  Bania's views  about                                                               
creating programs  to allow  new teachers  to experience  life in                                                               
rural Alaska before moving to villages.  She would take it a step                                                               
further and  suggest the districts  should create ways  to mentor                                                               
teachers. Teachers  graduate from college and  imagine themselves                                                               
teaching  in  rural  communities. These  teachers  are  sometimes                                                               
shocked at the reality of  village life. The mentor programs must                                                               
be  ones  created  in  rural Alaska.  These  mentors  could  help                                                               
teachers   through   difficult   times  in   local   schools   or                                                               
communities. She offered her belief that teachers need support.                                                                 
SENATOR  BEGICH said  the  Constitution of  the  State of  Alaska                                                               
prohibits  the use  of  public funds  for  private education.  He                                                               
asked for her opinion.                                                                                                          
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  answered that  she  has  considered this  issue                                                               
since he asked her about that  during a meeting in his office. As                                                               
a board  member, it is  her duty to  uphold statutes, but  if the                                                               
statutes change,  she felt it was  her duty to have  an open mind                                                               
and hold discussions from all  perspectives to determine the best                                                               
for students.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH  clarified that the  Constitution of the  State of                                                               
Alaska prohibits the  use of public funds  for private education,                                                               
not the  statutes. He asked  whether education could  be improved                                                               
by cutting funding.                                                                                                             
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN said  that  cutting  education funding  concerns                                                               
her. She was  unsure how schools could make it  with budget cuts,                                                               
but  at  the  same  time  she was  concerned  about  the  state's                                                               
financial  future.  She  remarked  that she  does  not  envy  the                                                               
budgetary  decisions the  legislature or  the governor  must make                                                               
since these  decisions will affect  generations of  Alaskans. She                                                               
said the  administration and legislature  must find  new revenues                                                               
and cut expenditures.  She acknowledged the difficulty  to do so.                                                               
She  thanked the  committee  members for  their  service and  for                                                               
carrying that  burden so  that the board  can focus  on educating                                                               
Alaska's children.                                                                                                              
SENATOR BEGICH said he appreciates her candor.                                                                                  
9:57:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH  said  he  worked with  local  school  boards  and                                                               
governments  for  six  years  in  Fairbanks  and  nine  years  in                                                               
Anchorage. Typically, the local  school boards are "hands-on" and                                                               
approve contracts, approve budgets  and advance those budgets for                                                               
local  government  approval.  He  asked  if  she  could  see  any                                                               
parallels  between the  statewide Board  of Education,  which has                                                               
been viewed  as "symbolic" and  his experience with  local school                                                               
boards who control  budgets subject to veto  in local government.                                                               
He offered his  belief that the references to  symbolic role does                                                               
not sound meaningful.                                                                                                           
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN   asked  for  further  clarification   that  the                                                               
question  was  how the  board  was  different from  local  school                                                               
SENATOR BIRCH replied  yes. He said he is seeking  a sense of the                                                               
fundamental distinction for the Board of Education's role.                                                                      
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN answered  that  her experience  was very  school                                                               
focused and the  BOE represents a new arena for  her. She related                                                               
her understanding that the state  board's role is more focused on                                                               
the students and  guiding policy and to  allocate the [financial]                                                               
resources the  legislature appropriates whereas the  local school                                                               
boards receive funding and must allocate the funding.                                                                           
SENATOR BIRCH said  he is trying to figure out  the state board's                                                               
advocacy role.                                                                                                                  
10:00:56 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR   COSTELLO  said   that  everyone   in  the   legislature                                                               
recognizes the  importance of education. She  recognized the need                                                               
for  innovative and  uncommon solutions  to common  problems. She                                                               
was  encouraged that  Ms. Stockhausen  recognized  the impact  of                                                               
adverse childhood experiences  and promoted trauma-informed care.                                                               
She said it was time to  examine the reasons that schools in some                                                               
areas are  underperforming. Some pockets of  excellence and great                                                               
results exist, but it seemed hit or miss across the state.                                                                      
She expressed her concern that  the legislature's budget approval                                                               
timing has had  an ongoing negative impact  on teacher retention.                                                               
Each  year  districts  must write  several  budgets  [to  address                                                               
potential  budget  cuts]. Further,  the  districts  must lay  off                                                               
teachers, which  is especially difficult in  rural Alaska because                                                               
those  teachers must  decide  whether to  stay  or leave.  Often,                                                               
these teachers decide to leave.                                                                                                 
SENATOR COSTELLO  said she was  also concerned about  the suicide                                                               
rate among  young people  in Alaska. It  is disheartening  and so                                                               
sad, she  said. She  asked Ms. Stockhausen  to comment  about the                                                               
early  funding and  the role  she  might have  in addressing  the                                                               
issue of suicide.                                                                                                               
MS. STOCKHAUSEN  answered that she  agreed with  Senator Costello                                                               
on early funding.  She related her own experience  in moving from                                                               
Texas  to Alaska.  Each year  was stressful  because she  and her                                                               
husband would  not know if  their contracts would be  renewed and                                                               
considered leaving.  She acknowledged  that new  teachers express                                                               
the same concerns. She offered  her belief that Alaska loses many                                                               
good  teachers as  a result.  She  would love  to find  a way  to                                                               
address early funding.                                                                                                          
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN said  that  hearing about  the  suicide rate  in                                                               
Alaska  causes her  to picture  some of  her former  students who                                                               
committed suicide.  It is heartbreaking,  she said. The  best way                                                               
to  combat   suicide  is  for  teachers   to  develop  meaningful                                                               
relationships  with  kids  and  to  foster  safe  atmospheres  in                                                               
schools  for  peer  relationships,  she said.  For  example,  all                                                               
students need  to experience  someone being  excited to  see them                                                               
walk  through the  door. She  suggested that  the trauma-informed                                                               
movement  will  raise  awareness   regarding  how  important  the                                                               
personal  connects are  and help  school  staff to  intentionally                                                               
focus on building those positive relationships.                                                                                 
10:05:35 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR   HUGHES    said   that   the   Anchorage    and   Mat-Su                                                               
superintendents  expressed concern  about  the  level of  special                                                               
education  funding, such  that some  streamlining  could be  done                                                               
without  diminishing   the  quality  of  the   special  education                                                               
services. However, districts were  prohibited by federal law, not                                                               
a state requirement. She encouraged  Ms. Stockhausen suggest that                                                               
the  board  send   a  letter  or  resolution   to  urge  Alaska's                                                               
Congressional delegation  to remedy this  issue to free  up those                                                               
dollars that could be used to provide other instruction.                                                                        
10:07:07 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. STOCKHAUSEN  asked for further clarification  on the specific                                                               
SENATOR  HUGHES  said  that  according  to  the  superintendents,                                                               
federal law requires districts provide  the same level of funding                                                               
for special education  it did in the previous  year. Districts do                                                               
not have  any flexibility to  streamline to achieve  cost savings                                                               
and redirect  the funds. She  asked Ms. Stockhausen if  she would                                                               
support  an  effort   at  the  federal  level  for   this  to  be                                                               
reconsidered to give districts more flexibility.                                                                                
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN answered  that  she was  not  familiar with  the                                                               
issue, but she offered to research it.                                                                                          
SENATOR HUGHES  suggested that  she contact  Dr. Goyette  and Dr.                                                               
Bishop for information.                                                                                                         
10:08:17 AM                                                                                                                   
She  highlighted  one  area in  the  Alaska  Education  Challenge                                                               
related to safety in school  buildings. The legislature has heard                                                               
of tragic circumstances  in the lower 48. She  offered her belief                                                               
that  Alaska  still  has  work  to do  since  schools  feel  less                                                               
prepared than a few years  ago. The legislature wants students to                                                               
learn  and be  safe,  she said.  She asked  whether  she had  any                                                               
thoughts on school safety.                                                                                                      
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN said  that she  spends a  significant amount  of                                                               
time in different classrooms. She  acknowledged when she enters a                                                               
new  classroom that  she automatically  considers  how she  would                                                               
handle  an emergency.  Most teachers  have made  that transition,                                                               
too,  she said.  Her district  moved to  ALICE [alert,  lockdown,                                                               
inform, counter,  evacuate] training.  She would like  to further                                                               
research school safety.  In the last few years,  her district has                                                               
increased  the discussion  it has  with  kids and  is doing  more                                                               
practice  drills. She  agrees  that it  must be  one  of the  top                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH referred to an  earlier discussion of the attorney                                                               
general's legal  opinion about the  symbolic role of the  BOE. He                                                               
had asked  Legislative Legal  Services to  provide a  response to                                                               
the memo.  He said that he  just received the response.  He asked                                                               
Ms. Stockhausen to comment on two statements.                                                                                   
10:11:44 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS clarified  that he had a  response from Legislative                                                               
Legal  Services  responding to  the  letter  from the  governor's                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH answered yes. He read an excerpt from the letter:                                                                
     The Executive  Budget Act  does not  actually supersede                                                                    
     the procedures  outlined in AS 14.07.150  regarding the                                                                    
     Department  of   Education's  (DEED)   proposed  budget                                                                    
     because the  provisions do not actually  conflict. DEED                                                                    
     could comply  with both AS 14.07.150  and the Executive                                                                    
     Budget   Act  through   compliance  with   the  process                                                                    
     outlined   in   AS    14.07.150.   Indeed,   DEED   has                                                                    
     historically been  able to comply with  both the Budget                                                                    
     Act and  AS 14.07.150. Nevertheless, even  in the event                                                                    
     of an  apparent conflict between these  provisions, the                                                                    
     Budget Act  does not explicitly state  that conflicting                                                                    
     provisions are  superseded by the Executive  Budget Act                                                                    
     and the  DEED commissioner and board  remain subject to                                                                    
     the budget procedures set forth in AS 14.07.150.                                                                           
     A  vote  on the  DEED  budget  would  not merely  be  a                                                                    
     "symbolic statement" as this  is a statutorily required                                                                    
     budget  procedure.  While   the  governor  has  already                                                                    
     satisfied his constitutional  and statutory obligations                                                                    
     to   submit   a   budget   to   the   legislature   for                                                                    
     consideration,  the legislature  has not  yet completed                                                                    
     its  budget  process  and  DEED's  compliance  with  AS                                                                    
     14.07.150 may  also aid the  legislature in  making its                                                                    
     final  budgetary decisions.  Our legal  advice is  that                                                                    
     you have a role advising us in terms of a budget.                                                                          
He said  he was not asking  for a response today.  However, since                                                               
the BOE's  role elicited the  board's response, he  suggested she                                                               
should  reflect on  that  statement. He  offered  to provide  the                                                               
opinion to the committee and the department.                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked whether  she had a  conflict of  interest to                                                               
serve  on the  Board of  Education since  she is  an employee  of                                                               
Ketchikan  High School,  but falls  under the  jurisdiction of  a                                                               
principal, a superintendent, and the  Board of Education. He said                                                               
that being in a leadership position  can be difficult. She may be                                                               
asked  to make  decisions  that her  colleagues or  administrator                                                               
might not like.                                                                                                                 
MS. STOCKHAUSEN  said that she  does not  believe that she  has a                                                               
conflict  of  interest.  She  agreed   that  the  BOE  will  make                                                               
decisions  that  people  will  not  like.  However,  people  have                                                               
disagreements in every  aspect of their lives.  She expressed her                                                               
interest to serve  on the board as an advocate  for teachers. She                                                               
has enjoyed  having her perspective  broadened. For  example, her                                                               
perspective changed  when she changed jobs  from teaching general                                                               
education   to  special   education.  Suddenly,   she  felt   her                                                               
perspective changed and she  viewed policy decisions differently.                                                               
She acknowledged that it may be difficult sometimes.                                                                            
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  appointee   Mr.  Griffin  to  provide  his                                                               
personal background,  the strengths  he will  bring to  the State                                                               
Board  of Education  and Early  Development  (BOEED), reasons  he                                                               
would like to serve and to outline any goals he may have.                                                                       
10:16:41 AM                                                                                                                   
BOB  GRIFFIN,  Appointee, Alaska  State  Board  of Education  and                                                               
Early Development  (BOEED), Anchorage,  said that  his wife  is a                                                               
refugee from  Laos. She  speaks five  languages and  his daughter                                                               
recently  obtained   her  commercial  pilot  license.   He  is  a                                                               
professional  pilot with  experience  in the  military  and as  a                                                               
commercial pilot.  His grandparents came  to Skagway in  1899. He                                                               
grew up in  Juneau and Anchorage. He offered his  belief that his                                                               
background  as an  Air  Force fighter  pilot,  test pilot  flight                                                               
instructor,  and lifelong  learner  will serve  him  well on  the                                                               
state board.  He joined  the Army  at 18 years  old and  became a                                                               
helicopter  pilot.  He obtained  his  degree  by attending  night                                                               
school.  He   has  previously  served   on  numerous   board  and                                                               
commissions for  many years, but  he found this board  to consist                                                               
of  an   amazing  group  of  people   from  Kotzebue,  Fairbanks,                                                               
Glenallen,  Soldotna,  and  Ketchikan.  He  serves  as  an  urban                                                               
representative for the board. He  previously served on the Budget                                                               
Advisory Commission  for the Anchorage School  District (ASC) and                                                               
for the Municipality of Anchorage for  six years and as chair for                                                               
one year.  He is  currently a member  of the  Capital Improvement                                                               
Advisory Committee for  the ASD. He has served  on that committee                                                               
for seven  years. He  has been an  education research  fellow for                                                               
the last ten years with the  Alaska Policy Forum. He has traveled                                                               
to many education  conferences to learn as much as  he could. His                                                               
passion  has been  to find  ways to  improve student  outcomes in                                                               
Alaska. He remarked that he is very proud of Alaska.                                                                            
MR. GRIFFIN said he brings a  sense of curiosity to the board. He                                                               
continues  his research  to find  the best  practices to  improve                                                               
student outcomes. In  2013 Representative LeDoux asked  him if he                                                               
could only  do one thing for  the state of Alaska,  what he would                                                               
do. He  told her it was  to improve early childhood  literacy. He                                                               
offered  his belief  that the  state's  early childhood  literacy                                                               
rates were dismal.                                                                                                              
MR. GRIFFIN said the trend  in their NAEP [National Assessment of                                                               
Educational  Progress]  test scores  are  alarming.  He has  done                                                               
research for  years on  economic strata  of children  who qualify                                                               
for free  and reduced lunches.  He said  the schools do  not fare                                                               
well in  that area  either. He  referred to  a graph  in members'                                                               
packets. Alaska  hovers near the  bottom and has since  2003 when                                                               
Alaska  was first  required  to participate  in  NAEP. For  early                                                               
childhood literacy, he  said he admires the  Florida model, since                                                               
Florida  has improved  early childhood  literacy, especially  for                                                               
its low income and non-Caucasians.                                                                                              
MR.  GRIFFIN  said  ultimately  his   goal  was  to  support  the                                                               
inspirational Alaska  Educational Challenge and  increase student                                                               
success,  support   responsible  and  reflective   learners,  and                                                               
cultivate safety  and well-being. He highlighted  his interest in                                                               
the concept of tribal compacting  and giving Native Alaska tribes                                                               
some ownership in  the process. He said he is  the only member on                                                               
the  Tribal  Compacting  Subcommittee  who  was  not  an  Inupiaq                                                               
speaker, but he  expressed his willingness to learn.  Some of the                                                               
disappointing scores  in Western Alaska and  the Northwest Arctic                                                               
could  be helped  if people  took  ownership of  the process.  He                                                               
said, "An old  Scottish economist years ago said, 'If  you sell a                                                               
man a desert, in a year you will  have a garden but if you rent a                                                               
man a garden,  in a year you'll  have a desert,'" he  said. It is                                                               
important  step an  in  the process  to  give tribal  communities                                                               
ownership in their tribal communities.                                                                                          
10:25:29 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGHES  asked what  sparked  his  interest in  education                                                               
given  his background  as a  military fighter  pilot and  airline                                                               
MR. GRIFFIN  answered that about  11 years  ago he and  two other                                                               
airline pilots formed the Municipal  Taxpayer League in Anchorage                                                               
when property taxes began to rise  rapidly. He explained it was a                                                               
complicated taxpayer  ballot initiative that  ultimately received                                                               
63 percent  of the  vote. The  group thought  about what  else to                                                               
focus on,  so he  reviewed the  Anchorage School  District, while                                                               
the other two examined utilities  and municipal government. As he                                                               
researched the ASD,  he became more concerned  about the outcomes                                                               
than the  costs, so  his advocacy on  outcomes has  continued, he                                                               
10:27:37 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BIRCH pointed  out that Mr. Griffin is  a South Anchorage                                                               
constituent of his. He asked for  his view on the board's role in                                                               
establishing  policy. He  recalled that  a Senate  Finance Budget                                                               
Subcommittee  previously discussed  statewide  health care  costs                                                               
doubling for teachers,  such that rates have  increased from $300                                                               
million to  $600 million. He asked  whether the board has  a role                                                               
in how well districts and education system function.                                                                            
MR.  GRIFFIN answered  absolutely.  Since he  has  served on  the                                                               
Budget Advisory  Committee for a  long time, he is  very familiar                                                               
with  the  cost  drivers  that increase  K-12  educational  costs                                                               
throughout the  state. He said these  costs were not just  due to                                                               
rising  health  care  costs,  but  also  other  costs,  including                                                               
building maintenance  and bureaucracy. This begs  the question of                                                               
why this has been  such a cost driver in the  state of Alaska. He                                                               
said he relies  on benchmarks, so he is curious  why the state is                                                               
such a  cost outlier  compared to  other states.  He acknowledged                                                               
that he does not have the  answer. However, he offered his belief                                                               
that it was  worth investigating why Alaska is so  unique in this                                                               
10:30:00 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BIRCH indicated another issue  is the percentage of state                                                               
funds that go  into the classroom. Some  say it as low  as in the                                                               
50  percent  range. Other  statistics  indicate  it is  above  70                                                               
percent. He asked which metric he could rely on.                                                                                
MR. GRIFFIN  replied that it  is difficult to pin  down classroom                                                               
costs  because it  depends  on  what is  included  in costs.  For                                                               
example,  he  asked  if classroom  cost  factors  should  include                                                               
health  care  costs for  teachers  and  their staff  support.  He                                                               
suggested one  approach would be  to review costs  more globally,                                                               
to  identify  the  cost  drivers,  and try  to  keep  them  under                                                               
control. He  said he did not  think it was worthwhile  to spend a                                                               
lot of  staff time  parsing out classroom  cost factors  since it                                                               
would not be useful for the outcomes of children in Alaska.                                                                     
10:31:25 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS  asked him  to reflect  on the  previous discussion                                                               
the committee held  on the board's role. The  question is whether                                                               
the  Board  of  Education  [and   Early  Development]  was  truly                                                               
independent or as the letter  from governor's office states, that                                                               
the board's position on the budget is only symbolic.                                                                            
MR.  GRIFFIN offered  the distinction  that the  board's vote  is                                                               
symbolic, but the  board's role is not symbolic. He  said that he                                                               
was  very enthusiastic  about working  with the  commissioner and                                                               
other board  members, who have  been delving into  policy issues.                                                               
He offered  his belief that  the commissioner wants the  board to                                                               
be  the formation  point of  policy.  The board  has formed  four                                                               
subcommittees  and  that  he serves  on  two  subcommittees,  the                                                               
Tribal   Compacting    Subcommittee   and    Regulations   Review                                                               
Subcommittee.  He surmised  that a  lot regulations  currently on                                                               
the books  made sense once but  now cause drag on  the system. In                                                               
fact,   these  regulations   could  be   creating  some   of  the                                                               
bureaucracy  that  he  is  very  concerned  about,  he  said.  He                                                               
emphasized that this board is  very much a "hands-on" entity. The                                                               
board  reviews  over  900-page packets  at  each  meeting.  Board                                                               
members take  on assignments and members  frequently communicate.                                                               
He offered  his belief  that board member  were dedicated  to the                                                               
task of improving student outcomes.                                                                                             
SENATOR  BEGICH  said   he  would  ask  the   same  questions  he                                                               
previously discussed with Mr. Griffin  in his office. He referred                                                               
to the  handouts that Mr.  Griffin shared with the  committee. He                                                               
noted that Florida scores dramatically  changed after 2003, right                                                               
after Florida  passed a  constitutional amendment  limiting class                                                               
size. He asked  Mr. Griffin whether class size had  any effect on                                                               
Florida's score improvements.                                                                                                   
MR.  GRIFFIN  referred  to  a  handout,  titled  "Table  B4"  for                                                               
students  and average  daily attendance  per  teacher from  NEA's                                                               
rankings and  estimates for  April 2018. Alaska  was 19th  in the                                                               
nation  in  students  and  average  daily  attendance  {ADA)  per                                                               
teacher at  13.76, that Florida was  45th in the nation  at 18.27                                                               
students per teacher, and California had a similar statute.                                                                     
SENATOR BEGICH  further clarified  his question.  He said  he was                                                               
asking what  impact that constitutional amendment  had on changes                                                               
to  scores in  Florida.  He suggested  it would  not  be fair  to                                                               
compare class sizes in Alaska  to other states since some schools                                                               
serve as  few as ten students.  Instead, he was asking  about the                                                               
impact on the scores in the handout.                                                                                            
10:35:56 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. GRIFFIN said  that he always goes to the  numbers as a policy                                                               
wonk.  He  understands that  California  has  a similar  statute,                                                               
which is  difficult to  enforce since the  limit is  difficult to                                                               
implement.  For example,  he  asked what  would  happen when  the                                                               
class  size limit  is 24  students  and a  25th student  arrived.                                                               
Since  the   Florida  law  was  instituted,   the  percentage  of                                                               
educators to students  did not increase dramatically.  He said he                                                               
was not sure  what happened, but it was something  that should be                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH acknowledged  that was a fair answer.  He read the                                                               
[Alaska] Policy Forum documents  that criticized pre-K, but those                                                               
documents were focused  on Head Start. He asked  for his thoughts                                                               
on evidence-based pre-K, such as  the programs in Nome, the Lower                                                               
Kuskokwim School District, Mat-Su,  and Anchorage that have shown                                                               
remarkable outcomes  in reading score improvements.  He suggested                                                               
that whatever the  department has been doing seems  to be working                                                               
in comparison to the cohorts who  did not attend the programs. He                                                               
asked for Mr.  Griffin's thoughts on pre-K and  whether the state                                                               
should pursue pre-K.                                                                                                            
MR. GRIFFIN  said he was one  of the first students  in the state                                                               
of Alaska to attend the Head Start  program. In fact, he was in a                                                               
photograph  on the  front page  of the  Juneau-Douglas newspaper.                                                               
The  photograph  showed him  having  his  hearing tested  in  the                                                               
brand-new Head  Start program. He  offered his belief  that pre-K                                                               
programs  provide some  great value,  especially if  the programs                                                               
are directed at the at-risk  populations. Some good data supports                                                               
that, he said. In 2005,  Florida began a voluntary pre-K program.                                                               
Although that  cohort was not  old enough  to be tested  in 2009,                                                               
Florida was  number one in  low-income fourth grade  reading that                                                               
year. He  said he was a  big fan of the  Florida reading program.                                                               
It is very  efficient, but other policies can have  as much value                                                               
if not more than pre-K in some cases, he said.                                                                                  
SENATOR  BEGICH  asked  for  his  thoughts  on  Best  Beginnings,                                                               
Parents as Teachers, and other educational programs.                                                                            
MR.  GRIFFIN  replied  that  those   programs  were  not  in  the                                                               
governor's budget. He said that  given long-term fiscal situation                                                               
in  Alaska, the  department must  face tough  decision to  decide                                                               
which good programs to retain.  He acknowledged that all of these                                                               
programs  add value  to the  student outcomes.  However, at  some                                                               
point the  state has to  face the fiscal  reality of what  it can                                                               
afford.  He   said  he  would  not   shortchange  the  innovative                                                               
capabilities of his fellow Alaskans  to solve these problems with                                                               
the available resources.                                                                                                        
10:40:24 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH  agreed the state  would face a fiscal  reality or                                                               
have the  fortitude to see  a vision. He  turned to the  issue of                                                               
NAEP and test  scores, noting he reviewed the work  of the Policy                                                               
Forum on rural  vs. urban scores. He specifically  asked what Mr.                                                               
Griffin  would  propose  to  address the  key  issue  of  teacher                                                               
retention, particularly  in the  western and northern  regions in                                                               
Alaska.  He  asked  what  Mr.  Griffin  would  recommend  to  the                                                               
legislature or governor about teacher retention.                                                                                
MR.  GRIFFIN  acknowledged  that  teacher  retention  was  a  big                                                               
problem,  especially for  rural  communities.  He clarified  that                                                               
teacher  retention  was  not  a  problem in  some  of  the  high-                                                               
performing  rural  communities.  These   schools  use  a  lot  of                                                               
innovative  solutions   to  leverage  available   technology.  He                                                               
described  a scenario  in which  a teacher  would have  long-term                                                               
continuity  in  western  Alaska via  teleconferencing.  A  native                                                               
elder could  be paid to proctor  and make sure that  kids show up                                                               
for  school.  The  teacher  could  leverage  that  technology  to                                                               
provide continuity to communities.                                                                                              
He  recalled he  held a  long  conversation with  an educator  in                                                               
Pilot Station who expressed frustration  about the chaotic nature                                                               
of  his classrooms,  who decided  to leave  because he  could not                                                               
handle  it. He  said that  teacher  was thrown  into a  difficult                                                               
situation. However,  continuity and ownership of  the process are                                                               
key  to improving  those outcomes.  Teachers were  more satisfied                                                               
after the  Florida reading  model was  in place  because teachers                                                               
from fourth grade on had a  much more homogenous group of kids to                                                               
teach. Recently he attended an  Anchorage School District meeting                                                               
that  showed  a  slide  depicting a  fourth  grade  teacher  with                                                               
students of  reading abilities  that ranged  between kindergarten                                                               
and  seventh  grade.  That  teacher's  time  and  resources  were                                                               
probably dedicated to the kids  with lower reading levels and the                                                               
other kids were probably not  getting the necessary attention. He                                                               
offered  his   belief  that  becomes   a  much   more  satisfying                                                               
experience  when educators  are  teaching a  homogenous group  of                                                               
10:43:50 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH asked whether cuts would improve education.                                                                      
MR. GRIFFIN acknowledged that many  people are having discussions                                                               
that dollars  equal outcomes.  The State  Board of  Education and                                                               
Early Development (BOEED)  is dedicated to the  principles of the                                                               
Alaska Education  Challenge regardless of the  resources provided                                                               
to  them. He  would never  sell short  the innovativeness  of the                                                               
people of Alaska  and the people in the K-12  education system to                                                               
get  done what  needs to  be  done, regardless  of the  resources                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH said  that, if confirmed he will swear  an oath to                                                               
support the Constitution of the State  of Alaska. He asked if Mr.                                                               
Griffin supports  the constitutional prohibition against  the use                                                               
of public funds for private education.                                                                                          
MR. GRIFFIN answered that of  course he does. The constitution is                                                               
the constitution,  he said.  School choice  has been  settled. He                                                               
acknowledged  that  he  has  long been  an  advocate  for  school                                                               
choice, as he  has been an advocate for literacy,  and for issues                                                               
including  leveraging   technology,  career   technology,  tribal                                                               
compacting,  more  recess  time,  the  lack  of  preparation  for                                                               
college, and chronic absenteeism  in Alaska. He expressed concern                                                               
that too much money was  being spent on buildings and bureaucracy                                                               
that  rob resources  from classrooms.  He explained  that he  has                                                               
been an advocate for educational  choice for children and parents                                                               
in Alaska  because he will  advocate for anything  with empirical                                                               
data that might possibly improve outcomes for students.                                                                         
10:46:28 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES  said she liked that  he is a numbers  "wonk." She                                                               
related  her   understanding  that   he  provides  a   wealth  of                                                               
information  in the  board settings.  She  recalled hearing  that                                                               
students in  Alaska attend  two or three  weeks less  school time                                                               
than  the  national  average  in  the  Lower  48.  She  said  she                                                               
discussed  this   issue  with  some  superintendents   and  these                                                               
administrators share  her concern that Alaska's  students receive                                                               
less  academic time.  Some of  the superintendents  were open  to                                                               
extending the school  days since Alaska has  achievement gaps and                                                               
the  need for  improved outcomes.  She asked  whether that  was a                                                               
conversation the board is willing to  have. If the board wants to                                                               
focus on  policy, the board  could bring  a proposal back  to the                                                               
legislature, she  said. She indicated  that the  current statutes                                                               
include a day and hour requirement,  but perhaps that needs to be                                                               
MR. GRIFFIN said that besides  less school, Alaska ranks number 2                                                               
in  the  United  States  for  chronic  absenteeism,  just  behind                                                               
Washington. About  24 percent of kids  miss more than 15  days of                                                               
school a  year, which equates to  about 100 hours a  year of lost                                                               
instruction. He recalled  that the last metric  for the Anchorage                                                               
School District showed 33 percent of  seniors were on track to be                                                               
chronically  absent.  Some  policy  measures could  be  taken  to                                                               
improve that,  but the  length of the  day would  require further                                                               
evaluation, he said. He referred  to one benchmark he uses, which                                                               
is the Finnish  system. In fact, the Finnish  system actually has                                                               
a short  school day, he  said. Mandatory education  doesn't start                                                               
until age  seven, but at age  15 Finnish students walk  away with                                                               
the highest  PISA scores in  the Western world.  Finnish students                                                               
tend to  be literate in  four languages when entering  college or                                                               
trade  tracks.  He  agreed  these  are  areas  that  needed  more                                                               
investigation. Being  below the  national average for  the amount                                                               
of time spent in school probably doesn't help results, he said.                                                                 
10:50:01 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR   COSTELLO  made   an  analogy   between  Mr.   Griffin's                                                               
performance-based assessment  and his work  as a pilot.  She said                                                               
that  pilots  are  trained  to  meet  certain  standards  to  get                                                               
certification.  She offered  her  belief that  Mr. Griffin  would                                                               
bring his  personal experiences  to education.  Hands-on learning                                                               
engages kids and keeps them in school to graduate, she said.                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO asked whether he  had an opinion about the start                                                               
times for high schools.                                                                                                         
MR. GRIFFIN expressed concern that  the Anchorage School District                                                               
did not  go with the  recommended start  times based on  the best                                                               
pedagogic  practices. He  acknowledged  that busing,  afterschool                                                               
sports, and  afterschool jobs  had some  effect. Hover,  since he                                                               
was data-driven,  when research  indicates that people  should do                                                               
something, people should probably do  it rather than weighing the                                                               
other considerations.                                                                                                           
SENATOR BEGICH said he was  intrigued that Mr. Griffin brought up                                                               
the  Finnish system.  He said  he has  spent some  time reviewing                                                               
their  educational system.  He expressed  an  interest in  having                                                               
further discussions  about the Finnish  system. He would  like to                                                               
hear  how  the  board  might  apply that  model  to  the  Alaskan                                                               
10:52:46 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STEVENS  opened  public   testimony  on  the  confirmation                                                               
10:52:57 AM                                                                                                                   
KATHY  CUDDY,   representing  herself,  Anchorage,   offered  her                                                               
support for  the confirmation of  Bob Griffin to the  State Board                                                               
of Education  and Early  Development (BOEED).  She said  that she                                                               
served on the BOE under Governor  Hickel, so she was aware of the                                                               
volume of  necessary work. She  said that  she served on  a board                                                               
with  Mr.   Griffin.  She  highlighted   that  Mr.   Griffin  was                                                               
extraordinarily well-researched and  grounded. She predicted that                                                               
he  would bring  a wealth  of information  to the  board. In  her                                                               
experience,   he  was   always  dedicated   to  researching   and                                                               
understanding  the  issues.  She  said that  Mr.  Griffin  has  a                                                               
wonderful attitude and sense of humor.                                                                                          
10:54:39 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STEVENS  closed  public   testimony  on  the  confirmation                                                               
hearing for the appointees to the State Board of Education.                                                                     
SENATOR  BEGICH   pointed  out  that  Florida   has  the  highest                                                               
percentage  of voluntary  pre-K  in the  nation,  which was  even                                                               
higher than Oklahoma. His [bill] was based Oklahoma's program.                                                                  
CHAIR STEVENS solicited a motion.                                                                                               
10:55:05 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES stated  that in accordance with  AS 39.05.080, the                                                               
Senate Education  Standing Committee  reviewed the  following and                                                               
recommends the appointments  be forwarded to a  joint session for                                                               
Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development                                                                         
Sally Stockhausen - Ketchikan                                                                                                   
Bob Griffin - Anchorage                                                                                                         
10:55:40 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS found no objection and the motion carried.                                                                        
10:55:55 AM                                                                                                                   
At ease.                                                                                                                        
10:55:59 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS reconvened the meeting.                                                                                           
Signing  the   reports  regarding  appointments  to   boards  and                                                               
commissions in  no way reflects  individual members'  approval or                                                               
disapproval  of  the  appointees;   the  nominations  are  merely                                                               
forwarded to the full legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                
10:57:19 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Stevens adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                 
at 10:57 a.m.                                                                                                                   

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