Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/27/2020 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
09:00:03 AM Start
09:00:23 AM SB136
10:11:07 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
+= SB 136 STATE-TRIBAL EDUCATION COMPACT SCHOOLS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Agenda to be Announced
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 27, 2020                                                                                        
                           9:00 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 136                                                                                                             
"An Act providing for the establishment of public schools                                                                       
through state-tribal compacts."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 136                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATE-TRIBAL EDUCATION COMPACT SCHOOLS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEVENS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/21/20       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/10/20                                                                               

01/21/20 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS

01/21/20 (S) EDC, JUD

01/30/20 (S) EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205

01/30/20 (S) Heard & Held

01/30/20 (S) MINUTE(EDC) 02/27/20 (S) EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205 WITNESS REGISTER JOEL ISAAK, Tribal Liaison Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) Soldotna, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Described how tribal compacting could work, during the hearing on SB 136. LISA WADE, Head Ya Ne Dah Ah School Chickaloon, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Described the tribally-run Ya Ne Dah Ah School, during the hearing on SB 136. SIRI TUTTLE, Director Alaska Native Language Center University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke about learning and teaching indigenous languages, during the hearing on SB 136. ACTION NARRATIVE 9:00:03 AM CHAIR GARY STEVENS called the Senate Education Standing Committee meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. Present at the call to order were Senators Coghill, Begich, and Chair Stevens. Senator Hughes arrived shortly thereafter. SB 136-STATE-TRIBAL EDUCATION COMPACT SCHOOLS 9:00:23 AM CHAIR STEVENS announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 136, "An Act providing for the establishment of public schools through state-tribal compacts." He noted his intent to hear from the advocates and stakeholders about the potential benefits and challenges of tribal compacting and then hold SB 136 for further review. This is the second hearing on the bill. 9:01:07 AM JOEL ISAAK, Tribal Liaison, Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), Soldotna, Alaska, introduced himself in Dena'ina and acknowledged the land of the A'akw Kwaan. He is an educator who attended K-12 and the university system in Alaska. He read State Education Policy AS 14.03.015: "It is the policy of this state that the purpose of education is to help ensure that all students will succeed in their education and work, shape worthwhile and satisfying lives for themselves, exemplify the best values of society, and be effective in improving the character and quality of the world about them." 9:02:45 AM MR. ISAAK said the education system faces many obstacles and challenges to make that policy come to fruition. He related his memory of friends attending funerals for classmates in grade school and high school who had committed suicide. He recalled standing in a doorway when he was 12 to prevent someone from taking his life. Because the leading cause of death for teenagers is suicide, his childhood experiences are not unique. He asked how the education system can work to make sure all students shape worthwhile and satisfying lives. MR. ISAAK said that in September 2016, the State Board of Education and Early Development established five strategic priorities aimed at improving public education: 1. Amplify student learning. 2. Ensure excellent educators. 3. Modernize the education system. 4. Inspire tribal and community ownership of educational excellence 5. Promote safety and well-being. To address the fourth priority, a 20-member tribal and community ownership committee was established as part of the Alaska Education Challenge. The recommendation was put forward to create an option for self-governance, compacting for the delivery of education between the State of Alaska and tribes or tribally-empowered Alaskan Native organizations. The committee defined compact to mean that tribes or tribally-empowered Alaskan Native organizations exercise their rights in partnership with the State of Alaska to assume the responsibilities and associated funding to carry out programs, functions, services, and activities the state would otherwise be obligated to provide. MR. ISAAK said the state board accepted the recommendation as part of Alaska Education Challenge. Compacting can be simply defined as a government-to-government agreement that provides a framework to address the needs of a specific arena, such as education. The compact outlines the terms of an agreement, accountability measures, and the funding agreement. Compacts have a long-standing, proven track method as a method for providing local control with accountability. Compacts provide a flexible platform to address the education needs in Alaska. MR. ISAAK said all Alaskans and all students and their communities stand to benefit from having access to additional pathways to learning. State tribally-compacted schools, in accordance with the Constitution of the State of Alaska, would be public schools open to all students. Tribes would have the freedom to choose to enter into compacts. 9:07:00 AM CHAIR STEVENS expressed appreciation for the comment that a tribally-compacted school would be open to all students. He noted that the legislature received a legal opinion about preferential hiring of Alaska Native teachers and preferential enrollment of Alaska Native students. The complex opinion ends by saying that it will wind up in court. He asked Mr. Isaak for his perspective about the preferential hiring of teachers and preferential enrollment. He said one of his main concerns is for all children to be able to attend a tribal school. MR. ISAAK replied those questions often come up when talking about compacting. Two examples show the approach the department is using when thinking about the complex matters for compacting. Currently, the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) process is legal. Using frameworks that already exist means it is not necessary to create a new pathway. This is a proven, legal method for hiring that tribes use. CHAIR STEVENS asked for an explanation of TERO. MR. ISAAK explained that TERO is federally recognized and tribes are using it in the state for hiring practices. Head Start could be a model for enrolling students because that program has addressed how to do that so it would not be something new. That enrollment preference could be a good fit for K-12. 9:09:58 AM SENATOR HUGHES asked whether TERO gives more points to someone with cultural connections. She noted that Head Start cannot accept all children, so it prioritizes. She opined that if that method is used, some students could be left out. MR. ISAAK answered that there is a point system for TERO. A TERO committee makes sure the job posting and requirements meets the tribe's needs and aligns with the tribal vision and values. In terms of Head Start preferences, it has been demonstrated that tribes are not trying to exclude students. In fact, tribes seek additional funding for Head Start to open up more classroom space for the children who do not qualify. These tribes abide by federal Head Start statutes and provide their own funding to make more space for students. This demonstrates their commitment to all students on and off the road system. He said fourteen of the 17 Head Start programs in the state are tribal. SENATOR HUGHES expressed hope to remove prioritizing students and require schools to take all students in a community. She asked if he thought that was a workable model. MR. ISAAK answered that the goal would be to serve all students, just as with tribal health care. He would like tribes to speak for themselves, but the intention is to be open to all students. SENATOR HUGHES observed that the health clinics were brought up at the first meeting on the bill. The tribal clinics receive federally-qualified health center funds that require them to see all patients. She reiterated her concern about prioritizing and questioned whether a community with only one school, a tribally- compacted school, might not accept all students. CHAIR STEVENS noted that in his district, the community of Old Harbor has about 50 kids and one school. If the school is turned over to the tribal entity, he believes all the kids would be willingly accepted, but there should not be a tribal school and a separate public school. 9:15:04 AM SENATOR COGHILL asked Mr. Isaak to repeat the three tenets he described in the government-to-government relationship. It was well said and something to ponder. MR. ISAAK replied the three components of a successful compact include the master agreement, which has the terms of the agreement. Then there are the accountability measures and the fiscal agreement. Part of the success of the compacting process is that it allows for that discussion before an agreement is signed. SENATOR COGHILL estimated that Alaska has 227 tribal entities as well as some [tribally-empowered] groups, each of which might be a bit different. He asked if there is room for flex points that legislators need to think about as the state enters into compacts. MR. ISAAK answered that there are 229 federally-recognized tribes in the state. The term "or a tribally-empowered organization" is included because a lot of the federal programs allow for that. A tribe would pass a resolution as a governing body stating that this tribally empowered organization is representing the tribe. There are a wide range of organizations like these. Tanana Chiefs Conference is an example of many tribes that have said through resolution that Tanana Chiefs will do things on their behalf. With the Indian Health Service compacting model, a compactor may represent a group of tribes and agree to provide services to an area that encompasses these tribes. That is part of the process of how compacts are negotiated. The negotiation process allows tribes to express a willingness to participate in compacting, which is optional. SENATOR COGHILL said that is a good framework. 9:19:06 AM SENATOR BEGICH noted that Mr. Isaak mentioned that compacted schools would still be public schools under the Alaska constitution, and asked how he sees the jurisdiction of DEED vis-a-vis tribal compacted schools. he cited the used of standardized tests as an example. He noted that the bill speaks about employees of the state and said he is not sure what the vision is about that. He mentioned the anticipated testimony from the Ya Ne Dah Ah School in the Mat-Su Borough School District and that his brother Nick was the tribal administrator in Chickaloon when some of the grants were secured for the school. MR. ISAAK explained that the Constitution of the State of Alaska and the legislature authorize the state board and commissioner to administer education. With compacting, the tribal governments would negotiate and sign with the commissioner. The funding and state statutes and constitutional mandates would still apply to these schools as public schools, but the compact allows for flexibility and innovation to do education with an indigenous lens. To receive state and federal funding, the same tests and evaluation measures would be used. Compacting does not create a separate system. Rather, it follows existing statutes while allowing flexibility within the current structure for local control. SENATOR BEGICH summarized that tribal compacting does not necessarily mean immersion. It is locally developed curriculum that would evolve from the local community with the signoff from the department. He asked if that was a fair appraisal. 9:23:19 AM MR. ISAAK replied compacting allows the tribes to choose the medium of education. That could be the language of instruction and what constitutes a classroom. Statute already allows that, but the tribes would make that decision, not the state or local school boards telling the tribes to do it a certain way. It is self-determined tribes making that choice. SENATOR HUGHES summarized that tribally-compacted schools would follow statutes but tribes might need more flexibility with regulations, and asked if he had analyzed any regulations that might need to be adjusted. She expressed concern that adding tribally-compacted schools to the 52 existing school districts would add more administration. According to national studies, including the U.S. Census Bureau study, Alaska puts more dollars into administration than classrooms than other states. She asked if there were any discussions about requirements or incentives for shared administrations. MR. ISAAK replied the tribes and department have been considering what regulations might need to be addressed. The regulatory process would have the same structure and still flow through the State Board of Education. There has been public comment about regulations for curriculum, the teacher certification process, reporting mechanisms, assessment mechanisms. He said the approach of the Indian Health Service illustrates that well. Federal compacting with the Indian Health Service has been successful for decades. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Board handle the tribal administrative health processes for the entire state. That model could be an example for how to cut administrative costs. 9:28:04 AM SENATOR BEGICH emphasized the importance of ensuring that students have access to people who are trained to teach, just as the Indian Health Service delivers health care with qualified people. He asked if he envisioned that the tribally-compacted schools would use certified teachers. MR. ISAAK answered yes; that follows state statutes. He said the perception that tribes want to lower the bar is inaccurate. In fact, when two people are lifting, the bar can be raised higher. He emphasized that tribes are eager to have a conversation about the certification process. They are very interested in having the same type of certification and assurance of excellence that has been demonstrated in the Indian Health Service. SENATOR BEGICH said he does not want the state to walk away from its responsibility to meet the constitutional mandate. He is encouraged to hear about the collaborative way this is being described. He fears that a different commissioner might walk away from the responsibilities the state has under the constitution. He said he would not want to open that door. CHAIR STEVENS asked Mr. Isaak what he started to say before the committee started asking questions. MR. ISAAK replied he hosted a workshop with about 45 participants at the First Alaskans Elders and Youth Conference in 2017. Three-quarters of the participants were students. The questions he asked and the responses give the tribal perspective and what students want to see. The first question was what comes to mind when elders and youth think about identity. The number one answer was language, followed by culture, traditions, land, and waters. He pointed out that a quarter of the state's students are Alaska Native. MR. ISAAK said the second question was what students want to learn in grade school. The group participants were teenagers and elders. Their number one response was art, followed by language, survival skills, and math. The third question asked students was the reason to learn and the point of education. The number one answer was for opportunity and access, followed by relationships and respect. MR. ISAAK said he asked students and elders for negative feedback on the current education system. The number one response was that it is too Western. There were many ways students articulated that, which included too much sitting, homework at too young an age or education was not individualized. Further, participants said education lacked diverse content, lacked acceptance for change, and was too "cookie cutter". These participants were concerned about murder and safety in their communities. MR. ISAAK said he asked elders and students what a perfect school would look like. He read one elder's answer, "I would not get rid of math. I would not get rid of reading and writing or all standardized tests, but I would make them secondary to cultural values. The community would teach children, every child. And there would be good food. Traditional languages and English would both be taught." MR. ISAAK said their favorite thing about school was learning, and learning new things, followed by friendship and relationship building to expand minds. MR. ISAAK offered his view that participants had a powerful voice for what tribes and students envision during discussions on tribal compacting and tribal ownership. Those are the things elders and youth want to see. Some participants had horrific experiences in public education. 9:34:56 AM MR. ISAAK said the department has hosted, cohosted, or attended over 17 meetings in the last two years. The eight major concepts that have come up the most often that would lead to a feasible result for tribal compacting are: 1. tribal sovereignty 2. feasibility in funding. 3. teacher certification. 4. teacher retention. 5. the need for a formally-led tribal body. 6. producing better student outcomes 7. the duration of the compact. and 8. CHAIR STEVENS said he appreciated the comment about raising the bar, which is crucial to everyone in the room. SENATOR HUGHES asked for a written copy of his testimony. MR. ISAAK agreed to provide it. 9:37:13 AM LISA WADE, Head, Ya Ne Dah Ah School, Chickaloon, Alaska, related that she is the Health, Education, and Social Services Division Director for Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, and she stewards Ya Ne Dah Ah School. She said the committee is asking great questions and her school is a great example that answers some of those questions. In 1989, many of their kids were not doing well in the public school system. She was one of those kids. It really was tied to her cultural identity. She did not go to college until she was 35 because she did not think she could, but she went on to have a successful educational career. Her grandmother, Katherine Wade, recognized what was happening to the Native children, their identity, and what these kids were missing. Her grandmother was working with inmates who were also missing those same pieces, which resulted in a cycle of incarceration. Her grandmother recognized that it was necessary to instill a sense of identity when children are young. In this way, the children will know themselves, their identity, their culture, and also receive an education. This could help them be successful in the world. The tribe started very small and over time have built up the school. MS. WADE said the school has 23 students comprised of a mix of Chickaloon tribal citizens, other Alaska Natives, Native Americans, and non-native students. The school is open to anyone who wants to be part of it and learn their cultural lifeways and values and language. It is not exclusionary in any way. The school has students with Individualized Education Programs, including her daughter who has a serious developmental diagnosis that requires her to have many individualized and specialized services. The school has one certified teacher and two teachers in training, which are critically important to the development of tribal schools. There is a teacher shortage in Alaska, so the school has chosen the model of develop from within. The school supports the education of its staff in becoming teachers. She just finished a class at the University of Alaska Southeast as part of working toward a degree in special education. MS. WADE said Chickaloon has participated in the Indian Health Services (IHS) tribal compact for many years. The IHS compact is a successful example of tribes developing locally trained tribal citizens and community members to fill voids such as for behavioral health aides. Tribally-compacted schools could follow this model. The Chickaloon School has worked closely with the Mat-Su Central School District to make sure the school is providing an above-and-beyond education. MS. WADE advised that the school developed its policies and procedures based on reviews of the policies and procedures of the Anchorage School District and Mat-Su School District and added its own things. The school is adhering to a traditional environment while offering a rich and robust curriculum. Through partnerships with community, the school has been successful, but without the community support, the things the school offers to students would not be possible. 9:42:47 AM MS. WADE cited the example of a former teacher who brought a recently harvested caribou to the school to teach students skills to provide food for families. It is part of that development of identity and lifeways that kids are craving. The school teaches values. Every month a value is taught, mostly through their language. These are universal values, such as honoring ancestors and focusing on humor in hard times. MS. WADE reported that several people are working to learn and preserve the Ahtna language. Since there are fewer than seven fluent speakers and only one or two who can come help teach it, it is critical that it prosper in a school environment. All across the state there is a shortage of language teachers. This is one avenue to help with that. CHAIR STEVENS asked where the school is located. MS. WADE replied the school is on the road system, eight miles north of Palmer. It is physically located in the house where she was raised by her grandmother. She added that the school emphasizes understanding and being able to move in the environment which is just as important as inside learning. Much of what is taught in math and science can be done outside and in their language. The school is producing college graduates. One former student just finished her nursing degree and another completed his Informatics and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) degree and is working in that field. The school is producing scientists. It is not just teaching soft arts and culture, although she thinks those are foundational to creating a whole human. The school is excelling in science, too, because of the tribal partnership and location. The school is not just in one place but is out in the community. It is learning from the best of the best in the community. 9:47:04 AM SENATOR BEGICH pointed out that Harvard recognized the school's curriculum and program. 9:47:44 AM MS. WADE responded that Harvard recognized Ya Ne Dah Ah as a unique school. The school is also in the second round of review for a national award from the Kellogg Foundation. It is a unique model that receives a lot of attention. It has taken a great many years to figure this out. The school is sharing what it is doing with other communities because it is replicable. It has taken a long time to break barriers and get the district to understand why their kids need this. She gets calls all the time from parents, and it has been a hard year because she has had to reject parents who wanted to bring their children to the school. A lot of kids, especially Alaska Native kids with social- emotional issues in the foster care system, are not doing well in the school system. It has been hard for her to say that the school is at capacity. The school used to have one large classroom and just expanded into another classroom, so the school grew from 12 students last year to 23 this year. She is cautious about growth. She does not want to grow beyond what the school can manage. The school relies on the parent committee for guidance. SENATOR BEGICH asked her to send a copy of the school's policy and procedures to the committee and any examples of curriculum. MS. WADE replied the school uses formal curriculum. She works with a teacher advisor with the Mat-Su School District. The school uses math textbooks in an online program. That allows students to do individualized work. When there is one teacher in the classroom for numerous grade levels, the math program allows the school to track who is struggling with certain topics. The school has many volunteer tutors who work with students. It takes an entire village to educate. The school uses Time4Learning for high school language arts. She is teaching civics and U.S. history with curriculum from the Mat-Su School District. other viewpoints are also offered, such as the history of tribal leadership in Alaska materials. The school uses a mixed curriculum, but it is all vetted for the primary subject matter. The school follows the state and school district credit hour and graduation requirements, with grades from preschool to high school. CHAIR STEVENS said it is a pleasure to hear about her successful school. He asked how this bill on tribal compacting would impact her and is she interested in seeing it go forward. 9:53:22 AM MS. WADE replied she feels hopeful about the bill. Sometimes her tribe is viewed as one that rocked the boat, but the fundamental core is collaboration. However, the tribe also wants recognition. She said the school has experienced significant barriers by the state and without those, the school could do much more. The state cannot implement this program throughout Alaska, but tribes are poised to be great partners. The tribes might need help with things like teacher licensure, which includes pathways. It could be modeled after the behavioral health aides and dental health aides programs and the health care system. The tribe has partners who could help the school district. She heard a question about the burden this would cause because it would create a new administration, but she did not think it would be one. MS. WADE continued to say: We take on a lot of that leadership structure, and I see that is a strong thing. It's not saying we want to be the most important player in developing this. It's saying we want to partner, and we just don't want those barriers to be in the way for us to be able to do this. And that's really over the past five years where I think we've had tremendous success out here in the valley with the school district. It took a lot of relationship building. We used to not have any support in terms of curriculum. We are a privately funded school. We have no funding from the state to actually administer our curriculum, outside of that homeschool allotment that we get. And that helps. That provides our teacher, our certified teacher, half of our certified teacher, honestly. It would be helpful for us to receive additional funding still to pay our teacher. We can help absorb the cost for other things, but we need to be able to have some recurring funding that allows us to work on our development and keeping our teachers and retaining them. And it is hard to do when you are grant funded and you are not sure what it is going to look like. Through the IHS compact, we have recurring funding that comes through. We know what to expect. We know how to budget. It's not to say we are getting a huge amount of money. Through the IHS compact, I get something like $80,000 total to run all my health programs. That is not a huge amount of money. But then it allows me to budget and fill in gaps as needed and tribes are really adept and successful at utilizing resources. And that's where I think we are great partners, because we fill in voids all over the place. Usually my programs, my health and education programs, are pieced together from numerous funding sources. MS. WADE opined that if the state and tribes cannot get together to support their children, the state's educational system will probably always struggle. She emphasized that this is an opportunity. Tribes have figured out to do that with the IHS and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other mechanisms because of the recognition that tribes are good stewards of resources. It is building relationship and trust. It took a long time here in the Mat-Su to do that, but now the district realizes that if it helps with some curriculum and the school takes on instruction, the school is providing much more than education. The school is culturally centered, it is a safety net for kids. Their kids are not afraid because they feel safe and loved. The community members come in and kids are wrapped in love. That is what the school can offer. People need to remove what gets in the way of that. SENATOR HUGHES suggested the committee look into arranging a visit to the school during the interim to see how the community is involved and watch a classroom in action. CHAIR STEVENS said he was thinking the same thing. He asked Ms. Wade if she would let the committee visit the school. MS. WADE replied of course, everyone is welcome. CHAIR STEVENS said it was pleasure to hear about what she is doing and how successful the school is. He noted that earlier he referred to the legal opinion from Meera Caouette about the constitutionality of tribal education compacts, particularly regarding prioritizing the hiring of teachers and the prioritizing the admission of students. He recommended everyone take time to read it. 10:00:49 AM At ease 10:00:53 AM CHAIR STEVENS reconvened the meeting and offered to provide a copy of the memo to everyone when it was available. It is a complex subject and addresses the committee's concerns about the Constitution of the State of Alaska and the U.S. Constitution as they relate to tribal compacting. 10:01:40 AM SIRI TUTTLE, Director, Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, said the legislature founded the language center in 1972. The mission is to cultivate and promote Alaska's 20 Native languages. This is her second year as the director. She has been at UAF since 2003 but has worked with Alaska Native languages as a linguist since 1990. She has worked primarily with Dena'ina or Athabascan languages on the road systems. She has worked with communities whose languages are most in danger, in places where it may be most difficult to create local schools with functioning language instruction. She has met many people who are fearless learners of their languages who have been leading the way to revitalization of language, even though these language innovators did not grow up as speakers. MS. TUTTLE said people who are learning their indigenous language as a second language have to develop language proficiency themselves to be able transmit the language to another generation. Ya Ne Dah Ah School is an example of a place where that whole cycle has taken place. The inclusion of language in this local school model takes so much work on the part of the innovators. These people must take on the labor of self-instruction in the language, which can take years of apprenticeship to elders, and must study the language's documentation, before the learner can be a teacher. Next, the language developers must create a model for language instruction. Next comes the daily task of teaching. He said that as Ya Ne Dah Ah was developing and even now, it takes continuous monitoring and funding for the school to operate. She said it takes a level of dedication and self-support in small communities where there are few to no speakers who grew up speaking their language. If tribal compacting is going to work and include language, these people need support to be learners, apprentices, and then teachers. There needs to be a pathway to professionalization. MS. TUTTLE said it would be helpful for people to see an institution like Ya Ne Dah Ah already working. Perhaps people could apprentice when programs are being built in local schools, but not everyone can build the same model. Each place will have its own innovators and own style. It is always a small group of dedicated and very creative individuals who can make this happen. MS. TUTTLE said the university currently supports these language learners in master's programs at UAF, including applied linguistics. Some students just take classes in language. Others work on linguistics in order to understand documentation. Some people use the university informally as a resource. The university could develop programs to provide support for these people. Once the system is developed, it will need a solid base of recurrent funding so the school continues to run. 10:09:18 AM CHAIR STEVENS said to learn the language of someone's ancestors is meaningful. As important as that is, it is also important for students to speak English because it is necessary for many jobs. MS. TUTTLE answered absolutely. People have had notions concerning whether learning one language would retard developing another one. This is the only nation in the world where monolinguism is normal. Bilinguism or multilinguism is normal for most of the planet. It does not hurt people at all. It makes them smarter. CHAIR STEVENS said he learned more about English by taking French and Spanish. MS. TUTTLE replied that is true. Teaching grammar in English is out of fashion, but to learn a new language, one must address its grammar. That makes people more aware of language structure. CHAIR STEVENS observed that the committee had a great learning opportunity with these three speakers [SB 136 was held in committee]. 10:11:07 AM There being no further business to come before the committee, Chair Stevens adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee at 10:11 a.m.

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