Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/12/2020 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
09:01:45 AM Start
09:02:04 AM Confirmation Hearing:
09:14:17 AM SB113
09:17:14 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Professional Teaching Practices Commission
- Lem Wheeles
-- Public Testimony on All Appointees --
Moved SB 113 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 12, 2020                                                                                         
                           9:01 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                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING                                                                                                            
Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                    
Lem Wheeles - Anchorage                                                                                                         
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 113                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to national board certification for public                                                                     
school teachers."                                                                                                               
     - MOVED SB 113 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 149                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the start time of a day in session for                                                                      
public high schools."                                                                                                           
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 113                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: TEACHERS: NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) HUGHES                                                                                                   
04/15/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/15/19       (S)       EDC                                                                                                    
02/18/20       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/18/20       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/18/20       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/12/20       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LEM WHEELES, Governor's Appointee                                                                                               
Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as  appointee to  the Professional                                                             
Teaching Practices Commission.                                                                                                  
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:01:45 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 Begich, Hughes, Coghill, and Chair Stevens.                                                                 
^CONFIRMATION HEARING:                                                                                                        
                     CONFIRMATION HEARING:                                                                                  
           Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                       
9:02:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced the confirmation  hearing of Lem Wheeles,                                                               
the governor's  appointee to the Professional  Teaching Practices                                                               
Commission. He asked Mr. Wheeles to introduce himself.                                                                          
9:02:29 AM                                                                                                                    
LEM   WHEELES,   Governor's  Appointee,   Professional   Teaching                                                               
Practices  Commission, Anchorage,  Alaska, said  he was  born and                                                               
raised in  Anchorage. He  graduated from  Dimond High  School and                                                               
received  degrees  from  the   University  of  Alaska  Anchorage,                                                               
including a Master of Arts  in teaching. He taught social studies                                                               
at Dimond  High School  for his  entire 16-year  teaching career.                                                               
For  the  past  decade  he  has  also  taught  U.S.  history  and                                                               
government online. He was the  2018 Alaska History Teacher of the                                                               
Year,  a  BP Teacher  of  Excellence,  the Alaska  World  Affairs                                                               
Council Teacher of the Year,  and the Alaska Model United Nations                                                               
Advisor of the Year two times.                                                                                                  
MR. WHEELES said  he is the sponsor of Model  United Nations Club                                                               
and Christian  Club. He has  been the student  government advisor                                                               
for  a decade.  He  related that  Dimond  student government  was                                                               
awarded the National Gold Council  of Excellence Award, currently                                                               
the  only school  in Alaska  with this  distinction. He  has also                                                               
served  on the  Anchorage  School  District Assessment  Inventory                                                               
Steering  Committee, as  the Elections  Chair  for the  Anchorage                                                               
Education  Association, and  parliamentarian  for the  NEA-Alaska                                                               
Delegate Assembly. For the past year,  he has served as a subject                                                               
matter expert for  the U.S. Census Statistics  in Schools program                                                               
and he is currently a Statistics in Schools ambassador.                                                                         
MR.  WHEELES  said his  mission  as  an  educator is  to  inspire                                                               
students to  be engaged  citizens. His  ultimate objective  is to                                                               
challenge his students to not  just learn about their government,                                                               
but to be  an active part of  it. As a government  teacher, he is                                                               
often asked about  his political views. He said that  he does not                                                               
share  his political  views  with students  because  it would  be                                                               
unethical  to do  so, but  it could  also potentially  sway them.                                                               
What is important is that  students form political views and have                                                               
the  ability to  articulate them.  He teaches  a wide  variety of                                                               
political  beliefs  and  ideologies   so  students  can  form  an                                                               
educated opinion and  engage in civic discourse  with each other.                                                               
He  noted that  members  on this  committee  come from  different                                                               
political  parties,  but  that  the  committee  meets  regularly,                                                               
members respect  one another, engage  in thoughtful  discourse to                                                               
achieve the goal of doing what is  best for Alaska. His goal as a                                                               
teacher is to prepare his  students for those same conversations,                                                               
whether in their homes, social  media, their workplace, or in the                                                               
state Capitol.                                                                                                                  
MR. WHEELES said that his goal  as a teacher leader and member of                                                               
the Professional Teaching Practices  Commission (PTPC) is to hold                                                               
his colleagues  to high standards.  As a recent appointee  to the                                                               
commission, he has attended the  last two commission meetings. At                                                               
the  last meeting,  he  proposed putting  reminders  in the  PTPC                                                               
newsletter to  inform educators about appropriate  ways to handle                                                               
politics in  the classroom. He  emphasized his goal, which  is to                                                               
be proactive and address the  issue before it becomes a complaint                                                               
before the  PTPC. However, if it  reaches that level, then  he is                                                               
prepared to act appropriately.                                                                                                  
MR. WHEELES explained that as  a quasi-judicial body, the PTPC is                                                               
asked  to adjudicate  complaints against  certificated educators.                                                               
He  said he  appreciates that  the legislature  created the  PTPC                                                               
over  50 years  ago  to allow  educators a  means  to hold  their                                                               
colleagues accountable,  but also so  that a jury of  their peers                                                               
can judge educators.  If he were ever the subject  of a complaint                                                               
with the  PTPC, he  would want  to be judged  by his  peers since                                                               
educators  understand   what  it  means   to  be  a   teacher  or                                                               
administrator in  2020. The PTPC is  made up of five  teachers, a                                                               
principal,  a   superintendent,  a  representative   from  higher                                                               
education, and a representative  from the Department of Education                                                               
and   Early  Development.   This  is   a  group   of  educational                                                               
professionals who understand the  challenges of teaching and want                                                               
public education  to be  esteemed throughout  Alaska. As  a body,                                                               
the PTCP  works to promote  professional and ethical  behavior by                                                               
all Alaskan  educators through  proactive education  and outreach                                                               
and by  responding to complaints  when a violation  has occurred.                                                               
The  current state  budget crisis  has  hampered Alaska's  school                                                               
districts from  attracting and retaining quality  educators. This                                                               
makes the PTPC's  role all the more important.  As districts hire                                                               
new-to-the-profession   and    new-to-Alaska   educators,   these                                                               
teachers must  be educated on  the professional teaching  code of                                                               
ethics  and the  potential consequences  for violations.  He said                                                               
his goal  is to increase  PTPC outreach and education  efforts to                                                               
ensure that  all educators are  familiar with the code  of ethics                                                               
for their professional  practice. He offered his view  that he is                                                               
an  excellent candidate  for  the  PTCP since  he  is a  lifelong                                                               
Alaskan, a career educator, with  statewide connections. He stays                                                               
well  informed  on current  education  issues  in the  state  and                                                               
believes he is respected by educators throughout Alaska.                                                                        
CHAIR  STEVENS said  that  he appreciates  him  putting his  name                                                               
forward.  Chair Stevens  said that  civics  education has  always                                                               
been important to  him. He said appreciated  Mr. Wheeles creating                                                               
citizens  in  his  classrooms. He  asked  how  successful  school                                                               
districts are in teaching responsibilities of citizenship.                                                                      
MR. WHEELES  replied that is beyond  the purview of the  PTPC. He                                                               
agrees  that it  is an  important mission  of schools.  The state                                                               
requires students  to complete a  government course  to graduate.                                                               
In  education, there  is always  room for  improvement, that  the                                                               
state is doing a good job, but it could always improve.                                                                         
9:10:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  observed  that Mr.  Wheeles  had  explained  his                                                               
background so thoroughly that he had no questions for him.                                                                      
CHAIR STEVENS shared that Senator Costello is listening online.                                                                 
9:11:39 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
9:11:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  opened public testimony  and after  determining no                                                               
one   wished  to   testify,  closed   public  testimony   on  the                                                               
confirmation of Mr. Wheeles.                                                                                                    
He solicited a motion.                                                                                                          
9:12:45 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                                                               
Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                    
Lem Wheeles - Anchorage                                                                                                         
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.                                                                
9:13:20 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
         SB 113-TEACHERS: NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION                                                                      
9:14:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   STEVENS  reconvened   the  meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration  of  SENATE  BILL  NO. 113,  "An  Act  relating  to                                                               
national board certification for public school teachers."                                                                       
He noted that this is the second hearing on this bill.                                                                          
9:14:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES, speaking as sponsor  of SB 113, said high-quality                                                               
teachers  can   improve  student  outcomes.  That   is  what  the                                                               
committee  wants  to  see,  so   she  appreciates  the  committee                                                               
CHAIR  STEVENS opened  public  testimony,  ascertained there  was                                                               
none, and closed public testimony on SB 113.                                                                                    
He noted  that there was one  fiscal note from the  Department of                                                               
Education and Early Development.                                                                                                
He solicited a motion.                                                                                                          
9:15:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  moved to report  SB 113, work  order 31-LS0869/A,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note. Chair Stevens found no objection and SB 113 was                                                                    
reported from the Senate Education Standing Committee.                                                                          
9:15:27 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
9:17:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON reconvened the meeting and reviewed the upcoming                                                                   
committee schedule.                                                                                                             
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Stevens adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                 
at 9:17 a.m.