Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/12/1996 09:30 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                         April 12, 1996                                        
                           9:30 a.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Loren Leman, Vice-Chairman                                            
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Lyda Green, Chairman                                                  
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 216(HES)                                                
 "An Act establishing the Alaska education technology program; and             
 providing for an effective date."                                             
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 HB 216 - No previous Senate committee action.                                 
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Roger Poppe, Staff                                                            
 Representative Pete Kott                                                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182¶                                                        
 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed HB 216.                                         
 Chick Beekley                                                                 
 President, Alaska Society for Technology in Education                         
 Director of Technology, Aleutians East Borough School District                
 P.O. Box 121                                                                  
 Cold Bay, AK 9957                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Karen Jordan                                                                  
 Juneau School District                                                        
 Alaska Society for Technology in Education                                    
 11575 Mendenhall Loop Road                                                    
 Juneau, AK 99801¶                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Jason Ohler, Director                                                         
 Education Technology, University of Alaska                                    
 313 7th, #3                                                                   
 Juneau, AK 99801¶                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Bronk Jorgensen                                                               
 P.O. Box 132                                                                  
 Tok, AK 99780¶                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Jed Rusyniak                                                                  
 Tok School                                                                    
 P.O. Box 122                                                                  
 Tok, AK 99780                                                                 
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Carl Rose                                                                     
 Alaska School Board Association                                               
 316 W 11th Street                                                             
 Juneau, AK 99801-1510¶                                                        
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Larry Wiget, Director                                                         
 Government Relations, Anchorage School District                               
 4600 DeBarr Road                                                              
 Anchorage, AK ¶                                                               
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Arliss Sturgulewski, Co-Chair                                                 
 Technology Access Bill                                                        
 3301 C St.                                                                    
 Anchorage, AK 99801¶                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Kimberly Homme, Special Assistant to the Commissioner                         
 Department of Education                                                       
 801 W. 10th St., Ste. 200                                                     
 Juneau, AK 99801-1894¶                                                        
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
 Willie Anderson                                                               
 114 Second St.                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99801¶                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 216.                                         
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
             HB 216 EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM                             
 TAPE 96-32 , SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
 VICE-CHAIRMAN LEMAN called the Senate Health, Education and Social            
 Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:30 a.m. and brought up                
  HB 216  as the only order of business before the committee.  He              
 called a representative of the prime sponsor to testify.                      
 Number 017                                                                    
 ROGER POPPE, Aide to Representative Pete Kott, stated the bill                
 would provide structure in the form of an educational technology              
 fund to allow the state to pursue the development of educational              
 technology.  Initially it was proposed that the fund would have               
 $10,000,000.00 in state general fund monies, but because of the               
 present fiscal situation, other funding sources have been                     
 investigated.  The federal government has just come up with a                 
 $2,000,000,000.00 educational technology grant program for matching           
 funds.  So what we would like to do is at least set up a structure            
 to allow the state to receive federal and private funds.  There is            
 always the potential in the future that state funds will be                   
 contributed.  The concept is important, because it is estimated               
 that 25 percent of the 8,000,000 highest-paying jobs in the U.S.              
 are high-tech jobs.                                                           
 MR. POPPE stated the Anchorage and Juneau school districts are in             
 the process of voting bond funds for educational technology.  Those           
 school districts would be in a perfect position to have local                 
 matching funds already available for the federal money.  That money           
 would then generate three or four times its' actual impact in terms           
 of technology programs.  The department supports HB 216 and the               
 fiscal notes are zero.                                                        
 Number 084                                                                    
 MR. POPPE stated the language putting more focus on the Department            
 of Education being a central coordinator for educational technology           
 programs was taken from similar legislation in other states.                  
 Number 102                                                                    
 CHICK BEEKLEY, President - Alaska Society for Technology in                   
 Education, Director of Technology for the Aleutians East Borough              
 School District, testifying from Anchorage, stated both                       
 organizations support HB 216.  There is a tremendous need for a               
 mechanism for focusing resources that districts would individually            
 not be able to access.  HB 216 would allow educational                        
 organizations in the state to become part of a larger grant project           
 in technology initiatives.  Mr. Beckley sees this agency as one               
 that could help standardize modes of technology training and                  
 planning within districts, instead of having a piece-meal approach            
 to planning and implementation.                                               
 Number 137                                                                    
 KAREN JORDAN, Juneau School District, Alaska Society for Technology           
 in Education, testifying from Anchorage, stated there are many                
 issues pertaining to educational technology in the State of Alaska.           
 Ms. Jordan thinks the biggest issue is equity.  There are some                
 schools in the state that have many computers and other schools               
 that have very few computers.  For example, in Anchorage one school           
 has a 4:1 student to computer ratio, while another school has a               
 178:1 student to computer ratio.  Technology is not going to go               
 away; it is a basic literacy.  It's a very strong economic                    
 development issue.  We need to provide a relevant environment for             
 our students, and without technology, that will not be possible.              
 HB 216 would coordinate efforts and save money by setting up a                
 central clearing-house for information.  Ms. Jordan encouraged                
 passage of HB 216.                                                            
 Number 191                                                                    
 JASON OHLER, Director of the Educational Technology Program,                  
 University of Alaska, testifying from Anchorage, supported previous           
 testimony.  He stated that at the university level, they are                  
 involved in something called "Teaching-Learning Technology Round              
 Table".  The round table consists of students, faculty, and                   
 administration who put together a long-term plan for how to use and           
 purchase technology at the university level.  Students have                   
 communicated to the round table how absolutely essential it is for            
 them to have computer skills in order to compete in the world of              
 work.  Mr. Ohler views education as a continuum from K-12 on                  
 through university.  He supports previous testimony and urged                 
 passage of HB 216.                                                            
 Number 216                                                                    
 BRONK JORGENSEN, student - Tok High School, owner of a giftshop in            
 Tok, testifying from Anchorage, stated the use of technology in               
 rural Alaska is very important.  The internet lets students access            
 information from around the  world.  Mr. Jorgensen supports HB 216.           
 Number 232                                                                    
 JED RUSYNIAK, Tok School, testifying from Anchorage, stated                   
 technology has been a large part of his highschool career.                    
 Computers, CD-Rom, and the internet have opened many doors for him            
 to research possibilities.  Technology helps him in his job as an             
 advertising and marketing manager at a local business.  He has also           
 given technology training during inservices to teachers.  He also             
 teaches college technology courses with his father.  Mr. Rushniak             
 stated that technology connects rural Alaska to the rest of the               
 world, so he urged passage of HB 216.                                         
 Number 270                                                                    
 CARL ROSE, School Board Association, agrees with most of the                  
 previous testimony and supports HB 216.  Mr. Rose thinks the future           
 of the american dream will be tied to technology and information.             
 So he thinks it's critical that we set some direction and some                
 framework for our students, and he thinks HB 216 will do that.                
 Number 283                                                                    
 SENATOR ELLIS stated he appreciates Mr. Rose's support of HB 216.             
 He asked if Mr. Rose also supported the legislation that was                  
 sponsored by Representative Brown during a previous legislature.              
 MR. ROSE responded they did support that legislation.                         
 Number 288                                                                    
 LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations for the Anchorage               
 School District, stated his previous positions within the district            
 were all relative to technology, and it is technology which enables           
 him to perform his present position.  The Anchorage School District           
 supports HB 216, and it is a major priority of the Anchorage School           
 Board and district administration.  They believe that computer                
 technology and communications technology are the instructional                
 tools of the nineties, for students and teachers.  A good example             
 of that is the legislature's use of teleconferencing and the                  
 broadcast of committee meetings and floor sessions, both of which             
 allow people to participate without being physically present at the           
 capitol.  These tools, in a state with such a diverse landscape and           
 diverse population are exceptionally important.  Access is also               
 important in preparing students for work and is important for                 
 economic development.                                                         
 Number 311                                                                    
 VICE-CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if the Anchorage School District has made           
 much use of interactive video, where a person can see to whom they            
 are talking.                                                                  
 MR. WIGET replied it is an emerging technology, and is currently of           
 limited use due to the high cost.  Presently there is a little bit            
 of access in the Anchorage School District.  That technology has              
 been used more at the state level and among the business community.           
 It is an extremely viable technology, but we are currently hampered           
 in utilizing it by our lack of resources.                                     
 Number 322                                                                    
 VICE-CHAIRMAN LEMAN stated he has heard the complaint that the                
 technology is still fairly jerky.  But he thinks those problems               
 will be ironed out, and that the technology would be helpful in               
 tapping into distance teaching.                                               
 MR. WIGET agrees, and stated it makes no sense in a state such as             
 Alaska that we are not utilizing the technology.  We need to                  
 provide the technology to our students so we can have some kind of            
 competitive basis which will draw people to the state.  Today,                
 accessing the information is the easy part, becoming discriminate             
 users of that information is the key issue, and that is real                  
 learning.  We're not just dealing with the mechanics of writing,              
 but the essence of writing, which is thinking and putting those               
 thoughts in a readable format.  Computers make rewriting of                   
 documents a simpler process.  He has discovered that once students            
 become less fearful of having to rewrite a paper, students write              
 better papers to begin with, and less corrections are made in the             
 end.  Access to technology provides all of us with a better means             
 of communication.                                                             
 Number 365                                                                    
 VICE-CHAIRMAN LEMAN acknowledged that former Senator Sturgulewski             
 has joined the hearing, and stated she was welcome to join the                
 committee at the table.                                                       
 ARLISS STURGULEWSKI, Co-Chair of the Technology Access Bill in                
 Anchorage, and thought it was time for them to "get with it".  But            
 she could not add to what was being said.                                     
 SENATOR ELLIS stated if he could get away with it, he would make a            
 motion to grant voting privileges on the HESS Committee to Senator            
 Number 375                                                                    
 KIMBERLY HOMME, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Department             
 of Education, supports HB 216.  They believe that establishment of            
 a technology fund is the first step in committing to funding for              
 technology.  Their concern is that no appropriation is made, though           
 it does provide the framework for future donations from private               
 businesses, appropriations from the state, and contributions from             
 federal grants.  The department plans to apply for funds from                 
 President Clinton's proposed $2,000,000,000.00 technology literacy            
 challenge fund.  The department envisions school districts applying           
 for funds from the technology fund.                                           
 Number 405                                                                    
 WILLIE ANDERSON, NEA-Alaska, supports HB 216.  He agrees with many            
 of the comments previously made.  NEA-Alaska is disappointed that             
 there are no state funds being appropriated for the technology                
 program.  It is important that the program is begun, and he urged             
 passage of HB 216.  The opportunity for private donations and                 
 grants is important.  But he asked for state funds to be                      
 appropriated also.                                                            
 Number 418                                                                    
 VICE-CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if there was anyone else who wished to              
 testify on HB 216.  He stated the bill would not be moved today,              
 because Chairman Green wishes to participate in that motion.                  
 Hearing no other comments on the bill, the vice-chairman adjourned            
 the Senate Health, Education & Social Services Committee meeting at           
 10:00 a.m.                                                                    

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