Legislature(2001 - 2002)

2002-02-04 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2002-02-04                     Senate Journal                      Page 2104
SB 275                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 275 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                   
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
          "An Act relating to the establishment of a research                                       
          and development program for excellence in the                                             
          public schools of this state; relating to grants for the                                  
          improvement or enhancement of school performance;                                         
          and providing for an effective date."                                                     
was read the first time and referred to the Health, Education and Social                            
Services, Community and Regional Affairs and Finance Committees.                                    
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, Department of Education and Early                                               

2002-02-04                     Senate Journal                      Page 2105
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 31:                                                     
Dear President Halford:                                                                             
The state has a responsibility and opportunity to help public schools                               
help their students meet essential skill standards in reading, writing                              
and math. We are measuring the progress our students are making                                     
toward these standards; we should also assist schools in meeting the                                
standards. This bill I transmit today provides grant programs for low-                              
performing schools to increase their effectiveness and for high-                                    
performing schools to enhance their quality, and a research center to                               
assist in this effort to build quality schools.                                                     
The research center is a critical component of this program for school                              
improvement -- an important missing link in our state's march toward                                
greater accountability for schools. The center's primary function would                             
be to assist low-performing schools in effectively teaching students in                             
a standards-based environment measured by benchmark and high-                                       
stakes testing.                                                                                     
The center will analyze available data from each school and will help                               
schools develop plans for needed improvements using best-known                                      
educational practices and resources. The keystone of the center's effort                            
is academic performance data -- facts about student performance that                                
identify areas of improvement and low performance. The data will be                                 
obtained from student scores on the Alaska benchmark and high                                       
school exams, and other indicators of school and student performance.                               
Using the data, center staff and contractors will work with school and                              
community leaders, teachers and students.                                                           
With this bill I am requesting $2 million for the first year of operations                          
for the center. The bill also seeks $4 million in financial assistance for                          
schools to be used for $10,000 to $100,000 grants to low- and high-                                 
performing schools.                                                                                 

2002-02-04                     Senate Journal                      Page 2106
It is important to build this program now. We must do all we can now                                
to ensure all of our students can succeed.                                                          
Tony Knowles