Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 106

02/20/2012 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:02:42 AM Start
08:04:02 AM Presentation: Delta Greely School District
08:26:29 AM HB242
09:20:36 AM SB8
10:02:01 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation by Superintendent Duncan Ware, TELECONFERENCED
Delta Greely School District
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HB 242-PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING: DIGITAL LEARNING                                                                     
8:26:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DICK  announced that  the next order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  242, "An  Act  relating to  funding for  digital                                                               
learning as a component of public school funding."                                                                              
8:26:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON presenting  HB 242  as the  prime sponsor,                                                               
paraphrased  from a  prepared statement,  which  read as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     House  Bill No.  242  establishes  a "digital  learning                                                                    
     funding factor"  in law to  assist school  districts in                                                                    
     implementing a full range of digital technology.                                                                           
     The  bill  proposes  to   multiply  the  Average  Daily                                                                    
     Membership  (ADM)  by 1.005  to  create  a new  digital                                                                    
     learning factor.   The new factor  should provide about                                                                    
     $6 million per year to  spread across the state.  Funds                                                                    
     can be  used to acquire  a range of  technologies, such                                                                    
     as mobile devices, tablets,  notebooks or smart boards,                                                                    
     plus   software   and    services   like   professional                                                                    
     development  and technical  support.   School districts                                                                    
     will  retain  complete  flexibility to  use  the  funds                                                                    
     based on local priorities.                                                                                                 
     We have  heard a  lot of  rhetoric around  the building                                                                    
     about  education and  how there  is resistance  to just                                                                    
     increasing  the  Base   Student  Allocation.  The  bill                                                                    
     provides  the  direct  method   for  change  that  will                                                                    
     improve our educational  outcomes. The digital Learning                                                                    
     program has been proven with  the "Leveling the Playing                                                                    
     Field"  Pilot Program.  I  think it  fits  the goal  of                                                                    
     spending  funds  to  get  measureable  improvements  in                                                                    
     I have been  asked by the Association  of Alaska School                                                                    
     Board's  Consortium  for   Digital  Learning  (CDL)  on                                                                    
     digital  learning, the  implementers of  the pilot,  to                                                                    
     introduce  this  legislation.  I  believe  the  Digital                                                                    
     Learning program could  be one of the tools  we need to                                                                    
     engage  our   students  and  help  keep   them  in  the                                                                    
     There  are  Consortium   for  Digital  Leaning  members                                                                    
     present  that will  be able  to  answer your  questions                                                                    
     relating  to  this  program much  better  than  I.  Mr.                                                                    
     Chair,  with  your permission,  I  ask  that they  come                                                                    
     forward and answer program  questions the committee may                                                                    
8:29:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards  (AASB),  directed  attention  to  the  committee  handout                                                               
titled "Transforming  Alaska Education through  Digital Learning"                                                               
[Included  in members'  packets]  and indicated  how quickly  the                                                               
change had  progressed since 2006.   Referring  to Representative                                                               
Wilson's  testimony,  he  declared  that  the  infrastructure  to                                                               
support  this rapid  advance  was necessary  to  ensure that  the                                                               
network would work.   He shared that curriculum apps  were now on                                                               
line,  and  that  the  infrastructure   support  was  growing  as                                                               
connectivity  became  available.    He opined  that  the  impetus                                                               
behind proposed HB 242 was  to sustain this effort for technology                                                               
seed money.                                                                                                                     
8:32:52 AM                                                                                                                    
BOB  WHICKER, Director,  Consortium for  Digital Learning  (CDL),                                                               
stated  that  the  proposed   bill  accomplished  some  necessary                                                               
sustained program funding.  He  detailed that it would enable new                                                               
projects, expand existing projects, and refresh other programs.                                                                 
8:34:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. WHICKER  reported that, since  his iPad  demonstration during                                                               
the  past   year,  the  Consortium   for  Digital   Learning  had                                                               
progressed  to  become  a  service  organization  which  provided                                                               
aggregate  ordering,  broad  reaching  professional  development,                                                               
leadership training, projects, and a  library of courses based on                                                               
Alaska themes.                                                                                                                  
8:36:58 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WHICKER  directed  attention   to  the  Consortium's  latest                                                               
project, detailed in the HD6  IPADS4LITERACY handout [Included in                                                               
members'  packets], which  described that  nine school  districts                                                               
had received  a total of 600  iPads, targeted at the  third grade                                                               
level.  He  said that the data results of  the program were still                                                               
being received.   He indicated page  3 of the handout,  "Have the                                                               
iPads  changed   your  instruction?",  noting   the  overwhelming                                                               
affirmative  response.   He  referred  to  an additional  handout                                                               
titled "Rationale for Inclusion  of Digital Learning in Education                                                               
Foundation  Support" [Included  in members'  packets] and  stated                                                               
"we're in a place of change  right now where all the efforts that                                                               
you see  with these [digital  learning] projects are  starting to                                                               
move  to ...  change."   He  opined that  proposed  HB 242  would                                                               
encourage this forward movement.                                                                                                
8:40:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE, referring  to page  2, line  8 of  the proposed  bill,                                                               
explained that the  funding factor of 1.005  equaled $5.9 million                                                               
from the state to be used as  "seed money."  He opined that "when                                                               
districts  have skin  in the  game, they  pay close  attention to                                                               
what they're doing."  He  suggested the three funding options for                                                               
sustainability  to  be the  general  fund,  grant processes,  and                                                               
capital  budgets.   He declared  that this  was a  model for  all                                                               
schools to follow,  and this seed money  would create opportunity                                                               
and impetus.                                                                                                                    
8:41:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON, directing  attention to the aforementioned                                                               
ratio  for 1  to  1  distribution of  the  iPads,  asked why  the                                                               
devices  were left  in  the  classroom.   He  relayed that  other                                                               
reports indicated  that it was educationally  beneficial when the                                                               
devices were taken  home by the students.  He  offered his belief                                                               
that some  of the  gains for extending  the educational  day were                                                               
being lost  if this optional  use was not  allowed.  He  asked if                                                               
the consortium was considering an expansion to the usage.                                                                       
8:43:21 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WHICKER   voiced  his   agreement,  stating   that  research                                                               
supported the expanded use outside  of the classroom.  He pointed                                                               
out that,  since 2006, the  laptop take home policy  was strongly                                                               
encouraged,   even   though   each    district   made   its   own                                                               
determinations for management  of the devices.   He reported that                                                               
the iPad program policies were  not scrutinized and, referring to                                                               
the  graph in  the aforementioned  handout titled  "Rationale for                                                               
Inclusion of  Digital Learning in Education  Foundation Support,"                                                               
he declared that  the adoption of change in schools  did not come                                                               
as quickly as the change in  technology.  He professed his strong                                                               
support for the use of iPads outside the classrooms.                                                                            
8:45:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON,  addressing concerns  for the  breakage of                                                               
technology  when  taken from  the  classroom,  reported that  the                                                               
students  were very  responsible and  protective of  the devices.                                                               
He  pointed out  that the  apps on  the devices  allowed for  use                                                               
without connection to the internet.                                                                                             
8:47:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI, directing  attention to  page 4  of the                                                               
aforementioned HD6  IPADS4LITERACY handout, asked to  clarify why                                                               
Fairbanks  had such  a small  number of  users.   He opined  that                                                               
tying  proposed HB  242  to the  average  daily membership  (ADM)                                                               
student  count would  not allow  for the  necessary program  seed                                                               
money in  all the school  districts, and  he asked how  to ensure                                                               
equity among all the school districts.                                                                                          
8:49:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  explained  that  the 53  school  districts  were  each                                                               
governed by  a local  school board,  which allowed  for different                                                               
policies and  approaches.  He  gave examples for  different means                                                               
of implementation by the districts,  and pointed out that smaller                                                               
school districts had  more flexibility for change.   He explained                                                               
that funding was from a block grant.                                                                                            
8:50:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked how  the technology  interfaced with                                                               
culture and local knowledge.                                                                                                    
MR.  WHICKER, in  response to  Representative  Cissna, said  that                                                               
students  were  able  to  use  the  laptops  to  record  cultural                                                               
activities, including  the filming of dance  groups, conferences,                                                               
and oral  histories by the elders.   He said that  CDL had helped                                                               
bring  people  together  around a  common  infrastructure,  which                                                               
brought many different projects to light.                                                                                       
8:53:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   CISSNA   offered   her  belief   that   built-in                                                               
incentives were  motivators, and  she asked whether  the separate                                                               
school  boards  were  involved, especially  as  mentors  to  each                                                               
8:54:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE replied  that the diversity of the  school districts was                                                               
broad  and  that, although  the  technology  and information  was                                                               
shared  with each  of the  districts, it  was necessary  for each                                                               
district to  determine its local  need and  to find the  money to                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked if  legislators were invited  to the                                                               
AASB meetings.                                                                                                                  
MR. ROSE extended an invitation to the annual conference.                                                                       
8:57:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON, referring to the  handout [included in                                                               
members' packets]  titled "Transforming Alaska  Education through                                                               
Digital Learning" and read:   "The challenge is that all children                                                               
do not  have access to  an equitable education experience."   She                                                               
expressed  her  agreement  with   the  statement,  and  continued                                                               
     Additional designated funding  will help school leaders                                                                    
     meet  that   responsibility.    Adding  funds   to  the                                                                    
     foundation    formula    and   collaboration    between                                                                    
     individual legislators  and school districts  to expand                                                                    
     digital   learning  opportunities   for  students   can                                                                    
     transform education  in Alaska.   For  us to  miss this                                                                    
     opportunity  to   change  the  face  of   teaching  and                                                                    
     learning now would be a tragedy.                                                                                           
She offered  her belief that  it was necessary to  recognize this                                                               
as a sustainable  opportunity and for the legislature  to make it                                                               
8:59:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE stated  his support  for the  advantages of                                                               
digital learning.   He questioned whether enough  money was being                                                               
requested in the proposed bill.                                                                                                 
MR. ROSE replied that the  requested amount was a starting point,                                                               
but that  it could be  larger.  He opined  that it was  better to                                                               
ask for an amount that would  be accepted rather than rejected as                                                               
too large.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE remarked  that technology,  as it  changed,                                                               
required an  ongoing capital  investment.   He suggested  that it                                                               
would require more funding to  accomplish what was necessary.  He                                                               
asked if there were controls in  the proposed bill to ensure that                                                               
the funds were spent on digital learning.                                                                                       
MR. ROSE expressed agreement  that definitions for accountability                                                               
should be included.                                                                                                             
9:02:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  if the Alaska apps were  free to the                                                               
school districts.                                                                                                               
MR. WHICKER  replied that all the  content at iTunes U  was free,                                                               
and that  CDL was continually  working with partners to  "help to                                                               
fill  that repository."   He  noted that  other groups  were also                                                               
working  to collect  and distribute  information, and  he stated,                                                               
"That's a good thing in that this  is too big of an issue for any                                                               
one entity to take on by themselves."                                                                                           
9:03:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referenced a  report from a school district                                                               
that district purchases of iPod  Touch were double that of iPads.                                                               
He reflected that  the iPod Touch offered  the same applications,                                                               
was smaller,  and was  less expensive.   He  asked if  iPads were                                                               
more effective for increasing education.                                                                                        
MR.  WHICKER   replied  that  the  proposed   bill  allowed  each                                                               
individual  school district  to  select its  device.   He  agreed                                                               
that, although  there was a  lot of current excitement  about the                                                               
iPad,  many  devices were  available  and  that proposed  HB  242                                                               
allowed funding  for a variety  of devices to meet  the differing                                                               
needs.  He stated that there  was no explicit advantage to any of                                                               
the devices, but rather it was "a decision of form factor."                                                                     
9:07:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked to clarify  that the consortium would                                                               
offer a comparison  of each technology, instead of  focusing on a                                                               
single piece, to ensure the best results for each user group.                                                                   
9:08:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  asked what  controls would  be implemented                                                               
to allow that  individual users would not be  distracted by other                                                               
MR.  WHICKER, in  response  to  Representative Pruitt,  explained                                                               
that each  school loaded  different apps on  the iPads,  based on                                                               
its  instructional strategy,  and  that the  distractions were  a                                                               
result  of work  online.   He shared  that schools  had installed                                                               
filters  to  support  established   policies  and  were  offering                                                               
professional development for teachers to  learn how to teach with                                                               
this  technology.   He suggested  that kids  would often  use the                                                               
tools for their own learning enhancement.                                                                                       
9:13:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DICK  relayed that  Dell was developing  a system  to allow                                                               
teachers to monitor each student's use of the device.                                                                           
9:13:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  asked if  there was a  way to  ensure that                                                               
teachers were ready to integrate  these technologies, even though                                                               
some teachers were resistant to change.                                                                                         
MR. WHICKER offered his belief  that professional development and                                                               
training  for the  use of  these  tools were  the most  necessary                                                               
fundamentals, and  that funding  was usually the  key to  both of                                                               
9:16:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON indicated  that the  technology had  to be                                                               
synched  with   the  school  computers  which   could  erase  any                                                               
unauthorized applications.                                                                                                      
MR.  WHICKER  confirmed this,  and  he  pointed out  that  future                                                               
technology allowed  for easier management, noting  that the iPads                                                               
had teacher, rather than tech, managed solutions.                                                                               
9:18:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  directed attention  to page  2 of  the                                                               
fiscal  note,  and read:    "this  legislation  will need  to  be                                                               
updated  to  include new  vocational  education  factor, or  CTE,                                                               
which passed  in the 2011  legislative session and signed  by the                                                               
governor into law."   She asked if the committee  would like this                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE opined  that  the  House Finance  Committee                                                               
would request it.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON, directing  attention to page 2,  line 8 of                                                               
the  proposed  bill,  asked  if   the  funding  factor  of  1.005                                                               
eliminated the 1  percent which had been passed  during the prior                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  replied that  that the  1 percent  had                                                               
been a one-time distribution.                                                                                                   
MR. ROSE offered  his belief that this was now  21 percent in the                                                               
block grant, and he agreed that it was ongoing.                                                                                 
9:20:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DICK announced that HB 242 would be held over.                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 242 Supporting Document AASB.pdf HEDC 2/20/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 242
HB 242 Supporting Document CDL Leveling the Playing Field.pdf HEDC 2/20/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 242
HB 242 Version A.pdf HEDC 2/20/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 242
HB242 Sponsor Statement Version A.pdf HEDC 2/20/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 242
HB242-EED-ESS-2-17-12.pdf HEDC 2/20/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 242