Legislature(1993 - 1994)
10/20/1993 01:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-70, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIRMAN BUNDE called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. noting the members in attendance. He informed members they would be discussing HB 84. Number 040 MS. JUDY NORTON, STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, made brief comments about each one of the sections. She felt increasing the school year would make children more globally competitive, and it may be one of the reasons for the problems in that area. She said three months is just too long to be off. The increased school year would be set up as a slow process. MS. NORTON commented on the establishment of advisory school boards. As a parent and a teacher she thought it was extremely important to have advisory school boards. Many times in larger school districts parents felt they were lost in the shuffle. She said it would be helpful if they were able to be advisory or closer to their community. In regards to establishment of a tenure review committee, MS. NORTON felt it was at least a beginning. She stated that people needed to be accountable and the establishment of a tenure review committee would perhaps make some of the less accountable educators more accountable. MS. NORTON felt, in regards to establishment of a tenure review committee, the voucher system and the report done by the governor's council would be too difficult if not impossible in this state. She said charter schools in the rest of the nation were looked at and it seemed to be a way to help Alaska's very diverse population be more in touch with their educational community. Charter schools are happening in the rest of the nation, and it would get the parent involvement back that has been lacking in the last twenty or so years. She encouraged the committee to look closely at the charter schools. This legislation would not allow anybody to surpass federal or state regulations and requirements. Number 080 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated that one of the provisions calling for charter schools calls for a maximum of forty of charter. He inquired as to where those forty schools should be established, across the state or in a particular area. Number 805 MS. NORTON said if it was under the control of the local district they were not going to allow forty charter schools within their district. The limit was established because it was a pilot program; if there were too many, assessment would be difficult. CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were teleconference people who had questions. None being put forth, Chair Bunde asked in regards to the longer year and the present $1 million figure it costs a year to run Alaska's schools, where the money would come from and how would the longer time period be used. MS. NORTON replied that students were not competitive with others around the world, at least in mass. She said some changes need to be made at the state level by extending the year, or it would cost the taxpayer more than $1 million in the long run. Number 121 CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Norton had any specific ideas of what to do with an additional three days of school time. MS. NORTON commented that she would like to see more time spent with the students. If they were going to increase that school day, she would not add anymore in-service days to or on top of the school year. She state they cut into the time with the students, and she knew parents get upset because they don't understand why they are needed. She felt that teachers had to have training for all of the things they were asked to do, that was why in-service was important. She felt it would be nice to allow each district to decide how they wanted to implement the time. She felt that some districts would just want to have a longer day. Number 132 (Rep. Davis arrived at 1:15 p.m.) CHAIR BUNDE commented that Ms. Norton hit on a topic of concern to the rural areas, citing that they felt a longer school year would disrupt the need to fish. MS. NORTON further stated that she would like to see some discussion of going to school longer days or on Saturdays. That would be a creative way to make a longer school year. Number 140 CHAIR BUNDE asked for more information about the proposed advisory board and how they would interface with the current Parent Teachers Association. MS. NORTON thought that part of the PTA would be represented on that board. Over the years the PTA had not had the opportunity to advise as much as they would have liked to, and this would give them a chance to have more input. CHAIR BUNDE continued to question the role of the PTA and the advisory board. He asked what an advisory board would do that a PTA wouldn't do. MS. NORTON stated that the advisory boards that she had worked with were different than PTA's because they sat in on interviews for teachers, they looked at curriculum, they were the advisory to the principal in every decision at that school. Not all advisory boards work to that extent, but where she resided they did. Number 162 CHAIR BUNDE commented that he thought he was correct in saying the PTA didn't get involved in hiring. He asked about tenure and the concerns of long term teachers and what would be the reaction be to a five year tenure review. MS. NORTON said teachers needed to be accountable. Teachers needed to be proactive. She felt the NEA has to sit down with DOE to try to work something out. The public perception was that teachers were not doing anything. Number 175 CHAIR BUNDE said a significant number of his constituents had been in contact with him and a surprising number wanted tenure totally eliminated. He felt there were checks and balances, and we needed to find something that would please the people that wanted it eliminated, but still provided some job security in a rather volatile career. In regards to charter schools, CHAIR BUNDE asked about charter schools and the potential of a charter school becoming a burden when parents leave the area. MS. NORTON spoke about the optional schools being the beginning of the charter school or choice concept. She said none of them had gone away from lack of involvement. MS. NORTON continued to say that optional schools were a good example of what a charter school could be. There was no history in her district of parents becoming uninvolved. She felt Alaska had become so diverse that something had to be done in education to make people feel more involved. Number 218 CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any questions or comments for Ms. Norton. There were none. Number 222 MR. RICHARD KRONSBERG, Board of Directors, NEA, presented written testimony and supporting articles. (see Attachment 1) Number 283 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT clarified Mr. Kronsberg's statement. He said, "If I hear you correctly, what you are submitting to us is that we should increase the state's educational budget versus the reallocation of resources. I would ask you if you know how much of the state's fiscal resources that are allocated toward education actually make it to the classroom?" He stated that in other countries that Mr. Kronsberg compared us to only 20% of educational dollars were used for administration. He asked if there was any comment on that. Number 295 MR. KRONSBERG stated that his testimony did not specifically deal with reallocation of resources, but he would be happy for the opportunity to address that issue. Mr. Kronsberg continued to say that the amount of educational dollars used for administration varied tremendously throughout the state. Some districts had tremendous fixed costs and overhead while others had less. He felt it was a mistake when the legislature removed the requirement of 55% of the allocated amount be required to actually go into classrooms. He said he would have thought that in addition to more resources, the way they were applied needed to be examined. He didn't think that HB 84 did that in any way, and that was one of the reasons he was opposed to it. Number 310 CHAIR BUNDE asked if anyone had any questions. Number 318 MR. DALE DURRWACHTER, via teleconference from Fairbanks, commented that he had retired from teaching youthfully partly because of frustration with the declining quality of education and a feeling that he was powerless to do anything. The latter part of his service was on a committee trying to develop an alternative school focused on cognitive learning and less of the distractions that did not meet favorably with administration. He supported most of what was in HB 84 and took some time to focus on individual portions. MR. DURRWACHTER said he served on Alaska 2000, the same committee as Judy Norton. He commented on the actual school term. He stated he was the one that suggested the lengthening of the term. He only had in mind ten days; the State Board of Education added the rest. He noted all of the nations that this country competes with have school years right at what we're aiming for, 200 days. One of the provisions in the bill that he had a problem with was Item Number 1, where essentially there was an increase in the school year of three days, but it was being allowed up to ten of those to be taken as in-service days. He stated that he wanted to return to 180 days of instruction and contact time with children. Regarding the advisory board, MR. DURRWACHTER felt that every school should have one. He believed in parent involvement, although it was not popular among the profession to have parents closely involved. MR. DURRWACHTER stated his opposition to tenure rights. He believed tenure was important. He had seen teachers harassed by different groups of individuals, and very unfairly. On the same token, he felt the structure that was there was a beginning. He had seen too many teachers given tenure because the administrator did not do their job. After two years they had to be given tenure or not. He felt that with the current system that at the end of two years if a teacher didn't receive tenure he/she would not have a job. This program would allow the teacher to actually be employed into the third year without tenure. He added two additions he felt should be included in tenure rights. He said to be really helpful, tenure must provide a standard. He was never given any training in evaluating staff. That meant that each principal arrived at a principalship on their own. No one in the school district supervised the standard from one building to another. The bill would provide a standard that all principals must meet. Also, he wanted to see the first year teacher's evaluation materials passed before this committee. Because after all, development of the teacher is important, not just a question of tenure. Finally, in regards to the ten year window, MR. DURRWACHTER expressed that the teachers needed some kind of a window. He said life was not a consistent road, everyone has their ups and downs, and he knew teachers that had threatened to retire for four or five years, but they hadn't. If all teachers knew that after ten years there was an open window for consideration, things would be different. On establishment of the charter schools, MR. DURRWACHTER believed that the charter school had options that would improve the entire school program. If language or science was a focus, the graduates would have to assimilate into the local junior high. The parents would demand that the curriculum strengths continue. If students were coming out of the school that was advanced in math and they went into a junior high setting, parents would not allow those children to sit there for a year or two spinning their wheels, they would insist that the junior high curriculum be upgraded. He added that we must focus on schools, and that he could not accept charter schools that might fall into religious issues. MR. DURRWACHTER said there were teachers to be hired that were being approved by the permanent advisory board, but the school had to be in place and teachers had to be hired. He inquired who was going to do it. He felt the cart was before the horse. Number 441 CHAIR BUNDE voiced a question about parental advisory groups and it being a state mandate. He expressed concerns about parents who would choose not to be involved. Number 459 MR. DURRWACHTER responded by saying the real weakness of our public schools was the failure of parent involvement. Research by Chrysler had shown that schools would be stronger with parents involved. He had not encountered a complete lack of parental involvement. However, the state had no regulations to guide teachers and principals to work with parents. CHAIR BUNDE said he could not argue with that, but he knew that PTA's were often begging for involvement. Parents had a lot of demands on their time. For schools and student performance to improve, parental involvement was absolutely prerequisite. He still questioned whether the state could mandate that parental involvement. Number 490 CHAIR BUNDE returned to Mr. Kronsberg to discuss educational resources (money), citing that in Anchorage there was an excellent example -- Fairview schools. He said when the class size has been reduced, it was expensive, but it worked. He asked where the money would come from. The state was $100 million out of balance in its budget, and even with an income tax it would not make up for lack of oil revenue in the past. He stated he had constituents that want their road paved more than they want their schools fixed. MR. KRONSBERG commented that he did not have a personal problem with the longer year, but he felt the state needed to look at lengthening the school year when there was no requirement for attendance on a daily basis. He further commented that students could pass through an entire year and be promoted even if they had been absent every single day. Number 548 CHAIR BUNDE responded that an attendance requirement is a de facto idea since the school district would not get funding unless the students were there. Again, he asked Mr. Kronsberg to respond to the idea of lengthening the actual contact hours by putting in-service days on the end of the school term rather than the middle of the school term so that there were more contact hours. Number 555 MR. KRONSBERG informed the committee that he did not have any problem with that per se. He did think that one of the areas that districts and the state needed to examine carefully was staff development because it did not seem to utilize what teachers know about the way adults learn. He did not think the state could eliminate in-service and have everyday be a student contact day. Number 573 CHAIR BUNDE told Mr. Kronsberg that he had heard some frustration from teachers about the type of in-services that they had been attending. Many had stated the time would have been much better spent preparing for teaching classes. Number 590 MR. KRONSBERG thought that was more a reflection on the quality of the in-service that was provided rather than the teachers' desire to grow professionally. Number 590 CHAIR BUNDE commented on tenure, stating there would be a change in tenure because the general public was asking for change. He said the current system did not seem to work very well, citing that a principal could decide if and when teachers would get a chance to visit the classroom, if a teacher is worthy of tenure. Then 15-18 years down the road people would be complaining about dead wood. He also understood the other side of the coin, stating that teachers would be involved in a popularity contest -- for five years they would please the school board;, the school board might change then throw them all out and start fresh. Also, if there were to be a long time teacher that cost too much money, that teacher could be fired. Chair Bunde understood the need for academic freedom. In any case, the current tenure system didn't seem to be working very well. He then asked Mr. Kronsberg what he would think about a longer period for evaluation before tenure would be granted than reevaluation periodically through a teacher's career. Number 618 MR. KRONSBERG answered that as soon as the initial granting of tenure is tied to some objective evaluation, instead of, "I have this sense that you're not doing your job," there needed to be some evidence upon which initial decisions would be made. TAPE 93-70, SIDE B (tape counter not reset) MR. KRONSBERG opposed the seven year or ten year review for tenure. He stated that most every teacher was a professional and acted that way. He felt there were a lot of misperceptions on the part of the public. He felt there needed to be a dual focus in that area. Initially, he said, the focus would be on a serious effort on determining whether someone deserves tenure. He stated that if there were those that were not meant to be teachers, and there were those like that, they should be made aware of that and sent on their way. Number 667 CHAIR BUNDE asked for a reaction to a peer review process as part of the tenure process. Number 669 MR. KRONSBERG voiced the opposition of the association. He said the association did not like to have roles intermingled. He felt that colleagues should not evaluate each other. He suggested some middle ground, saying that a district, with proper procedural guidelines, could allow a teacher to take part in evaluations of colleagues, but not necessarily be the determinant. As long as the method employed was not threatening he would not be opposed. Number 684 CHAIR BUNDE thanked Mr. Kronsberg and asked for the next person, Sheila Peterson. Number 689 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to Commissioner Covey, Department of Education (DOE), explained how HB 84 was formed through the recommendations of ten committees for AK 2000. She responded to Chair Bunde's concern about the possible lack of parental involvement in proposed charter schools. Ms. Peterson noted a section of the bill that would allow the commissioner to allow for an advisory board to serve one or more schools upon the request of the school district. Also, she reminded the committee that the legislature appropriated $500,000 last session to the fund for school improvement. The grants had not been received by the school district, but would be received no later than November 1, 1993. She continued to speak about the importance of the funding with respect to allowing any organization to come up with creative ideas on how to improve instruction and the school's performance. She said people had shown a lot of interest. MS. PETERSON commented on HB 84, noting that the legislation would allow some flexibility by raising the cap. She said that system was at a cap of $50,000 per district. She also said it had been a problem for larger districts. Many teachers had very creative ideas, as well as the parents, but the cap prevented any changes. The legislation would allow the department, at their discretion, to look at all of the grant requests and rank them according to their merit. MS. PETERSON offered to answer any questions about the legislation. Number 730 CHAIR BUNDE thanked her for her testimony. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked what the department had done to look at HB 84 as far as changes, deletions or additions, or whatever needed to be done to make the bill acceptable to the House committee. She commented that the bill, in its present form, was not going to go anywhere. Number 743 MS. PETERSON stated that the department did not have any suggested changes. However, she felt that she and the department would like to work with the committee to work out concerns. Number 755 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if the DOE had received any feedback from the states that had charter schools, about how well they were working, and about what changes they have had to make in their original bill. She asserted that some states might have even abandoned the concept completely. Number 763 MS. PETERSON stated that she had not contacted Minnesota about changes. She noted that Minnesota's format for charter schools was different from ours. She said HB 84 kept the charter school under the school district. In Minnesota's it was outside the school district. However, she stated she would obtain the information. Number 770 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked for additional information from Florida and other states that had charter schools. Number 779 MS. PETERSON talked about legislation that had been before the committee, noting that the department had been working on HB 85, the foundation formula. She noted that committees had been established to look at the Alaska School Price Index. However, it had been a frustrating task. They had a difficult time viewing it from a statesman's point of view. Number 799 CHAIR BUNDE stated that one of his concerns was educational fads. He commented that 20 years ago it was great to build schools without walls; now the school district was putting out a bid to build walls in those schools. He noted his concern that charter schools might be an educational fad. Number 812 MS. PETERSON commented that within HB 84 the longer school year was spoken of as the educational equivalent of 180 days. That allowed for some creativity on the school district's part. Number 824 CHAIR BUNDE stated that with the diversity of the Alaskan population it was vital that school districts have some flexibility in meeting state mandated requirements. It was also vital that the state not mandate requirements that the state could not pay for, because municipalities had some problems in that area. Chair Bunde continued by commenting on the optional programs in Anchorage. He remarked that they probably met the needs of the charter programs, and that we might look at those programs to expand out to the rest of the state if they were interested. CHAIR BUNDE thanked Ms. Peterson and moved on to testimony in Juneau. Number 836 MS. MARY ASPER, Principal, Haines Elementary School, communicated the problems Haines was having due to differing philosophies in that public school system. She stated that Haines had a Christian school that had taken approximately 40 students from the public school, and there was a group of parents contemplating a more liberal optional program, which would take even more children from the public school. Ms. Asper's point was directed at the loss of students due to the formation of schools outside of the public system, especially in communities like Haines. She noted that charter schools could help smaller communities with diverse philosophies because it would allow for differing philosophies under the umbrella of the public school system without gutting that system. Number 901 CHAIR BUNDE thanked her for her testimony and asked for more questions from the committee. Number 905 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked what the new schools were providing that the public school system was not. Number 907 MS. ASPER answered by giving her personal opinion. She felt there was such strong philosophical opinions about what should be happening in public schools and about what did should be taught. If there were two polarized groups of people with different desires, the school would try to take a middle of the road approach. The end result, she felt, was a valueless education. Number 922 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked again what the schools were providing. Number 930 MS. ASPER said that conservative parents wanted harder discipline and more structure, like an ABC school in Anchorage. On the other hand, other people in Haines wanted the antithesis of that. They wanted a program like the optional schools in Anchorage. They wanted progressive education, ungraded, teachers with the same kids for three years, a wider range of experiences for children, a bio-regional curriculum where kids would learn more about the area they live in, and project based learning. She stated that those approaches were being met by parents selecting a teacher. This approach causes frustration because the parent must go through the same teacher selection process each year. Ms. Asper continued to say that charter schools would give people in Haines the philosophical choices they were looking for in the public school system. Number 952 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS stated that she believed our school system could provide that without having charter schools. It was being done in Anchorage. However, the two school districts could not be compared, but she thought the problem might be that Haines was trying to go through the middle ground. Perhaps the needs of both sets of parents could be met by providing the same types of things that they already had in Anchorage. She didn't see why it couldn't work in a smaller school system. On the other hand, if a private school wanted to set up, she felt there was room for all. She felt there was a need for both types of schools. If it was a religious setting that they wanted, then they would have to go outside the school system. Number 971 MS. ASPER disagreed by saying she felt she was trying and that Haines was getting farther from that. She stated that Anchorage provided many more opportunities than a school district that had 425 students. She felt it would be difficult in smaller communities to do the kinds of choices that were being discussed. Number 975 CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were resources for two charter schools. Number 986 MS. ASPER said she had hoped the amount of resources would not change. It would just be the push that would allow those groups of kids, if they so choose, to organize and utilize that opportunity. She felt that they probably would, and it would be like a school within a school that would allow for differences. Number 990 CHAIR BUNDE, concerned about diversity, wondered if legislation was going to end up vulcanizing our schools to the point that one person won't speak to another because they are in another type of program. MS. ASPER stated that if schools were working as the great American melting pot, then they would be of much higher quality than they were. Perhaps charter schools would be the way to say that diversity was valued. Number 014 CHAIR BUNDE voiced concern that the state was getting too close to the student-teacher relationship. Chair Bunde asked if there were any further questions. There were none. Number 062 MS. MARY RUBADEAU, Assistant Superintendent, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, stated via teleconference that many members of the school board testified last year on this legislation, and instead of testifying again, asked if there were any questions. She continued to say that she had already gone on record as supporting certain sections of the bill, and she had the greatest problem with the additional days in the school term without corresponding funding. Number 080 CHAIR BUNDE shared the same concerns about the longer school year and how the days would be used. He asked what Ms. Rubadeau's reaction would be to taking the in-service days out of the current academic year and using the longer school year for in-service. MS. RUBADEAU referred to Mr. Kronsberg's testimony and agreed with his comments on staff development. She indicated that the Kenai schools had gone to a school based staff development model. Local schools had developed goals which drive staff development in-service programs. She continued to say that the in-service programs had been much more meaningful and the teachers found that placing in-service days strategically throughout the year, like holidays, when many students whose parents work for the state or government are home, helped. It had been a benefit to put them throughout the school year, because depending on the goals, the teachers could carry the theme throughout the year. CHAIR BUNDE asked about the possibility of a tenure program that mirrored the college tenure program. He said there was a longer period of time with a number of reviews before tenure was actually granted, then a revisiting of the tenure process five to ten years into a teacher's career. MS. RUBADEAU stated the school board of Kenai officially went on record saying that they supported a longer tenure period because it would be a benefit to the district. She said that very often two years was really 18 months and it didn't give them the length of time to counsel teachers or work with ones that needed to make changes. As far as a tenure review board was concerned, she stated that in testimony last year it was considered an administrative level issue, where the district really had worked over the last four to five years with administrators to heighten awareness and their evaluation supervision skills. Number 115 CHAIR BUNDE clarified Ms. Rubadeau's statement asking if he understood correctly that Kenai was not supportive of a peer review process. MS. RUBADEAU said, no; especially with all the different students. She stated that anytime a review process considers denying tenure, it would be a nonretention. Often there is the need for high level confidentiality with regard to those proceedings. She felt it would be inappropriate at that point to involve a student voice at all. Number 130 CHAIR BUNDE agreed about the student, but clarified that he was asking about peer review. He explained, peer review would be one elementary teacher evaluating the performance of another elementary school teacher based on knowledge. They would work with the teacher being reviewed and be involved in numerous opportunities for observation. Chair Bunde observed that the problem with the current tenure system was the principal was often involved in many other things and would not get into the classroom enough. Number 136 MS. RUBADEAU agreed and restated that was why Kenai was putting more emphasis on evaluation and supervision. She mentioned that if a principal felt a teacher was having a problem, a mentor teacher would be assigned to the struggling teacher. She termed it a coaching system and said that they do have a great deal of peer involvement; and the administrator would then do the evaluation. CHAIR BUNDE asked if a single person made the decision to grant tenure or not to a person. MS. RUBADEAU informed Chair Bunde that the school board made the final decision of whether to grant tenure or not. CHAIR BUNDE stated that, in reality, none of those people ever observed that teacher in action. The recommendation of that principal was basically the only information the school board would have had. MS. RUBADEAU agreed unless there were reservations included in the recommendation. In that case there would be months of observation and help from different staff members outside of the central office. She continued to say that teachers would have been very involved if it were a questionable tenure review. Number 173 CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any other questions for Ms. Rubadeau. There were none. (CHAIRMAN BUNDE called a recess at 2:23 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 2:45 p.m.) TAPE 93-71, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE asked John Cyr to testify. Number 050 MR. JOHN CYR, Vice President, National Education Association (NEA), Anchorage, stated that NEA AK continued to be frustrated at the lack of actual involvement by those in the profession. There seemed to be a conscious effort to exclude those who work with children. There were only six teachers on the original committee for AK 2000. He said the NEA was a vested interest interested in and committed to the improvement of schools and the improvement of the lives and education of children. He said there were three major pieces of legislation that had come from the AK 2000 movement. The first was the foundation program budget and the school finance bill. He said the state board wanted to mandate through Rural Educational Area Attendance (REAA) regulation the requirement to contribute locally to their districts. He felt the change in funding would dramatically affect poor communities that had no tax base. He said NEA AK supported the concept of local contribution based upon the ability to pay and equity for all students in terms of financial support. The question was how would this work in REAA's with no tax base and no organized government to levy and collect taxes. He said NEA AK supported vocational education, but not at the expense of gifted and talented programs nor the integrity of categorical programs. Furthermore, the gifted and talented program cap would penalize children by arbitrarily limiting state funds to only 4.5% of the district students. MR. CYR commented further on the minimum school community size saying that the board had also recommended changing the minimum school funding community size to ten students by fiscal 1999. Without state funding, several organizable groups of students would no longer have local schools and the benefits of certified teachers in their home community. He stated that no student should be deprived of a quality education regardless of where he or she lived. The board would establish the Alaska school price index as a replacement for the current area cost differential in the foundation formula. The price index was based on a hypothetically weighted educational goods and services market basket mix. NEA AK supported the concept of relating costs of operating a school district in different parts of the state to actual educational costs rather than market basket items. Mr. Cyr said, however, that the foundation unit would have to be fully funded and that the change in differential should not be a method of shifting state funding from some school district to others. In regards to the capital improvement program, MR. CYR stated that the NEA AK supported shared capital projects based on a community's ability to pay. Again, the question concerning the recommendation would be how REAA's with no tax base and no organized government would be able to raise their local share. MR. CYR said that the area that had raised the most concern -- proposed educational legislation and regulation change -- would increase school days. He further said that the state board would increase the number of days in the school year from the current 180 to 200 days by the year 2000. There had been no significant discussion concerning why additional days were added. Realistic consideration had not been given to the increased cost that would be incurred with that recommendation. After factoring in an annual inflation in an 11% increase in actual operating costs, NEA AK estimated this recommendation would cost at least $77,000,000. MR. CYR commented on charter schools, saying that the board would establish charter schools on application and approval by local board and state board. He said NEA AK did not support the recommendation on charter schools. Charter schools had the potential to use public money for private interest to circumvent the negotiated agreements and to establish elite schools which do not value the inclusion of students of all abilities and all ethnic, social and economic backgrounds. The NEA asked what could happen in a charter school that couldn't happen in a public school. He said that the state need only look at the Anchorage School District to look at different types and styles of public education. MR. CYR stated that on the topic of tenure the board would amend current tenure law to establish a local tenure review committee which would evaluate and make a recommendation before a teacher would be granted tenure. He said NEA AK supported the current teacher tenure law which protects academic freedom, provides for termination for incompetence, insubordination, or moral turpitude. He stated that the proposed changes would have the potential for seriously jeopardizing a fair and just evaluation of new teachers. He said that personnel matters were confidential. He expressed concern that the present recommendation may violate the confidential employee/employer relationship under the current law. Nearly every comment to date had stressed the lack of evaluative procedure. He thought that perhaps what the NEA AK should address is evaluation reform and not tenure reform. Finally, MR. CYR commented on mandatory advisory school boards. He said the board would establish a mandatory advisory school board in communities within a district of 50 or more permanent students. He said NEA AK supported involvement of parents in the community. However, the NEA did not believe involvement should be mandated by the state. The purposes and expectations of advisory school boards were vague. Mr. Cyr said that nobody had laid out any plan, or talked about what would happen when their ideas conflicted with local school boards, or when their proposals conflicted with existing state law. MR. CYR said that there were some AK 2000 recommendations which promised vision and opportunities for Alaskan students. However, without a commitment to fund these recommendations, the NEA had little hope to see any improvement. Mr. Cyr finished by saying class size, multicultural and minority student concerns, and at- risk students leave a definite void in the report. Number 080 CHAIR BUNDE mentioned that he shared Mr. Cyr's concern that not enough of the resident experts, the teachers from the classroom, have had an opportunity to discuss the issues. He stated that he had personally called every elementary school in Anchorage and invited them to notify their teachers and assured them he would stay as long as there were any who wished to testify. CHAIR BUNDE continued to talk about minimum school size throughout the state. He stated that last year there were 21 schools in Alaska that had a school population of 12 or fewer, and each school was very expensive. There were two schools, one with a population of three and another with four, that included the teacher's children as well. He felt that it was coming to a point where the state could not afford to do everything for everyone. There were choices available, and with decreasing revenues, we needed to put the money where it would do the most good for the majority of people. CHAIR BUNDE agreed by saying it would be a useful course as we go through the process of hearings on the bill. Two years seemed to be a short period of time to be evaluated for a career decision that would affect the rest of one's life. He asked Mr. Cyr his reaction to the two year evaluation plan. Number 123 MR. CYR said that in some of the districts of the state, local administrators were mandated to make a certain number of formal evaluations of nontenured teachers, as well as a number of informal evaluations. Their function was to do evaluations on nontenured teachers. Those teachers were then put on a plan of improvement if they needed it or they were encouraged or linked with a mentor teacher. The second year, if those nontenure teachers hadn't met the goal in their plan of improvement, they were again counseled and put into other positions outside the school district. Given that some districts had an active program with active administrators observing and mentoring and counseling nontenured teachers, he did not believe two years was too short a time period. He suggested looking at how the districts were proceeding with their evaluations. Number 146 CHAIR BUNDE commented that some teachers got shorted when the administrators had fires to put out elsewhere in the building. Number 150 MR. CYR stated that the focus of AK 2000 should be on instruction. There was nothing in the bill that would make instruction better. Number 171 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS commented on tenure versus evaluation. She stated that she saw it as a real problem. She felt the time had come to sit down and review what was being done for tenure rights for teachers. She felt that if there was a problem in the district with tenure and all the responsibility had been on the principal, that meant they couldn't always get into the classroom to do an evaluation. Then it would seem that the school district would want to take on the responsibility to make the change. She felt that perhaps it should be the responsibility of more people. She said it should be more people at the district level or it should be a district-wide team that would go along and do the evaluation with the principal involved. She further stated that was how it was done in Texas. CHAIR BUNDE said it was a concern to his constituents. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS stated that she was misunderstood and that it was a concern, but asked if they really understood the problem. CHAIR BUNDE stated that academic freedom was a side of the tenure coin that he would defend very strongly. He didn't want to get rid of tenure, but felt that some type of revision of tenure was needed to keep the broad general constituency. He mentioned his surprise when he discovered only 35% of the Anchorage parents had children in the school system. He said that if legislation did not reach the broad group out there, and if it didn't have a vested interest, there were going to be some problems in keeping what we had, much less improving. Number 219 MR. CYR requested a final comment on tenure. He said the misunderstanding was what tenure really was and what it did. Tenure, in this state, provided an employee with due process rights. It gave an employee the right to review and the right to be terminated for specific reasons. He continued to say that throughout private industry, except in limited circumstances, employees were protected by contracts and had due process rights. The right to fair hearings, the right to listen to and face their accusers, etc. That was what tenure did and somehow there was a feeling that tenure gave you a right to your job forever. He felt that to be untrue and said the key is the process. CHAIR BUNDE stated that a periodic review would put the public more at ease. It was the occasional bad apple that splashed on all, that was what the public used to evaluate tenure. Number 283 MR. ROB PFISTERER, President, Anchorage Education Association, stated that most things he was addressing related to the overall picture of AK 2000. He said the vision of AK 2000 was to graduate a world class student, who communicated effectively, thought logically and critically, nurtured creative talents, possessed vocational and technical skills, was a responsible citizen, committed to health and fitness, sustained himself economically, and had self-esteem. He felt these were all worthy goals for every student, but he saw nothing in the AK 2000 documents that addressed how to fund the world class education system. On the contrary, he said legislation had continually cut education budgets, in Anchorage especially. At a time when Anchorage and other communities were groveling for educational funding, AK 2000 brought to the forefront school choice and charter schools. He felt the very name was misleading and did not provide for world class education for all Alaskans. Rather, it rewarded parents for removing their children from public schools and placing them in private or parent teacher created schools. What that meant was that public funds, already scarce to our schools, would be removed and given to nonpublic schools. He questioned how that would improve schools. He said it was as though the state, which pays no income tax, no sales tax, and no school tax, was acting as though it was in an economic crisis. He expressed the only crisis was one of priority. He suggested that teachers in Anchorage had never been afraid of allowing students to choose alternative schools, citing SAVE I, SAVE II, Stellar High School, Chugach optional, Northern Lights ABC, Central ABC, Birchwood ABC, AVAIL, REACH, and many other schools. Yet, all these schools had been created under existing statutes and regulations. MR. PFISTERER further stated that in each school, children were taught by certified teachers who were evaluated by trained administrators. He questioned why, under AK 2000, the Department of Education (DOE) felt it necessary to provide waivers to regulations for the aforementioned schools. He said the DOE spoke from both sides of its mouth. When teacher tenure and evaluations were being addressed they adopted aggressive stances. They wanted tenure review, longer time for acquisition, and a seven year limit. When the DOE spoke of evaluation they wanted to include parents, students, and administrators. He said he would like to know what profession in this state was evaluated in such a manner. He felt that only in education did it seem that those outside the education system know more than the professional educator. MR. PFISTERER also thought it was highly irregular that the DOE in AK 2000 was recommending stiffer certification standards which the Anchorage Education Association (AEA) supported while at the same time they were requesting information from AEA about allowing people to enter the profession with relaxed standards. In other words, alternative certification. The AEA believed that students needed and deserved to have teachers that had met quality teacher standards. In the case of technology and teacher training, he stated that the AEA had no objections to the AK 2000 recommendations. He did question how the technology was to be provided without proper funding. Students needed to be trained in the technology they would find in the workplace. However, as school districts were placed in the situation of having to cut $13-$15 million from budgets, as Anchorage did this year, he wondered how they were to provide this technology. He felt that it all came back to adequately funding schools. It also came back to the fact that Alaskans did not tax themselves for schools. Number 375 CHAIR BUNDE asked for questions. There were none. Chair Bunde commented that in Anchorage, the ABC schools and all those in between may indeed serve the role that some people envision as the role that charter schools will serve. He asked if this was working in smaller districts and rural districts. Number 400 MR. PFISTERER said he was not certain. A school within a school is another option available for different people who would want different teaching methods for their children. Number 434 CHAIR BUNDE commented that he understood the charter schools as they were conceived. They would have to work within the guidelines of state law and district requirements. It appeared that one of the goals people had in mind for charter schools was greater parental involvement. However, the state could not mandate that involvement. A school's success or failure would ultimately have to depend on parental involvement. Number 450 MR. PFISTERER said for a number of years people had this concept that schools were going to solve all problems. He felt people needed to start viewing the entire system of education as a system that needed involvement from the community level down. He felt that if, as parents, we did not educate our children properly we would end up with people who would have difficult times getting jobs and living in society. They would be more prone to drugs and dropping out of school due to low self-esteem. Number 484 CHAIR BUNDE agreed that society as a whole is responsible for the education of our children and that schools were now filling a parental role. He felt the question was how to get parents involved in the system. Number 518 MR. PFISTERER commented that he believed that it was a major problem that we continue to have in our society. Alternative schools sometimes require a certain number of volunteer hours on the part of the parents. He stated that the parent would not have to be there, but they would have to do something that would aid the class. It would tie into their role in their child's education. He felt that if we could not get parental involvement by voluntary measures, he wasn't sure how to do it. And, he wasn't sure that mandating involvement would be successful either. Number 539 CHAIR BUNDE asked for other questions or comments? There were none. Number 544 MS. PAM CONRAD, President, Mat-Su Education Association, stated that the largest area of concern was charter schools. The provisions included exempted schools from textbook programs, curriculum, and scheduling requirements. Local school boards would provide charter schools with an annual budget, and admission would be based on students within an age group or a grade level, and students with special affinities. She said that schools were not even funded at the 1987 level and that the association was opposed to diverting limited funds to charter schools. She stated that in Mat-Su there were many portable classrooms in all schools. Programs had been dropped and student population had continued to increase. She said there was a shortage of teaching supplies, textbooks, and even custodial supplies. She cited walls that were crumbling, roofs that were leaking, and that the DOE wanted to establish a separate facility with accompanying staff and supplies. She wondered where the money would come from. She said there was concern that charter schools would use public dollars for private interest, disregard negotiated agreements, and establish elite schools. She felt charter schools would not stress the value of every student. Charter or choice schools would then become no choice for those students of differing abilities, disadvantaged backgrounds, behavioral problems, emotional and special needs, or special affinities. She felt that there were many options in place already for teachers and parents. She urged the legislature to fully fund the school district budgets and provide means for every Alaskan public school to become schools of choice. Number 628 CHAIR BUNDE asked if Mat-Su had a zone-exemption program. Number 639 MS. CONRAD replied that there were no optional schools at that time. She said that people who preferred a certain teacher, teaching method, philosophy, or grade level could get waivers for their children to attend if they provided transportation. Number 659 CHAIR BUNDE commented that fully funding education was a frustration for all. He said that as much as it was needed, the state based our budget this year on $18 billion, and it had decreased to $13 billion and was now up to $16 billion. The state had a shortfall. The state also provided a significant amount of construction money in the budget, which in turn, legislators were beat up on for spending too much money. MS. CONRAD said, "We must keep the thought in mind that our priority is to educate children. We must look at how our funds are being spent. If educations is a priority, education could be fully funded without devastating any other program." CHAIR BUNDE asked which welfare program she would like to take the money from. He said the committee was not anti- education, but the greatest good was trying to be gotten from the available dollars. MS. CONRAD reiterated that education could not be cut, it needed to be more fully funded. CHAIR BUNDE stated that there were 21 schools in the state that had a student population of 12 or fewer students and they cost well in excess of $100,000 per school to run. He questioned what could be done to the teacher pupil ratio in Mat-Su with that money. MS. CONRAD agreed. TAPE 93-71, SIDE B (tape counter not reset) Number 659 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT commented about Ms. Conrad's remark regarding a mandate from the state to provide a public education. He felt the dilemma was that a public educational system is mandated. He questioned whether the state should fully fund it, and cited that much of the money was obtained through local contributions, and when one looks at the budget, one would see the deficits. He felt that the two number one programs for funding were education and corrections. MS. CONRAD said that charter schools are not the answer to the budget problem, stating that the current funds would spread even thinner. She felt that if what was being said was true, then there would be no rationalization for charter schools. Number 660 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT replied that the legislature did not control where the money was allocated, its entitlement, or pass through grants. He said the legislature could not control the number of students either. He questioned what charter schools were actually going to cost the state. He offered that if 50 students were taken out of public school and put a charter program it would cost the same in the charter program as it would in the public school system. He questioned as to per student; would it be a smaller or larger amount to educate that student? He said that the state was also going to have to look at what product we would want turned out. He felt that the level of spending was not really the issue, it was the outcome from that spending that was causing most of the alarm. He stated that he would be glad to support a 10% education increase if it would result in better SAT scores or better IOWA test scores. He said if the performance wasn't there then the 10% would be taken away. Number 696 MS. CONRAD asked Representative Kott to look at history, citing that Mat-Su test scores had been going up 3-5% every year and this year they were among the highest in the state. She asked why something couldn't be constructed from what was already there. She said to let the professionals do the changing and building along with community input. Number 706 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stated that the Alaska SAT scores were above all the national averages by quite a bit. He asked how the scores could continue to increase. He felt Ms. Conrad had made some very good points. He said the question was not whether the system was broken, it was how could it be further enhanced. Number 715 CHAIR BUNDE interjected by saying that the tenor of some of the testimony was that the bill was the HESS Committee's project. He told everyone to remember that it was a bill from the administration. He felt a compromise was being sought that would meet the needs of a broad based population. Unfortunately, he said, there would be some at both extremes that would not be happy. He questioned whether the greatest good could be achieved. He expressed that a charter school's greatest attribute was that of parental and teacher involvement. MS. CONRAD stated that parent involvement was not an initiative with charter schools. She said that every school that she had ever been in was always asking for parent volunteers. She thought it was an ongoing part of education. She said that we as citizens were a bedroom community. Parents left at 6:30 a.m. and returned at 7:00 p.m. She said that they love their children dearly, but they could not come in that often. She stated that mandating involvement just would not work. She stated that what was in place at that time was not perfect, but was workable. Number 749 CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were further questions. There were none. Number 753 MR. VINCE BERRY, Director of Education Program Support, Department of Education, stated that he wanted to answer some of the questions that had arisen regarding the improvement of instruction. He stated that AK 2000 answered the need for improvement of instruction. He said it was a 38 piece plan for the improvement of instruction. Only five pieces were legislative in nature. One that was nonlegislative that had to do with the establishment of standards was being developed by experts in each field. People had been brought in from all over the state in order to demonstrate what was happening in all of the districts. Throughout the state of Alaska, he said that there were about 118,000 students and about 465 schools. He felt the standards being developed were supposed to capture the best things happening at each school. The standards were supposed to be world class. That meant that after 13 years in school our students should have been prepared for further education and training. Number 965 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE wished to have Mr. Berry clarify some points. First, regarding HB 84, he asked if the legislative requirements of AK 2000 were the recommendations of the full committee. Number 980 MR. BERRY clarified the point by saying that when AK 2000 started, the group that he was with was a mixed group of Alaskans from everywhere and that nobody had any specific axes to grind. The task was to come up with areas that would be included in AK 2000 for the State Board of Education to look at and get the word to the public. When that was done, there was a paring down of the recommendations by the state board. Then they sent the reduced number of recommendations out and everybody cut those down. The state board ended up with the 36-38 recommendations. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stated that in the bill there were the topics of extending the school term, tenure, and various other topics. He wanted to know why it wa specifically those spots that were picked up verses the need to address the change in technology that our students would be facing in the future. MR. BERRY answered that the issues in HB 84 were those that needed the legislature's blessing. Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE believed that there might have been some other issues that had been brought out and come through AK 2000 recommendations that might have enjoyed the legislative blessing as well, such as technology and perhaps daycare, as well as other issues of that sort. MR. BERRY said that committees had been formed for each of those issues along the lines of what was happening with the standards. He continued his reply by giving examples of committee members' background and meeting times. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE thanked Mr. Berry for his answer. CHAIR BUNDE asked for other questions or comments. Number 115 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked if the committee could obtain the information about the committee's right from the State Board of Education. Number 120 MR. BERRY said he would send the information. He added, if the committee had any comments, he would appreciate it if they would let him know. CHAIR BUNDE asked for further questions. There were none. He thanked Mr. Berry for his testimony. Number 125 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE excused himself from the meeting at 4:10 p.m. CHAIR BUNDE called an at-ease at 4:15 p.m. to give teachers who might have just gotten out of school an opportunity to arrive and testify. CHAIR BUNDE reconvened the meeting at 4:30 p.m., closed the testimony for those who already testified in Anchorage, and stated he would wait for teachers until 5:00 p.m. Number 196 SENATOR SALO commented that it was not fair to assume that teachers were not showing up to testify because of lack of interest in the issues. CHAIR BUNDE stated that he had called 65 elementary schools, and he felt that teachers would be there defending the tenure issue, at the very least. He also told each school that he would stay as long as necessary for them to finish their duties at school and then come down to testify. He did understand that there were demands on their time. SENATOR SALO told the committee that the Senate had worked long and hard on the companion bill and amended it in several ways. She thought the teachers might not be responding to the tenure issue because they rated tenure as a very low priority on a recent questionnaire. CHAIR BUNDE thanked Senator Salo for her testimony. He continued to say that tenure may not be an important issue within the educational community, but it was a big issue to the public. Approximately 25% of the feed back from Hillside constituents told Chair Bunde that they would like to see tenure eliminated or seriously readjusted. SENATOR SALO clarified that the survey for Alaska 2000 went out to the general public. The committee process also involved a wide range of people. Their focus was not tenure. CHAIR BUNDE told Senator Salo that he appreciated her point of view. However, he felt that the information that he had been getting was different. He was interested in talking to the general teaching staff about the bill. The teachers did not usually get to travel to Juneau during the session, and they were the people that would have to implement the changes. He said that the committee had heard much testimony from the administration and some school districts, but he was interested in hearing from the people that the bill would affect directly. TAPE 93-72, SIDE A (tape counter not reset) Number 253 MS. PETERSON responded to Senator Salo's comments on the survey. Ms. Peterson clarified that the survey was one that was taken prior to the action of the state board. In that survey it was stated that tenure would be reviewed every seven years. The people that answered the survey said either, "no, they didn't like that suggestion, please maintain status quo" or "no, I don't like the idea of reviewing tenure every seven years, please eliminate tenure all together." When the survey came out, tenure was at the bottom or near the bottom as far as support. It wasn't that they didn't want tenure reform, it appeared to be that they did not like the idea of having the seven year review process or they didn't want tenure all together. As the survey came out it did not really show what the people who responded and who reported in to the DOE actually felt on that issue. Number 269 SENATOR SALO asked Ms. Peterson for a copy of the actual information. She said the survey results she had was not the same as Ms. Peterson's information. MS. SHEILA PETERSON said she would try to get that information to her. Number 277 CHAIR BUNDE asked Senator Salo if she would share her perspective from the Senate side on the Alaska 2000 bill, specifically, lengthening the school year and charter schools. Number 282 SENATOR SALO went through the major parts of the bill. In regards to lengthening of the school year, she said the issue was whether it would improve the quality of education in Alaska or not. A longer school year was not going to come free. It would be very costly. If parents were given a choice they would probably want to deal with the issue of class size instead. She thought that the part of the bill regarding the length of the school year had been amended. She stated that in regards to advisory boards that most schools in Alaska had some sort of parent advisory board. She thought the only change that was added was where a parent advisory board did not already exist. If there was a strong PTA structure in the school, that PTA group could continue to function in that capacity without having to meet the rigid structure that was in the original part of the bill. She said there were several amendments added to the part of the bill regarding charter schools, but it was not totally eliminated. On tenure, she said the section of tenure review was eliminated. Number 335 CHAIR BUNDE asked for further comments or questions. There were none. He then commented on the public image of teacher tenure. He said that if a teacher got tenure, they could never be fired. He stated that it was not true, but some people did think that it was. Number 350 SENATOR SALO asked to speak about one area of AK 2000 that she forgot to talk about. She continued to speak about the area added to the AK 2000 bill. She stated it was a strong statement about the mission of public education. Senator Salo felt that these additions changed the direction of the legislation substantially. Number 360 CHAIR BUNDE ended the meeting by saying that the committee would look forward to receiving the DOE's version of the bill, and that they would work together to come up with the most workable solution to the challenge of improving education in Alaska. Since there were no more people who wished to testify, the committee recessed until 5:00 p.m. CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.