Legislature(1993 - 1994)

10/20/1993 01:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                    
  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                      
  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                  
  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                       
  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                    
  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                      
  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                    
  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                       
  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                 
  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                    
  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                    
  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                 
  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                     
  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                     
  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                   
  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                         
  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                     
  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                    
  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                       
  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                 
  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                      
  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                 
  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                          
  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                        
  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                                                           
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  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                        
  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.                               

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