Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/17/1993 01:32 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  The only order of business to  come before the committee was                 
  SB 61  (IMPLEMENT ALASKA  2000  RECOMMENDATIONS).   Chairman                 
  Rieger  indicated  that  the  committee   would  review  the                 
  legislation section by section.                                              
  SENATOR  SALO  referred  to the  first  section  relating to                 
  flexibility  in funding  grants  for school  improvement and                 
  said she would like an explanation as to why the words "to a                 
  district  located  in the  state"  on  page 3,  line  1, was                 
  deleted.  The sentence  would then read, "The fund  shall be                 
  used by the commissioner  to make grants for the  purpose of                 
  improving public  school  performance."    SHEILA  PETERSON,                 
  Special Assistant, Department of Education, said the wording                 
  was  deleted  at the  drafter's request  as  he felt  it was                 
  redundant  when  the  word  "public"   was  inserted.    She                 
  indicated  the department  wouldn't object to  inserting the                 
  wording back in the bill.                                                    
  Senator Salo moved  that the following amendment  be adopted                 
  as Amendment  #1:  Page  3, line 1,  delete "[TO A  DISTRICT                 
  LOCATED IN THE  STATE]."  Insert  "to a district located  in                 
  the state."                                                                  
  SENATOR LEMAN objected  saying he didn't feel  the amendment                 
  was necessary.   A  hand count was  taken as  to who  was in                 
  favor of Amendment #1.  Senators Ellis, Sharp, Salo, Miller,                 
  and  Rieger were in favor of the  motion.  Senator Leman was                 
  against the motion.  Senator  Duncan wasn't present for  the                 
  Number 117                                                                   
  Senator  Salo said she believes that  the sections that deal                 
  with flexibility  in funding  grants for  school improvement                 
  are very  important and are  good aspects of the  bill.  She                 
  discussed survey results  that were taken during  the Alaska                 
  2000 project.                                                                
  SENATOR ELLIS said Section 1 states the purpose.  He said in                 
  previous years, he  introduced legislation to set  goals for                 
  public education.   The legislation passed the  House almost                 
  unanimously,  but  was  opposed  throughout  the  process by                 
  Commissioner  Covey and people  of Alaska 2000.   They asked                 
  that the bill  not be  passed as  they were  doing the  same                 
  thing with Alaska 2000.  Senator Ellis said they opposed his                 
  legislation every step  of the  way and didn't  do the  same                 
  thing as the bill  did.  He said he doesn't  believe that SB
  61  is  an  adequate  statement  of  goals  for  the  public                 
  education system.   Section 1 is  inadequate and he said  he                 
  hopes to bring an amendment forward at a later date.                         
  SENATOR RIEGER  said  the committee  would discuss  sections                 
  which deal with  increasing the school  term.  SENATOR  SALO                 
  explained she believes  there are better ways  to expend the                 
  money  which would be  used for  extending the  school term.                 
  She gave committee members a written amendment.                              
  Senator Rieger  pointed out to  the committee that  there is                 
  written testimony  submitted  by the  Association of  Alaska                 
  School Boards and NEA-Alaska.                                                
  Senator Salo referred  to her amendment  and said the  basic                 
  concept is to spend  the money that it would  cost to extend                 
  the school year on increasing  the instructional unit by  $1                 
  thousand.  She moved that Amendment #2 be adopted:                           
  Page 2, lines 3-28:                                                          
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  "*Sec. 7.  AS 14.17.056 is amended to read:                                  
       Sec.  14.17.056.    instructional  unit  value.     The                 
       INSTRUCTIONAL UNIT VALUE IS $62,000 [$61,000]."                         
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  Number 248                                                                   
  SENATOR MILLER objected to the adoption of Amendment #2.                     
  SENATOR ELLIS  said the  department has  contended that  the                 
  legislation  won't cost anything  as there is  a zero fiscal                 
  note.   He asked if it  is theoretical money.   SENATOR SALO                 
  said  there  is a  zero  fiscal  note but  there  is written                 
  material saying the estimated cost to extend the school year                 
  would be about $3 million per day.   She said if she recalls                 
  correctly, if the unit value is increased by $1 thousand, it                 
  would be $35 to $50 million.  If the school year were  to be                 
  increased by three days the cost would be over $10 million.                  
  CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked what the fiscal affect would be per $1                 
  thousand.  MS. PETERSON  said she believe it would  be about                 
  $12  million for  each  $1 thousand  increment  in the  unit                 
  Senator Ellis asked if  there is also flexibility of  school                 
  districts  wanting  to increase  the  hours of  contact time                 
  during  the  day  to  achieve  their  goal.    Ms.  Peterson                 
  indicated the answer  is "yes."   She explained  it has  the                 
  educational equivalent of 183 days.   Senator Ellis referred                 
  to the amendment  and said he  supports the increase in  the                 
  instructional unit value.                                                    
  Number 299                                                                   
  SENATOR SHARP referred  to Amendment #2 being  extensive and                 
  said  he would have  to vote against  it unless  he had more                 
  time to review it.                                                           
  CHAIRMAN RIEGER said he is under the impression the solution                 
  to part of the puzzle is increased contact time.  He said he                 
  will be opposing Amendment #2.                                               
  SENATOR DUNCAN said he will support  the amendment.  He said                 
  he  is having  a  hard time  understanding  the argument  of                 
  increased contact time if it is not quality contact time.                    
  SENATOR SALO  referred to  the urban schools  and said  most                 
  people would agree  that the  biggest problem they  probably                 
  face is  class size.   A  big  problem in  rural schools  is                 
  course offerings,  not  being able  to  offer a  variety  of                 
  courses, and  not having the number of  instructors that are                 
  trained in those courses.  She said that is why she believes                 
  that the instructional unit value is a quid pro  quo for the                 
  amount of time  in school because  the quality of  education                 
  versus the  quantity  is  enhanced  by the  ability  of  the                 
  district  to  offer  smaller  class  size or  better  course                 
  offerings.    Senator Salo  said  the increased  school year                 
  section of the bill has  tremendous opposition from parents,                 
  particularly in the rural areas where  going to fish camp is                 
  a very important part of life and education.                                 
  Senator Salo said she would be happy to share with members a                 
  different  amendment  with  an  entirely  different  concept                 
  before the next meeting.  CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked Senator Salo                 
  if  she  wanted to  withdraw  Amendment  #2.   Senator  Salo                 
  indicated she did.                                                           
  There was  general discussion regard  lengthening the school                 
  year and contact time.                                                       
  Number 425                                                                   
  Senator Salo  moved  that  Amendment  #3 be  adopted.    The                 
  following is Amendment #3:                                                   
  Page 2, lines 3-28:                                                          
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  "*Sec.  7. AS 14.17.056 is amended  to read: "Sec 14.17.056.                 
  INSTRUCTIONAL UNIT VALUE.   The instructional unit  value is                 
  $61,000,  except  that  for a  district  that  increases the                 
  district's school term to not less than 183 days in session,                 
  the instructional unit value is $62,000."                                    
  Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                            
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  Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                             
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       Insert "Section 19".                                                    
  Senator Salo explained that Amendment  #3 would put a fiscal                 
  note on  the bill.   Instead of  having a  mandated 183  day                 
  school year,  it would  allow  the districts  to access  the                 
  increased unit amount  if they  go to 183  day school  year.                 
  She noted  it does not continue  to 200 days, it  deals with                 
  their  incremental  increase.   Senator  Salo  requested the                 
  committee members to review her amendment.                                   
  Senator Rieger said the amendment would  be heard at the end                 
  of  the  discussion  on SB  61,  so  he  would consider  the                 
  amendment not offered.                                                       
  Number 464                                                                   
  SENATOR ELLIS referred  to "in  service days"  and asked  if                 
  they should  be considered in  addition to the  school days.                 
  He asked  if districts  should be given  the flexibility  to                 
  deal with that.   Senator Salo said they can  currently take                 
  their  in  service time,  up  to  ten days,  out  of student                 
  contact time.   She noted  it is viewed  as student  contact                 
  time by the department for the purpose of funding, etc.  She                 
  explained that  some  districts have  longer teacher  school                 
  years.   Some have  accessed the  full ten  days and  others                 
  access rarely and not to the extent of the full ten days.                    
  The   next  section  the  committee  discussed  was  tenure.                 
  SENATOR DUNCAN indicated  concern that tenure is part of the                 
  bill.  He said he has not seen the justification or the need                 
  to change tenure rights.   Senator Duncan referred to  SB 61                 
  and moved to delete  everything beginning on page 4,  line 1                 
  through page 6,  line 28.  He  said his intent is  to delete                 
  the  discussion  regarding  tenure.     There  were  several                 
  objections to Senator Duncan's motion.                                       
  CHAIRMAN RIEGER said  he would like to hear  brief testimony                 
  from DOE, the  Association of Alaska School Boards, and NEA-                 
  VINCE BARRY, Director, Education Program Support, Department                 
  of Education, said throughout Alaska  2000, the tenure issue                 
  was divisive.  One of the points that he found while looking                 
  at the issue  was that  a vast majority  of school  teachers                 
  thought  the  U.S. was  doing an  excellent  job.   About 94                 
  percent of them don't have any problems.  Mr. Barry said the                 
  teachers themselves  make the  point that  the retaining  of                 
  poor  teachers  has to  do  with  the administration.    The                 
  administration   falls  short  in  terms  of  the  valuative                 
  process.  Mr. Barry explained that the Alaska 2000 Committee                 
  recommended  local  tenure  review  boards  to  improve  the                 
  process of  teacher evaluation.   The overall effect  of the                 
  proposal in the bill is accountability for management.                       
  CHAIRMAN  RIEGER said he seems to remember the complaint, by                 
  the education administration, that the tenure award came too                 
  fast.  Actually,  only after  about one year  of teaching  a                 
  decision could  be  made even  though the  statute says  two                 
  years.   He asked  when  a school  district  has to  make  a                 
  decision on tenure.   Mr. Barry said the decision is made at                 
  the signing of the third contract.                                           
  Number 564                                                                   
  CARL ROSE, Executive Director,  Association of Alaska School                 
  Boards,  said  he  has  submitted  written  testimony   that                 
  expresses the association's position.   SB 61 is an  attempt                 
  to contribute to  a higher standard of  professional conduct                 
  for performance in the  classroom.  He said he  believes the                 
  bill falls short  of what it was  intended to do.   Mr. Rose                 
  proposed  that  equal  attention  be  paid  to  professional                 
  preparation,  supervision,  and  evaluation.   He  said  the                 
  tenure  portion  may   entail  some   costs,  but  it   will                 
  demonstrate proficiency.  He said it goes along way when you                 
  are giving the system enough  time to accurately evaluate so                 
  that you can have success in  the classroom.  He noted  that                 
  any real reform which is going to take place will take place                 
  in  the  classroom  or  it  won't  take place  at  all.    A                 
  suggestion  is  that some  attention  be  paid to  not  only                 
  instruction,   but   also  to   building   level  leadership                 
  administration through supervision of  evaluation.  Mr. Rose                 
  said  the  whole  idea right  now  is  that  in most  school                 
  districts you actually have about eighteen months before you                 
  make  a  decision whether  you are  going  to retain  or not                 
  retain someone.                                                              
  TAPE 93-12, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  Mr.  Rose said  there  has been  some criticisms  by teacher                 
  groups where they don't agree with the evaluation process or                 
  the time lines that  are involved.  He said  the association                 
  believes that  there is  great credibility  in the  issue of                 
  licensure.    He said  he thinks  that  a document  could be                 
  created that  licenses our  professionals.   By saying  that                 
  people aren't  only certified,  but they  are also  licensed                 
  would  go a  long  way with  the  public.   He  continued to                 
  discuss how the tenure process currently works.                              
  Mr. Rose said  another concern  identified by school  boards                 
  was personal files  being handled in  public, by people  who                 
  aren't elected and don't have any bounds to confidentiality.                 
  He said  it could  be a  legal concern.   He said  currently                 
  there  are  four  provisions  for  not  retaining  a  tenure                 
  teacher:  1. Incompetence 2.  Immorality; 3. Substantial non                 
  compliance; and 4. A reduction in student enrollment.                        
  SENATOR SALO explained that tenure  also gives protection on                 
  freedom of  speech.  She said there was  a court case out of                 
  Seward in  the  1970s  where two  teachers  were  fired  for                 
  writing  a   letter   to  the   newspaper  criticizing   the                 
  superintendent.  That  condition still  exists in the  state                 
  for all nontenure  teachers.   There was general  discussion                 
  regarding tenure.                                                            
  Number 119                                                                   
  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President, NEA-Alaska, said the  section of                 
  the bill relating to tenure really doesn't address the issue                 
  of improving education.  It is  a section that speaks to how                 
  to form a local review board.   She said NEA-Alaska strongly                 
  supports  competent  and professional  evaluation practices.                 
  Too  often  teacher  evaluation  procedures  are  done  just                 
  because  the law  demands it rather  than as a  way to guide                 
  staff   development   and  improve   instructional  quality.                 
  Currently,  teacher  evaluations  are  little  more  than  a                 
  proforma administrative duty in some districts.  It receives                 
  minimal resources and occupies, often  times, a low priority                 
  on an administrator's  agenda.   NEA-Alaska has been  asking                 
  for better quality in evaluations for  years, but SB 61 goes                 
  in the  wrong direction.  Rather than  a better professional                 
  evaluation practice or a more rigorous effort on the part of                 
  administrators,   SB    61   appears   to    relieve   those                 
  administrators of their evaluation responsibility.  It would                 
  limit academic freedom.                                                      
  Ms. Douglas referred  to the local  tenure review boards  in                 
  the legislation and said it doesn't set out any requirements                 
  or  criteria  for the  five to  nine  members of  the review                 
  committee.   There  is  no  provision  for teachers  or  the                 
  association to share in the appointment  process.  It is not                 
  clear if the sixteen year old member is from that community.                 
  She asked if tenure is going  to become a popularity contest                 
  or politicized.   There is  no requirement  that the  tenure                 
  review  committee  will  have any  first  hand  knowledge of                 
  actual working experience or observations  of the teacher in                 
  his/her  classroom.    There  is   no  indication  that  the                 
  committee members  would be qualified  professionally or  by                 
  experience to decide whether that teacher deserves tenure or                 
  not.   Ms.  Douglas  said  the  authority  of  the  building                 
  principal  is  confusing.    She  said NEA-Alaska  has  some                 
  concerns about possible litigation.   Denial of tenure could                 
  be a reason for filing a  claim against due process or equal                 
  protection.   There  could be  a  claim against  a committee                 
  without any guidelines, criteria, or  training.  There would                 
  be widely differing results from  one district to another as                 
  to  what the  criteria  will  be.    She  said  it  will  be                 
  expensive.  Ms. Douglas referred to a report from Department                 
  of Education  in terms of  the number of  nontenure teachers                 
  during the year 1991-1992.  Statewide, there were over 1,000                 
  nontenure  teachers as  opposed  to  6,000 tenure  teachers.                 
  There is the potential of 500  people, every year, having to                 
  go before a  local tenure review  committee.  She said  they                 
  have great concern with the idea  of the local tenure review                 
  boards.   Ms.  Douglas  said she  thinks  there should  more                 
  resources and time to make sure that  teachers in classrooms                 
  are excellent outstanding people.  She noted she appreciates                 
  the  comments  made by  Mr.  Rose regarding  evaluations and                 
  Number 215                                                                   
  SENATOR SHARP asked  what the requirements are for a teacher                 
  to  become  certificated.   Ms.  Douglas  explained  that to                 
  receive a "Type A Certificate," you  would have to have come                 
  through an accredited program.  Senator Sharp asked if there                 
  is a written exam qualifications prior  to full tenure.  Ms.                 
  Douglas said there isn't in Alaska.                                          
  CHAIRMAN RIEGER  indicated concern  with the  advisory board                 
  appointing a student over sixteen and the publication of the                 
  results.  He  said he  could support an  amended version  of                 
  Senator Duncan's  amendment  which  would  give  the  school                 
  boards an extra year to  train, mentor, and review  teachers                 
  before tenure is granted.                                                    
  SENATOR DUNCAN asked  if he was suggesting  to change tenure                 
  from two to three years and  delete the review section which                 
  would create the advisory boards or the local  tenure review                 
  committees.   Chairman Rieger  said "yes."   Senator  Duncan                 
  said he  wouldn't consider  that a  friendly amendment.   He                 
  said he would like a vote on his original amendment.                         
  Number 301                                                                   
  A  roll  call vote  was  taken  on Amendment  #4.   Senators                 
  Rieger, Sharp, Leman,  Miller voted  "no" to the  amendment.                 
  Senators Duncan, Ellis, Salo voted "yes."  So  the amendment                 
  Senator Duncan said he would like to offer another amendment                 
  which speaks to some of the points brought up about a better                 
  process or more evaluations during or prior to the period of                 
  time that someone achieves tenure.  He said it doesn't speak                 
  to  Chairman  Rieger's  concern  about changing  the  tenure                 
  requirement from two to three years as he doesn't think that                 
  is necessary.   He suggested  that maybe there  should be  a                 
  better evaluation process during the two  years.  He said he                 
  has a proposed  amendment which  would delete everything  in                 
  the bill - page 4, line 1 through page 6, line 28.  New bill                 
  sections would be inserted which would require an evaluation                 
  procedure.  The  one major change  in addition to  requiring                 
  evaluation procedures, it requires  the same evaluation  for                 
  not only teachers, but also administrators.  He continued to                 
  review the following Amendment #5:                                           
  Page 1, line 1:                                                              
       Delete "implementing certain recommendations  of Alaska                 
              2000 to improve"                                                 
       Insert "improving"                                                      
  Page 4, line 1 through page 6, line 28:                                      
       Delete all material                                                     
       Insert new bill sections to read:                                       
    "* Sec. 9.  AS 14.20.130 is amended to read:                               
            Sec.  14.20.130.     EMPLOYMENT  OF  TEACHERS  AND                 
       ADMINISTRATORS.   An  employer  may,  after January  1,                 
       issue  contracts  for  the  following  school  year  to                 
       employees  regularly qualified  in accordance  with the                 
       regulations  of  the department.    The contract  for a                 
       superintendent who qualifies under  AS 14.20.150(g) may                 
       be for more  than one  school year but  may not  exceed                 
       three consecutive school years.                                         
     * Sec. 10.  AS 14.20.150 is amended by  adding new                        
         subsections to read:                                                  
            (c)  Until a teacher  acquires tenure rights under                 
       this  section, the  teacher is on  probationary status.                 
       While a teacher  is on probationary status,  the school                 
       district shall evaluate the teacher's performance three                 
       times  each year.    If  teachers  in  a  district  are                 
       represented  by a  bargaining organization,  the school                 
       district and the  bargaining organization  representing                 
       teachers shall determine the evaluation process through                 
       negotiation between the bargaining organization and the                 
       district.    If   teachers  in   a  district  are   not                 
       represented   by   a   bargaining   organization,   the                 
       evaluation process  shall be determined  by negotiation                 
       between the teachers  and the district.   For teachers,                 
       the  evaluation  instrument  shall  be  developed  by a                 
       committee, the majority  of which shall be  composed of                 
       teachers who will be evaluated.                                         
            (d)    A   school  district   shall  evaluate   an                 
       administrator's performance  three times a  year during                 
       the first two years of an administrator's employment in                 
       the district.   For administrators, a committee  of the                 
       school board shall determine the evaluation instrument.                 
            (e)     If,   in  the   evaluation  process,   the                 
       performance of a  teacher or administrator is  found to                 
       be deficient, the  evaluator shall provide the  teacher                 
       or administrator with  an individual improvement  plan.                 
       The plan must  set out  specific, objective goals  that                 
       the teacher or  administrator must achieve in  order to                 
       secure a satisfactory evaluation.                                       
            (f)  A school district  shall provide training for                 
       evaluators in the  requirements of this section  and in                 
       the purposes and  procedures of  evaluation.  A  school                 
       district shall establish  in-service opportunities  for                 
       all   teachers   and   administrators  concerning   the                 
       evaluation system.                                                      
            (g)  An administrator who  has completed two years                 
       of  satisfactory  service  is eligible  to  receive  an                 
       employment contract that lasts for more than one year.                  
            (h)  In this section,                                              
                 (1) "administrator" includes a superintendent                 
       of schools, principal of a school, and a person charged                 
       with administrative responsibilities;                                   
                 (2)   "school district" includes a borough or                 
       city  school  district   and  a  regional   educational                 
       attendance area."                                                       
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  Number 357                                                                   
  Senator Duncan moved  that Amendment #5  be adopted.   There                 
  were several objections to the amendment.                                    
  SENATOR  SALO  asked  if  a  new  superintendent  in  Alaska                 
  wouldn't be issued  a contract for  more than one year  at a                 
  time until  they have  completed two  years of  satisfactory                 
  service.  They then could be  issued a contract up to  three                 
  years at a  time.  Senator Duncan  said she is correct.   He                 
  explained  that after  an  administrator  has completed  two                 
  years of  satisfactory service,  they would  be eligible  to                 
  receive an  employment contract that lasts for more than one                 
  year.    Sentor  Duncan continued  to  discuss  his feelings                 
  regarding  the  need  for  an  evaluation  process  for  the                 
  Senator  Salo  said in  most  districts, for  most nontenure                 
  teachers  two years is plenty of time to decide if they want                 
  the  person or if they don't.  She  said we take the risk of                 
  people  forcibly leaving  the  profession  after  two  years                 
  because they  don't get tenure.  Senator Salo explained that                 
  she is very  distressed that the tenure  review committee is                 
  included in the bill.   She indicated that it  wouldn't work                 
  well and it  has a  whole different philosophy.   A  teacher                 
  wouldn't lose their job  by not getting tenure.   The school                 
  district could continue  to employ the teacher.   Currently,                 
  if you don't receive tenure, you won't work for the district                 
  CHAIRMAN RIEGER explained  the committee is scheduled  to go                 
  into a  joint meeting  with the  House HESS  Committee.   He                 
  requested that Amendment #5 remain in a pending status.                      

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