Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

03/31/2021 09:00 AM Senate EDUCATION

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09:02:59 AM Start
09:03:31 AM SB111
10:34:11 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 31, 2021                                                                                         
                           9:02 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Roger Holland, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                          
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 111                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to  the duties of  the Department  of Education                                                               
and Early  Development; relating  to public schools;  relating to                                                               
early  education   programs;  relating   to  funding   for  early                                                               
education programs; relating to  school age eligibility; relating                                                               
to reports by the Department  of Education and Early Development;                                                               
relating   to   reports   by  school   districts;   relating   to                                                               
certification and  competency of teachers; relating  to assessing                                                               
reading deficiencies and  providing reading intervention services                                                               
to  public  school  students   enrolled  in  grades  kindergarten                                                               
through three;  relating to textbooks  and materials  for reading                                                               
intervention  services; establishing  a  reading  program in  the                                                               
Department  of  Education  and  Early  Development;  relating  to                                                               
school  operating   funds;  relating   to  a   virtual  education                                                               
consortium; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 111                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EARLY EDUCATION; READING INTERVENTION                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
03/24/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/24/21       (S)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/26/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/26/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/26/21       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/29/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/29/21       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/29/21       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/31/21       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
DEENA BISHOP, Ph.D., Superintendent                                                                                             
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 111.                                                                           
KYMYONA BURK, Ed.D., Policy Director for Early Education                                                                        
Tallahassee, Florida                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified about early education policy.                                                                   
KATHERINE ELLSWORTH, Ph.D., Executive Director                                                                                  
Federal Programs, Mat-Su Borough School District                                                                                
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 111.                                                                           
BOB GRIFFIN, Senior Education Research Fellow                                                                                   
Alaska Policy Forum                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions                                                                 
Surrounding Alaska's K-12 Reading Crisis.                                                                                       
MARK LACKEY, Executive Director                                                                                                 
CCS Early Learning                                                                                                              
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified about SB 111 and Head Start                                                                     
ED KING, Staff                                                                                                                  
Senator Roger Holland                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the sectional analysis for SB 111                                                               
on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:02:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ROGER   HOLLAND  called  the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:02  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Stevens, Begich,  Hughes and  Chair Holland.                                                               
Senator Micciche arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                    
          SB 111-EARLY EDUCATION; READING INTERVENTION                                                                      
9:03:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 111                                                                
"An Act  relating to  the duties of  the Department  of Education                                                               
and Early  Development; relating  to public schools;  relating to                                                               
early  education   programs;  relating   to  funding   for  early                                                               
education programs; relating to  school age eligibility; relating                                                               
to reports by the Department  of Education and Early Development;                                                               
relating   to   reports   by  school   districts;   relating   to                                                               
certification and  competency of teachers; relating  to assessing                                                               
reading deficiencies and  providing reading intervention services                                                               
to  public  school  students   enrolled  in  grades  kindergarten                                                               
through three;  relating to textbooks  and materials  for reading                                                               
intervention  services; establishing  a  reading  program in  the                                                               
Department  of  Education  and  Early  Development;  relating  to                                                               
school  operating   funds;  relating   to  a   virtual  education                                                               
consortium; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
CHAIR  HOLLAND   said  the  meeting  would   begin  with  invited                                                               
testimony and then continue the  sectional analysis. He called on                                                               
invited testimony.                                                                                                              
9:03:59 AM                                                                                                                    
DEENA BISHOP,  Ph.D., Superintendent, Anchorage  School District,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska, said  that every child in  Alaska deserves the                                                               
fundamental right to learn to read.  SB 111 is the most important                                                               
piece of legislation  in her 31-career as  this legislation holds                                                               
school  districts  across  the state  accountable  to  the  great                                                               
mission that  every Alaskan  student reads  well by  third grade.                                                               
Her testimony will  focus on the reading components  of the bill.                                                               
People want to  make a lasting impact on student  learning in the                                                               
state  of Alaska.  A reading  bill is  critical. With  this bill,                                                               
school  districts,   in  conjunction   with  the   Department  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development (DEED),  are empowered to  set a                                                               
clear focus  to guide  implementation. This is  the real  work of                                                               
reading   improvement.   High-quality,   evidence-based   reading                                                               
instruction  matters to  all  students to  be  strong readers  by                                                               
third grade.  Clear legislation is necessary  to provide explicit                                                               
and  systematic instruction  in phonological  awareness, phonics,                                                               
vocabulary,  fluency,  and  comprehension strategies.  It  should                                                               
happen in  every primary  classroom. The  reading wars  are over.                                                               
Phonics and phonemic awareness are essential to reading.                                                                        
DR. BISHOP said that early  literacy screening tools administered                                                               
three times  a year  are critical  for identifying  students with                                                               
potential   reading    difficulties   and    monitoring   towards                                                               
proficiency.  That  is  key  in   the  bill.  She  would  suggest                                                               
revisiting  legislation  throughout  the  bill's  existence  with                                                               
updated reports to check on  implementation fidelity and learning                                                               
success in  Alaska's school districts.  She believes that  if the                                                               
state is doing this, it will see a difference.                                                                                  
DR.  BISHOP  said  that she  appreciates  the  preschool  funding                                                               
continuing  in  this  bill.  For  many  Alaskan  children,  early                                                               
interventions  in  reading skills  will  support  the outcome  of                                                               
reading by third grade.  Evidence-based reading interventions are                                                               
key. This would support having  a plan for intervening with those                                                               
students  not quite  reaching proficiency  every year.  This will                                                               
keep  their parents  informed and  keep them  as partners  in the                                                               
work.  It  may avoid  any  type  of retention.  Interventions  do                                                               
DR. BISHOP  said that statewide  teacher training on  the science                                                               
of  reading  is  essential.  This  is  not  generally  taught  in                                                               
preservice programs  at universities.  This provision  will drive                                                               
high-quality  training for  educators  and support  them in  this                                                               
work. Teaching all  children to read is hard  work and supporting                                                               
teachers in schools is essential.                                                                                               
DR. BISHOP  said that she  supports DEED having the  authority to                                                               
guide high-quality  reading instruction. The book  Shadows on the                                                               
Koyukuk by Sydney Huntington shows  the importance of reading for                                                               
all. Sydney  Huntington, an Alaska  Native, attended a  Bureau of                                                               
Indian Affairs school  prior to statehood. He only  went to third                                                               
grade. However, in  his book he states that the  greatest gift he                                                               
was ever given  in his school was the gift  of a teacher teaching                                                               
him to read. When  he could read, the world opened  up to him. He                                                               
is one  of Alaska's great elders.  When he learned to  read, life                                                               
changed  for  him. Just  like  Sydney  Huntington, every  Alaskan                                                               
child deserves the right to read by third grade.                                                                                
9:09:26 AM                                                                                                                    
KYMYONA  BURK,  Ed.D.,  Policy   Director  for  Early  Education,                                                               
ExcelinEd, Tallahassee, Florida, said that  now more than ever is                                                               
the time to establish policies  that support students, especially                                                               
in a time  of significant learning loss because  of the pandemic.                                                               
Strong policies like  the committee is considering  today lay the                                                               
groundwork  for equipping  parents, students,  and teachers  with                                                               
the  proper  tools  and resources  necessary  to  ensure  Alaskan                                                               
students  are reading  at  grade  level by  the  time they  enter                                                               
fourth grades.  She is a  former state literacy director  for the                                                               
Mississippi Department  of Education  and led  the implementation                                                               
of  the Literacy-Based  Promotion  Act.  Mississippi focused  its                                                               
attention  on  strong,  early  literacy   policies  and  has  had                                                               
significant  results  in  a  short  amount  of  time.  It  was  a                                                               
comprehensive approach and  state-led effort. Mississippi focused                                                               
on a  few things that  are in  SB 111. Mississippi  is supporting                                                               
teachers  through  professional  development in  the  science  of                                                               
reading,  allowing literacy  coaches and  reading specialists  to                                                               
provide  onsite  dedicated  support  to  improving  and  changing                                                               
literacy  instruction  and  adopting  high-quality  instructional                                                               
material aligned to the science of reading.                                                                                     
DR. BURK said  that for students, Mississippi  is assessing where                                                               
students  are with  universal screeners  to ensure  that teachers                                                               
are able to  provide the instruction needed to fill  the gaps and                                                               
address  reading  challenges  and deficiencies  and  also  create                                                               
individual  reading  plans. Teachers  are  able  to indicate  and                                                               
track  the strategies  they have  used and  to determine  whether                                                               
those  strategies are  working and  if  they are  not, to  change                                                               
course and  implement new  strategies and  interventions. Lastly,                                                               
Mississippi  wants  to  equip  parents   and  families  with  the                                                               
resources to  support student  learning at home  and to  let them                                                               
know that this is a partnership.  Parents are needed to make sure                                                               
the  student's  journey at  school  is  successful. In  the  last                                                               
decade, Mississippi  has adopted  these policies to  support this                                                               
work,  including the  first-ever investment  in pre-K  with early                                                               
learning  collaboratives and  its  Literacy-Based Promotion  Act.                                                               
Mississippi's preservice  candidates who  want to be  licensed in                                                               
early  elementary  education  must  pass  an  assessment  on  the                                                               
science of reading.                                                                                                             
DR.  BURK said  that early  literacy is  also an  economic issue.                                                               
Data from  the Annie E.  Casey Foundation show that  students are                                                               
less likely  to drop  out of  high school if  they have  a strong                                                               
foundation in  reading and are  more likely  to go on  to college                                                               
and secure a successful career  path. As the legislators consider                                                               
SB  111,  they  should  consider  how  to  change  the  lives  of                                                               
students, parents, and teachers for  the better and how to ensure                                                               
that students  are set  up for  success early  and have  a strong                                                               
foundation to  improve the economic  health of the state  and the                                                               
quality of life for students.                                                                                                   
CHAIR HOLLAND  noted that  Alabama passed a  program in  2019 and                                                               
instituted  it  in 2020.  He  asked  if  it  is similar  to  this                                                               
DR. BURK responded that the  Alabama literacy initiative includes                                                               
dyslexia. Mississippi has a separate  law for dyslexia. Alabama's                                                               
bill is  one of  the most comprehensive  literacy bills  to date.                                                               
Tennessee  just  passed theirs.  All  these  components that  the                                                               
committee   is  considering   today   are  in   the  bills   from                                                               
Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.                                                                                            
9:14:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES  observed  that Dr.  Burk's  presentation  talked                                                               
about what  Mississippi did for  students, teachers,  and parents                                                               
and that  SB 111 has some  pieces to engage parents  in K through                                                               
third grade.  She asked  Ms. Burk  if she  can name  any specific                                                               
things about the components for parents.                                                                                        
DR. BURK replied that part  of Mississippi's law provided parents                                                               
with read-at-home plans. Those include  strategies in each of the                                                               
components  of reading  that parents  can  do at  home for  free.                                                               
South  Carolina  enacted  Mississippi's  read-at-home  plans.  In                                                               
Mississippi, parents  are part of  the individual  reading plans.                                                               
Parents can't  assist if  they don't know,  so they  are notified                                                               
immediately of screener  results and told their child  may have a                                                               
reading deficiency.  Parents are part  of the process.  The Early                                                               
Learning  Collaborative Act  provides training  for districts  to                                                               
train parents. There  are parent guides about  standards for math                                                               
and reding, grades K-8.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  BEGICH said  that this  bill  terminates early  learning                                                               
after  a  few years  with  a  sunset  clause.  He asked  for  her                                                               
thoughts on that.                                                                                                               
DR. BURK replied  that she cannot lobby on  things, but yesterday                                                               
Mississippi doubled down on its  commitment to early childhood by                                                               
providing  more  funding  and   expanding  the  number  of  seats                                                               
available  to  four-year-olds.  Pre-K   and  that  quality  early                                                               
childhood  experience is  extremely  important  to ensuring  that                                                               
children are  ready and  on that trajectory  to be  successful by                                                               
the end of third grade.                                                                                                         
CHAIR HOLLAND  said that Senator  Begich brings up a  good point.                                                               
He asked Dr. Bishop for any  thoughts on the sunset for the pre-K                                                               
portion of SB 111.                                                                                                              
DR. BISHOP  responded that  although she likes  to never  have to                                                               
worry about  funding, she is  confident that the state  will show                                                               
evidence for the state investment in  pre-K. She does not fear it                                                               
because she believes  in what they can do if  everyone is aligned                                                               
with a  cogent program.  The state will  see success  in children                                                               
and it will bring additional  investment very similar to what Dr.                                                               
Burk just shared.                                                                                                               
CHAIR HOLLAND said  his idea with the sunset is  that the bill is                                                               
changing  the foundation  formula  and  increasing the  education                                                               
budget. Ten years is a great period  of time to look at this. The                                                               
committee  could  decide  if  more   time  is  needed.  He  fully                                                               
anticipates that  some future legislature  will revisit  this and                                                               
fix it  long before the sunset  happens, but it does  need fiscal                                                               
sideboards to ensure good use of education funds.                                                                               
SENATOR  BEGICH  said his  issue  is  about consistency  and  the                                                               
message sent  to parents. It  has been indicated that  the reason                                                               
for the sunset clause is  because the state is experimenting with                                                               
pre-K, so the state needs to  see evidence. He asked if she feels                                                               
the pre-K  experience in  the Anchorage  School District  for the                                                               
last decade  has been  experimental or if  it has  shown results,                                                               
because  she  has  testified  that  Anchorage's  early  education                                                               
program has had results.                                                                                                        
DR. BISHOP  responded that there  is solid and evidence  that the                                                               
Anchorage School  District has taken  its own  operational monies                                                               
and expanded  16 additional pre-K classrooms.  Pre-K is essential                                                               
and it works.  She is not trying to be  contrary; she believes in                                                               
evidence-based  reading instruction  and  early intervention,  as                                                               
early as for  three- and four-year-olds. The state  can make this                                                               
happen  ubiquitously across  the state.  It  is not  a pilot  and                                                               
Anchorage  invests its  own operational  funds  to educate  four-                                                               
CHAIR  HOLLAND  responded  that  he   does  not  doubt  that  the                                                               
Anchorage  School District  is making  early education  and pre-K                                                               
work. His concern is that the  execution in the field of the plan                                                               
determines whether pre-K works as SB 111 puts forward.                                                                          
SENATOR BEGICH  asked Dr. Bishop  to respond to changing  the age                                                               
of entry from September 1 to June 1.                                                                                            
DR. BISHOP  answered that  she hasn't looked  at the  evidence or                                                               
research  around age,  but her  experience is  that she  had more                                                               
success as an elementary principal  when the entry date was later                                                               
rather than earlier.                                                                                                            
SENATOR BEGICH said  that the bill in about four  years takes the                                                               
"should" clause for  retention to a "must"  clause for retention.                                                               
That has  been referred to  as hard  retention. He asked  for her                                                               
position  on hard  retention and  its efficacy  on ensuring  that                                                               
students graduate  from the Anchorage  School District.  He noted                                                               
that  neither  the  school-age clause  or  retention  clause  has                                                               
sunset  dates,   only  early  education  and   intensive  reading                                                               
intervention do.                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP  replied  that  initially when  the  bill  was  being                                                               
drafted  a couple  years ago,  she spoke  to superintendents  and                                                               
school  leaders   in  those  southern   states  that   have  this                                                               
legislation. She spent the most  time in Florida with Dr. Barbara                                                               
Jenkins,  who  is in  Orlando  with  over 250,000  students.  The                                                               
evidence-base on  retention is not solid.  However, interventions                                                               
are  key.  Florida has  hard  retention.  Dr. Jenkins  said  that                                                               
educators  do not  like  to retain  students  unless it  benefits                                                               
them,  which means  that something  different is  done. What  was                                                               
meaningful was preschool, getting  early literacy right. Teachers                                                               
do everything they  can so they do not retain  students. While it                                                               
was  out  there  as  a  consequence, Florida  did  not  see  mass                                                               
retentions.  The  prediction was  that  everyone  not reading  at                                                               
grade level  would be  retained. That did  not happen.  Kids were                                                               
not retained yet reading instruction  was increased. The evidence                                                               
on retention is  that just keeping a child in  the same seat does                                                               
not improve  student learning.  The key  is in  the interventions                                                               
that change  things. As an educator  who knows the will  and work                                                               
of educators  in the Anchorage  School District, they  will rally                                                               
around  students  and with  parents  to  enable the  learning  to                                                               
happen. For English language learners  and students with learning                                                               
disabilities,  provisional waivers  work  when  retention is  not                                                               
appropriate. She  does not  have fear with  this. She  has gained                                                               
that knowledge from  experts who are in states  with hard reading                                                               
retention.  They don't  retain kids  because they  are increasing                                                               
the learning and proficiency of students.                                                                                       
SENATOR HUGHES said she appreciates  Dr. Bishop's response. A lot                                                               
of  people are  looking at  research that  showed that  retention                                                               
created  problems, but  that research  was not  based on  schools                                                               
that  had read-by-nine  programs and  schools that  had intensive                                                               
interventions. She is  glad that Dr. Bishop took the  time out to                                                               
reach out to  superintendents across the U.S. She  is renaming it                                                               
a strong promotion policy. The  effective date is out five years.                                                               
It will  not going into effect  until a student has  had a chance                                                               
to have  all those  interventions. Some  of the  states put  in a                                                               
promotion  policy  right away.  This  bill  would delay  it.  She                                                               
doesn't think  there will  be an  uptick [in  students retained].                                                               
She  believes that  there will  be  an uptick  in students  being                                                               
successful  and teachers  having  a sense  of  reward for  moving                                                               
students to the next grade level who are truly prepared.                                                                        
9:31:13 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHERINE   ELLSWORTH,   Ph.D.,   Executive   Director,   Federal                                                               
Programs, Mat-Su  Borough School  District, Palmer,  Alaska, said                                                               
that she is  appreciative of SB 111 and its  focus on reading and                                                               
early literacy. The Mat-Su Borough  School District has looked at                                                               
studies of those  who have attended a Mat-Su  preschool vs. those                                                               
who  did  not.  Students   take  the  Kindergarten  Developmental                                                               
Profile when  they enter school  in the fall. Those  who attended                                                               
Mat-Su preschools  outscored their  peers who did  not in  all 13                                                               
areas  of  the  Kindergarten  Profile,  most  notably,  in  print                                                               
awareness  and  knowledge  of letters  and  symbols  followed  by                                                               
classifying  and  sorting  objects, phonological  awareness,  and                                                               
number recognition. Mat-Su knows  that the preschools are getting                                                               
the  results  it wants,  which  is  preparing students  to  enter                                                               
kindergarten with a strong skill set.                                                                                           
DR.  ELLSWORTH observed  that SB  111 indicates  that it  will be                                                               
culturally  responsive  to   local  communities  and  accessible,                                                               
regardless  of  socioeconomic  status,  which is  key  for  early                                                               
education  programs.  Mat-Su  supports Parents  as  Teachers  for                                                               
early literacy.  Mat-Su has one  currently called Read to  Me Now                                                               
to promote reading with students before they come to school.                                                                    
DR. ELLSWORTH said the mantra  of the Mat-Su Superintendent Randi                                                               
Trani is  everyone should want  for all  kids what they  want for                                                               
their own kids, and this  bill exemplifies that. Mat-Su wants all                                                               
kids in  the state to  read on grade  level by grade  three. This                                                               
bill has  a clear  pathway for  teachers to  be qualified  in the                                                               
areas they  are teaching, whether as  a reading teacher or  in an                                                               
early  education  program.  It  provides  multiple  pathways  for                                                               
teachers to develop their skills.                                                                                               
DR.  ELLSWORTH said  that the  Mat-Su Borough  supports curricula                                                               
for  students that  is evidence-based  and incorporates  the five                                                               
areas of reading. For almost a  decade Mat-Su has been working to                                                               
building its RTI (Response to  Instruction) or MTSS (Multi-Tiered                                                               
System of  Support), so  it knows  that reading  assessment tools                                                               
and progress  monitoring are key  to providing  interventions and                                                               
tracking student progress.  It is a best practice  that should be                                                               
done statewide  for all students.  For those who  are struggling,                                                               
providing  reading  opportunities  for students  outside  of  the                                                               
school day is key. Providing  meaningful, timely progress reports                                                               
to parents and  keeping them involved is so key.  She said she is                                                               
glad to see that written into the bill.                                                                                         
DR. ELLSWORTH stated that the  virtual consortium has been a long                                                               
time coming.  Alaska needs that  to get quality education  to all                                                               
students no  matter where they  live. Regarding the  cut-off date                                                               
for  students to  turn  five for  kindergarten,  she spent  eight                                                               
years  teaching kindergarten.  She could  tell in  the first  few                                                               
days of  school who had  July and  August birthdays. They  may be                                                               
academically ready  but often struggle  socially. If the  date is                                                               
moved to June 1, then she  would expect preschool to be available                                                               
to  all students.  Being  older  for kindergarten  has  a lot  of                                                               
DR. ELLSWORTH suggested that a  decision about retention at third                                                               
grade be  made by a  team, like an Individualized  Education Plan                                                               
(IEP) team  does for  special education  students, and  the final                                                               
decision for  retention would rest  with a superintendent  or the                                                               
superintendent  designee.  The  final  decision  about  retention                                                               
should rest with someone trained in education.                                                                                  
DR.  ELLSWORTH mentioned  page 27,  line 23,  that talks  about a                                                               
policy for grade  level progression and said she  would like more                                                               
guidance with  that, such as  would that be expanded  at district                                                               
discretion. Overall, Mat-Su strongly  supports the bill. All kids                                                               
in Alaska deserve to be able to  read well and read well by third                                                               
grade. This bill ensures that.                                                                                                  
SENATOR BEGICH  noted that pages  7 and  17 are about  Parents as                                                               
Teachers  and  that  the only  language  relating  to  culturally                                                               
responsive is in pre-K policies.  Both of those are terminated at                                                               
certain  time in  this  bill. He  has  suggested maintaining  the                                                               
standards  for pre-K  in the  bill. He  asked if  she were  aware                                                               
those are not retained at the present time.                                                                                     
DR.  ELLSWORTH responded  that like  Dr. Bishop,  she feels  that                                                               
once  the state  sees  the  benefits of  preschool  and how  that                                                               
affects  student achievement,  the  state will  want to  continue                                                               
funding that.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH  said that brings him  to the issue of  what works                                                               
and  what doesn't  work. He  asked whether  she would  agree that                                                               
Mat-Su  has  evidence  that  its  high-quality,  voluntary  early                                                               
education programming  works. She had mentioned  the date change.                                                               
The  places used  as evidence  for changing  the age  eligibility                                                               
have  been Finland,  Sweden, Denmark,  and  Australia, which  all                                                               
have strong  early education  components. He  asked her  if early                                                               
education is supported by evidence  in the Mat-Su School District                                                               
or is it experimental at this point.                                                                                            
DR. ELLSWORTH  answered that it  is not experimental.  Mat-Su has                                                               
been explicit  and purposeful about implementing  pre-K programs.                                                               
Mat-Su reviewed and adopted curricula  and all preschool teachers                                                               
were trained  on the implementation  of the program.  Mat-Su uses                                                               
assessment tools in the spring  and fall to measure progress. One                                                               
of  the beauties  of  this  bill is  that  it  is explicit  about                                                               
support  and  having  evidence-based  programs. That  is  key  to                                                               
excellent learning.                                                                                                             
SENATOR BEGICH thanked her for her response.                                                                                    
9:42:40 AM                                                                                                                    
BOB  GRIFFIN, Senior  Education  Research  Fellow, Alaska  Policy                                                               
Forum,   Anchorage,   Alaska,   presented  Top   10   Myths   and                                                               
Misconceptions Surrounding Alaska's K-12  Reading Crisis. He said                                                               
that a lot  of his comments would be similar  to what he provided                                                               
last year,  but there are  a few new  committee members. He  is a                                                               
big fan  of this  legislation. People have  been working  on this                                                               
for many years  and hopefully can push it across  the finish line                                                               
this  time.   The  state  needs  reading   legislation  for  many                                                               
different reasons.  One is  the state's  dismal outcomes,  but it                                                               
should be effective  legislation. He has recognized  these top 10                                                               
myths since he has been working on this legislation since 2014.                                                                 
MR.  GRIFFIN presented  Myth 1:  All research  indicates students                                                               
should ALWAYS  be socially promoted,  even if they are  far below                                                               
expected proficiency  in reading in  3rd grade. He showed  a list                                                               
of 15  studies supporting the effectiveness  of performance-based                                                               
MR. GRIFFIN  presented Myth  2: We don't  need a  minimum reading                                                               
standard  for  3rd  grade promotion  because  urban  students  in                                                               
Alaska  have reading  scores that  are  above average.  (Implying                                                               
that rural schools  are responsible for dragging  our scores down                                                               
dramatically).  The  state  PEAKS  results  show  it  is  not  an                                                               
urban/rural thing at all.                                                                                                       
MR. GRIFFIN presented  Myth 3: Poverty is the  key contributor to                                                               
Alaska scoring  dead last in  the NAEP  US 4th grade  reading for                                                               
low-income and  upper/middle-income students.  The state  is dead                                                               
last in NAEP, but Alaska is one of the lowest-poverty states.                                                                   
MR.  GRIFFIN presented  Myth 4:  Ethnic minorities  are primarily                                                               
responsible for  our low NAEP  scores and white  Alaskan students                                                               
score above average. He called this narrative offensive.                                                                        
MR. GRIFFIN presented Myth 5:  Alaska's unusually high ethnic and                                                               
linguistic diversity  greatly contribute  to reading  test scores                                                               
far  below  average. A  2015  study  by  a University  of  Alaska                                                               
Anchorage  professor said  that  Anchorage was  one  of the  most                                                               
diverse cities, but a 2021  collaborative investigation came to a                                                               
different  conclusion, Anchorage  was 126th  in ethnic  diversity                                                               
and 182nd in linguistic diversity.                                                                                              
MR. GRIFFIN  Myth 6: We don't  have to worry about  our 4th grade                                                               
NAEP reading  scores because Alaska  has above average  growth in                                                               
NAEP reading scores  between 4th and 8th grade.  Alaska does have                                                               
above average growth  in NAEP reading scores between  4th and 8th                                                               
grade, but  Alaska is still doing  poorly in math and  reading in                                                               
grade 8.                                                                                                                        
MR. GRIFFIN  presented Myth 7:  High quality Pre-K  improves NAEP                                                               
scores more than comprehensive reading policies.                                                                                
MR.  GRIFFIN  presented  Myth  8: States  that  use  the  Florida                                                               
performance-based  promotion 3rd  grade reading  model saw  their                                                               
test scores increase in 4th  grade reading but didn't improve 8th                                                               
grade   scores  or   math   scores.   Early  childhood   literacy                                                               
improvements helped Florida in every category.                                                                                  
MR.  GRIFFIN  presented  Myth 9:  With  a  comprehensive  reading                                                               
policy that  socially promotes very  weak readers,  Alaska's kids                                                               
can  still achieve  NAEP  scores near  the US  average  in a  few                                                               
years.  States that  used  performance-based  promotion, or  hard                                                               
retention,  did better  than  states  with comprehensive  reading                                                               
programs that do not use performance-based promotion policies.                                                                  
MR. GRIFFIN presented Myth 10  Source NEA Rankings and Estimates:                                                               
Florida and Mississippi  dramatically increased their per-student                                                               
spending  to  add universal  Pre-K  and  a comprehensive  reading                                                               
policy.  Florida and  Mississippi increased  their spending  just                                                               
slightly above the national average.                                                                                            
MR. GRIFFIN  presented his Conclusion:  Kids who  haven't learned                                                               
to read, can't  read to learn and face dismal  prospects in life.                                                               
Despite  favorable demographics  and  funding  compared to  other                                                               
states, Alaska  has slipped  to the very  bottom of  NAEP reading                                                               
scores across the spectrum of  race and economic status. Alaska's                                                               
kids are just as bright,  our education professionals are just as                                                               
dedicated  and  our parents  love  their  kids  just as  much  as                                                               
anywhere  else.  Alaska's  kids  can't  afford  another  year  of                                                               
inaction  on  a  comprehensive  reading  policy  to  address  our                                                               
childhood literacy crisis.                                                                                                      
CHAIR HOLLAND  said that was like  drinking from a fire  hose. He                                                               
appreciates the information and will go over this in the future.                                                                
9:53:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH observed  that Mr.  Griffin is  fully aware  that                                                               
Florida has over 80 percent  attendance in its preschool program,                                                               
which is in its BSA, base student allocation.                                                                                   
MR.  GRIFFIN  responded that  yes,  he  does.  He would  be  hard                                                               
pressed to change  anything in the approach that  Florida has. He                                                               
would acknowledge that its pre-K  program probably does help them                                                               
maintain that  number one  status in  early childhood  reading in                                                               
the United States.                                                                                                              
SENATOR  BEGICH  said in  the  2019  report about  the  retention                                                               
program in  Florida, roughly  20 percent  of third  graders faced                                                               
possible  retention. In  Florida,  a third  grader  had to  score                                                               
level 2  or higher. Nearly  20 percent  of third graders  were at                                                               
level 1. That  would give some pause to think  about one-fifth of                                                               
students retained and the potential costs related to that.                                                                      
MR. GRIFFIN replied  that through the process, a  large number of                                                               
kids with reading  deficiencies are identified early  on, but the                                                               
number retained  is actually  quite small. It  is one  thing that                                                               
makes  people sit  up and  pay attention  to the  policy. No  one                                                               
likes to  see a nine-year-old  repeat third grade.  Any retention                                                               
would include an  intervention year that would  be much different                                                               
for the student from  the year before. No one likes  to see a 15-                                                               
year-old who is  illiterate who has been  socially promoted. With                                                               
reading  the literature  from  Professor [Linda  Darling-]Hammond                                                               
from Stanford,  he agrees retention  is something to  be avoided,                                                               
but  with  a  strong  intervention,  it  is  the  key  component.                                                               
Evidence from states that have tried  other paths shows it is the                                                               
key component.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR BEGICH noted  that the Florida reading  law provides $500                                                               
per student in that level 1  reading category, and asked what the                                                               
impact of that extra money has been.                                                                                            
MR. GRIFFIN  replied that it  probably has a positive  impact. He                                                               
does not  have the  data in  front of him.  He would  hesitate to                                                               
vary from any policy that  veers significantly from what has been                                                               
successful in  Florida and Mississippi.  Without expending  a lot                                                               
of  resources, they  have  produced  amazing results.  Miami-Dade                                                               
kids    have    reading    scores    that    are    statistically                                                               
indistinguishable  from the  upper-middle  income  white kids  in                                                               
SENATOR HUGHES  said she assumes  that the 20 percent  in Florida                                                               
includes   students  with   disabilities  and   English  language                                                               
learners. That must be kept in  mind. She thanked him for busting                                                               
the  myth regarding  promotion, which  is significant.  She is  a                                                               
firm  believer   that  with  interventions,  it   will  be  rare,                                                               
especially since  it will  take place  after educators  have been                                                               
trained. She asked if Florida has a  way to catch a child up to a                                                               
cohort if  the child is  retained because  that is the  hope with                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
MR.  GRIFFIN  said  his  understanding  is  that  Florida  has  a                                                               
provision  in statute  to allow  kids to  rejoin their  cohort if                                                               
retained.  He  will  follow  up on  actual  retention  stats  for                                                               
Florida. He is certain it is  far below 20 percent. Although many                                                               
kids faced  the threat of retention,  the number is far  below 20                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH  said that Mr.  Griffin is right, that  it doesn't                                                               
mean that 20  percent was held back, but the  20 percent excludes                                                               
those  who  qualified  for  an exemption  because  they  are  not                                                               
required  to  test   for  the  different  levels.   He  would  be                                                               
interested to know the actual numbers retained.                                                                                 
10:01:32 AM                                                                                                                   
MARK  LACKEY, Executive  Director, CCS  Early Learning,  Wasilla,                                                               
Alaska, said  that CCS  Early Learning  is one  of 17  Head Start                                                               
grantees  in the  state. He  is speaking  on behalf  of the  Head                                                               
Start  Association,  which  includes  all  the  grantees.  He  is                                                               
excited  to  see  Alaska  considering  additional  pre-K.  He  is                                                               
excited to  see legislation around  reading. Head Start  has long                                                               
thought  that  those two  things  are  important for  the  state.                                                               
Alaska has  been behind the  game in  pre-K for many  years. Head                                                               
Start   is  excited   to  see   this  discussion   happening  and                                                               
supportive.  His testimony  is  about making  sure  that this  is                                                               
rolled  out   in  a  coordinated,   collaborative  way   with  no                                                               
unintended consequences.                                                                                                        
MR.  LACKEY  said  the  one issue  his  association  has  brought                                                               
forward  is how  state  funding  can have  a  negative impact  on                                                               
federal funding. He provided two  documents to the committee. One                                                               
is a chart that shows all  of the federal funding for Head Start.                                                               
The chart shows  that in federal FY20, $57.9 million  came to the                                                               
17  grantees  to  provide early  childhood  services  across  the                                                               
state. That is  base operational funding. The blue  line from FY8                                                               
to FY20  shows that federal money  has been on the  uptick. A lot                                                               
of federal  money has been  coming to  the state to  provide Head                                                               
Start and Early Head Start  services. That money goes directly to                                                               
local  grantees.  The  grantees  write the  federal  grants.  The                                                               
grantees  have been  successful lately  in pulling  down one-time                                                               
federal  funding. In  FY19, grantees  brought in  $29 million  of                                                               
federal funding  that largely went  to build facilities.  That is                                                               
the size and scope of federal investment in pre-K.                                                                              
MR. LACKEY said  that the association has a  concern connected to                                                               
the other  document he provided, Head  Start Regulations. Federal                                                               
government  requires that  Head Start  is fully  enrolled at  all                                                               
times. The  first piece of  statute that  he provided is  that if                                                               
programs are chronically underenrolled,  the Office of Head Start                                                               
has the authority to withhold  or withdraw funding. That has been                                                               
an issue experienced  in Alaska. The state has had  $2 million of                                                               
preschool funding  for many years.  There have been  instances of                                                               
programs,  especially  in  small communities  with  few  eligible                                                               
children,  where districts  would open  up a  pre-K program  with                                                               
state funding  where a  Head Start was  already in  existence and                                                               
half the kids would be in pre-K  and half would be in Head Start.                                                               
Those programs become  chronically underenrolled. The association                                                               
is  hopeful   that  as  Alaska  starts   to  consider  increasing                                                               
investment in pre-K that from  the outset those sorts of conflict                                                               
are avoided.  Everyone wants more  students served, not  for less                                                               
federal  funding  to  come  to  the state  or  for  there  to  be                                                               
competition over  children. The goal  is for more children  to be                                                               
served and ready for school.                                                                                                    
MR.  LACKEY   said  the  second   regulation  is   that  grantees                                                               
demonstrate the need  within the community as  they write federal                                                               
grants,  so  they are  looking  at  existing childcare,  existing                                                               
state pre-K, not duplicating services  or creating a situation of                                                               
competition.  The  state of  Alaska  should  consider that.  Head                                                               
Start  cannot serve  all children  in the  state of  Alaska. Head                                                               
Start's focus  is on low  income kids,  kids in foster  care, and                                                               
kids  who  are homeless.  The  association  is hopeful  that  the                                                               
committee  can consider  some type  of criteria  about where  the                                                               
state funding goes.                                                                                                             
10:08:42 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES  asked if a  community wants preschool  that meets                                                               
the  standards in  the bill,  if Head  Start can  meet the  state                                                               
requirements so a district would  not need its own preschool. She                                                               
also asked if  Head Start has the flexibility to  meet the higher                                                               
pre-K standards of early literacy.                                                                                              
MR.  LACKEY replied  that  every Head  Start  program is  locally                                                               
administered and  governed by a board  of parents and a  board of                                                               
directors.  Head   Start  regulations  give  every   grantee  the                                                               
flexibility to operate the program  as those boards see fit. Head                                                               
Start  has mindboggling  regulations  and it  must monitor  every                                                               
child  for ongoing  development  on a  variety  of measures  over                                                               
time. Every single program is  responsible to its local community                                                               
and  the federal  government. The  state Department  of Education                                                               
has  that  data on  Head  Start  preschool programs.  Head  Start                                                               
observes children over time; there is an ongoing assessment.                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said the short  answer is yes, every local program                                                               
could choose to  follow what will be prescribed by  the state for                                                               
pre-K,  which  might  help  ensure   that  they  would  not  meet                                                               
enrollment numbers if the district started another program.                                                                     
MR. LACKEY responded  that grantees can provide  the program that                                                               
the local community wants and  expects, but the challenge is that                                                               
if there  is no requirement  from the  state to consider  what is                                                               
already  being provided,  if there  is no  stability of  funding,                                                               
those federal  funds could  be at  risk. If  districts put  in an                                                               
application and starts  a pre-K program and if  the districts are                                                               
not in  good communication or  collaboration with Head  Starts in                                                               
their  community, those  federal  funds could  be  at risk.  Head                                                               
Start  is  asking  districts  to  look  at  services  already  in                                                               
SENATOR HUGHES said  she believes that local  Head Start programs                                                               
could  approach districts  and say  they could  be the  preschool                                                               
program  and meet  all the  state requirements.  She asked  if he                                                               
MR. LACKEY said  he was not sufficiently familiar with  SB 111 to                                                               
know whether she meant state or federal funding.                                                                                
CHAIR  HOLLAND  advised  that  Mr.   Lackey  cannot  answer  that                                                               
question from a legal standpoint.                                                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH asked if he had  reviewed page 17 of the bill that                                                               
defines  the  qualities  that Senator  Hughes  was  referring  to                                                               
because it is  certainly not childcare. In SB 8  and SB 42, there                                                               
were provisions  requiring coordination.  He said he  believes it                                                               
is in  this bill  but he  cannot remember  where it  is. It  is a                                                               
simple paragraph  requiring local coordination before  starting a                                                               
program.  If  it is  not  in  SB 111,  he  said  he is  sure  the                                                               
committee will  want to add it.  He said Mr. Lackey's  concern is                                                               
one  that has  been brought  up repeatedly  when early  education                                                               
bills have been  brought up. The committee's  concern is ensuring                                                               
that quality  early education meets  those really  good standards                                                               
as Senator  Hughes has been  clear at pointing out.  The question                                                               
she was asking was if Head  Start would be able to bring programs                                                               
to the standards of the bill.                                                                                                   
CHAIR HOLLAND said he thought  that Mr. Lackey is concerned about                                                               
making  a legal  commitment about  being able  to participate  in                                                               
this program. He asked Mr. Lackey to respond.                                                                                   
MR. LACKEY said  that on page 17 he  sees evidence-based programs                                                               
that meets federal standards for  early education programs. He is                                                               
curious  about   what  the  federal   standards  are   for  early                                                               
education.  He  said  he  suspects those  would  be  the  federal                                                               
regulations  for  Head  Start.  That is  his  suspicion,  but  he                                                               
doesn't know that.  He is confident in the quality  of Head Start                                                               
programs  and those  programs would  meet or  exceed the  quality                                                               
levels being proposed in SB 111.                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH said  he appreciates  that answer.  It reinforces                                                               
that they are not talking  about competition over resources. They                                                               
are  talking about  improving  education for  kids.  It is  about                                                               
reaching that standard.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  HOLLAND  asked  how  many  programs  are  run  by  the  17                                                               
MR. LACKEY answered that the 17  grantees are located in over 100                                                               
communities  across  the  state.  He  can  provide  the  list  of                                                               
grantees and list  of communities. For example, Kawerak  is in 11                                                               
communities throughout  the Nome region.  RurAL CAP fills  in the                                                               
gaps all  over the  state in 24  communities. His  grantee serves                                                               
Wasilla, Palmer, Meadow Lakes, Chugiak, and Eagle River.                                                                        
CHAIR HOLLAND asked how many children are in the programs.                                                                      
MR. LACKEY replied about 4,000  cumulative a year, although COVID                                                               
is not a normal year.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  HOLLAND asked  what  ages. He  assumed  birth through  age                                                               
MR LACKEY  said that  is correct  and the  numbers can  be broken                                                               
CHAIR HOLLAND  said that he wanted  to make it clear  that it was                                                               
not 17 programs and that there  are 4,000 children. It is federal                                                               
funds that are important in Alaska.                                                                                             
CHAIR HOLLAND asked his staff  to continue the sectional analysis                                                               
starting with AS 14.30.765(g) of Section 33.                                                                                    
10:19:44 AM                                                                                                                   
ED KING, Staff, Senator Roger  Holland, Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska,  suggested that it  might be appropriate  to just                                                               
finish  reading the  sectional and  save the  conversation for  a                                                               
later date.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  HOLLAND said  there would  probably  be another  sectional                                                               
analysis  for a  committee substitute  that will  show up  in the                                                               
SENATOR  BEGICH  agreed with  the  approach  but asked  for  more                                                               
details  about page  30,  AS  14.30.770, the  issue  of the  five                                                               
participating schools  each year. He would  like more description                                                               
about what that process would look like.                                                                                        
MR. KING  said that was coming  up in the sectional  analysis and                                                               
he could  either expand directly  on that or  come back to  it at                                                               
the end if there is time.                                                                                                       
CHAIR HOLLAND  said the  committee could  revisit that  after the                                                               
sectional analysis.                                                                                                             
10:21:07 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KING  continued the sectional  for SB 111, beginning  with AS                                                               
14.30.765(g) of Section 33:                                                                                                     
     Sec. 33 7/1/21 [Effective date] This section adds several                                                                  
     new sections of law related to reading intervention:                                                                       
        • AS 14.30.760 directs DEED to establish a statewide                                                                    
          reading assessment and screening tool to identify                                                                     
          students with reading deficiencies and establishes a                                                                  
          timeline in which assessments are conducted.                                                                          
        • AS 14.30.765(a) directs each school district to offer                                                                 
          intensive   reading   intervention  services   to   K-3                                                               
          students   exhibiting   a    reading   deficiency   and                                                               
          communicate with parents and guardians.                                                                               
        • AS 14.30.765(b) directs school  districts to  provide                                                                 
          individual reading  improvement plans for  K-3 students                                                               
          exhibiting a reading deficiency  and defines the plan's                                                               
        • AS 14.30.765(c)  requires   districts  to   notify  a                                                                 
          student's parents  that their child has  demonstrated a                                                               
          reading    deficiency    along    with    corresponding                                                               
          information about remedying the deficiency.                                                                           
        • AS 14.30.765(d) outlines a procedure for communicating                                                                
          which  a child's  parents about  the potential  need to                                                               
          delay promotion to fourth grade.                                                                                      
        • AS 14.30.765(e) sets out the factors  which determine                                                                 
          if a child is ready for promotion to the fourth grade.                                                                
        • AS 14.30.765(f) establishes a parental waiver to allow                                                                
          a student  to advance  to fourth grade  without reading                                                               
          at grade level  and requires an additional  20 hours of                                                               
          summer intervention services.                                                                                         
        • AS 14.30.765(g) directs the department  to develop  a                                                                 
          recognition program for improving reading skills.                                                                     
        • AS 14.30.765(h) establishes good cause exemptions for                                                                 
          delaying promotion.                                                                                                   
        • AS 14.30.765(h) outlines the process for requesting a                                                                 
          good cause  exemption (disability,  prior intervention,                                                               
          and ESL).                                                                                                             
        • AS 14.30.765(i) sets forth the process for requesting                                                                 
          a good cause exemption.                                                                                               
        • AS 14.30.765(j)  requires  that  a   child's  parents                                                                 
          receive written  notification that their child  did not                                                               
          demonstrate   sufficient    reading   proficiency   for                                                               
          promotion to fourth grade.                                                                                            
        • AS 14.30.765(k)  directs  the  district   to  provide                                                                 
          additional  intervention  for   students  that  do  not                                                               
          promote  or  promote  with a  good  cause  or  parental                                                               
        • AS 14.30.765(l) establishes  a  policy  for  mid-year                                                                 
        • AS 14.30.765(m) requires that a student promoting mid-                                                                
          year continue the individual reading improvement plan.                                                                
        • AS 14.30.765(n) limits retention to one year.                                                                         
        • AS 14.30.765(o) provide   a  definition  for  reading                                                                 
        • AS 14.30.770 directs the department to establish a                                                                    
          statewide reading program, including five reading                                                                     
          specialists to assist selected schools.                                                                               
        • AS 14.30.775 provides definitions.                                                                                    
MR. KING said (h) has not been discussed but he hopes it will be                                                                
a conversation for a later date. He has a note for the potential                                                                
amendment for (j).                                                                                                              
     Sec. 34 7/1/26 [Effective date]  Is a future amendment to AS                                                               
     14.30.765(c), related  to fourth grade  promotion previously                                                               
     added under section 33, which  changes the delayed promotion                                                               
     from a "should"  to a "must," which takes effect  on July 1,                                                               
     2026 (see section 44).                                                                                                     
     Sec. 35 7/1/26 [Effective date]  Is a future amendment to AS                                                               
     14.30.765(e), related  to fourth grade  promotion previously                                                               
     added under section 33, which  changes the delayed promotion                                                               
     from a "should"  to a "must," which takes effect  on July 1,                                                               
     2026 (see section 44).                                                                                                     
     Sec. 36 7/1/21  [Effective date] Adds a new  section of law,                                                               
     AS   14.30.800,  which   establishes  a   virtual  education                                                               
     consortium.  This  consortium   allows  districts  to  offer                                                               
     virtual   access  to   student   courses  and   professional                                                               
     development  courses through  a statewide  system hosted  by                                                               
     the  department of  education. This  section also  creates a                                                               
     reading specialist position to  remotely assist districts to                                                               
     improve reading instruction.                                                                                               
     Sec.  37  7/1/21  [Effective  date]  Adds  "early  education                                                               
     program"  to   the  definition   of  "organization"   in  AS                                                               
     47.17.290, which  pertains to the  Department of  Health and                                                               
     Social Services.                                                                                                           
    Sec. 38 6/30/32 [Effective date] Repeals the following:                                                                     
        • AS 14.03.410 (early education funding added in section                                                                
          10 of this bill).                                                                                                     
        • AS 14.03.420 (Parents-as-Teachers program added in                                                                    
          section 10 of this bill)                                                                                              
        • AS 14.07.165(a)(5) (regulations establishing standards                                                                
          for early education programs added by section 17 of                                                                   
          this bill).                                                                                                           
        • AS 14.17.905(d) (prohibition on including early                                                                       
          education students with other state or federal                                                                        
          funding, added by section 29 of this bill).                                                                           
MR. KING said AS 14.07.165(a)(5) may be something the committee                                                                 
does not want repealed.                                                                                                         
10:24:27 AM                                                                                                                   
     Sec.  39  6/30/28  [Effective  date]  Repeals  AS  14.30.770                                                               
     (reading intervention specialists added  under section 33 of                                                               
     this bill).                                                                                                                
     Sec.  40 7/1/21  [Effective date]  Sets a  deadline for  the                                                               
     department  of  education  to complete  the  set-up  of  the                                                               
     virtual education consortium by July 1, 2023.                                                                              
     Sec.  41  7/1/21  [Effective  date]  Applicability  language                                                               
     related  to the  reading  instruction  requirement added  by                                                               
     section  32  of  this  bill,   which  allows  teachers  with                                                               
     preexisting  teaching certificates  until  July  1, 2023  to                                                               
     meet the new requirements.                                                                                                 
MR. KING said he made a note of the discussion about including                                                                  
all programs in the report in Section 42.                                                                                       
     Sec. 42 7/1/21 [Effective date]  Requires a report from DEED                                                               
     to  the  legislature on  the  effectiveness  of the  reading                                                               
     specialists added  in section 33  not later than  January 1,                                                               
     2028,  which allows  the legislature  to consider  extending                                                               
     the positions before they sunset on June 30, 2028.                                                                         
MR. KING said that Section 43 directs DEED to use 2019-2020 as                                                                  
the base year because of COVID complications.                                                                                   
     Sec.  43 7/1/21  [Effective date]  Directs DEED  to use  the                                                               
     2019-2020 school  year as the  base year for the  FY22 Early                                                               
     education grants.                                                                                                          
     Sec.  44 Provides  an effective  date  of July  1, 2026  for                                                               
     sections 7, 24, 25, 26, 34, and 35.                                                                                        
     Sec.  45 Provides  an effective  date of  June 30,  2028 for                                                               
     sections 12, 16, and 39.                                                                                                   
     Sec.  46 Provides  an effective  date of  June 30,  2032 for                                                               
     sections  3,  13,  22,  28,  and 38.  Sec.  47  Provides  an                                                               
     effective date of July 1, 2021 for all other sections.                                                                     
MR. KING said he provided a handout with a graphic                                                                              
representation of the sunset provisions.                                                                                        
SENATOR  BEGICH referenced  on page  30, the  section of  new law                                                               
that would be AS 14.30.770,  department reading program, which is                                                               
eventually repealed.  He noted  that the way  it is  written now,                                                               
school districts with low-performing  schools would compete again                                                               
each year  for the grant program.  There is no surety.  He opined                                                               
that is perhaps a flaw with  the process. There could be a single                                                               
competitive period of time, so a  program can have a few years to                                                               
have effect. Otherwise, it is a  race to the bottom. He asked the                                                               
chair  to take  a second  look at  how the  program is  conducted                                                               
under that section  to ensure that it doesn't end  just being the                                                               
poorest-performing  districts fighting  it  out  with each  other                                                               
over which one will eventually get  the money each given year. It                                                               
is a single-year  grant as opposed to the other  versions of this                                                               
bill, which  said school  districts would  compete for  the money                                                               
and then  have a certain  number of years  to get the  program up                                                               
and  running  with  the   necessary  support.  This  time-limited                                                               
approach is  wrong and bound  to fail.  That is what  reports and                                                               
data will show.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR HUGHES  said Section 44  is the strong  promotion policy,                                                               
Section 45  is the repeal  date for the reading  specialists, and                                                               
Section 46 is about pre-K.                                                                                                      
MR. KING replied that sounds correct.                                                                                           
SENATOR HUGHES referred  to page 28, lines 3-5, of  the bill. She                                                               
recalled working on  this in previous versions of  the bill. This                                                               
is the  interim period before  the strong promotion  policy kicks                                                               
in. It recognizes  the teachers, schools, and  districts that are                                                               
increasing the percentage of students  proficient in reading. She                                                               
asked if that has a repeal  date when the strong promotion policy                                                               
kicks in or does it stay on forever.                                                                                            
MR. KING responded that there is no repeal of that provision.                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGHES said  she  is fine  with that,  but  when it  was                                                               
developed  it was  to encourage  schools to  get programs  up and                                                               
running in those first four years.                                                                                              
MR.  KING said  to  address Senator  Begich's  point, DEED  would                                                               
employ five reading  specialists and deploy them  to schools that                                                               
win the grants. It  is not a financial grant, it  is a person who                                                               
goes to a  school to teach the teachers how  to teach reading. It                                                               
is a  teach-the-teacher type of  program. The idea is  that those                                                               
are  not permanent  employees of  the schools  whose applications                                                               
are  accepted.  These  are  temporary  employees  who  teach  the                                                               
teachers how to  teach and, hopefully, be successful  and move on                                                               
to other schools.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  BEGICH said  that he  wrote this  provision of  the bill                                                               
with the  exception of "may  apply to participate in  the reading                                                               
program again  in the  following school year,"  lines 24  and 25.                                                               
That means that  these folks are being asked to  compete for that                                                               
resource. They will apply to DEED  each year and he is suggesting                                                               
a longer term                                                                                                                   
 than a year.                                                                                                                   
10:33:45 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR HOLLAND held SB 111 in committee.                                                                                         
10:34:11 AM                                                                                                                   
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Holland  adjourned the Senate Education  Standing Committee                                                               
at 10:34 a.m.                                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 111 testimony - Bob Griffin with APF.pdf SEDC 3/31/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 111
SB 111 Version W effective date graphic.pdf SEDC 3/31/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 111
SB 111 Fed Funding Graph.pdf SEDC 3/31/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 111
SB 111 Federal Head Start Regulations.pdf SEDC 3/31/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 111