Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

03/25/2022 09:00 AM Senate EDUCATION

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**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         MARCH 25, 2022                                                                                         
                           9:03 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Roger Holland, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                          
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 236                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to facilities constituting a school."                                                                          
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 196                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to transparency and compelled speech in public                                                                 
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 236                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FACILITIES CONSTITUTING A SCHOOL                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
03/18/22       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/18/22       (S)       EDC                                                                                                    
03/25/22       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SB 196                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC ED: SPEECH, DISCLOSE INST MATERIAL                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REINBOLD                                                                                                            
02/15/22       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/15/22       (S)       EDC, JUD                                                                                               
03/25/22       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
ED KING, Staff                                                                                                                  
Senator Roger Holland                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 236 on behalf of the Education                                                              
Committee and explained the changes between version A and                                                                       
version B.                                                                                                                      
ANDREW LOVITT, Director of Budget & Finance                                                                                     
Lower Yukon School District                                                                                                     
Mountain Village, Alaska,                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 236.                                                                        
ELWIN BLACKWELL, School Finance Manager                                                                                         
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 236.                                                                        
SENATOR LORA REINBOLD                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 196.                                                                                        
CHRISTOPHER RUFO, Senior Fellow                                                                                                 
Manhattan Institute                                                                                                             
Pierce, Washington                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 196.                                                                        
DAVID BOYLE, representing self                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 196.                                                                        
LEIGH SLOAN, Director                                                                                                           
Alaska Parent's Rights in Education                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified by invitation on SB 196.                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:03:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR ROGER HOLLAND called the Senate Education Standing                                                                      
Committee meeting to order at 9:03 a.m. Present at the call to                                                                  
order were Senators Begich, Hughes, and Chair Holland. Senator                                                                  
Micciche arrived thereafter.                                                                                                    
            SB 236-FACILITIES CONSTITUTING A SCHOOL                                                                         
9:04:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 236                                                                
"An Act relating to facilities constituting a school."                                                                          
CHAIR HOLLAND asked Mr. King to introduce SB 236, a committee                                                                   
9:05:05 AM                                                                                                                    
ED KING, Staff, Senator Roger Holland, Alaska State Legislature,                                                                
Juneau, Alaska, introduced SB 236 by reading the sponsor                                                                        
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     SB  236 seeks  to  remedy a  technical  problem in  the                                                                    
     education funding  formula. The  problem occurs  when a                                                                    
     district  with  a  single  school  and  more  than  425                                                                    
     students  opens a  charter school.  Under current  law,                                                                    
     the existence of the charter  school implies that there                                                                    
     is  no  longer "only  one  facility  administered as  a                                                                    
     school." Consequently, the  district must calculate the                                                                    
     adjusted ADM in  the public school with  a lower school                                                                    
     size factor. As  a result, opening a  charter school in                                                                    
     such  a  district comes  with  a  financial penalty  of                                                                    
     about $1 million per year.                                                                                                 
     SB  236 adds  three words  to existing  law: "excluding                                                                    
     charter schools." These three  words allow the district                                                                    
     to   maintain  its   full   funding   and  remove   the                                                                    
     disincentive a  school board  faces when  considering a                                                                    
     charter  school application.  While it  is tempting  to                                                                    
     consider  the fiscal  note  as a  $1  million per  year                                                                    
     funding  increase,  it's  important  to  remember  that                                                                    
     simply closing the charter school  would yield the same                                                                    
     The   Senate  Education   Committee  supports   charter                                                                    
     schools  and requests  your  support  in removing  this                                                                    
     barrier  to  ensure  they  are  available  to  students                                                                    
     across the state.                                                                                                          
9:06:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND  noted there  was a  committee substitute  (CS) for                                                               
the committee to consider.                                                                                                      
9:06:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  moved to adopt the  proposed CS for SB  236, work                                                               
order 32-LS1642\B, as the working document.                                                                                     
9:06:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND objected  for purposes of discussion  and asked Mr.                                                               
King  for an  explanation of  the changes  between version  A and                                                               
version B.                                                                                                                      
9:06:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. KING explained  that the committee substitute  adds Section 2                                                               
to SB 236, adding an effective  date of July 1, 2022, ensuring no                                                               
partial-year funding obligations.                                                                                               
9:07:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLAND  removed  his  objection;   he  found  no  further                                                               
objection, and CSSB 236, version B, was adopted.                                                                                
9:07:24 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW LOVITT, Director  of Budget & Finance,  Lower Yukon School                                                               
District, Mountain  Village, said  he had  held the  position for                                                               
six years. He read his testimony:                                                                                               
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     LYSD is  seeking your  support of SB  236. SB  236 will                                                                    
     remedy  a funding  issue  that  unfairly penalizes  the                                                                    
     Lower  Yukon  School  District for  opening  a  charter                                                                    
     school in Hooper Bay.                                                                                                      
     The  penalty within  the statute  for adding  a charter                                                                    
     school in  Hooper Bay resulted  in an  annual reduction                                                                    
     in funding  of $1,033,000  for FY 2021,  and $1,021,000                                                                    
     for  FY2022. Until  this funding  penalty is  remedied,                                                                    
     LYSD will lose approximately $1 million each year.                                                                         
     The   District   operates  two   separate   educational                                                                    
     programs in the Hooper  Bay School; the conventional K-                                                                    
     12  school and  a 4th  -8th grade  charter school  that                                                                    
     features   a  culturally   relevant,  place   based  on                                                                    
     learning  curriculum  for its  students.  Additionally,                                                                    
     the school  has a  K-3 Yupik  Immersion program  but is                                                                    
     not part  of the charter  school and functions  as part                                                                    
     of the conventional school as a special program.                                                                           
     Some would argue  that SB 236 has a fiscal  note to the                                                                    
     State of Alaska of $1 million annually.                                                                                    
     LYSD sees the opposite; to  date our loss of foundation                                                                    
     funding has resulted in fiscal  surplus to the state of                                                                    
     $2 million dollars for the FY 21 and FY 22.                                                                                
     As  a result  of  the Hooper  Bay  Charter School,  our                                                                    
     district has  same number of  students- the  exact same                                                                    
     students- inside  of the same school  building- and yet                                                                    
     we realize  a funding  penalty of  over $1  million per                                                                    
     year.  By adding  the  three  words "excluding  charter                                                                  
     schools" to  AS 14.17.905,  the annual  funding penalty                                                                  
     is  remedied and  it becomes  feasible  to fund  Hooper                                                                    
     Bay's Charter School. As it  stands now, the statute is                                                                    
     punitive and this unintended  $1 million annual funding                                                                    
     penalty   impacts  our   entire  school   district  and                                                                    
     effectively  jeopardizes  rural   Alaskans'  access  to                                                                    
     school choice.                                                                                                             
     SB 236  would remedy  this funding problem  and support                                                                    
     charter  school  equity  for the  rural  Alaska  school                                                                    
     Thank   you   for   sponsoring  and   scheduling   this                                                                    
     legislation, thank you for  your time and consideration                                                                    
     and I'm open for any questions.                                                                                            
9:09:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH said  if  the  district got  rid  of the  charter                                                               
school, there would not be a  penalty, and kids would still be in                                                               
the same  school building.  He asked  if SB  236 would  erase the                                                               
penalty.  He opined  that the  statute  unfairly penalizes  small                                                               
districts and prevents them from having charter schools.                                                                        
MR. LEAVITT responded yes.                                                                                                      
9:10:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND asked whether SB 236 would affect other schools in                                                                
MR. LOVITT replied that it would not.                                                                                           
9:10:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KING said  that while  Hooper Bay's  charter school  was the                                                               
only district affected, the statute  could cause the same problem                                                               
for other communities; therefore, the legislation was necessary.                                                                
9:11:13 AM                                                                                                                    
ELWIN BLACKWELL, School Finance  Manager, Department of Education                                                               
and  Early Development  (DEED), Juneau,  Alaska, replied  that no                                                               
other school  or district  would be affected  by SB  236. Average                                                               
daily membership  (ADM) numbers do  not show any other  school or                                                               
district falling under this statute section anytime soon.                                                                       
SENATOR   HUGHES  asked   Mr.  Leavitt   when  the   problem  was                                                               
9:12:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. LOVITT replied  that the issue had occurred  once before when                                                               
the school's  enrollment exceeded  425 students. The  problem was                                                               
resolved in  2018. The  district knew funding  would be  an issue                                                               
when the community pushed for  a charter school. However, he said                                                               
he  was   unsure  whether  the  charter   school  understood  the                                                               
districtwide impact.                                                                                                            
SENATOR HUGHES asked  whether the charter school  was impacted by                                                               
the  loss of  funds  since  its funding  was  in  place, and  she                                                               
questioned why it took two years to request the change.                                                                         
9:13:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  LOVITT  replied  that  the  charter  school  received  total                                                               
funding, and  the rest of  the district incurred the  penalty. He                                                               
said the  request was delayed  due to the charter  school opening                                                               
late in the year and legislation  failing to gain traction due to                                                               
Covid shutdowns.                                                                                                                
CHAIR HOLLAND responded  that he would accept some  blame for the                                                               
delay. He  said he  had heard  of the  legislation as  a freshman                                                               
senator and should have given it more attention.                                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES said that it makes  sense that Covid would cause a                                                               
9:14:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND held SB 236 in committee.                                                                                         
        SB 196-PUBLIC ED: SPEECH, DISCLOSE INST MATERIAL                                                                    
9:14:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLAND announced  the consideration  of  SENATE BILL  NO.                                                               
196." An  Act relating  to transparency  and compelled  speech in                                                               
public education."                                                                                                              
9:15:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR LORA REINBOLD, Alaska  State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
sponsor of  SB 196, said  AS 14.18 addresses  prohibition against                                                               
discrimination based on  race or sex in public  education. SB 196                                                               
bookends  this section  of the  law and  adds a  new section  for                                                               
curriculum  transparency  and  prohibiting compelled  speech  and                                                               
9:16:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD presented the sectional analysis for SB 196:                                                                   
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     Section  One: AS  14.18.070 is  amended to  replace the                                                                  
     words  "this  chapter"  with  the  sections  14.18.010-                                                                    
     14.18.110 related to affirmative action.                                                                                   
     Section  Two: AS  14.18.080  Implementation adopted  by                                                                  
     the board of regents                                                                                                       
     Section  Three:  AS  14.18.090   (a)  The  board  shall                                                                  
     enforce  compliance by  school  districts and  regional                                                                    
     educational   attendance   areas.   The   board   shall                                                                    
     institute   appropriate   proceedings  to   abate   the                                                                    
     practices found by  the board found to  be in violation                                                                    
     of AS 14.18.010-14.18.110.                                                                                                 
     Section  Four:  Remedies:  A   person  aggrieved  by  a                                                                  
     violation of AS 14.18.010-14.18.110  or of a regulation                                                                    
     or  procedure adopted  under the  chapter may  file the                                                                    
     complaint with  the board and has  independent right of                                                                    
     action  in superior  court for  civil  damages and  for                                                                    
     such equitable relief as the court may determine.                                                                          
     Section Five:  Effect is supplementary to  and does not                                                                  
     supersede   existing   laws    relating   to   unlawful                                                                    
     discrimination based on race or sex.                                                                                       
     Section   Six:   Adds   a  new   section   to   include                                                                  
     transparency,   prohibiting    compelled   speech   and                                                                    
          Section  14.18.150  Transparency:  Curriculum  and                                                                  
          instructional  materials  used   for  teacher  and                                                                    
          other   staff   training   on   nondiscrimination,                                                                    
          diversity,  equity,  inclusion,  race,  ethnicity,                                                                    
          sex, bias,  or another  concept that  includes one                                                                    
          or  more of  those concepts  will be  displayed on                                                                    
          the  school's   website  and   updated  regularly.                                                                    
          Instructional   material  on   the  website   will                                                                    
          include the  title and author  of the  material as                                                                    
          well  as any  organization  or website  associated                                                                    
          with  the material.  32nd Legislature  Committees:                                                                    
          Vice Chair  Legislative Council Vice  Chair Senate                                                                    
          State Affairs Senate  Member: Legislative Budget &                                                                    
          Audit  Health   &  Social  Services   Joint  Armed                                                                    
          Services Committee 2/25/22 32-LS0768\O 2                                                                              
     9:18:17 AM                                                                                                             
          Section 14.18.160 Prohibiting  Compelled Speech: A                                                                  
          state  agency, school  districts' governing  body,                                                                    
          charter school,  or public school may  not allow a                                                                    
          teacher,  administrator,  or   other  employee  to                                                                    
          include  in a  course or  award course  grading or                                                                    
          extra credit  for political activism,  lobbying or                                                                    
          effort  to persuade  members of  the executive  or                                                                    
          legislative  branch at  local,  state, or  federal                                                                    
          level to  take specific  action, or  any practicum                                                                    
          or  similar activity  involving  social or  public                                                                    
          policy advocacy.  An individual by virtue  of sex,                                                                    
          race,  ethnicity,  religion,  color,  or  national                                                                    
          origin   is  inherently   superior  or   inferior.                                                                    
          Students,  teachers,   administrators,  and  other                                                                    
          employees have  the opportunity to opt  out of any                                                                    
          speech, training or session.                                                                                          
          Section  14.18.170,   the  Attorney   General  may                                                                  
          commence a  civil action in the  superior court to                                                                    
          enjoin   a   state   agency,   school   district's                                                                    
          governing  body, charter  school or  public school                                                                    
          from violating  AS 14.18.150 or  14.18.160. Within                                                                    
          60  days   after  receiving  a   complete  written                                                                    
          request,  the  Attorney  General  may  reconsider,                                                                    
          revoke,  or  modify  an advisory  opinion  at  any                                                                    
     Section 7: Definitions Public school does not include                                                                    
       the University of Alaska or another postsecondary                                                                        
     institution,  School District  means  a borough  school                                                                    
     district,   a   city   school  district,   a   regional                                                                    
     educational attendance  area, a state  boarding school,                                                                    
     and   the   state  centralized   correspondence   study                                                                    
     program,  State  Agency  means  a  department,  office,                                                                    
     agency,  state board,  commission, public  corporation,                                                                    
     or  other organization  unit of  or  created under  the                                                                    
     executive branch of the state government.                                                                                  
9:19:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND turned to invited testimony on SB 196.                                                                            
9:19:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD presented a brief biography of Mr. Rufo.                                                                       
9:20:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTOPHER  RUFO, Senior  Fellow,  Manhattan Institute,  Pierce,                                                               
Washington,  said that  during Covid,  parents became  aware that                                                               
schools used  curricula, pedagogies, and teaching  materials they                                                               
disliked. Their  concern caused them  to take a more  active role                                                               
in their  children's education.  He stated  his belief  that this                                                               
awareness   sparked   a   nationwide  movement   advocating   for                                                               
restrictions   on  racially   or   sexually  abusive   curriculum                                                               
materials  and for  greater transparency.  SB  196 would  require                                                               
schoolteachers to  provide online  access to  teaching materials.                                                               
Teachers already have  organized lessons and the  ability to post                                                               
materials online.                                                                                                               
9:22:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RUFO said  he learned through his policy  study that teachers                                                               
welcome  parental  participation.  Over the  past  thirty  years,                                                               
studies have revealed that parental  involvement is one indicator                                                               
of student  success. Transparency does not  require a significant                                                               
expenditure  of   resources  and  is  predicated   on  the  moral                                                               
statement, "Parents  have the right  to know what  the government                                                               
is  teaching  their  children." Transparency  satisfies  parents'                                                               
moral right to be informed.  It serves the community by promoting                                                               
involvement  in  publicly  funded   institutions,  and  it  makes                                                               
schools  stronger  because  teachers can  share  information  and                                                               
receive  feedback.  Curriculum  transparency  restores  trust  in                                                               
public schools.                                                                                                                 
9:25:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD provided a brief biography of Mr. Boyle.                                                                       
9:26:03 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  BOYLE,  representing  self, Anchorage,  Alaska,  said  the                                                               
Anchorage  School District  (ASD) composes  nearly 35  percent of                                                               
Alaska's   student  population   and   values  transparency   and                                                               
accountability.  He stated  his belief  that citizens  are better                                                               
served  when   governmental  agencies  are   transparent.  School                                                               
districts  should post  all  curricula on  their  websites to  be                                                               
fully transparent  but, at a  minimum, should post  the materials                                                               
listed  in SB  196  that address:  diversity, equity,  inclusion,                                                               
race, ethnicity, sex,  and bias. Parents need to  know what their                                                               
children  are  being taught  so  they  can support  the  learning                                                               
objectives. Teachers  should support posting materials  online to                                                               
keep  parents  informed since  education  is  a team  effort.  He                                                               
opined that if it's important  enough to post the school's weekly                                                               
lunch  menu on  the school's  webpage, then  definitely materials                                                               
addressing  diversity, equity,  inclusion,  ethnicity, race,  sex                                                               
and bias should also be posted there.                                                                                           
9:27:36 AM                                                                                                                    
Regarding  compelled speech,  he provided  an anecdotal  story of                                                               
students  being given  an assignment  that  promoted a  political                                                               
agenda. He  said students should  learn about government  and the                                                               
legislative  process, but  they  should not  be  used to  promote                                                               
political agendas. Furthermore, students  should not be compelled                                                               
to believe  that the US  is a racist  or sexist country.  He said                                                               
evidence that critical  race theory (CRT) exists in  ASD could be                                                               
seen in a citizen's survey  posted on its website when recruiting                                                               
for a new superintendent. A  desirable quality was, "able to lead                                                               
district  diversity, equity  and  inclusion  efforts." He  opined                                                               
that  this references  CTR and  its principles.  The search  firm                                                               
that provided  the survey  also supports  CTR with  statements on                                                               
its  webpage  like, "we  will  recognize  systemic racism  as  an                                                               
equity problem  for children's  access to  a fair,  thorough, and                                                               
effective public  education." He  stressed that children  need to                                                               
focus  on the  educational  process  and be  nurtured  to have  a                                                               
successful life. No  child should feel inferior.  SB 196 protects                                                               
9:30:16 AM                                                                                                                    
LEIGH   SLOAN,  State   Director,  Alaska   Parent's  Rights   in                                                               
Education,  Anchorage, Alaska,  said she  has a  teaching degree,                                                               
specializes in  gifted education,  and homeschools  her children.                                                               
She  stated that  US  schools and  universities  are fighting  an                                                               
ideological  battle  that  emphasizes   not  being  racist.  Yet,                                                               
society  perpetuates  racism by  paying  more  attention to  skin                                                               
color  than   character.  Intolerance  for   varying  viewpoints,                                                               
violence,  and suicide  are increasing  among  young people.  She                                                               
shared  an   anecdotal  story  of  her   seven-year-old  son  not                                                               
identifying people  based on  skin color.  She opined  that youth                                                               
are  taught   to  discriminate  in  school.   California  removed                                                               
nondiscrimination language from its constitution  a few years ago                                                               
because  it violated  values of  equity  and inclusion.  However,                                                               
equity and inclusion  are misnomers for the  concepts which cause                                                               
discrimination and intentional bias.                                                                                            
9:31:54 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLOAN said the statue of  Justice wears a blindfold and holds                                                               
scales in her hands. Equity  removes the blindfold and erodes the                                                               
principles  of  equality  and opportunity.  Equity  replaces  the                                                               
blindfold   with   a   magnifying  glass   that   over-emphasizes                                                               
superficial identifiers  like race and gender,  thereby reversing                                                               
years of  progress towards  non-discrimination. Equity  may sound                                                               
progressive,  but it  is  regressive,  promoting toxic  tribalism                                                               
rather than equality  of outcome. No child should  have to defend                                                               
the aspects about themselves that they cannot change. Non-                                                                      
discrimination and  freedom of speech  should be the  norm within                                                               
schools. SB 196 prevents children  from being used as weapons for                                                               
an ideological war they did not start. It promotes non-                                                                         
discrimination and diversity of thought in public schools.                                                                      
9:33:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said it is  important that the issues addressed in                                                               
SB 196 be  discussed because many Alaskan  parents have expressed                                                               
concern. She stated  she needs clarification on why  SB 196, page                                                               
1,  line 13,  refers  to the  Board  of Regents  if  SB 196  only                                                               
applies to K-12  education. She asked if SB 196  applies to post-                                                               
secondary institutions.                                                                                                         
SENATOR REINBOLD stated  her belief that SB 196  pertains only to                                                               
K-12 education but deferred to Mr. Rufo or Mr. Boyle.                                                                           
CHAIR HOLLAND  stated that online  connections with Mr.  Rufo and                                                               
Mr. Boyle were lost.                                                                                                            
9:34:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  restated her  belief  that  the University  of                                                               
Alaska  has  oversight  of  some  state  standards,  but  SB  196                                                               
pertains to K-12 education.                                                                                                     
9:35:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES asked  for assurance that SB 196  pertains only to                                                               
grades  K-12.  She  said  she receives  letters  of  support  and                                                               
opposition  to legislation  from students.  She asked  whether SB
196 would prevent such assignments.                                                                                             
9:36:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND  asked if SB  196, page  3, would prevent  a civics                                                               
class from reaching out to local legislators for any reason.                                                                    
9:37:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD replied  that  it would  not  be prohibited.  A                                                               
teacher  can  not force  compelled  speech  based on  sex,  race,                                                               
ethnicity, religion,  color, or national origin.  Students cannot                                                               
be put  in a position  of indoctrination. SB 196  encourages free                                                               
speech and free thinking.                                                                                                       
SENATOR MICCICHE arrived.                                                                                                       
9:37:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH opined that the  language in SB 196 would prohibit                                                               
letters from  being written  to legislators  because it  does not                                                               
"allow a  teacher, administrator,  or other employee  to require,                                                               
include in  a course, or  award course grading, credit,  or extra                                                               
credit for  political activism..."  Writing letters could  not be                                                               
part of the  course due to grading. He shared  an anecdotal story                                                               
of  having a  high school  class  with his  friend Mr.  Tuckerman                                                               
Babcock  where   they  were   encouraged  to   express  different                                                               
political   ideas   and   received  course   credit   for   their                                                               
participation. He  said he  understands that  SB 196,  Section 6,                                                               
addresses transparency  found in AS  14.1.150 but opined  that AS                                                               
14.18.160 strikes  at the  heart of  encouraging young  people to                                                               
engage  in  political  philosophy.  He stated  that  he  and  Mr.                                                               
Babcock went on  to teach a high school course  where they shared                                                               
their political  philosophies and encouraged students  to develop                                                               
their perspectives. He  said SB 196 is concerning  because it has                                                               
good intent  but bad  execution. He  asked Senator  Reinbold what                                                               
compelled speech  problems have  occurred in  Alaska to  make the                                                               
passage of SB 196 necessary.                                                                                                    
9:40:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD said  that  SB 196  does  not inhibit  activism                                                               
regarding writing letters  except on page 4, line  25, which says                                                               
a student, teacher, administrator, or  other employees may not be                                                               
compelled  "to   affirm,  adopt,  or   adhere  to  a   belief  or                                                               
concept..." She said the bookends for  SB 196 are on page 4, line                                                               
4. She then read SB 196, Section 6, page 4, lines 4-19:                                                                         
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
          (A) the United States or the state is                                                                                 
     fundamentally or irredeemably racist or sexist;                                                                            
          (B) an individual, by virtue of sex, race,                                                                            
     ethnicity,  religion, color,  or  national origin,  is,                                                                    
     consciously   or   unconsciously,  inherently   racist,                                                                    
     sexist, or oppressive;                                                                                                     
          (C) an individual, by virtue of sex, race,                                                                            
     ethnicity,  religion,  color,  or national  origin,  is                                                                    
     blameworthy for actions committed  in the past by other                                                                    
     member  of the  same  sex,  race, ethnicity,  religion,                                                                    
     color, or national origin;                                                                                                 
          (D)   an    individual's   moral    character   is                                                                    
     necessarily  determined, in  whole or  in part,  by the                                                                    
     individual's sex, race,  ethnicity, religion, color, or                                                                    
     national origin;                                                                                                           
          (E) a sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or                                                                       
     national origin is inherently superior or inferior; or                                                                     
          (F) an individual should be adversely treated                                                                         
     based  on sex,  race,  ethnicity,  religion, color,  or                                                                    
     national origin. . ."                                                                                                      
Senator Reinbold  said SB  196 attempts  to remove  extremes from                                                               
9:42:31 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  what  Senator  Reinbold  described  in  AS                                                               
14.18.160, paragraph 2 (SB 196,  page 4, lines 4-27) differs from                                                               
AS 14.18.160,  paragraph 1 (SB  196, pages 3-4, lines  281).  The                                                               
sections of  law in  SB 196  are standalone;  therefore, awarding                                                               
course  credit for  assignments encouraging  students to  explore                                                               
political issues would be prohibited                                                                                            
SENATOR BEGICH said he also has  a concern regarding SB 196, page                                                               
4,  lines  2-4, limiting  the  ability  to teach  students  about                                                               
historical events  involving racism,  sexism, and  oppression. He                                                               
opined that  a teacher  must be  able to  describe the  nature of                                                               
slavery  and  WWII  and  whether there  was  inherent  racism  or                                                               
oppression. He opined that educators  should instruct students in                                                               
critical  thinking.  He stated  his  belief  that the  compelling                                                               
sections of  SB 196  do not  get to  the intent  of transparency.                                                               
Instead, they restrict the ability of students to learn.                                                                        
9:45:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  said she  does not see  the conflict  in language                                                               
that Senator Begich described. She said  SB 196, page 4, lines 2-                                                               
3,  does  not  prohibit  a  teacher  from  discussing  historical                                                               
events.  What is  prohibited  is a  teacher  forcing students  to                                                               
affirm, adopt, or adhere to  a particular belief because it would                                                               
keep a student from becoming a critical thinker.                                                                                
9:46:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD agreed with Senator  Hughes and said discussions                                                               
would be allowed under SB 196.                                                                                                  
9:47:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND  asked if  there was  an example  of a  school that                                                               
publishes its curriculum online.                                                                                                
SENATOR REINBOLD  said schools have  the mechanisms  necessary to                                                               
post curricula  online due to  Covid. She  said she did  not know                                                               
whether any school  was still posting curriculum.  She noted that                                                               
having the materials online was beneficial to parents.                                                                          
9:49:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES read  SB 196,  page 3,  lines 20-22,  "The school                                                               
shall  retain  information  about  training,  instructional,  and                                                               
curricular material for at least  two years after the material is                                                               
used."  She  noted that  the  foregoing  might need  a  technical                                                               
change.  She  asked  whether  this  meant  two  years  after  the                                                               
material was last used or first used.                                                                                           
9:50:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  replied that the  sentence reads  "after" used,                                                               
so the  two years would  be after  the moment the  curriculum was                                                               
CHAIR HOLLAND said  the interpretation would be  the moment after                                                               
last used.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR REINBOLD replied correct.                                                                                               
CHAIR  HOLLAND   restated  the   interpretation  as    used  most                                                               
9:50:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND  said Mr. Boyle was  back online and might  be able                                                               
to address the previous concern about the Board of Regents.                                                                     
9:50:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOYLE said  SB  196  only applies  to  the K-12  educational                                                               
system. It does not include  the university system. He reiterated                                                               
that  SB  196   does  not  prevent  a   teacher  from  discussing                                                               
historical events.  However, it  does prohibit using  students to                                                               
advance a  specific issue, like  assisting a governor  in passing                                                               
his  budget.  He  provided  details  of  the  incident  and  more                                                               
examples of what might occur in the classroom.                                                                                  
9:52:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  students  were  introduced  to  an  active                                                               
approach to  civics education  in 1977.  Juniors and  seniors are                                                               
typically the high school students  who choose to participate. He                                                               
opined that students were not  compelled to participate. He asked                                                               
Mr.  Boyle or  committee  members to  provide  an instance  where                                                               
students  were  compelled because  it  had  not happened  in  his                                                               
experience. He  stated that a  governor making a  foolish request                                                               
to ASD did  not take away a student's right  to decide whether to                                                               
9:53:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLAND cautioned  that it  is bold  to say  that students                                                               
have not experienced  assignments that were compelled.  He said a                                                               
reason for  requesting transparency  in education was  to address                                                               
compelling  speech occurring  in schools  because parents  do not                                                               
think students  should have to  fight the battle. He  opined that                                                               
parents would  be more  likely to  provide instances  of children                                                               
being  compelled to  participate  in an  activity than  committee                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH  said he was  referring to the  compelling element                                                               
of SB 196, not transparency.                                                                                                    
9:54:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said students were  compelled to take one position                                                               
for extra credit  in the example Mr. Boyle gave.  She stated that                                                               
SB 196  has language on page  3 that might need  to be rewritten.                                                               
However,  according  to the  bill  sponsor,  SB 196  would  allow                                                               
students to pick issues and write about them.                                                                                   
9:55:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD said  examples  of compelling  speech would  be                                                               
provided during  public testimony  on SB  196. She  shared quotes                                                               
from White Fragility, a book on racism.                                                                                         
CHAIR HOLLAND asked if the book was used in a school curriculum.                                                                
9:57:43 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  said she  would read from  an op-ed  written on                                                               
April  15,  2021,  by  Dave Donely,  an  Anchorage  School  Board                                                               
member.  She  said  the article  discusses  beliefs  about  white                                                               
supremacy,  anti-tradition, anti-capitalism,  anti-individualism,                                                               
anti-merit-based system, and all white people being racists:                                                                    
     I have  objected to the district  endorsing these books                                                                    
     on  taxpayer funded  websites  without  listing any  or                                                                    
     recognition  of opposing  views  through literature.  I                                                                    
     submitted a list  of all the books  in publication that                                                                    
     present opposing opinions, but  the district refused to                                                                    
     list them.  I objected  to the  lack of  any disclaimer                                                                    
     add  to  the  political  and partisan  content  of  the                                                                    
     books.  Only recently  under public  pressure, did  the                                                                    
     ASD add a very weak  and adequate disclaimer to several                                                                    
     of the non-CRT books, but none in opposition to CRT.                                                                       
9:58:20 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH asked for a definition of CRT.                                                                                   
SENATOR   REINBOLD  replied   that   she  wanted   to  focus   on                                                               
transparency  and dignity.  However,  she  would define  critical                                                               
race theory (CRT) if the committee wanted.                                                                                      
SENATOR BEGICH  said he did not  need a definition if  CRT stands                                                               
for critical race  theory. He asked the committee not  to use the                                                               
acronym CRT in place of the term critical race theory.                                                                          
CHAIR HOLLAND asked if the quote was from Mr. Donely's op-ed.                                                                   
SENATOR REINBOLD replied yes.                                                                                                   
9:59:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE said  he was unsure how the  topic of discussion                                                               
changed from compelling  behavior to book burning  and asked that                                                               
the  committee stick  with  the issue  of  compelling speech.  He                                                               
stated  that his  conservative philosophy  was formed  by reading                                                               
works from  both sides. Still,  he does not support  extra credit                                                               
awarded  based  on  a  student   having  to  support  a  specific                                                               
position.  He opined  that SB  196 was  too broad  in controlling                                                               
compelling speech. He  likes when young people  write letters and                                                               
are  freely   involved.  Discussions  at  a   college  level  are                                                               
different and  can solidify concepts  taught in high  school. The                                                               
issue of compelling  students is important to  discuss. The state                                                               
legislature must  guard against limiting free  exchange in school                                                               
because that is  where students start forming  their thoughts. He                                                               
wondered  if  there  are other  examples  of  compelled  behavior                                                               
within Alaska. He  expressed his belief that  the word compelling                                                               
would need to be defined if SB 196 is to move forward.                                                                          
10:02:41 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BEGICH   said  there   could  be  an   attorney  general                                                               
enforcement  issue. He  asked  if a  legal  opinion was  obtained                                                               
regarding whether SB 196 violates constitutional provisions.                                                                    
10:03:12 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR REINBOLD said she is not  aware if there is a legal memo.                                                               
However, AS  14.18.170[(a)] says,    he attorney  general may..."                                                               
It does not say shall," which is an important distinction.                                                                      
10:03:58 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR REINBOLD said AS 14.18  addresses the prohibition against                                                               
discrimination based on  sex or race in education.  SB 196 delves                                                               
into the  various issues contained  AS 14.18 that are  already in                                                               
state  statute. As  citizens,  we must  brush  up on  employment,                                                               
counseling, and recreation discrimination  issues. A lot of these                                                               
issues  are already  addressed  in law.  SB  196 places  bookends                                                               
around  race and  sex discrimination  in  education to  eliminate                                                               
10:04:52 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  HOLLAND said  the committee  would  receive feedback  from                                                               
Legislative Legal Services regarding the attorney general issue.                                                                
10:05:02 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  MICCICHE  said  he  would like  to  review  the  section                                                               
regarding the attorney general. He asked for reference numbers.                                                                 
10:05:13 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR REINBOLD replied AS 14.18.010  14.18.110.                                                                               
10:05:46 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  KING said  the committee  should consider  that AS  14.18 is                                                               
antidiscrimination law,  and the  references within  that chapter                                                               
all state  "this chapter."  The addition  of the  new subsections                                                               
was entirely  excluded from previous  sections. So  throughout SB
196,  "this chapter"  was  changed  to "AS  14.18.010-14.18.110."                                                               
Mention  of the  Board of  Regents was  to specifically  identify                                                               
that the university is not subject to the new sections.                                                                         
MR.  KING noted  a potential  gap in  SB 196,  page 1.  The board                                                               
referenced in  AS 14.18.080(a) is  the State Board  of Education,                                                               
and by  narrowing the range  from "this chapter" only  through AS                                                               
14.18.110, which  is existing law,  the board might not  have the                                                               
authority to  write regulations over the  new law. He said  it is                                                               
something that would need to be addressed.                                                                                      
10:07:09 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR HOLLAND held SB 196 in committee.                                                                                         
10:07:28 AM                                                                                                                   
At ease.                                                                                                                        
10:07:48 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR HOLLAND reconvened the meeting.                                                                                           
10:08:05 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Holland adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                 
meeting at 10:08 a.m.                                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 236 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 3/25/2022 9:00:00 AM
SB 236
SB 236 Fiscal Note (FP).pdf SEDC 3/25/2022 9:00:00 AM
SB 236
SB 236 Fiscal Note (PEF).pdf SEDC 3/25/2022 9:00:00 AM
SB 236
SB 236 CS.pdf SEDC 3/25/2022 9:00:00 AM
SB 236
SB 236 LYSD Letter.pdf SEDC 3/25/2022 9:00:00 AM
SB 236
SB 196 Sponsor Statement 2.21.22.pdf SEDC 3/25/2022 9:00:00 AM
SJUD 4/25/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 196
SB 196 Sectional 2.25.22.pdf SEDC 3/25/2022 9:00:00 AM
SJUD 4/25/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 196