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March 13, 2014 House Community & Regional Affairs Committee Hearing on HB 317

On Thursday morning the House Community & Regional Affairs Committee (CRA), heard HB 317 for the first time and held the bill. 

Sponsor Rep. Chris Tuck reviewed HB 317 for the committee.  From the sponsor statement:

Every student should be able to get to and from school safely, no matter what type of school they attend.

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HB 245 In-Depth Review - State would cover an additional $200 million in school funding

I sent out an analysis of prefiled bills on Friday, and would like to review HB 245 a little more in depth.  Here is what I sent out yesterday:

·         HB 245 – School Funding: Repeal Required Local Contributionhttp://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?session=28&bill=HB245

o   HB 245 repeals required local contributions for “basic need” funding for school districts, and specifies that basic need will come from the state and federal governments. 

o   It allows local governments to continue to contribute from local funding sources, if they so wish. 

o   HB 245 does not change the statutory formula for calculating basic need. 

Later in the day, Alaska Democrats sent out a press release saying that HB 245 would reduce education funding http://alaskademocrats.org/news/994-republican-assault-on-education-continues-with-new-legislation

That made me question whether I had misinterpreted HB 245, because my interpretation was that basic need would be funded at the same level.  I read the bill again and called the sponsor, Rep. Tammie Wilson, who confirmed that my reading of the bill was correct.  HB 245... 

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First Release of Prefiled Legislation

The first set of prefiled bills was released Friday morning.  There were the usual bills, such as those repealing the HSGQE, one big surprise that repeals the requirement for local funding of basic need, and one bill that sounds like basically a good idea with the exception of a problematic provision that school districts must warn parents of kindergarten – 3

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Report to the Legislature from the House Sustainable Education Task Force

Below is a report on Tuesday’s House Sustainable Education Task Force hearing and the subsequent report to the legislature.  The “report” is a short, two-page letter which does not contain information on any of the items outlined for investigation in HR 8, including whether or not education funding is adequate.  Duties of the task force, according to HR 8 are:

(1) performing an analysis of public education funding that includes

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October 1, 2013 Hearing - House Task Force on Sustainable Education

CLICK HERE for a report on the hearings of the House Task Force on Sustainable Education that were held earlier this week in Kotzebue and the surrounding area.  There is only detailed information on the Tuesday afternoon portion of the time the task force spent in the Kotzebue area, since all day Monday and Tuesday morning were spent touring school facilities.  It was an interesting hearing, and I hear there was beautiful weather while the task force was in Kotzebue. 

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Re-Forming/Re-Funding/De-Funding Education in Alaska

The House and Senate Finance DEED Subcommittees and the House Task Force on Sustainable Education are all holding their own separate multiple, long hearings this interim, with the stated intent to look at education and education funding.  A number of legislators have said over the past eight months that current education funding is not sustainable, appearing to imply either that education funding will need to be cut in the future, or that there will not be any increases, regardless of increasing costs to school districts. 

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Difference Between Common Core Standards and New Alaska Standards

Recently, Rep. Lynn Gattis, chair of the House Education Committee, requested a report from Legislative Research on the differences between the common core standards and Alaska's new standards. The report was completed May 31, 2013, and found two basic differences:

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DEED Releases Data on Schools for New Star Rating System

On Friday, August 16, 2013 the Dept. of Education & Early Development released data on Alaska schools under the new star rating system (Alaska School Performance Index – ASPI).  I’ve posted an Excel document with the data for each individual school in the state.  It’s sortable by school, school district, ASPI score, ASPI rating, and all the other categories in the document: http://www.alaskaeducationupdate.com/2013-star-ratings-aspi-schools-just-released-deed

To sort the data, if you are not familiar with Excel, click on “Sort and Filter” then select “Custom Sort.”  Then choose the column by which you would like to sort the document and click “OK.”  The document is 15 pages. Other documents related to the new ASPI rating system can be found at the DEED website: http://education.alaska.gov/aspi/

Main points to remember regarding the new star ratings (ASPI):

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SB 47, SB 62 signed by Governor Parnell

Governor Parnell signed two pieces of education-related legislation today - SB 47 - District-Operated Boarding Schools, and SB 62 - School Construction Grants: Small Municipalities.  Below is the current status of education legislation passed this session:

HR 8 – Task Force on Sustainable Education: transmitted to the governor (no action required by governor on simple resolutions), http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?session=28&bill=hr+++8

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Language Usage in Social Media

I've always found language usage and how it changes over time/in different circumstances fascinating.  There are two types of linguistics: prescriptive and descriptive.  Prescriptive lingustics is used to teach people how they should speak, and descriptive linguistics is used to describe how people actually speak (http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/schlenker/LING1-06-LN-1A.pdf).  

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