Senators Joe Paskvan, Dennis Egan, and Gary Stevens during the closeout hearing of the Senate Finance DEED Subcommittee, March 20, 2012
This blog contains highlights from the Alaska Education Update. The update is issued daily during session and contains detailed summaries of education issues under consideration by the Alaska State Legislature. If there is a hearing on a Monday, a report will, with few exceptions, be released by Tuesday morning. There is also a weekly edition of the update. During interim, reports are issued only when there has been action. Interim action may include hearings, bill signings, the release of the Governor's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, and other items that may be of interest to the education community.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MOORE vs. STATE, March 31 2010 Court Order

On Wednesday, April 7th the House and Senate Education Committees will be holding a hearing on Moore vs. State. The committees will be hearing from the plaintiffs' attorney, the state's attorney, a legislative attorney, and the administration to discuss the case.

During the Monday, April 6th House Education Committee hearing, Dept. of Education & Early Development Deputy Commissioner Les Morse said the department thought this most recent court order was going to go their way. 

But looking at the order, it appears that the judge still feels the state has some work to do.  In her 2007 decision and again in the Order on Review of 2009 Submissions, Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason said....
that the Alaska Constitution is clear that the legislature is ultimately responsible for education. Though it may delegate that duty to the Dept. of Education & Early Development and local school boards, the legislature retains ultimate responsibility for the success of students.

One of the findings in the court order is that curriculum standards are not aligned with state assessments. The court order says the state has not demonstrated that students in underperforming districts are being given instruction on the material in the assessments, and that the continued delay is not constitutionally acceptable.

From the Order on Review of 2009 Submissions, dated March 31, 2010, pages 16-17, by Alaska Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason:

Within 60 days of the date of this Order’s distribution, the State shall file and serve each of the following:

1. A detailed plan as to how an aligned curriculum in each of the SBA-tested subject areas – math, writing, reading, and science – shall be taught in each of the intervention districts beginning in the fall of 2010. This plan will include a provision for adequate professional development to each of the teaching staff with respect to that curriculum.

2. A comprehensive review of the meaningful exposure to each of the other content areas that is currently offered to school children in each of the intervention districts, an identification of any deficiencies in that regard, and a detailed plan for each district as to how to address those deficiencies.

3. Detailed individual remediation plans for each junior and senior high school student in each of the intervention districts who has not yet achieved proficiency on one or more sections of the HSGQE. These plans shall be filed in a manner that protects student confidentiality.

4. District Improvement Plans for each of the intervention districts that adequately address the problem areas identified in this Court’s February 2009 decision: curriculum alignment, content areas not covered by the State’s standardized testing, ascertainment of the specific strengths and weaknesses of each chronically underperforming district, attention to pre-Kindergarten and other intensive early learning initiatives, and attention to teaching capacity deficiencies.

5. An update on the status of any specific efforts at the Yupiit School District. In its September 2009 filing, the Department indicated its intent to take additional steps to strengthen and expand its intervention in Yupiit.

The Plaintiffs are accorded 30 days from the date of the State’s submissions within which to file their response.

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