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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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Senate Passes SB 84 to increase the BSA by $110 for FY 12

The big news today is the senate passed SB 84 - Vocational Education & Basic Funding/Tax Credits (http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?bill=SB%20%2084&session=27). The Finance Committee substitute includes a one-year increase to the BSA of $110 for FY 12 and a vocational funding factor of 1 percent. The Finance Committee removed BSA increases for FY 13 and FY 14. The bill also extends the sunset period for the educational tax credits that were passed last year.

Also, Sen. French introduced a Parents as Teachers bill in the senate. That's a good indication that he is trying to give HB 49, the house version (http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?bill=HB%20%2049&session=27), a better chance of passing this session. If senate committees hear the senate version of the bill, the house bill's senate committee referrals may be waived when it gets to the senate.

Alaska, with a population of 710,231, is too small a population to be able to train 800 new teachers per year?

On Monday, April 4 the Senate Education Committee heard a presentation on University of Alaska teacher training programs from Deborah Lo, dean, School of Education at UAS, Mary Snyder, dean, School of Education at UAA, and Eric Madsen, dean, School of Education at UAF.  

During that presentation, Dean Snyder made a comment that I thought odd.  She said she doesn't believe they will ever be able to meet the demand for teachers in state, because of the population base.  She thought at most they might someday be able to meet 50 percent of the teacher need. 

Alaska needs about 800 new teachers trained every year, but only about 200 new teachers graduate from the University of Alaska every year.  According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Alaska is 710,231.  Was Dean Snyder actually saying that Alaska does not have a big enough population base in which to find and train 800 new teachers every year?  I feel I must have misunderstood her statement, as it doesn't make any sense to me.