Senator Berta Gardner

April 5, 2013

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Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 417
Juneau, AK 99801
Call Me: 1-800-331-4930

Sen.Berta.Gardner@akleg.gov
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D.C. DELEGATION

Senator Mark Begich
907-271-5915
EMAIL: Sen. Mark Begich

Senator Lisa Murkowski
907-271-3735
EMAIL: Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Congressman Don Young
907-271-5978
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young

PreK Works and... While You Were Sleeping

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thanks to the great crowd that came out to rally against the Governor’s Giveaway. Alaskans sure know how to tell the Governor this giveaway is bad policy.
Thanks to the great crowd that came out to rally against the Governor’s Giveaway. Alaskans sure know how to tell the Governor this giveaway is bad policy.

This week Senator French introduced to the Senate Education Committee his proposal for a statewide, voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (PreK) program. Over the years we’ve heard the arguments for and against PreK and it sort of feels like things are coming to a head. Recent small increases in pre-K funding for state schools; PreK, Head Start, Parents as Teachers and Best Beginnings are being rolled back this year. At the same time, we want to focus on graduating 90% of our students by 2020 and we are flat-funding classroom services for the 4th year in a row.

During the hearing Beth Snyder, an Anchorage School District Early Childhood Specialist, provided data on the impacts of a quality PreK. She testified that a high quality program has these characteristics:

· A research based curriculum;

· Teachers who are trained in early education;

· Ongoing student assessments.

The best programs also include:

· High levels of parent involvement;

· Staff visits with parents either in the home or elsewhere;

· Emphasis on all areas of child development.

Data from state PreK in Anchorage over the past 4 years demonstrate dramatic growth which, as kids transition into kindergarten and elementary school, shows a robust carry over.

Though, I don’t see this bill getting the legs it needs to pass both bodies, I am delighted the conversation is now starting.

While You Were Asleep

Wednesday night, working until after 2am, the House Resources Committee increased the giveaway in SB21, the Governor’s oil tax bill. Worse, in an amendment offered by Representative Mike Hawker, the proposal now allows the oil industry to audit each other instead of having that state do so. Even with this, the industry still makes no commitment to new oil production in Alaska. While the fight is not over yet, things are looking pretty grim. SB21 goes next to House Finance, then to the House Floor before delegates from the House and Senate will meet to resolve differences between the two versions of the bill.

I’m Berta and I’m still listening,

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office

signed: Berta


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