The Senate is wasting no time in getting to work this year. The first committee meetings have been scheduled – and they’re dealing with what might become subjects that last the entire year. Here’s the week’s schedule.
Former President Gary Stevens will gather his Education Committee to discuss the governor’s decision to evaluate teachers based on their students’ results on national standardized tests. The education community has raised hell about that call, but the State Board of Education backed the governor. Besides the Education Commissioner and Board, the committee has invited statewide organizations representing local school boards, teachers, principals and school superintendents. The meeting is at 8:00 Wednesday.
Another oversight meeting is coming when the Transportation Committee, chaired by Dennis Egan, opens the session talking about the Marine Highway System. In recent months the usual complaints about the ferries have softened as the public has seemed more comfortable with what looked like a well-run system. Then the governor decided he wanted some changes in the boats and – we understand – asked the director to resign. The Marine Highway is a touchy political subject in coastal Alaska, and the committee will start letting the issue bubble Thursday at 1:00.
At least these committees are going straight for the meat and aren’t starting with formal greetings and PR-generated nonsense. Interesting developments.