Distance Learning Commission

Establishes the distance learning commission in the University of
Hawaii to develop a comprehensive distance learning policy.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.1226       
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that several forward-
 2 thinking states have identified the need for a broadband, state-
 3 of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure to address specific
 4 state problems.  States need a policy that maximizes
 5 infrastructure development and full public access at affordable
 6 costs.  The test of successful telecommunications policy is
 7 whether the end result equips citizens and communities with the
 8 means to better their future.  The key component of such a policy
 9 is universal access to twenty-first century technology.
10 Universal access is synonymous with universal opportunity.
11      Today, virtually every state has distance learning in some
12 form, compared to fewer than ten states as recently as 1987.  The
13 distance learning programs across the states differ significantly
14 in terms of the technology used, their goals, and the quality and
15 effectiveness of the programs.  While all states have some form
16 of distance learning effort underway, they need to resolve issues
17 that are barriers to the use of distance learning, such as
18 teacher certification and evaluation, and curriculum and textbook
19 standardization.

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                                     H.B. NO.1226       

 1      SECTION 2.  Chapter 304, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 2 by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read
 3 as follows:
 5      302A-   Declaration of policy.  The legislature finds and
 6 declares:
 7      (1)  It is state policy that all students in the State,
 8           regardless of economic or geographic status, deserve
 9           the educational benefits offered by distance learning
10           through state-of-the-art technology;
11      (2)  Distance learning programs, ranging from voice and data
12           communication to state-of-the-art audiovisual delivery,
13           have proven to be both innovative instructional tools
14           and viable curriculum alternatives;
15      (3)  The State should set clear goals and provide leadership
16           in the development of a comprehensive distance learning
17           policy;
18      (4)  Without a distance learning policy, the development of
19           innovative distance learning programs in this State
20           will be seriously impeded; and
21      (5)  A distance learning commission should be formed to
22           develop statewide distance learning programs and
23           applications and to assist the University of Hawaii in

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                                     H.B. NO.1226       

 1           providing technical assistance to potential distance
 2           learning providers.
 3      302A-   Definitions.  As used in this part, unless the
 4 context clearly indicates otherwise:
 5      "Commission" means the distance learning commission.
 6      "Distance learning" means the transmission of educational
 7 information and the interaction of geographically dispersed
 8 individuals or groups through a single medium or a combination of
 9 audio, video, and data.
10      302A-   Commission.(a)  A distance learning commission
11 is hereby established within the University of Hawaii for
12 administrative purposes.  The commission shall be composed of
13 thirteen members, who shall be appointed as follows:
14      (1)  The superintendent of education shall appoint one
15           representative from the department of education;
16      (2)  The governor shall appoint one practicing public school
17           administrator from a public employees union
18           representing public school administrators, one business
19           representative with experience in applications of
20           distance learning technology, one practicing public
21           school teacher from a public employees union
22           representing public school teachers, one library media
23           specialist from a professional association representing

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                                     H.B. NO.1226       

 1           library media specialists, one public member from the
 2           high technology development corporation or with
 3           expertise in the application of distance learning
 4           technology, and one member from the faculty of a post-
 5           secondary institution of higher education in Hawaii;
 6      (3)  The governor shall appoint one business representative
 7           with experience in applications of distance learning
 8           technology, and one practicing secondary school teacher
 9           representing secondary school teachers utilizing
10           distance learning technology, from lists of nominees
11           provided by the president of the senate;
12      (4)  The governor shall appoint one business representative
13           with experience in applications of distance learning
14           technology, and one practicing elementary school
15           teacher representing elementary school teachers
16           utilizing distance learning technology, from lists of
17           nominees provided by the speaker of the house of
18           representatives; and
19      (5)  The chairperson of the public utilities commission
20           shall appoint one public utilities regulator with
21           knowledge and experience in telecommunications
22           regulatory history, and one consumer representing the
23           general public.

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 1      (b)  Members shall serve two-year terms, with the exception
 2 of the initial appointment of the three teachers and the three
 3 business representatives, who shall serve for three years to
 4 facilitate a staggered appointment schedule in order to ensure
 5 continuity.  No member shall serve for more than one term.
 6      (c)  No private business, departmental school district,
 7 public employees union, or professional association shall have
 8 more than one of its officers or employees serving as a member of
 9 the commission at any time.
10      (d)  Members selected may represent the private business,
11 departmental school district, public employees union, or
12 professional association from which they were appointed.
13      (e)  Members shall be knowledgeable about applications of
14 technology for distance learning experiences and shall be
15 selected based on documentation of that experience.
16      (f)  The commission shall initially meet on the first Monday
17 of the month following the effective date of this Act.  At that
18 meeting, the members shall elect a chairperson and a three-member
19 executive committee.  Further meetings of the commission shall be
20 held at the discretion of the members, but the executive
21 committee shall meet at least quarterly.
22      (g)  The members of the commission shall serve without
23 compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses, including

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                                     H.B. NO.1226       

 1 travel expenses, necessary for the performance of their duties.
 2      (h)  The University of Hawaii shall provide the commission
 3 with the staff necessary to fulfill its mission and goals.  In
 4 addition, the commission may enlist voluntary assistance as
 5 available from citizens, research organizations, and other
 6 entities.
 7      302A-   Powers and duties of commission.(a)  The
 8 commission shall develop a comprehensive distance learning
 9 policy.  The policy shall:
10      (1)  Identify the distance learning educational and
11           professional development needs of various educational,
12           community, and business organizations;
13      (2)  Identify various distance learning technologies that
14           could serve to meet educational needs;
15      (3)  Identify the role of state government in implementing
16           the policy and incorporating distance learning in
17           curricula;
18      (4)  Encourage the development of local and regional
19           distance learning applications and active participation
20           in the full development and utilization of the
21           infrastructure-technology partnership; and
22      (5)  Encourage interactions between public and private
23           nonprofit distance learning providers and users.

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                                     H.B. NO.1226       

 1      (b)  The commission shall work in concert with University of
 2 Hawaii staff to compile a database of information and research
 3 regarding distance learning programs and applications.  The
 4 database shall be made available to the public and to state
 5 agencies and county governments.
 6      (c)  The commission may communicate distance learning
 7 information to the University of Hawaii.  The communication shall
 8 serve to provide the University of Hawaii with information on
 9 methods of providing technical assistance and needs assessment
10 information to entities developing distance learning programs.
11      (d)  This section shall be in addition to section
12 304-4.5(a)(3) regarding distance learning."
13      SECTION 3.  If any provision of this Act, or the application
14 thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the
15 invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of
16 the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision
17 or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are
18 severable.
19      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
21                           INTRODUCED BY:_________________________