May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

2011/2012 Legislative Year Comes to a Close

Posted: Monday, October 1st, 2012

The end of the 2011/2012 legislative year is here and with it come a few changes for education in California. Below is a list of approvals and vetos by Governor Brown on a few key bills that CSTA has been tracking.

Bills Approved:

SB 1200 (Hancock): This is a two part bill. One part of the bill will allow the Superintendent at the State Board to modify the Common Core math standards that were adopted in 2010. A group of experts including teachers will make the recommendations for changes to the Superintendent and there were will two public meetings held on the proposed modifications. Per the language of the bill, the modifications that are recommended to the state board shall:

(1) The rigor of the state common core academic content standards in mathematics is maintained so that all high school graduates are prepared for college and careers, as specified in the common core academic content standards.

(2) All of the common core academic standards developed by the consortium or interstate collaboration set forth in Section 60605.7 are adopted.

(3) One set of standards is adopted at each grade level.

(4) The content standards for algebra I are based upon the common core academic content standards for mathematics.

(5) Redundant mathematics standards are eliminated.

(6) The implementation of standards is improved.

(7) Any technical issues in the standards are resolved.

(8) The modifications amount to no more than 15 percent of the common core academic content standards adopted by the state board.

For a more detailed visit EdSource’s “State Board gets authority to pare back 8th grade math standards”.

The second part of this bill provides for an extension of the timeline for the adoption of new science standards. The original timeline for new science standards was initially outlined in SB 300 (Hancock), which was due to for presentation to the State Board of Education by March 30, 2013 with adoption, revision, or rejection by the State Board due July 30, 2013. The amendment to SB 1200, however, extends these deadlines to July 31, 2013 and November 30, 2013, respectively. This extension is a result of the extension of the timeline for the development of the Next Generation Science Standards. Now anticipated to be in their final form in the spring of 2013. For more information about the Next Generation Science Standards, visit http://www.cascience.org/csta/ngss.asp.

AB 1246 (Brownley): This bill makes several key changes to the textbook adoption process, the first of which would change the textbook adoption cycle from six to eight years. In addition, the state board is currently required to approve the criteria for review and adoption of instructional materials at least 30 months before the materials are actually adopted, this bill would shorten this to only 12 months, greatly reducing the textbook adoption cycle timeline. Finally, the bill would also give school districts increased flexibility in selecting instructional materials that were not adopted by the state board as long as the materials went through a selection review process that includes a majority of classroom teachers and that the materials selected for purchase are aligned with state standards.

SB 1458 (Steinberg): This bill allows and calls for modifications to the elements that make up the Academic Performance Index (API). Beginning in 2016, the results of the achievement tests shall constitute no more than 60% of the value of the index for secondary schools. For primary and middle schools results of the achievement tests shall constitute at least 60 percent of the value of the index. Other modifications that may be considered by the Superintendent and the state board include:

  • the incorporation of the rate at which pupils successfully promote from one grade to the next in middle school and high school, and successfully matriculate from middle school to high school.
  • the incorporation into the index for secondary schools valid, reliable, and stable measures of pupil preparedness for postsecondary education and career.
  • the development and implementation of a program of school quality review that features locally convened panels to visit schools, observe teachers, interview pupils, and examine pupil work, if an appropriation for this purpose is made in the annual Budget Act.

In addition, on or before October 1, 2013, the Superintendent shall report to the Legislature and recommend to the state board for adoption a method or methods for increasing the emphasis on pupil mastery of standards in science and social science through the system of public school accountability or by other means.

For more on this bill visit EdSource’s “Brown signs bill moving API away from standardized tests“.

AB 1521 (Brownley): Adds a section to the Education Code to authorize the State Department of Education, subject to the approval of the state board, to make a primary language assessment available to school districts and charter schools. This assessment would allow school districts and charter schools to assess pupils enrolled in a dual language immersion program, as specified, and who are either nonlimited English proficient or redesignated fluent English proficient. The bill also requires that if a school district or charter school chooses to administer the primary language assessment it must do so at its own expense, and enter into an agreement with the state testing contractor, subject to the approval of the Department of Education.

AB 1967 (Perez): Calls for the state board to ensure that the health and science curriculum frameworks adopted in the next submission cycle include the subject of organ procurement and tissue donation, as appropriate.

Bills Vetoed:

The Governor vetoed two bills that CSTA was tracking, SB 1154 (Walters) and AB 1790 (Hagman). The way the bills were written, they were dependent on the other being passed in order to be effective. In his veto message for SB 1154 the Governor stated: “Providing on-line instructional materials and coursework to pupils in California is an educational goal that I very much share. This bill, however, does not accomplish that goal. Instead it puts unrealistic requirements on California’s businesses that will lead to increased costs of instructional materials.”

Together, the bills would have required that if a publisher offers a printed instructional material or supplemental instructional material in an equivalent digital format, the digital format will cost either the same as, or less than, the printed material. They would have also required printed and digital materials to be offered in an unbundled format to allow for the purchasing of one format or another, or both. It would have also allowed a school district to purchase and use digital instructional materials to create a district-wide online digital database for classroom use consistent with an online security system as mutually agreed on by the publisher and the school district. Publishers or manufacturers would have been required to ensure that printed instructional material submitted for adoption were also available in an equivalent digital format during the entire term of the adoption.

As always CSTA will monitor and update you on new legislation impacting science education during the next legislative year.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

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  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.