2011/2012 Legislative Year Comes to a Close
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Michelle French
Since the public reviews of the Next Generation Science Standards have come to a close, like many primary teachers, I’ve been wondering what science will look like in kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms. Learn More…
“SOL Grotto, 2012. 1368 glass tubes, paint. Fabrication: Matarozzi Pelsinger, Rael San Fratello Architects. SOL Grotto is a contemporary take on a grotto or Throeau’s cabin – a spartan retreat that is a space of solitude and close to nature – where one is presented with a mediated experience of water, coolness and light. The SOL Grotto also explores Solyndra’s role as a company S#@t Out of Luck. 1,368 of the 24 million high tech glass tubes destined to be destroyed as a casualty of their bankruptcy, are used in the installation. The tube’s original role as a light concentrating element is extended to transmit cool air into the space via the Venturi effect, to amplify sounds from the adjacent waterfall via the vibrations of the tubes cantilevering over the creek, and to create distorted views of the garden. The form of the electric blue array evokes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where shadows, light and sounds can call reality into question.”
Responses from Readers:
Peter A’Hearn: Rush hour in little blue circle land.
by Valerie Joyner
Congratulations to CSTA member and STEM Educator, Katherine Schenkelberg, of West High School, in Torrance, CA! Katherine was recently awarded one of the 2013 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. An appointed panel of experts selected her for her innovative use of data-collection technology. “The use of data-collection technology in the classroom helps foster students’ interest in STEM education and provides them with engaging, hands-on opportunities for scientific investigation,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “For ten years Vernier and NSTA have recognized innovative STEM educators through this award and this year’s winners are no exception – their projects and programs truly utilize the power of data-collection technology as part of the teaching and learning process.” Learn More…
by Tim Williamson
Members of the California Science Teachers Association are now in the process of voting for qualified CSTA members to fill the seven openings on the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term.
The election is being conducted electronically and opened for voting on April 16, 2013. Voting will close on May 16, 2013. All CSTA members were sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who request a paper ballot have been mailed a ballot and candidate statements. Learn More…