July/August 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 8

Science Sees a Few Victories in End of Legislative Session

Posted: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

CSTA continued to work feverishly on several pieces of legislation throughout the last two years, and we are delighted to report on a number of  last minute victories and some surprises as the legislative year winds down.

AB 97 (Torlakson), which is an old bill from last year, establishing an Academic Standards Commission for science and history-social science, to be convened “as funding permits” to review and revise the science and history standards.

Everyone thought this bill was completely dead, not having heard anything about it this year as it was held in the Senate Education Committee at the end of last year, but it was amended (the original bill would have revised the math and ELA standards as well, but these were just revised as part of California’s Race to the Top application) and sped through Senate Ed. and Senate Appropriations in the final days of the session.  According to Assemblyman Torlakson’s office, the governor has indicated he will sign the bill this time–he has vetoed similar bills on two previous occasions.

ACR 88 (Torlakson), a CSTA co-sponsored bill which establishes a STEM legislative task force, finally made it out of the Senate Education Committee, after having been held for months for an unknown reason.  The bill was passed by both houses of the legislature and is now enacted.  CSTA is part of the group, including the American Chemical Society, the California Math Council, and BSMARTE, that is recommending members for the task force.  We’ll keep you posted as the task force moves to center stage.

AJR 39 (Beall & Torlakson) is a joint resolution co-sponsored by the California Council for the Social Studies and CSTA that requires the legislature to encourage the development of common core standards for social studies and science.  The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers are the entities that developed the common core reading and math standards; this resolution  requires that a letter be sent to the two organizations urging them to do the same for social studies and science.  The bill passed both houses of the legislature and, as a resolution, doesn’t need to be signed by the governor.

AB 391 (Torlakson) is another last-year-bill that was resurrected from the  Senate Education Committee, where it has languished since last year, in the final days of the legislature.  This bill requires the State Superintendent to contract for an independent evaluation of the STAR program.  This bill passed both houses of the legislature and is on its way to the governor’s desk; at this writing, it’s not known whether he plans to sign it.  CSTA supported this bill.

SB 1444 (Hancock) defines STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math—as “courses or a sequence of courses that prepare pupils for occupations and careers that require technically sophisticated skills, including the application of mathematical and scientific skills and concepts” and goes on to describe STEM education in grades 1-6 as “foundational courses” leading to success in “applied” courses in grades 7-12.  The bill states “the intent of the legislature” that the SPI use STEM funds for programs consistent with the definition above.  CSTA supported the bill.

In a stunning turn of events, SB 1278 (Wyland) which would have restarted work on the history-social science framework that was halted last year, was killed without explanation in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  This bill originally called for the resumption of work on both the history and science frameworks, but was amended to resume only history.  The Department of Education, which sponsored the bill, apparently assured the legislature that because the history framework was completely finished and just had to be sent out for public comment, it could absorb the costs of completing the history framework within its current budget.  But even though it had no costs associated with it, the Assembly Appropriations Committee wanted to hear it anyway—and there it sat until it was dead.  It’s been hinted that there was some behind-the-scenes warfare between staff members of the Appropriations Committee and the Department of Finance, so although passage of the bill seemed to be a sure bet for the legislators, as there was no money attached to it, staff called the shots on it for, apparently, personal reasons.

’10-’11 Budget Bill

The legislative version of the 2010-2011 budget bill includes $144K for the completion of the science and history-social science frameworks.  Of course, we are still in the early days of budget negotiations (even though the budget is a couple of months overdue), so we can’t count on this money remaining, and we can count even less on the governor not to blue pencil it if it passes the legislature.  Keep checking back here for updates on this and other legislation.

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.

One Response

  1. Re. SB 1278:
    I was on the science framework review committee – great bunch of educators and sci/tech people. Stunned when it was cancelled AND never got re-imbursed for the expenses I incurred to attend.

    It’s dire for Ca science ed UNLESS we get the great-looking National Standards which are in development. So maybe in the end it doesn’t matter. But how sad that our students get their futures held up with this political in-fighting.

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LATEST POST

CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Posted: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.

Eligibility:

Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

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.

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

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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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.