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.
Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.
For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.
The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Joseph Calmer
Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”
I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. Learn More…