CSTA Legislative Update – March 2015
Posted: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
by Jessica Sawko
Friday, February 27, 2015 was the last day for legislators to introduce bills. As with many things with a deadline, the last days leading up to the deadline saw a flurry of activity and many bills were introduced. CSTA will be monitoring many pieces of legislation this year and will seek to have funding for NGSS implementation included in next year’s budget. Bills of note include:
AB 631 (Bonilla): Titled the “Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards Implementation Fund Act” the bill seeks to establish a specific fund within the state budget to fund integration of common core academic content standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and English language development standards in schools. Specifically, the bill calls out funding for the professional development of teachers, administrators, and paraprofessional educators or other classified employees involved in the direct instruction of pupils that is aligned to those standards, instructional materials to support instruction under the new standards, and integration of the new standards “through technology-based instruction for purposes of improving the academic performance of pupils.” As currently written, the bill proposes $900 million in funding for 2015/2016 (which could be used in 2015/2016 or 2016/2017) plus the $1.1 billion in funding included in the Governor’s January budget proposal (which is funding that is actually to pay off unpaid mandate claims with the “intention” that the funds be used to support new standards implementation).
AB 740 (Weber): Update of Adopted Standards. This bill addresses a concern that CSTA has long had – the lack of a system for a periodic review and update of state adopted standards. CSTA’s position is and has been that the academic content standards must be reviewed periodically, consistent with the instructional materials cycle, with revision being conducted one to two years prior to the adoption of curriculum frameworks. This bill calls for a periodic review tied to the curriculum framework revision and instructional materials adoption process (which is every eight years for science).
SB 172 (Liu): High School Exit Examination Suspension. This bill seeks to address a question that many have had since the state adopted new standards in 2010 and 2013 – what will happen to CAHSEE? The bill proposes a suspension of the requirement that all students pass the California High School Exit Examination (better known as CAHSEE) as a requirement for graduation for the 2016–17, 2017–18, and 2018–19 school years. During this period of suspension, pursuant to the language of the bill, the superintendent will convene an advisory panel, including, secondary teachers, school administrators, school board members, parents, measurement experts, and individuals with expertise in assessing English learners and pupils with disabilities, to provide recommendations on the continuation of the high school exit examination, and on alternative pathways to satisfy the high school graduation requirements.
AB 141 (Bonilla): Beginning Teacher Induction Programs. This bill require a school district or county office of education that hires a beginning teacher to provide that teacher with an induction programs. The bill would also prohibit a local educational agency from charging a fee to a beginning teacher to participate in an induction program. By requiring school districts and county offices of education to provide an induction program to newly hired beginning teachers, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program (meaning reimbursement would need to be provided by the state to fund this service). The bill calls for this to be effective beginning with the 2016-2017 hiring period.
CSTA is tracking a few other bills and will evaluate them for any implications they may have on science education. Please stay tuned for legislative alerts and additional information as the year progresses. To make sure you are on the list to receive action alerts and other critical information, verify your that your CSTA membership is current and make sure you are not opted-out of receiving email from CSTA. You can do this online at members.cascience.org. Click on the “my membership” to verify your membership and “view/update my contact information” to verify your email address and opt-in/opt-out status (at the bottom of the page).
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…