Education Bills Make Their Way Through the Legislature as Governor Brown’s Proposal to Eliminate the Graduation Requirement Mandate Continues to Make Waves
by Jessica L. Sawko
As more information comes to light regarding the Governor’s plan to eliminate the Graduation Requirement mandate (second year, physical science requirement), CSTA and the public’s concern continues to grow. As reported in California Classroom Science in February and March, Governor Brown’s 2012-2013 budget proposal included the elimination of nearly half of the K-14 education mandates, including the Graduation Requirement mandate. (For background information on the history of the mandate, please click here.) This mandate has a high price tag, an estimated $200 million/year, however CSTA and others believe that eliminating the mandate sends the wrong message to California’s schools and children, and will create deep inequities for students enrolled in schools that are forced to make tough choices based on financial constraints. Members, please stay tuned to CCS and your email for information on how you can help CSTA fight against this cut.
On the legislative front, there are several bills winding their way through the legislature that CSTA is tracking:
This bill would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and authorize school districts, to submit instructional materials for review to the state board, which would be required to adopt procedures for the review of those submitted instructional materials. The bill would add additional requirements for the review and adoption of instructional materials, including, but not limited to, changing the submission cycles to 8 years for all subject areas and requiring the State Department of Education to assess a reasonable fee on a publisher or manufacturer if it submits instructional materials for review after the applicable timeframe. The bill also would authorize the Superintendent and school districts to recommend to the state board instructional materials for its adoption, as specified.
This bill would delete the requirement that the Instructional Quality Commission (formerly the Curriculum Commission) recommend instructional materials for adoption to the state board and would require the commission to perform additional prescribed functions, as specified. The bill would prohibit the commission from performing certain functions unless funds are available in the Budget Act for the commission. The bill also would require the state board to hold a public hearing before adopting instructional materials for use in elementary schools.
As always, there is a possibility that this bill will be amended from this form. CSTA will closely monitor its progress. CSTA’s current position is one of support.
This bill would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to recommend and the state board to adopt the college and career readiness anchor standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative consortium. The bill would also authorize the state board to take action to resolve any technical issues in the academic content standards it adopted pursuant to the above-described provisions.
This bill would authorize the review of the mathematics standards described above by a 11-member standards review commission, appointed as specified and convened for that purpose, if the Superintendent and the state board jointly find that there is a need to revise or modify the standards. The bill would authorize the standards review commission that is convened for these purposes to make recommendations to modify only the grade 8 common core standards in mathematics. The bill would require the state board, upon receiving recommendations from this standards review commission, to adopt, reject, or revise the standards as proposed by the commission and to notify the Governor, the Senate Committee on Rules, and the Speaker of the Assembly that it has acted. If the state board rejects the recommendations, the bill would require the state board to provide to the Superintendent, the Governor, and the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature a specific written explanation of the reasons why the proposed standards were rejected. If the state board revises the standards, the bill would require it to present its reasons for revising the standards at a public meeting held pursuant to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, and to adopt the revised standards at a subsequent meeting no later than June 30, 2013.
When California adopted the Common Core standards in 2010, they elected to modify the standards to include the eighth grade algebra standards. As a result, California now faces the difficulty of having to pay for this modification. Because of the change, California will find it difficult to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the purchasing of nationally developed instructional materials and assessments. CSTA supports this bill.
This bill would authorize the governing board of a school district to request the commission to issue a 2-year subject matter certificate in mathematics or science to an applicant the governing board recommends to the commission if the governing board certifies it is experiencing an acute staffing need. The bill would require the commission to issue the certificate requested if the governing board verifies or submits documentation to verify the school district, among other things, has conducted a local recruitment for applicants of the certificate being requested, has developed a professional development plan for the applicant, and will provide, and the applicant will complete, at least 80 hours of preservice training before providing classroom instruction.
The bill would require the applicant to possess a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university, comply with the basic skills requirement unless exempt, attain a passing score on the California Subject Examinations for Teachers in mathematics or science or completion of an approved subject matter program in mathematics or science, and attain a passing score on an examination or complete program subject matter requirements that are aligned to the academic content standards in mathematics or science for grades 8 to 12, inclusive, or complete specified coursework.
CSTA has several concerns about the language of this bill and currently holds a watch position while we continue to investigate all aspects.
This bill would make specified findings and declarations and would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to consider ways to increase the number of pupils who go to college and graduate with degrees in the various scientific and engineering fields. The bill would require the Superintendent and the state board to direct the appropriate entity to revise the science teaching frameworks and standards, as specified, and to incorporate in the science curriculum applied mathematics, reading comprehension, expository writing, analytical, intellectual, and creative skills, and engineering elements.
CSTA currently holds a watch position on this bill. It is still vague and we will monitor it for amendments and more information as it makes its way through the legislature.
Stay tuned to California Classroom Science for updates on these and other bills relating to science education.
Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s executive director.
One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is the opportunity to be recommended by CSTA to serve on important state-level committees. One such opportunity is now available. CSTA is seeking science teachers to recommend for service on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), formerly the Curriculum Commission. This committee is charged with writing the curriculum frameworks for the Common Core ELA and math standards and will be tasked with developing the framework for the new science standards (once adopted). Members of the Commission serve without compensation, except that they receive their actual and necessary travel expenses in attending Commission meetings and participating in other Commission activities (airfare, lodging, meals, shuttle service, mileage, parking). No funding is provided for substitute teaching or administrative personnel; each applicant employed by a local education agency must obtain the agency’s acknowledgement of the application and the agency’s agreement to absorb any costs for substitute personnel.
CSTA is seeking a member science educator with experience with integrating literacy and math skills into science instruction. A familiarity with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards is preferred. If you meet these qualifications and would like to have your name considered, please contact CSTA at email@example.com or 916-979-7004. Please include a copy of your resume and/or a description of your qualifications.
The California State Library invites you to view our online June calendar that highlights four women who have achieved success in STEM-related fields in California. These women and their accomplishments have helped pave the way for future generations.
One such woman is Hattie Scott Peterson, an African American civil engineer who became the first female engineer for the Sacramento district of the Army Corps of Engineers in 1954. She started with the Corps at a time when cultural diversity in the workplace was not common. Her work ethic and personal integrity helped her to overcome the challenges she faced. In the late 1940s she was reputed to be the only female African American civil engineer in the United States.
This monthly calendar is a joint effort of the State Library, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and the California Department of Education.
View the calendar here: http://www.library.ca.gov/calhist/calendar6-1.html?utm_source=csl0613
You Are Invited to Participate in an Online Survey Regarding Possible Changes to the High School Academic Performance Index:
In response to state legislation, the California Department Education (CDE) currently is developing new indicators to include in the high school Academic Performance Index (API).
To help with this important task, the CDE invites administrators, teachers, parents or guardians, students, school board members, educational organizations, community members, and business leaders to take an online survey located on the CDE API Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/.
CSTA encourages you to take about 20 minutes to complete the survey and let CDE know the vital role that science takes in preparing students for college and career and how achievement in science should be given a high value in the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator. The survey closes June 20, 2013 – please act today. Please encourage your colleagues, students, parents of students, and administrators to complete the survey as well.
For more information about revisions to the API, including the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator, please view the video that was prepared by CDE staff as background material for the survey.
Comparing AP Science Practices, Common Core State Standards, and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
by Bethany Dixon
At NSTA San Antonio and again at the California State Science Fair, I fell into a conversation about connecting NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and AP Biology Science Practices 1-7. In the past few years, ideas have converged on what it looks like to “Do Science:” the habits of mind necessary to develop scientific knowledge. This idea isn’t new to science education – scientific skills are still important. Haven’t we seen this before? We called it using the Scientific Method(s), or Levels of Inquiry, or whichever wrapper we’re putting things into… it doesn’t seem like the ideas of what constitute good science have changed. Or have they? Learn More…
by Lisa Hegdahl
The students are gone, the meetings are over, your classroom is clean – Learn More…