September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

How To: Monitor State Legislation

Posted: Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Membership in CSTA includes educators in a legislative advocacy network that many do not realize works for them every day. When I began my science teaching career in the 1980’s I knew of CSTA as a group who put on a great conference. It was not until the CA Framework for Science renewal process occurred that I realized CSTA was also a resource for me, as the sole science credentialed teacher at my site, to help inform my colleagues and principal about what was expected in CA science classrooms. That awareness led to my noticing CSTA provided much more than conferences! As a member, I had articles and research and advocacy all rolled up in one.

My current role a secretary on the Board of Directors and Legislative Outreach Committee Co-Chair has allowed me to make use of tools I sort of knew about before, but now use to make these roles possible while doing my full time job too.

You too can monitor the workings of the legislature! Here’s how.

As a free public service you can go to the CA Senate and Assembly Bill Information pages: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html or http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/.

From here you can select Senate or Assembly bills (those things that give us policy called SB ### or AB ####). Note that each year new numbers are given based on the order they are handled. For example, if AB 007 was a bill you watched last year it could have a new number in the next legislative year.  The legislative year is busiest between January and May. Summer is pretty quiet. In fall, things pick up and new information starts moving and getting listed online.

If you’d like to receive an email alert when action occurs regarding a bill you’re interested in, simply go through the online form and indicate the session, house and bill number(s).

If you are not sure which bill numbers to include on your list, you can learn about bills being considered by going to the Senate or Assembly home pages which have a way to search for topics on the Education Committees agendas when they are session.

Once you hear from CSTA or other professional or news sources about a piece of legislation you want to follow or learn more about, you can add to your personalized subscription list at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html or http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/. What you then receive are emails when any action occurs – if you want to read what that action was you just click on the links provided in the email. It’s easy, on your own terms and up to date!

You can also use state or local media to see what is going on if you check your email, set up feeds, or use social media updates for news – I use the Sacramento Bee – primarily because they are there on the ground – whether I agree with their perspective or not I can see what is happening and know if something I care about needs a closer look. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/.

If you want to keep an eye on national topics NSTA (National Science Teacher’s Association) has a link where you can choose your interest: http://www.nsta.org/about/olpa/legaffairs.aspx.

With online newsletters, emails and websites, CSTA is more accessible to a larger public than ever, and sometimes it seems membership is an unnecessary step. Let me assure you, though, as a board member who wants to see this organization thrive, we need active membership more than ever. Our membership helps support CSTA’s ability to be the legislative advocate it has been for decades, but we need each of you and your colleagues to join in order to make resources available for the people who attend the state meetings, monitor the legislative calendar, and do all the rest on behalf of California science education.

CSTA also depends on hearing from members to guide their advocacy and help us continue to represent you, the California science educator.

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s secretary and chair of CSTA’s Legislative Oversight Committee.

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

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LATEST POST

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

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Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.