May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

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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 NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.