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.
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.
Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017
The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.
The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.
There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.
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…