September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

LCFF and LCAP: Tools to Help Move Science Education Forward

Posted: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

I think it’s safe to say that CSTA members recognize that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are California’s current science standards. As I travel around the state I find that not everyone is as informed as you are! In case you want to forward this article to some less informed colleagues, allow me to recap.

NGSS were unanimously adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in September 2013. In November 2013 the State Board of Education voted unanimously (with one abstention) to adopt the CA NGSS Integrated Model for 6-8 (as developed by the CA Science Expert Panel) as the SPI/ SBE’s preferred model for middle grades science instruction in California. To provide for local option, the Board also requested that the California Department of Education provide an alternate discipline specific model for grades 6-8. This model will be presented to the SBE in spring.

The Board’s intent in the November action was for there to be one Integrated NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8 (the one preferred by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Board), and one Discipline Specific NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8, as an alternate local option where needed.

While NGSS will not be fully implemented into our classrooms for a few years, there is a current need for teachers and administrators to start learning about NGSS immediately. This means awareness and learning about the standards for some. For others it means starting to tweak our current practices to incorporate science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. Regardless of where you are on the awareness/implementation spectrum, none of us can wait two or three years to do anything. We need to start now!

Our current State Board of Education has repeatedly demonstrated that it is responsive to its stakeholders as they deliberate and make decisions. It has provided several opportunities for districts to have increased control and decision making. We see that in their NGSS decisions and in major K-12 finance reform. The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the LEA Local Control & Accountability Plans (LCAP) provide a move towards much stronger local accountability.

As part of LCFF, districts will submit their Local Control & Accountability Plans by July 1, 2014. (I am guessing you will have internal deadlines in your district that are even earlier.) Good news for science education…. LCAPs must address plans to implement NGSS as part of addressing State Priority #2.

Implementation of State Standards: implementation of academic content and performance standards adopted by the state board for all pupils, including English learners. (Priority 2)

The State Board of Education and California Department of Education expect all California LEAs to begin implementing (if they are ready), or at least beginning to develop a plan for implementing, the Next Generation Science Standards in 2014-2015. The July 1, 2014 LCAP should include a plan and annual goals for the implementation of the state’s new NGSS science standards as part of their activities addressing State Priority #2.

Want even more good news about state support for NGSS? 

$1.25 billion is available for NGSS as well as Common Core State Standards
Assembly Bill 86 (Chapter 48, Statutes of 2013) contained language that appropriated funds specifically for implementing newly adopted state standards, including the new science standards (referenced in legislation as Education Code Section 60605.85). The legislation also specified that the funds are available for encumbrance for two fiscal years — 2013-14 and 2014-15. 

Specifically, section 85 of the bill states:
It is the intent of the Legislature that school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and the state special schools use funds allocated pursuant to subdivision (b) to support the integration of academic content standards in instruction adopted pursuant to Sections 60605.8, 60605.85, 60605.10, 60605.11, and 60811.3 of the Education Code, for kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, for purposes of establishing high-quality instructional programs for all pupils.

The bill language further explains that these funds can be used for professional development and instructional materials aligned to the standards (including NGSS), and integration of the academic content standards through technology-based instruction for purposes of improving the academic performance of pupils, including, but not necessarily limited to, expenditures necessary to support the administration of computer-based assessments and provide high-speed, high-bandwidth Internet connectivity for the purpose of administration of computer-based assessments.

So what does this mean for you as a science educator in California?

It means the time to act is now! Be actively engaged in helping your site/district develop its LCAP. Be a strong advocate for ensuring the funding is allocated for NGSS planning and implementation. NGSS may not be high on the priority list for some district administrators. I know Common Core implementation issues are important, but so too is NGSS implementation. There are lessons we’ve learned from CCSS implementation that inform us that we ought to start now for a smooth, steady transition to NGSS.

There will be numerous events in the next year which will support your growth and help meet your needs to implement NGSS. Talk with your colleagues and become engaged around improving science education. You need to make sure that what you ask for aligns with the state priorities in the Ed Code (sections 52060 and 52066) but you need to get NGSS related implementation activities included in your Local Control & Accountability Plan.

Consider including attendance at the NSTA Long Beach Area Conference – in Collaboration with CSTA (December 2014) as part of your LCAP. The conference focuses on NGSS implementation issues. The conference’s three strands are NGSS Implementation, Science: The Gateway to Common Core State Standards, and STEM Classrooms: Anytime/Anyplace/Anywhere.

Local  Control  and  Accountability  Plan  and  Annual  Update  Template

Special thanks Trish Williams, California State Board of Education member and NGSS Liaison, for compiling information about the Ed Code and how LCFF and LCAP support our efforts to implement NGSS.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a past-president of CSTA.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

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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.