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.
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.
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…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Joseph Calmer
Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”
I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. Learn More…