January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Legislative and Budget Deadlines Spur Action in Sacramento

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

State_CapitolLast month, Governor Brown made headlines with his proposed 2015-16 budget revision (a full copy is available here) which calls for an additional $6.1 billion in Proposition 98 funding for K-12 and community college education, bringing the total investment for 2015-16 to $83 billion. The proposed budget holds potential to support the implementation of California’s Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), but as currently proposed, a great deal of work will need to be done on the local level to insure adequate investments are made in implementation of new state-adopted standards. This is because the $3.5 billion in funding included in Governor Brown’s budget proposal for new standards implementation is “discretionary.” This means that while the Governor and Legislature are encouraging districts to use the proposed $3.5 billion in funds for professional development, teacher induction to beginning teachers, and the purchase instructional materials and technology to advance the implementation of NGSS, Common Core, and ELD standards, districts will not be required to do so. 

Budget Negotiations Ongoing
All this week and continuing through the weekend and into next the state Senate and Assembly will be holding hearings and negotiating their own budget proposals. Their deadline to pass a budget to present to Governor Brown in June 15, 2015. CSTA and other education and advocacy organizations have been working hard to convince the legislature that $1 billion of the $3.5 billion discretionary funds be designated as dedicated funds for new standards implementation. This allocation would be for similar use as the $1.25 billion in the 2013-14 state budget. On June 3, CSTA issued a call to action to its members to contact the California Senate and Assembly budget committees to do just that; thank you to the many members who answered our call and spread the word through their networks. CSTA will continue to advocate and keep abreast of the situation as the process progresses and will report out the final results once they are available.

Other Key Legislative Deadlines in May and June
May 29, 2015 was the last day for appropriation committees to vote to move forward, or not, bills that were introduced in their house. This is a key deadline for any bill that requires funding in order for it to be enacted. June 5, 2015 is the last day for bills to be voted on in their “house of origin” to be passed along, or not, to the other house. This means that June 5 is the last day for a bill that was introduced in the state Assembly to be voted on in order to move to the state Senate and vice versa.

Status of bills CSTA has been following:

  • AB 631 (Bonilla): School finance: Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards Implementation Fund Act – Failed to Pass Appropriations
  • AB 252 (Holden): Advanced Placement Program: Advanced Placement STEM Access Grant Program – Pending Vote in the Assembly 
  • AB-740 (Weber): Academic content standards: update of adopted standards – Passed Assembly, moves to the Senate
  • AB-706 (Bonilla): California AmeriCorps – STEM – Passed Assembly, moves to the Senate
  • AB-141 (Bonilla): Teacher credentialing: beginning teacher induction programs – Passed Assembly, moves to the Senate
  • AB-1226 (Chavez and Linder): School accountability: local control and accountability plans: state priorities: teacher professional development – Failed to Pass Appropriations
  • SB-172 (Liu) Pupil testing: high school exit examination: suspension – Passed Senate, moves to the Assembly
  • SB-652 (Allen): Instructional materials: revised curriculum frameworks: science – Passed Senate, moves to the Assembly
  • SB-148 (McGuire and Leyva): Career technical education: Career and Job Skills Education Act – Pending Vote in the Senate

CSTA will follow the bills that remain active and will provide members regular updates.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.