May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.