January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Legislative Update

Posted: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The end of August is a very busy time of year in the California legislature. It marks the close of the legislative year, as August 24 is the last day a bill can be amended on the floor and August 31 is the last day for each house to pass bills. After this, the next major deadline in the legislative process is the end of September, which is the deadline for Governor Brown to sign or veto any bills passed by the legislature. There are currently several pieces of proposed legislature that are potentially important to California science educators, and already some significant amendments have been made during these last few weeks of jockeying and positioning to get bills passed.

The most significant of these is a proposed amendment to SB 1200 (Hancock). Initially, this bill was primarily focused on math and Common Core State Standards, but on August 24 it was amended to include an extension of the timeline for the adoption of new science standards. The original timeline for new science standards was initially outlined in SB 300 (Hancock), which was due to for presentation to the State Board of Education by March 30, 2013 with adoption, revision, or rejection by the State Board due July 30, 2013. The amendment to SB 1200, however, extends these deadlines to July 31, 2013 and November 30, 2013, respectively. This change indicates that some of the rumors about delays in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards might, in fact, be true. At the end of the day, CSTA receives this amendment with open arms. We support the amended bill, as it allows Next Generation Science Standards writers and reviewers to have additional time, and provides California science teachers and the public more time to provide feedback about the draft and final version of the standards before they are presented to the State Board. The requirement that two public meetings be held before the final proposed standards are presented to the Board remains in place. For more information about the Next Generation Science Standards, visit http://www.cascience.org/csta/ngss.asp.

Over the past few weeks, AB 1246 (Brownley) has also seen several significant amendments. In its current and final form, the bill would make several key changes to the textbook adoption process, the first of which would change the textbook adoption cycle from six to eight years. In addition, the state board is currently required to approve the criteria for review and adoption of instructional materials at least 30 months before the materials are actually adopted, this bill would shorten this to only 12 months, greatly reducing the textbook adoption cycle timeline. Finally, the bill would also give school districts increased flexibility in selecting instructional materials that were not adopted by the state board as long as the materials went through a selection review process that includes a majority of classroom teachers and that the materials selected for purchase are aligned with state standards.

SB 1458 (Steinberg) was also amended from its early July version. It was originally written to impose an API test result maximum of 40% to be implemented by 2014-2015, but the amendment raises this to a 60% cap for 2016 implementation. The bill still includes the following requirement:

  • “On or before October 1, 2013, the Superintendent shall report to the Legislature and recommend to the state board for adoption a method or methods for increasing the emphasis on pupil mastery of standards in science and social science through the system of public school accountability or by other means.”

Two bills, SB 1154 (Walters) and AB 1790 (Hagman), have been tied together. Both have to do with digital instructional materials. In their final form, together these bills would result in the following:

  • If a publisher offers a printed instructional material or supplemental instructional material in an equivalent digital format, the digital format will cost either the same as, or less than, the printed material.
  • Printed and digital materials must be offered in an unbundled format to allow for the purchasing of one format or another, or both.
  • A school district may purchase and use digital instructional materials to create a district-wide online digital database for classroom use consistent with an online security system as mutually agreed on by the publisher and the school district.
  • Publishers or manufacturers would be required to ensure that printed instructional material submitted for adoption is also available in an equivalent digital format during the entire term of the adoption.
  • Would not require a publisher or manufacturer that submits instructional materials in digital format only for adoption to offer or submit an equivalent print version of the instructional materials in digital format.
  • Exemptions to these provisions for specified copyright issues, as well as for small publishers.

As originally written, AB 1521 (Brownley) would have eliminated the Integrated Math and Integrated Science Assessments by amending Ed Code, but this language was amended on August 24. As now written, it would add a section to the Education Code to authorize the State Department of Education, subject to the approval of the state board, to make a primary language assessment available to school districts and charter schools. This assessment would allow school districts and charter schools to assess pupils enrolled in a dual language immersion program, as specified, and who are either nonlimited English proficient or redesignated fluent English proficient. The bill would also require that if a school district or charter school chooses to administer the primary language assessment it must do so at its own expense, and enter into an agreement with the state testing contractor, subject to the approval of the Department of Education. These changes would preserve the Integrated Science and Integrated Math tests that were originally on the chopping block.

AB 1967 (Perez) remains active and in its final form calls for the state board to ensure that the health and science curriculum frameworks adopted in the next submission cycle include the subject of organ procurement and tissue donation, as appropriate.

The next and final step in the legislative process will be for the Governor to sign or veto the bills that passed the legislature on or before September 1. He has until the end of September to do this. CSTA will provide a final update in the October issue of California Classroom Science.

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.

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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.

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.

Opportunities to Support NGSS Implementation with CTC

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.

CSET Field Testing Opportunities

Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. 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…

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.