September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

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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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Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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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

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

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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.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

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Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

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