July/August 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 8

SB 300 Amended for Second Time; It and SB 402 Move to Assembly Appropriations Committee

Posted: Friday, July 1st, 2011

by Jessica Sawko

SB300: (Hancock) is a CSTA-sponsored bill that requires the review and revision of the science (and history-social science) content standards. The bill was amended in May to remove the proposed 22-member commission and give the authority to amend the out-dated science standards to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, with a final up or down vote required by the State Board of Education. The bill was amended for a second time at the end of June as it moved to the Assembly Education Committee. The latest version of the bill calls for the establishment of a smaller, nine member Academic Content Standards Commission for Science. This commission would be tasked with making recommendations to the State Board of Education by January 1, 2013 to modify, revise, and update the science content standards .

STATUS:  The bill passed the Assembly Education Committee as amended and was re-referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB402: (Correa) states the intent of the legislature that 21st century skills be integrated into the curriculum frameworks of core curricula, including English language arts, math, science, history-social science, visual and performing arts, and world languages.

STATUS: One June 22, the Assembly Education Committee re-referred the bill to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB250: (Brownley) was amended by the author on June 29 and was re-referred to the Senate Education Committee. It is set for hearing on July 6.

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.

5 Responses

  1. Nooooo! Just adopt the national standards, and be done with it! They’re “off the shelf” and way cheaper than re-inventing the wheel. And national standards are much better than 9 Californians can ever write.

    Witness California’s present 5th grade biology standards – biological plumbing? Why just plumbing? Was that some sort of weird compromise? And the over-emphasis on chemistry in the 5th grade with salts having their own separate standard. What’s the big deal with salts? I’ll bet the original committee membership had something to do with that. And that’s just fifth grade because I know it the best.

    I agree the standards badly need to be updated, but after writing lessons to the national standards, I’m spoiled by their well thought out excellence.

  2. I so agree with Susan Morrison. I know it from the 7th and 8th sci stds. 7th is a weird rag bag of topics. 8th neglects to include work, energy and simple machines in it’s force and motion standards. What? Oh and the astronomy standards have as a separated standard that students will know the shapes of galaxies….

  3. If you look at the history of the last revision – that is spelled out in the 2005 Fordham report on the standards of the 50 states – California brought in Glen Seaborg ( the same one that Seaborgium is named after). His philosophy was that all students just need to know facts and nothing more and he pushed this view into the standards. This is also why there are weird chemistry concepts where they should not be.

    Those in power at the time also felt that inquiry based learning was wrong and they pushed out anyone who tried to promote it. This decision has lead to California ranking at the bottom of NAEP testing while more innovative states like Florida that adopted inquiry based learning into their standards in 2008 has seen tremendous learning gains and winning the race to the top grant.

    It came down to a political shell game that lead to the destruction of science education. and it goes to show that just because a person is an eminent scientist in one field does not mean they will be an excellent educator. In fact it was an insult to educators that “anyone can write standards”. Yet, Seaborg has certainly demonstrated that this is not the case and he should have stuck with chemistry as his chosen field because he certainly doesn’t understand how to get children to learn science.

  4. Thanks for your comments. SB 300 does not specifically call for a review of the current standards but instead opens the door for a reconsideration of the science standards “writ large”. This is a first step in beginning the process for any standards review which would surely include a review of any available National Standards once they have become available. The recent alignment of California with the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Development Consortium and California’s adoption of the Common Core Standards in Math and English Language Arts should be taken as a good sign that there may be a change in California’s belief that our state must have its own unique standards. This is just the beginning of the process which will unfold over the next several years. Your continued interest and voice is important to insure that we don’t just settle for the status quo.

  5. […] review process with a report to the State Board of Education presented in January 2013.  (See report in July eCCS).  This does not mean that only the existing standards will be reviewed. What we are hoping for is […]

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CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Posted: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.


Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

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.

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.