May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

State Board Takes First Steps Towards Changes in Accountability, Gov. Brown Includes NGSS Funding in Proposed Budget (Sort of), Curriculum Framework Development Delay Proposed, and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing Hears Input on Teacher Preparation in an NGSS World

Posted: Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

2015 got off to a very busy start in terms of NGSS implementation at the state level, and CSTA was there to represent the voice of science educators at every turn. The following is a summary of some of the important issues that were addressed in January 2015.

State Board and Accountability

On January 14, 2015 the California State Board of Education had one of what will be many dynamic conversations around the state’s future accountability system. There are many changes to be expected over the coming year with AYP, API, Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP), College and Career Indicators, graduation rates, and much more. CSTA is committed to engaging in all conversations to insure that science is well represented in all of these accountability measures. CSTA provided a written response as well as oral public comments at the meeting advocating for an accountability system that supported all student’s access to a high-quality science education, K-12.

Next up on the accountability front is a meeting of the Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) Committee (February 3), which advises the State Board of Education on matters of accountability. During that meeting they will take action to revise guiding principles to reflect the new state accountability system, discuss the timing for the release of the new accountability system, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a single index versus multiple measures to represent the state’s new accountability system. They will also continue their work of the past year on the development of a college and career indicator.

What all this means for science teachers in California, is that changes in the state’s accountability system are coming soon, but are not here yet. Please stay tuned to CSTA for updates and information. During this period of new accountability system development, CSTA will be working hard to position science as a core subject and that it should be treated with equal weight as ELA and math. We may issue calls to action and request for input in the coming months – thanks in advance to those who are able to respond to those calls. CSTA extends its thanks to the hundreds of science educators that responded to our call the last week of January to provide input on the LCAP evaluation rubrics to incorporate science into the rubrics!

Looking forward to March, CSTA expects to see information about the future statewide assessment system for science, at least for those assessments currently required for federal compliance.

Governor Brown’s Proposed Budget and Possible Funds for NGSS Implementation

Governor Brown has released the first draft of his budget for California. The proposed budget offers $65.7 billion of Proposition 98 funding for K-12 education. Included in this is $1.1 billion that the Governor proposes school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education to use to support the implementation of new standards, including NGSS, Common Core State Standards, and ELD standards. $20 million will go to county offices, with the remaining going to school districts and charter schools. Investment in new standards implementation is only a recommendation on how these funds could be used, rather than a restriction, as these funds are also intended to offset unpaid mandate claims. CSTA, along with other organizations, will be working to seek dedicated funding for standards implementation and is hopeful that the May budget revision will include such funding. For more information about the Governor’s proposed budget for education check out Ed Source’s coverage of the budget: Education funding surges in governor’s budget.

Curriculum Framework Update:

At the January 22, 2015 meeting of the science Curriculum Framework committee (CFCC), CDE staff shared a revised proposed timeline for the development of the science curriculum framework currently under development. The reason for the proposed change in the development timeline is to allow for more time for the writers to craft the document and incorporate feedback from the CFCC and the anticipated public feedback. Legislative action would be required to implement this new timeline, so at this time CSTA is not publishing the proposed timeline on our website. However, if approved by the legislature, this new timeline delays the final adoption of the framework by several months, from January 2016 to September 2016, and would put the two public review periods of the framework in October/November 2015 and June/July 2016. Delaying the framework adoption will have implications on the development and adoption of instructional materials, and possibly assessments. Again, none of this is set in stone and there are a number of moving parts. Stay tuned to CSTA for information as it becomes available. The Instructional Quality Commission will be taking action on the proposed timeline at its February 6 meeting. If approved, it will move to the State Board of Education.

Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) – Teacher Preparation:

On January 14, 2015 the CTC received public comment inform revisions to the Preliminary Teacher Preparation Program Standards. The program standards define the knowledge and skills a new teacher must have and be able to demonstrate. CSTA provided feedback related to the science component for both multiple subject and single subject credentials. We want to ensure that requirements for science teacher preparation are consistent with the skills and knowledge needed for teaching NGSS in California.

Looking Forward:

The coming months will bring more information on assessment and accountability, implementation funding, new professional learning opportunities, and much more. Please stay tuned to CSTA for updates and ways to be involved. Not a member of CSTA? Join today!

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

2 Responses

  1. I do not see any recent news that addresses the issue of middle school content. Is the state showing any flexibility about the sequence of content instruction (keeping Plate Tectonics in 6th and Cells & genetics in 7th)?

  2. Hi Denise – the state adopted two course arrangements for middle school science, an integrated course arrangement and a domain specific course arrangement. Both versions are available here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/ngssstandards.asp.
    The curriculum framework currently under development will include both course arrangements.
    The domain specific course arrangement does have Earth/Space Science in 6th grade and Life Science in 7th grade.
    Districts will select the course arrangement that best meets the needs of the district and its students.
    Some districts have already made decisions, while others are waiting for more information about the assessments that will be developed.
    The assessment piece is an ever moving target that has a number of factors influencing decisions to be made, including: Federal action on ESEA, the recommendation from the Superintendent due out in March 2016, and State Board of Education action on a testing contractor to develop the new science assessments.

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LATEST POST

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.