The Season of Lists
Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2011
by Rick Pomeroy
As I was driving home over the Thanksgiving weekend, I realized that we are right in the middle of what I have come to refer to as “The Season of Lists.” Every year at this time, we make lists of the things we are thankful for, things we wish for, and resolutions or things we want to do or change. The more I thought about it the more I wondered about what would these lists look like for CSTA and for science teachers in California?
Stealing part of a late night television bit, here are my lists of the top 3 things in each of those categories.
Things to be thankful for
- Passage of SB 300 authorizing the rewriting of the California science education standards.
- A conference in Pasadena that introduced a new venue and engaged a new science teachers in our professional organization.
- An experienced board of directors and an active membership who are working to steer the association into the future.
Wishes for the future
- Development of new science standards that encourage critical thinking and problem solving and have robust content.
- Inclusion of science in the core curricula at all grades in all elementary schools in California.
- Increased membership in CSTA.
Resolutions for the coming year
- To position CSTA as a key player in the development, adoption, and subsequent implementation of a new and robust set of science standards.
- To increase membership in CSTA through a combination of outreach to new science teachers, re-engaging past members, and enhancing the value of membership to our current members.
- To implement plans to insure a healthy and valued association for now and the future.
It is pretty clear that standards, both the existing standards and those that will evolve as a result of SB 300, play a central role in my thinking about the past the present and the future of CSTA. The existing standards have guided science instruction since their introduction in the late 90’s, and, along with the high stakes testing, are responsible for many of the things that science teachers hope will change under new standards patterned after the Next Generation Science Standards. Under the current conditions, science has been virtually eliminated from many elementary school classrooms at a time when parents and children alike believe that more science instruction is important. The content has been reduced to “knowing” a seemingly endless list of facts at the expense of the problem solving and critical thinking that an inquiry based science curriculum promises to deliver. If the Next Generation Science Standards are adopted, there is a promise of less fact driven instruction, with a greater focus on the processes of science, and the knowledge and skills necessary to promote our students’ smooth transitions from school to college and careers.
As we move forward in the first steps of the reinventing of science education in California, it will be very important that science teachers are represented at all steps in the process. In the coming months, there will be opportunities for members to play an active role in the upcoming public comment periods on the Next Generation Science Standards, STEM task force, the California Teacher Advisory Council, and the Instructional Quality Commission. As the organization representing science teachers, it is important that you stay connected and that you encourage your peers to renew or restart their membership. The cost of membership ($39) is a small price to pay for representation on such critical issues as those facing science teachers today.
As we move into the “Season of the Lists”, I encourage you to add items to these CSTA thoughts by commenting below. Your thoughts will help as a way of providing guidance, direction, and inspiration.
Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California, Davis and is CSTA’s president.
Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017
The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.
The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.
There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.
Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.
For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.
The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…