April 2014 – Vol. 26 No. 8

The Second Year High School Science Graduation Requirement Is Safe!

Posted: Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The legislature rejected Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate the state mandate requiring a second year of high school science. On June 27, the legislature passed the education trailer bills (AB 1476 and SB 1016). The bills contained no language to modify the high school science graduation requirement as proposed by Governor Brown in his January and May budget proposals. Our most sincere thanks goes out to all of you who contacted their legislators and let them know that diminishing the high school science graduation requirements was a step in the wrong direction for California’s future.

Our thanks also goes out to our friends at the California STEM Learning Network who joined in the fight with us and played a key role getting the word out and raising awareness of the issue amongst its members and members of the state legislature. Thank you also goes out to the California Council for the Social Studies, the Jewish Community Relations CouncilBSMARTE, the Professional Engineers in California Government, and the California Association of Professional Scientists. These organizations all sent letters and expressed their opposition to the Governor’s proposed cuts. Thank you to NSTA who also sent out emails to raise awareness of the issue.

So what’s next? There is still litigation pending between the Department of Finance and the Commission on State Mandates on the Graduation Requirement mandate (Visit https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/publicdms/search.aspx and search for Case # 34-2010-80000529-CU-WM-GDS, Department 31). So it is possible that this issue could come up again. CSTA will of course be keeping a watchful eye and will keep its members informed should this issue arise again in the next budget year. We wish you an enjoyable summer and look forward to seeing you in October in San Jose.

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.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks to CSTA and NSTA and supporters of quality science learning in California to be heard.

  2. Truly wonderful news! Both for our students and our economy!

  3. CSTA also extends its thanks to CDE and Superintendent Torlakson. The CDE staff were helpful in answering many technical questions, and providing great quotes in the media. Superintendent Torlakson’s staff spoke out against the proposal several times during hearings on the issue.

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LATEST POST

EQuIP Rubric for Science Released

Posted: Monday, April 14th, 2014

The Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) Rubric for Lessons & Units: Science was released April 11, 2014. The Rubric provides criteria by which to measure the alignment and overall quality of lessons and units with respect to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The purpose of the Rubric is to (1) provide constructive criterion-based feedback to developers; (2) review existing instructional materials to determine what revisions are needed; and (3) identify exemplars/models for teachers’ use within and across states.

This document was developed in response to the recognition among educators that while curriculum and instruction will need to shift with the adoption of the NGSS, there is currently a lack of high-quality, NGSS-aligned materials. The power of the rubric is in the feedback it provides curriculum developers and in the productive conversations educators can have while evaluating materials.  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.

CSTA Member Phil Lafontaine Retires from State Service

Posted: Monday, April 14th, 2014

by Jessica Sawko

On Thursday, April 10, 2014 CDE Staff, friends, and colleagues of CSTA member Phil Lafontaine gathered to celebrate his incredible career as a science educator and state employee of the California Department of Education, and to wish him an enjoyable retirement. There were many CSTA members in attendance to celebrate Phil and his contributions to education, and science education in particular. Phil was presented with several retirement gifts, including a customized San Francisco Giants jersey, and a Senate Resolution honoring his career and service. 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.

Next Generation Science Standards State Rollout Symposium Dates and Locations Announced

Posted: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Updated April 8, 2014

K-12 Alliance/WestEd, California Science Project, California Science Teachers Association, Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee, and the California Department of Education Presents: Next Generation Science Standards State Rollout Symposium #1.

Join science leaders at the first of a series of statewide professional learning symposia exploring the philosophy, design, and initial implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). 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.

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate: Evaluating Negotiation in an Elementary Science Classroom

Posted: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

by Mason Kuhn

Engaging students in negotiation with their peers is considered a central motivation for recent national policy recommendations (National Research Council, 2011) and has been a focus of much scholarship in science education (e.g. Bergland and Reiser, 2009 & Hand, 2008). In the Next Generation Science Standards under the heading “Science and Engineering Practices,” the term “Engaging in Argument From Evidence” appears in almost every standard. However, most literature on negotiation focuses on theory, where little focuses on the topic of negotiation as related to science teaching and learning. 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.

NGSS Implementation Rollout – Seeking Teams of Teacher Leaders and Administrators

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Laura Henriques
Updated April 8, 2014

This month’s issue of CCS focuses on biology and chemistry. Articles in this issue highlight some of the challenges around teaching these topics as we move towards Common Core and NGSS implementation. Jeanine Wulfenstein points out that the ideas are often abstract and difficult for students to grasp. These topics include a large number of vocabulary words that can get in the way of understanding, especially for English learners and students with special needs. Barbara Woods points out how discrepant events can be used to motivate and engage students by including the wow factor.  Both articles provide us with teaching strategies that engage and support students while incorporating aspects of NGSS and Common Core.

I do not think any of us could teach chemistry (or other abstract topics) without using models (one of the NGSS science and engineering practices). A discrepant event or surprising moment causes us to ask questions (another of the science and engineering practices). These questions are followed by investigations, tentative explanations and more investigations as students and teachers try to make sense of natural phenomena (even more science and engineering practices!). This approach puts the student-developed models to the test. Adjustments need to be made and the model gets refined. As they explain relationships, cause and effect, and try to make sense of the science they are seeing, they are meeting Common Core standards and science standards. Learn More…

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and president of CSTA.