August 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 12

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

Where California K-12 Science Teachers Go for NGSS

Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2015

RegisterNowMedNow is the time to register for the 2015 California Science Education Conference presented by the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA).  Attending the CSTA 2015 conference is a great way to gain professional development, and network with other science teachers from across the state, and obtain new classroom ideas, in one place over three days!

The California Science Education Conference is your best source of information on implementing NGSS in your classroom.

The California Science Teachers Association hosts this conference to focus on what California science educators need to know to hone their craft, stay updated on standards, and apply best practices gleaned from experts throughout the state. 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 Is the Role of Lecture in NGSS?

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

Is there a role for lecture in NGSS classrooms? Anyone who has spent much time working on the NGSS knows that NGSS is learner centered, more about helping students to develop the tools to investigate the world than about teachers supplying knowledge. The traditional teaching style of the teacher talking and students taking notes seems to be opposite of this vision.

This vision is supported by research indicating that traditional lecture is not an effective way to teach science. Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr. Carl Wieman makes a strong case against lecture as a way to teach science.  Click here to read a summary of his findings. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Middle School Integrated Science – Getting Over It!

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

6th graders design bionic hands as they study how body systems work together in a unit that was moved to 6th grade this year- photo by Peter A’Hearn

6th graders design bionic hands as they study how body systems work together in a unit that was moved to 6th grade this year- photo by Peter A’Hearn

Last spring I wrote an article/blog post that addressed the growing discussion about the decision to teach middle school integrated or discipline specific science. The article gives the rationale for the change and also some different models that were considered for how to transition.

There was a lot of feedback to that post: strongly supportive, deeply skeptical, and many follow up questions. Now that Palm Springs USD has finished the first year of the transition, I thought it would be a good time to look back and see how it went.

The middle school teacher leaders who helped to make the decision chose the “fast” transition plan below. Year 2 was what we just finished. 6th grade teachers (and kids) were introduced to structure and function in living things. 7th graders tried chemistry for the first time, and 8th graders played with waves. Everyone tried a little (or a lot) of engineering. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Staying Connected by Volunteering

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Lisa Hegdahl

As an 8th grade science teacher in a district that is participating in the CA NGSS Early Implementation Initiative, I spent much of my summer break training with members of other Early Implementer districts (see NGSS Blog- Middle School Integrated Science- Getting Over It! By Peter A’hearn. Just as our students want to feel connected to each other (see Starting the School Year Right, by Joanne Michael) teachers also seek opportunities to connect and collaborate with other educators – even more so now with NGSS implementation actively happening in California. Perhaps connecting with others is the reason why, this year, the California Science Teachers Association had a record number of its members volunteer to serve on its committees. Teachers know that we are stronger when we come together to overcome our challenges. Learn More…

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

Where to Go in Sacramento: Field Courses for the CSTA Conference

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

When it comes to conferences I’m pretty much a workshop guy. You get lots of great ideas in a short time, lots of choices, and you are hearing it straight from teachers. But looking at the field studies being offered at the 2015 California Education Conference in Sacramento this October, I’m thinking I might just spend the whole conference learning science on the amazing field courses being offered.

Here are your choices:

AHearn_Field_Course_Photo_1The Science in Your Beer: Chemistry, Microbiology, and Sensory Analysis at Sudwerk Brewery – Visit with the scientists at the UC Davis Brewing Program, the yeast geeks at White Labs, and the brewers of Sudwerk Brewery to learn about the biochemistry and microbiology that goes into the beer you love to drink. We will share NGSS aligned activities (classroom appropriate) on reaction rate and population biology. You will also explore the chemistry of beer flavor and learn how to make taste testing scientifically rigorous! Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.