COMET • Vol. 10, No. 13 – 24 May 2009


(1) Conference for Teacher Educators: Pedagogy to Engage Today’s Students

SourcePSD (Professional Services Division) News, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
URL (Agenda):

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is sponsoring two 1-day conferences for faculty, researchers, and others who prepare teachers for the state’s K-12 schools. The dates are June 23 for Multiple Subject teacher preparation and June 24 for Single Subject teacher preparation. The purpose of each 1-day conference is “to enhance our mutual understanding, knowledge and practice of subject-specific pedagogy in teacher education through developing a community of teacher preparers.”

The following are learning outcomes for the conferences:
– Gain an understanding of subject matter-focused current and future trends and the implications for teaching and learning,
– Discuss current and future paradigms and practices for specific content areas, and
– Discuss how practice can and should change in the content field in order to advance teaching and learning for candidates and K-12 students.

The Commission encourages institutions to bring teams to the 1-day meeting if possible. Early registration is encouraged (see above Web site for registration link).

The agenda is available online at  Tom Welch will provide an opening keynote address. He is a consultant with the International Center for Leadership in Education and a former educator. Mr. Welch will address how the learning landscape is fundamentally shifting and that our notions of how, when and where to provide learning must shift as well if our children are going to thrive in a knowledge-based world.

Subject-specific moderated breakout sessions will be facilitated by staff from the California Subject Matter Projects (CSMP) and will provide participants with the opportunity to focus specifically on how the broad ideas from the morning keynote speech apply to their particular content area. CSMP staff will also provide participants with information about the work of the Subject Matter Projects and how programs can access and benefit from the resources represented by the Subject Matter Projects, their staff, and their collaborating teachers. These sessions can serve as an initial step towards building a collaborative community to support subject matter pedagogy across the state.

The CSMP facilitators include representatives from all subject matter areas. Joanne Rossi Becker (San Jose State University) and Mike Lutz (California State University, Bakersfield) will represent mathematics. Representing science will be Jerry Valadez and Beverly Marcum (Central Valley Science Project) and Maria Lopez-Freeman (Executive Director, California Science Project).


(2) Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Message to Californians

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Three days after California voters rejected ballot measures to restore state funding for public schools, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited the state and told more than 500 business, education, political, philanthropic, and community leaders not to retreat from their responsibilities to prepare all children to graduate from high school college- and career-ready.

Secretary Duncan challenged the audience at Friday’s San Francisco School Alliance luncheon to rebuild its public school system and again be the envy of the world.

“Your state once had the best education system in the country. From cradle to career, you took care of your children,” Secretary Duncan said. “You made sure they were ready to enter your universities or be productive participants in the workforce. I ask you, is California going to lead the race to the top or are you going to lead the retreat?”

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $4 billion was released to stabilize California’s state finances and another $1.3 billion to supplement federal programs for children challenged by poverty and special needs. This fall, $2 billion in state stabilization funds will be sent to California.

Duncan said that the stimulus is about recovery and driving innovative school reforms, so $5 billion in ARRA’s State Fiscal Stabilization Fund is reserved for the Secretary of Education to make competitive grants. The Department of Education will conduct a national competition among states for a $4.35 billion state incentive “Race to the Top” fund to improve education quality and results statewide.

Duncan reiterated that President Obama is deeply committed to this program because it will enable the department to spur reform on a national scale–driving school systems to adopt college- and career-ready, internationally benchmarked standards. It will provide incentives to create state-of-the-art data collection systems, assessments and curricula to meet higher standards. It will encourage states to recruit, train, mentor and support a great, new generation of teachers to better prepare our students for college and careers.

Before visiting the pre-kindergarten through Grade 8 Paul Revere School and the University of California-San Francisco, Secretary Duncan told the Alliance audience that California needs to end its budget stalemate and provide state dollars for public schools.

“That will free up stimulus dollars you can use for reform–internationally competitive standards, good data, good teachers, and turning around the worst of your schools,” Secretary Duncan said. “If you succeed in that, I’ll reward you for your efforts.”


(3) CCTC Meeting Agenda Item: “Pedagogical Preparation to Teach Mathematics”

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC)

Item 6E on the agenda of the June 3-4 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is entitled, “Pedagogical Preparation to Teach Mathematics.” The meeting will be webcast (see the “Watch Live” link on the Web site above for more information).

The introduction to this agenda item provides a summary of its background:

The Commission began a discussion at its October 2008 meeting related to the preparation of individuals who teach mathematics ( 10-2D.pdf). At the November 2008 Commission meeting ( /agendas/2008-11/2008-11-2G.pdf), staff presented a plan for addressing the issues related to the authorizations to teach mathematics in California’s public schools. Based on the Commission’s discussion at the November 2008 meeting, the December 2008 item focused on the Mathematics Specialist Credential ( and proposed a plan for an advisory panel to review the preparation of individuals who teach mathematics and possibly to revise the standards and authorizations for a Mathematics Specialist Credential in the future. The January 2009 item provided a description of all the authorizations that allow an individual to teach mathematics in California’s K-12 public schools ( The April 2009 item focused on mathematics subject matter competence and how it is assessed for individuals who earn an authorization to teach mathematics ( 04/2009-04-3E.pdf). This item provides a description of the pedagogical preparation that individuals must complete to earn a teaching credential that authorizes an individual to teach mathematics in California’s K-12 public schools.

The Commission’s adopted program standards ( define the scope of teacher preparation programs individuals must complete to earn a credential. Pedagogical preparation is addressed in a number of ways in the adopted program standards. Program Standard 6: Pedagogy and Reflective Practice, addresses general pedagogy…

In addition, there are specific pedagogical statements related to teaching mathematics contained in Program Standard 8: Pedagogical Preparation. Standard 8 has two sections. Section A addresses the pedagogy that multiple subject teachers must understand and be able to implement. For multiple subject teachers there are six subsections that address the teaching of different content areas: mathematics, science, history-social science, visual and performing arts, physical education, and health…

Section B of Program Standard 8 addresses the pedagogy that single subject teachers must understand and be able to implement…

The introductory section of each part of Standard 8 also requires the preparation program to ensure that the candidates apply, learn, practice and reflect on the Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) in the preliminary preparation program…

For all multiple and single subject candidates beginning a preliminary preparation program on or after July 1, 2008 the candidate must pass a TPA prior to being recommended for the teaching credential. The assessment is a performance assessment—that is, there is a series of tasks and/or activities that candidates must complete with K-12 students to demonstrate that they have mastered the set of knowledge, skills, and abilities exemplified in the TPEs…

Mathematics Instruction the K-12 Schools

Institutions provide preparation to individuals who are then credentialed as teachers. Teachers work in the K-12 schools and provide instruction to students. Therefore, it is important to consider the types of instruction, instructional strategies, and pedagogical expectations that employing schools and districts have for their teachers. The State Board of Education (SBE) adopts curriculum frameworks ( which guide the development of curricular materials, contextualize the adopted content standards for the content area, and provide additional information related to instructional strategies. The SBE has a published cycle of review and adoption for California’s curriculum frameworks ( The current mathematics framework was adopted in 2005.

California’s Mathematics Framework

In Chapter 4 of the current Mathematics Framework (2005) ( three components of competency in mathematics are defined: conceptual, procedural, and mathematical reasoning. These components of competency are defined for the K-12 students. Therefore teachers of mathematics must understand and be able to address each of these components of competency with their students…

These three components of competency are not explicitly addressed in the Commission’s adopted program standards although an argument could be made that they are implicitly addressed. California’s Education Code requires that the Commission’s adopted subject matter program standards and examination specifications must be aligned to the “…state content and performance standards for pupils…” As was described in the April 2009 agenda item (, the Commission’s subject matter standards, examination specifications, and subject matter requirements are aligned to California’s adopted K-12 student academic content standards. There is no requirement that the teacher preparation program standards be aligned to the curriculum frameworks. In addition, the Mathematics Framework provides a “General Framework for Teaching a Mathematics Topic.” The information contained in the adopted framework forms the basis for publishers as they develop curriculum materials. It seems important that individuals completing their preparation to be authorized to teach mathematics be prepared to use the instructional materials that the districts will be providing…

The three components of competency identified in California’s Mathematics Framework have been underscored by recent federal efforts focusing on the teaching of mathematics. In 2006, President Bush convened a National Mathematics Advisory Panel (Panel) to consider a set of questions about America’s competitiveness in preparing enough mathematics-competent workers to maintain the country’s technical, scientific, and economic status in the world…Following two and a half years of work, the Final Report of the Panel was released in March 2008.

The Report contains 45 key findings including the statement that, to prepare students for Algebra, the mathematics curriculum ‘…must simultaneously develop conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and problem-solving skills. Debates regarding the relative importance of these aspects of mathematical knowledge are misguided. These capabilities are mutually supportive, each facilitating learning of the others. Teachers should emphasize these interrelations; taken together, conceptual understanding of mathematical operations, fluent execution of procedures, and fast access to number combinations jointly support effective and efficient problem solving’ (p. xix).

This recommendation is consistent with the three components of competency identified in the Mathematics Framework. The Panel felt, however, that there was inadequate research of sufficient rigor or quality to allow them to identify the features of teacher preparation programs that have effects on teachers’ knowledge, instructional practice, or students’ achievement.

International Research on the Teaching of Mathematics

Dr. James Stigler (University of California, Los Angeles) presented information from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Video Studies at the April 2009 Commission meeting. [See ]…

Next Steps

The information in this agenda item will be presented to the Commission’s Teaching Mathematics Advisory Panel as they review current credential authorizations to teach mathematics and develop recommendations for the Commission’s discussion and consideration.


(4) State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell Releases 2008 Base API Report, Includes Statewide and Similar Schools Comparisons

Source: California Department of Education

This past Thursday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell released the 2008 Base Academic Performance Index (API) report, marking the beginning of California’s annual reporting cycle of academic growth and achievement.

The 2008 Base API Report summarizes results from the spring 2008 testing season and becomes the baseline against which to compare the 2009 Growth API, which will be released in early September.

The 2008 Base API report includes public school rankings that enable parents to match the performance of their child’s school with other California public schools. Based on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), the rankings compare an individual school to all other California public schools of similar type (elementary, middle, and high) as well as to those with similar educational opportunities and challenges.

The 2008 Base API Report also provides information about the percentage of schools at or above the statewide API performance target of 800: the percentage of elementary schools at or above this mark is 39.9 percent (up 3.3 percentage points from 2007); 30.1 percent of middle schools are at or above the API performance target (up 5.7 percentage points); and 17.1 percent of high schools are at or above the target (up 2.8 percentage points). (See

“I am pleased that once again California schools are meeting the high expectations set for them every year. I am especially proud of the spectacular progress made by our elementary schools since the inception of the API. This is momentum we need to sustain and celebrate,” O’Connell said.

“This kind of progress happens only through the hard work and focus of dedicated school staff, parents, and students. However, I worry that these real gains in student achievement are in serious jeopardy because funding for our public school system is in serious danger,” he said. “What kind of education will we be able to offer next year and the year after that with the kind of drastic and unprecedented cuts now under consideration?”

The annual rise in test scores over the last 10 years also has resulted in a similar rise in the API score associated with each rank. For example: In 1999, an elementary school with an API score of 680 had a statewide rank of 7. Today that same API score yields a statewide rank of 1. (See

The Base API Report also sets 2009 API growth targets for schools and student subgroups. The 2009 Growth API will be compared to the 2008 Base API in order to determine whether or not the schools and student subgroups met these targets. The 2009 Growth API is projected for release on September 2, 2009.

Finally, the report documents the achievement gap that continues to exist between white and Asian student subgroups on the one hand and Hispanic and African American student subgroups on the other hand. (See

“For the better part of the last two years, I have focused intently on a plan to close this gap and to lower the number of young people dropping out of school,” O’Connell said. “The Base API report provides evidence yet again of why it is so critical that we focus on this challenge. We have implemented important reforms related to high-quality preschool, cultural and climatic dynamics in the classroom, and education data collection. We have a moral and economic imperative to prepare all students with an education that will help them succeed. But this critical work is also likely to be stymied if the massive budget cuts to our schools become a reality.”

The API reflects a school’s composite academic achievement based on a variety of statewide assessments. The API incorporates test results from the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). Subject areas include English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science.

The 2008 Base API reports, including school rankings and growth targets are posted on the API Web Page at


(5) News of Note from the California Department of Education

Source:  Kathlan Latimer, Education Programs Consultant, Mathematics and Science Leadership Office, California Department of Educaitona) Follow-up Adoption of Mathematics Instructional Materials

Instructional Materials Reviewers (IMRs) and Content Review Experts (CREs) are needed to review instructional materials submitted for the follow-up adoption. The majority of the IMRs must be teachers who are experienced, credentialed, and highly qualified (under federal law). CREs must hold a doctoral degree in the field of mathematics. The review panel will meet for up to three days of training, April 14-16, 2010, and for up to four days of deliberations, July 13-16, 2010. Applications for appointment may be found at the following web pages:
* IMR:
* CRE:

Applications are due on September 9, 2009. Questions may be directed to Jim Long at 916-323-4583 or by e-mail at The Follow-up Adoption will go forward for State Board of Education (SBE) action at the November 2010 meeting. The next primary adoption of instructional materials will go forward for SBE action in November 2013.

b) Framework Revision

The remaining Focus Group meeting about the Mathematics Framework will be held on May 28 at the San Diego County Office of Education from 3:30-6:30 p.m. See for details.

The meeting is also available via videoconference at the following locations:

Fresno County Office of Education
1111 Van Ness Ave., Room 104T
Fresno, CA 93721

Lake County Office of Education, Taylor Observatory
5725 Oak Hills Lane
Kelseyville, CA 95451

Riverside County Office of Education Conference Center
3958 Twelfth Street, Hyatt Rooms I & II
Riverside, CA 92501

c)  Model  Mathematics Programs

Please share the names and contact information for K- 6 schools that have implemented exemplary mathematics programs. The CDE Elementary Education Office would like to highlight model programs in their upcoming newsletter. This is an opportunity to highlight the successes of our schools. Send to Kathlan Latimer at

d) California Mathematics and Science Partnership (CaMSP)

Applications for Cohort 7 are due September 17, 2009. The RFA may be found at CaMSPs are funded through No Child Left Behind, Title II, Part B.

e)  National Board Certification

Information about applying for National Board certification can be accessed at
The 2009 Guide to National Board Certification can also be downloaded from this web site:

Scholarships will be awarded through Chase Bank on a first-come, first-served basis to first-time and advanced National Board Certification teacher candidates in low-performing, urban schools in the following California locations:  1) Bakersfield, 2) Fresno, 3) Inland Empire, 4) Los Angeles, 5) Oakland, 6) Sacramento, 7) San Diego, 8) San Francisco, and 9) Santa Ana.

To qualify for the Chase scholarship, teachers must have 1) completed the scholarship application and 2) identified at least three teachers from their school who will form a cohort to complete the requirements of National Board Certification.

Interested first-time and advanced candidates must apply for a Chase scholarship online at:

NBPTS may be contacted at or by phone at 1-888-908-3337 for more information about the scholarship process.

f) Resources for High School Educators
Join the CDE High Schoollistserv to receive notices about high school related information and upcoming High School! periodical issues.

g) Resources for Middle School Educators

*  Join the MidNet mailing list to be notified via e-mail when new or updated information is available:

*  Sign-up for the Taking Center Stage electronic mailing list, Get into the Act! to receive periodic updates:




Education Secretary Launches National Discussion on Education Reform

Source: U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has begun his multi-state tour to solicit feedback from a broad group of stakeholders around federal education policy in anticipation of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The tour will gather input on the Obama administration’s education agenda, including early childhood, higher standards, teacher quality, workforce development, and higher education.

The tour, “Listening and Learning: A Conversation About Education Reform,” officially began on May 5 with three events in West Virginia. In the morning, Duncan met with parents and primary school teachers at Bunker Hill Elementary School. See for coverage of his visit to this school. Duncan then visited Eagle School in Martinsburg where he had lunch with students and met with middle school teachers and administrators. In the afternoon, Duncan held a town hall meeting at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College with students, instructors, administrators and area employers.

Duncan said that the primary purpose of the Listening and Learning tour is to,”Have a national dialogue about how to best deliver a complete and competitive education to all children–from cradle through career. We want to hear directly from people in the classroom about how the federal government can support educators, school districts and states to drive education reform. Before crafting education law in Washington, we want to hear from people across America–parents, teachers and administrators–about the everyday issues and challenges in our schools that need our national attention and support.”

Other states targeted for potential events include Montana, Wyoming, New Jersey, Tennessee, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Utah, and Alaska. Additional states and events may be added during the course of the tour. The Secretary has already visited Michigan, Vermont, and California. Follow the Listening Tour blog at

Duncan wants to insure that he visits a mix of rural, urban, suburban and ethnically diverse districts and hears from a broad range of stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators and community and business leaders. Specific events will vary from small group private meetings to large public forums.

The meetings and events will be taped and reports and video summaries will be published on the department’s website. Duncan said the tour will “Help launch an open, honest conversation about education reform, because this issue touches everybody in America.

“Education is not just an economic issue. It’s a moral issue. It’s the civil rights issue of our generation. We have an obligation to give every child in America an education that helps them succeed in their career and fulfill their role as active and involved citizens,” he said.


Related post:

On May 11, Duncan posted the questions below on a blog page developed for this purpose; see

“As we prepare for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, I want to hear from classroom teachers and other educators, parents and students, business people and citizens.  What’s working, and what’s not?  What do we need to do that we’re not doing, and what do we need to stop doing–or do differently?

I will be going to 15 other places across the country to continue this conversation.

There is one more place I will be going to listen and learn.  Here [on this blog page].

In the coming weeks, I will ask questions here.  Topics will include raising standards, strengthening teacher quality, using data to improve learning, and turning around low-performing schools. I will be reading what you say.  So will others here at the U.S. Department of Education.

Today, I want to start with a simple set of questions:

Many states in America are independently considering adopting internationally-benchmarked, college and career-ready standards.  Is raising standards a good idea?  How should we go about it?

Let the conversation begin!

[Go to to read the comments submitted in response to these questions.]