COMET • Vol. 10, No. 02 – 29 January 2009


(1) Mathematics Teaching Authorizations Addressed at Today’s CCTC Meeting


URL (Agenda Item):

At this morning’s meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), Teri Clark presented Agenda Item 3E, providing an overview of the current authorizations and credentials for teaching mathematics. Please refer to the PDF file above for the topics covered in this presentation.

Questions were raised concerning the appropriateness of the subject matter preparation required for various authorizations. Teri stated, for example, that there is no assurance that those obtaining a Supplementary Authorization in Mathematics have content preparation in the areas in which they may be expected to teach since content areas are not well-defined as they are for the Subject Matter Authorization in Mathematics. A similar question was raised concerning the mathematics preparation for Multiple Subject teachers, since they are authorized to teach math in grades K-12 in self-contained classes.

After discussion, there was general support among the Commissioners for expanding the charge of the Mathematics Specialist Credential Advisory Panel (see announcement below) to take a holistic look at all mathematics authorizations/credentials. The Panel would examine the needs of the field and develop appropriate pathways (authorizations) to meet those needs (e.g., determine the appropriate mathematics content preparation for a Multiple Subject teacher and the limitations on mathematics courses that the teacher would be allowed to teach unless a mathematics authorization were added to the Multiple Subject credential). It was mentioned that the Commission may need to start from scratch in determining the math content preparation for Multiple Subject teachers.

Commissioner Beverly Young (CSU Chancellor’s Office) noted that applications for service on the Mathematics Specialist Credential Advisory Panel are due on February 6, a day that the Commission offices would likely be closed as a result of today’s ruling that the Governor could furlough state workers two days (Fridays) a month, beginning on February 6. David Simmons (Ventura COE) recommended extending the window for Advisory Panel applications if an expansion in charge is indeed implemented, a suggestion that was followed with “well-noted” by a Commissioner. Susan Westbrook (CFA) recommended that there be an expansion of the call for panelists so there’s a larger (and a well-qualified) pool of applicants from which to choose. She also mentioned the need to introduce algebra concepts in kindergarten, remarking that “we can ask a lot more of our students than we currently do.”

Joanne Rossi Becker (San Jose State University; Chair, CAMTE’s Mathematics Specialist Credential Task Force) raised a concern related to the State Board’s decision to have exams (currently the CSET) satisfy the subject matter competency requirement for Multiple Subject teachers. “This decision has had the unintended consequence of nearly decimating [mathematics] courses for Multiple Subject teachers” on her campus, she said. Students are simply cramming to pass the tests rather than taking the courses. Commissioner David Pearson (Dean of the Graduate School of Education at UC, Berkeley) agreed: “You should never send a test out to do a curriculum’s job.” He noted that it would be useful if the charge of the new Task Force could be expanded to discuss issues such as this.


(2) Members Sought for the Mathematics Specialist Credential Advisory Panel

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC)

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing is currently seeking applications from individuals to serve as panel members to consider the need for, and, as appropriate, propose recommended standards for a preparation program for the Mathematics Specialist Credential. The advisory panel will consist of individuals who are California K-12 and IHE teacher educators, multiple subject and single subject content area experts, and individuals with deep mathematics content knowledge. Standards would be aligned with the Program Standards for Teacher Preparation Programs and the California Mathematics Framework (2005).

The Role of the Mathematic Specialist Advisory Panel Members

The panel will play a significant role in assessing the current program standards for consistency with the newly adopted teacher preparation standards and the 2005 Mathematics Framework…

Location and Time of Meeting

The panel members will participate in several meetings lasting through the end of 2009. The first two meetings are scheduled for April and May 2009. The meetings will be held at the Commission on Teacher Credentialing offices at 1900 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento…

Visit the Web site above to download the document containing more information about service on this panel, as well as application materials.

Completed applications are due by February 6.

If you have any questions, please contact Teri Ackerman, Professional Services Division, at (916) 445-1536.


(3) Curriculum Commission Extends Application Deadline

Source: Tracie Yee, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, California Department of Education –

The State Board of Education has extended the deadline to apply for the open seat on the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission (Curriculum Commission). Applications need to be received by February 17. Only current K-12 teachers or mentor teachers are eligible to apply.

The Curriculum Commission is responsible for advising the State Board on matters related to curriculum and instruction. The Curriculum Commission (1) develops and recommends curriculum frameworks; (2) develops and recommends criteria for evaluating instructional materials submitted for adoption; (3) evaluates instructional materials that have been submitted by publishers and makes recommendations to adopt or reject each submission; and (4) recommends policies and activities to the State Board, California Department of Education, and local education agencies regarding curriculum and instruction.

Please visit the Curriculum Commission’s Web site at to view the following:

– 2009 Call for Applications Flyer
– Application for Appointment to Advisory Body
– Supplemental Questionnaire for Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission

Questions regarding the Curriculum Commission should be directed to Tom Adams, Executive Director, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division of the California Department of Education at 916-319-0881.


(4) New Monograph: “Secondary Mathematics Methods Courses in California”

Source: Michael Lutz, President, California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE)

The first monograph produced by the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE) is now available online at The monograph represents the culmination of more than three years of work by a task force involving many CAMTE members, as well as a PMET (Preparing Mathematicians to Educate Teachers) conference organized by Dale Oliver, Humboldt State University. The monograph, “Secondary Mathematics Methods Courses in California,” contains seven chapters:
1 — “A Comparison of Secondary Mathematics Methods Courses in California” by Margaret Kidd, California State University (CSU) Fullerton
2 – “Curricular Knowledge for Secondary Mathematics Teachers” by Jennifer Chauvot, University of Houston
3 – “Learning to Self-Assess, Then Self-Assessing to Learn: Integrating the RTOP into Mathematics Teacher Preparation” by Terri Kurz, Arizona State University, and Ivana Batarelo Kokic, University of Split, Croatia
4 – “Preparing Secondary Teachers of Mathematics With and For Democratic Practice” by Mark Ellis, CSU Fullerton
5 – “Engaging Preservice Teachers in Textbook Analyses: A Focus on Mathematical Tasks” by Fran Arbaugh, University of Missouri
6 – “Meeting English Learners’ Needs in a Secondary Mathematics Methods Course– Rationale and Significance” by Carl Lager, University of California, Santa Barbara
7 – “A CSTP-Based Portfolio for a Secondary Mathematics Methods Course” by Elizabeth Burroughs, Montana State University.

Although the monograph was the capstone activity for the Task Force, the hope is that it will also be a beginning by sparking additional much-needed research and discussion regarding what should be in a secondary mathematics methods course in California. Readers of the monograph who wish to make comments, ask questions, or have dialog regarding the content are encouraged to contact either the individual authors whose email addresses are included in the chapters or the monograph’s editor, Michael Lutz ( (A membership form for CAMTE is available at


(5) Governor Schwarzenegger Appoints Dr. Glen Thomas as Secretary of Education

Sources: (a) Office of the Governor (b) California’s Capitol
URL (a): 
URL (b):

Last Wednesday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of Dr. Glen Thomas, 62, as California’s Secretary of Education.

“With over 30 years of experience as a teacher and leader at the local, county and state level, Glen is the right person to make sure California continues to uphold high academic standards during this challenging fiscal time,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “He shares my dedication to quality education for every student, and I am confident that he will work collaboratively with the educational community to improve student achievement and expand educational opportunities in our state while also working towards stronger accountability and greater transparency in our educational system.”

Since 2007, he has served as a consultant to several philanthropic foundations and educational organizations including the Khosla Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation, as well as the California State Parent Teachers Association and the Association of California School Administrators. From 1998 to 2006, Thomas served as the executive director for the California County Superintendents Education Services Association, the statewide network of California’s 58 county superintendents of schools.

A strong promoter of early education learning opportunities, he served as director for Preschool for All Planning Support in 2006 and assistant superintendent and director of the elementary teaching and learning division for the California Department of Education from 1995 to 1996. He was also director for the Reinvigorating Arts Education in California Project from 2005 to 2006 and the Statewide Administrator Training Program from 2003 to 2006.

From 1999 to 2005, Thomas served as co-director for the U.S. Department of Education Grant, Preparing Tomorrow’s Teacher to Use Technology and, from 1997 to 1998, he was director for education technology Office for the California Department of Education and was the executive director for the Council on Technology in Learning.

Prior to that, he was the deputy executive director for the Commission of the Establishment of Academic Content and Performance Standards from 1996 to 1997 and executive secretary for the California State Curriculum Commission from 1988 to 1996. From 1984 to 1995, Thomas was the director for the curriculum frameworks and instructional resources office for the California Department of Education.

Glen started his teaching career in Modesto in 1970 in working with the children of farm laborers in migrant education. He later worked for the Modesto City School District as a teacher from 1971 to 1974 and was an instructor for the Association of California School Administrators from 1987 to 2004. Glen served as an adjunct professor for National University from 1996 to 1999, the California State University, Sacramento Graduate School from 1997 to 2005 and Pepperdine University Doctoral Program from 1999 to 2001. Furthering his commitment to education, he has worked at the University of Southern California, Sacramento Center where he has served as an adjunct professor since 2005 and previously served as a clinical professor from 1999 to 2003.

Thomas is a member of the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Education Board of Advisors. He was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to the Academic Standards Commission and served on the High School Exit Exam Committee.

“I am honored Governor Schwarzenegger has selected me to work with him in this new capacity. I am excited to build on existing policies that will strengthen our schools, promote student achievement for every student, create conditions for innovation, promote civic engagement and work through the fiscal challenges we are all facing,” said Glenn Thomas. “I look forward to working with the Governor, the legislature and the educational community to ensure the best possible education for our young people. They are the future of this state.”

Thomas, 62, of Sacramento, earned a Doctorate degree in educational leadership with an emphasis in instructional policy and school administration from the University of Southern California, a Master of Arts degree in child and family studies from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Biola University.

Thomas’ wife, Connie, teaches first grade for the San Juan School District in Sacramento. They have two daughters, both graduates of California public schools system. Jori is a civil engineer having graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Jody works in a genetics and chemistry lab having graduated from UC Davis in genetics.

The Office of the Secretary of Education is the primary education advisor to the Governor and is committed to creating, promoting and supporting the Governor’s policies that ensure access to quality education for all Californians.



(1) Working Group on the Mathematical Preparation of Elementary Teachers

Source: Clyde Greeno – 

Anyone interested in the mathematical preparation of elementary school teachers is invited to peruse the Web Site of the Working Group on the Mathematical Preparation of Teachers (WG-MPET) at

At the 2007 Annual Conference of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), members Tom Bassarear and Frank Lester conducted discussions with interested attendees about following through on a pair of University of Chicago conferences on the Mathematical Preparation of Elementary Teachers…and on the recent CBMS Publication, The Mathematical Preparation of Teachers.

A more formal step was taken in 2008, where AMTE allowed WG-MPET to conduct a limited-seating pre-session forum in connection with its Annual Conference in Tulsa. Invitations were extended to all AMTE members who pre-registered for the Conference. The working group’s activities at the AMTE conference in Orlando next week will include launching an effort to compile the teacher education profession’s current knowledge about “The Mathematics Needed for Teaching” in order to provide a mathematical context for the profession to develop the needed standards.

WG-MPET “membership” is open to all interested persons who are interested in being on the mailing list. (Membership in AMTE is not required.) If interested in being added to this list, please contact Clyde Greeno at Questions, comments, and ideas may be sent to the same email address.


(2) “‘Scientifically Based’ Giving Way to ‘Development,’ ‘Innovation'” by Debra Viadero

Source: Education Week – 28 January 2009

If “scientifically based evidence” was the rallying cry for education research over the past eight years, the watchwords for the field in the post-Bush era seem headed toward “development” and “innovation.”

A growing number of foundations, entrepreneurs, national education groups, and public officials have called in recent months for a stepped-up emphasis on generating findings, programs, and products that practitioners find useful and that will help revolutionize the way America does school.

If it takes hold, the new focus represents a break from the “scientifically based” research push, which called for investing more heavily, but not exclusively, in rigorous studies in which participants are randomly assigned to either control or experimental groups, with the aim of generating new, more credible, knowledge on “what works” to improve student achievement. A focus on development and innovation, in comparison, would mean often recycling existing knowledge, and, in some cases, old-fashioned practical know-how, into new, relevant uses for schools.

“We need to put the D back in R&D,” Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University education professor, told a gathering of researchers in November, using a refrain heard with increasing frequency in policy circles.

Coming from Ms. Darling-Hammond, who led a review of federal education policy for President Barack Obama’s transition team, the words may have special significance.
The education plan that Mr. Obama proposed during his presidential campaign called, in fact, for doubling the federal government’s $321 million investment in educational research and development by the end of his first term. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, likewise, pledged at his Senate confirmation hearing to promote innovation in the field.

Moreover, the economic-stimulus bill [passed by]… the U.S. House of Representatives calls for setting aside $325 million for an innovation fund to help spread the ideas underlying the success of high-performing schools and districts.

In the private sector, the subject is also shaping up to be the new strategic focus of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, in Stanford, California, and the San Francisco-based Stupski Foundation.

Meanwhile, the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of its recently revamped plan for improving high schools, is supporting efforts to bring technological and scientific innovation to bear in creating “next generation” education models…

“I think there really is this renewed view of R&D as a catalyst for innovation,” said James W. Kohlmoos, the president of the Washington-based Knowledge Alliance, which represents many research groups that do development work…

“We’ve invested in innovation and development, and more money to do that on a larger scale would be a good thing,” said Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, a Bush appointee whose term as the director of the federal Institute of Education Sciences ended in November. “What would be a mistake,” Mr. Whitehurst continued, “is assigning investments in innovation that aren’t linked to an evaluation of their effectiveness. We have to have a mechanism for discovering whether they work, and for whom, and under what circumstances.”

The IES, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, helped lead the charge by President George W. Bush’s administration for scientifically based research.
Tension has long existed in education, as in other fields, between promoting experimental studies aimed at finding out whether something works and recycling knowledge into new applications that might—or might not—work. It’s exacerbated in education because of the comparatively small pot of money available for research and development…

“Some of this is a reaction to where people perceived the Department of Education has been for the last eight years–this focus on rigor of research without sufficient attention to relevance,” said Mr. Kohlmoos. “Even though Whitehurst began to talk about relevance over the last two years, [the IES had] been typecast as being focused on research that didn’t have a tight connection to schools”…

Researchers doing effective development work also have to collaborate closely with educators to build their programs around the problems of day-to-day schooling, rather than just pursue what interests the scholars, according to Mr. Bryk, who is developing a research program at the Carnegie Foundation that echoes his ideas on the subject…
He is calling for involving entrepreneurs from the start and looking to anchor teaching innovations in technology…

Two Washington think tank writers, Sara Mead and Andrew J. Rotherham, made a case for an “office of educational entrepreneurship and innovation” in the Education Department in a widely circulated paper published last fall for the Brookings Institution. The $1 billion-a-year agency would seed educational innovations, help scale up those that have been shown to work, and “build a stronger culture around entrepreneurship and innovation,” the authors wrote…

Ultimately, proponents hope, renewed spending on the development part of R&D could lead to the kinds of “disruptive innovations” that Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen talks about in a widely discussed 2008 book, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. By that term, he and his co-authors mean innovations that unexpectedly shake up the business of schooling just as Google advertising, Southwest Airlines’ discounted airfares, and the Sony transistor radio led to the reinvention of their respective industries…