COMET • Vol. 11, No. 25 – 16 November 2010


California Department of Education Announces New Common Core Standards Web Page

Source: Jim Greco, California Department of Education (CDE)

The California Department of Education has created a comprehensive Web page devoted to the Common Core California Standards (CCCS), which were adopted by the California State Board of Education on August 2, 2010. This page ( includes links to the adopted standards for both mathematics and English-language arts, as well as to useful informational flyers and PowerPoint presentations on the CCCS. Two-page summaries are available on topics such as how the standards are designed to prepare students for success in Algebra I. Answers to frequently asked questions about the standards, curriculum frameworks, instructional materials, and assessments can be found on


Presentation Files from the Joint Meeting of the State Board of Education and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

The agenda and presentation files from the November 8 joint meeting of the State Board of Education and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing have been posted on the Commission’s Web site. Please see below for file titles and links:

– Agenda

– “Common Core Standards” by Greg Geeting (Chair, Academic Content Standards Commission) and Sue Stickel (Sacramento County Office of Education):

– “Implications of the Adoption of the Common Core Standards on Teacher Preparation” by Teri Clark and Cheryl Hickey (Commission on Teacher Credentialing) –

– “Common Core State Standards: Development of an Implementation Plan”:

– “Advancing Teacher Quality” by Sandi Jacobs (National Council on Teacher Quality):

– “Teacher Evaluation” by Terry Janicki and Gay Roby (Commission on Teacher Credentialing):

– “Assessing Principal Effectiveness” by Karen Kearney (WestEd):

Of additional interest to COMET readers is a video of the meeting, which is available at


Governor-Elect Jerry Brown Pledges to Eliminate Office of the Secretary for Education and Work Collaboratively with the California Department of Education


Governor-Elect Jerry Brown’s education plan is available at   Part of his plan focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM): “We need to strengthen STEM teaching and increase the number of STEM graduates. California’s economic growth depends on its continued leadership in innovation, technology, clean energy and other fields that require strong math and science training… We should expand curriculum and teaching materials in STEM subjects, including online and virtual programs, enhanced teaching materials, partnerships with high tech companies and hands-on learning opportunities.”

In addition, Brown pledged to eliminate the position of Secretary of Education to help eliminate “duplicative functions” (’s-future). On his Web site, he wrote, “Currently, education policy making at the state level is divided among the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor’s Secretary of Education.  As Governor, I eliminated some of this overlap by not appointing a secretary of education and looking to the State Board for educational policy advice. Given education’s fundamental importance, I intend to play a major role in education policy. But I [will] work with and use the existing staff of the State Superintendent or state board, as opposed to having my own separate educational staff.”

In response to this statement, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued the following statement last Wednesday:

“I applaud Jerry Brown’s decision to work closely with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education, and eliminate the position of Secretary for Education. For too long, governance of education policy in California has been buffeted by too many competing forces. While I have admired and worked collaboratively with many appointed secretaries of education, the position itself is redundant and unnecessary. Eliminating unneeded government positions makes all the sense in the world, particularly in this era of extreme financial crisis.

“Governor-elect Brown is passionate about improving California. He and I agree that there is no greater investment in California’s future than our students. The California Department of Education stands ready to work with the Brown Administration to help improve public education, close the achievement gap, and help all students reach their full potential.”


Teens from California and Oregon Take Regional Title in Prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology

Source: Siemens Foundation – 14 November 2010

Last weekend, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) hosted the Region One Finals of the 2010-11 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s premier science research competition for high school students. During the competition, students presented their research to a panel of judges, and on Saturday evening, the winners were announced. Top honors went to Andrew Liu of Palo Alto for his research on a promising new technique for extracting meaning from genomic data and to the team of Akash Krishnan and Matthew Fernandez from Portland, Oregon for computer science research on recognition of emotion in the human voice.

The Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board.  The regional winners receive thousands of dollars in scholarships and are invited to compete at the National Finals in Washington, DC, on December 3-6, where the winners of the six regional competitions will vie for the $100,000 Grand Prize and national acclaim for extraordinary scientific achievement at the high school level.

“Each year, the Siemens Foundation invites America’s high school students to make their mark in the world of science,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President of the Siemens Foundation.  “We commend these students on rising to the challenge and pushing the envelope of scientific thought.”

For more information about the winners and a list of finalists (who were all from California), visit


Related Article:

Nerves are no Match for these High-Stakes Science Competitors

Source:  Los Angeles Times – 14 November 2010


Free Webinar: Getting Started with the Common Core Standards

Source: National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)

On Tuesday, November 30, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) will present a free Webinar entitled “Getting Started with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS): First Steps for Mathematics Education Leaders,” from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Participants will learn about the most productive ways to begin CCSS implementation and common pitfalls to avoid. Tools and resources from NCSM will be provided.

To register and join the live Webinar, visit the NCSM web page at   Registration will remain open, even after the Webinar begins. In addition, a video of the Webinar will be posted online following the event.

Contact Ashley Weight ( with any technical questions or concerns. For Webinar content questions, contact Diane Briars (NCSM President) at or Suzanne Mitchell (NCSM President-Elect) at For all other Webinar questions, contact Terri Belcher at


New Research Finds Number Talk is Important Before Preschool

Source: National Science Foundation

The amount of time parents spend talking about numbers has a much bigger impact on how young children learn mathematics than was previously known, researchers at the University of Chicago have found.

For example, children whose parents talked more about numbers were much more likely to understand the cardinal number principle–which states that the size of a set of objects is determined by the last number reached when counting the set (e.g., a set of 10 items is larger than a set of seven items).

“By the time children enter preschool, there are marked individual differences in their mathematical knowledge, as shown by their performance on standardized tests,” said University of Chicago psychologist Susan Levine, the Stella M. Rowley Professor in Psychology and the leader of the study. Other studies have shown that the level of mathematics knowledge entering school predicts future success.

“The findings underscore the important role that caregivers can play in children’s early mathematical learning,” said Soo-Siang Lim, program director for the National Science Foundation’s Science of Learning Centers Program

“The frequency with which parents’ talk with their toddlers about numbers, such as counting the number of objects in spatial arrays and labeling these set sizes, predicts their children’s understanding of numbers,” said Lim.

“These findings suggest that encouraging parents to talk about numbers with their children, and providing them with effective ways to do so, may positively impact children’s school achievement,” said Levine.

Although other researchers have examined early mathematics learning, the University of Chicago team is the first to record parent-child interactions in the home and to analyze the connections between parents’ number talk and subsequent performance.

Parents often point to objects and say there are three blocks on the floor, for instance. Children can repeat a string of numbers from an early age, but saying “one, two, three” is not the same as actually knowing that the words relate to set size, which is an abstraction.

For more information about this study, visit the Web site above.


U.S. Department of Education Releases Finalized National Education Technology Plan

URL (Speech):“-digital-transformation-education”-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan

Last Tuesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan released the U.S. Department of Education’s plan for transforming American education through technology, a process that would create an engaging state-of-the-art, cradle-to-college school system nationwide.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to reform our schools,” Duncan said during the State Educational Technology Directors Association Education Forum. “With this technology plan, we have laid out a comprehensive vision for how teachers working with technology can transform student learning in classrooms across America. We must dramatically improve teaching and learning, personalize instruction and ensure that the educational environments we offer to all students keep pace with the 21st century.”

The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) was written and refined over 18 months by leading education researchers, with input from the public, industry officials, and thousands of educators and students from across the country. Development of the NETP was led by the department’s Office of Educational Technology and involved the most rigorous and inclusive process ever undertaken for a national education technology plan. It is a crucial component of the administration’s effort to have America lead the world in college completion by 2020 and help close the achievement gap so that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.

The plan, titled “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” presents a model with key goals in five areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure and productivity. Each core section outlines concepts for using technology to holistically transform education, with the aim to achieve each goal by 2015.

Overall, the plan addresses technology trends that could transform education, such as mobility and accessibility, the rise of digital content, and the rise of online social networks for information, collaboration and learning. Importantly, it stresses that technology in the classroom only works when paired with effective teaching.

“Technology will never replace good teachers,” Duncan said. “We all know that the most important factor in a student’s success is the teacher leading the class. That will not change.”

To read the finalized NETP, “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” visit