COMET • Vol. 11, No. 03 – 23 February 2010


(1) Nominations Sought for the Committee on Accreditation 

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s Committee on Accreditation (COA) makes accreditation decisions for all institutions approved to offer educator preparation programs in California.  There are three openings on the COA for 2010–two for K-12 members and one for an IHE (institution of higher education) member. Nominations are due by February 25. The nomination form is available on the Commission’s Accreditation Web page:

Criteria for membership on the Committee on Accreditation include the following: evidence of achievement in the education profession, recognized professional or scholarly contributions in the field of education, recognition of excellence by peers, experience with and sensitivity to issues of human diversity, distinguished service in the field of educator preparation, knowledge of issues related to the preparation and licensing of education professionals,  length of professional service,  and possession of appropriate educational degrees and professional credentials.

More information about the Committee on Accreditation may be found at  Excerpt: “This Committee…has been charged with the task of deciding on the continuing accreditation of educator preparation institutions and programs, deciding on the initial accreditation of programs submitted by eligible institutions, and determining the comparability of national or alternative program standards with California standards of educator preparation. This accreditation process is designed to assure the public and the Legislature that these programs are effectively training school personnel to function in the credential areas for which they are being prepared.”


(2) First Meeting of the Subject Matter Preparation Program Advisory Panel Held Last Week

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; Mike Lutz, Panel Member and CAMTE President (

Members of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s newly-formed Subject Matter Preparation Program Advisory Panel met for the first time on February 16-17 in Sacramento. Two additional 2-day meetings are planned for March and April.

The panel was created by the Commission in response to the steady decline in the number of approved subject matter waiver programs (i.e., programs of study to demonstrate subject matter competency as opposed to passing specified exams). Among other charges, the Panel will review for revision and/or potential elimination the “Standards Common to All” in Commission-approved Single Subject Matter Preparation Programs, including program design, instruction and curriculum, and any other related issues critical to the success of subject matter programs. For more details, visit

The Panel’s goal is to have a recommendation to the Commission by late spring. Panel member and CAMTE President Mike Lutz welcomes input from COMET subscribers regarding the Subject Matter Program waiver process:


(3) Revisions Considered in Subject Matter Waiver Program Requirements for the Foundational-Level Mathematics and Science Credentials

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

The agenda for the March 4 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) has been posted online at

Of particular interest for mathematics and science teacher educators is Item 2C, “Discussion of Preconditions for Foundational Mathematics and Foundational Science Single Subject Matter Programs.”  Over 10,000 teachers have obtained a Single Subject credential in Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) or Foundational-Level General Science (FLGS), and all have obtained this credential via the CSET route, as no CCTC-approved waiver programs currently exist.

Foundational-Level Mathematics

From Item 2C: “If the Commission intends to provide two routes for individuals to demonstrate subject matter competency for the Foundational Mathematics subject matter requirement, it seems that the number of required units for the program option [(45 semester units, the same as for a full Single Subject Mathematics Credential)] should be reconsidered… In the examination route for demonstrating subject matter competence [(CSET)] an individual must pass three subtests to meet the full Mathematics subject matter requirement while only two subtests are required to be passed for the Foundational Mathematics authorization. It may not be appropriate to require Foundational Mathematics subject matter programs to contain the same number of units as the full Mathematics subject matter programs… A 32 semester unit program with a minimum of 20 units in mathematics and 12 units in affiliated courses is fewer than the number of units required for a full Mathematics Single Subject credential, and may or may not be sufficient to meet a university’s definition of a college degree in the subject, but would reflect the foundational nature of the credential and would be consistent with subject matter competence requirements as defined for NCLB.”

“Currently there is a 32 unit coursework option available for currently credentialed teachers called a Subject Matter Authorization (SMA). The SMA in Mathematics provides a very similar authorization as the Foundational Mathematics authorization; however, the SMA cannot be earned as an initial teaching credential. In addition, a Foundational Mathematics subject matter program would be an approved program with a recommendation from the program sponsor rather than courses in algebra, advanced algebra, geometry, probability or statistics, and the real number system as is the case with the SMA.”

Foundational-Level General Science

“In February 2009 the regulations were finalized for the Single Subject Foundational-Level General Science (FLGS) Credential. The holder of an authorization in FLGS is authorized to teach:
1) Introductory and general science, introductory life science, and introductory physical science in grades preschool, kindergarten through twelve, and in classes organized primarily for adults.
2) Integrated science in grades preschool and kindergarten through eight.

“These assignments are generally found in elementary and middle schools. The new subject area of FLGS provides an additional option for employers to assign qualified individuals to teach introductory science. An individual with a multiple subject credential may earn a single subject credential in FLGS with verification of appropriate subject matter competence and completing a departmentalized setting methodology class. An individual with a single subject teaching credential in another content area may add the FLGS by verifying subject matter. The FLGS credential is also a teaching authorization on the pathway to possibly earning a full science authorization in Science: Biological Science, Chemistry, Geosciences or Physics.

“Preconditions for approved FLGS subject matter programs have not yet been adopted by the Commission. The Commission may elect to require 45 semester units in the FLGS subject matter programs but might also want to consider a program with fewer required units. As with the Foundational Mathematics examination and subject matter programs, an individual must pass three of the CSET subtests for the full science teaching credential. Two of the CSET subtests assess the individual’s knowledge of General Science and the third subtest is in the area of concentration (Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences or Physics) for which the individual is seeking the credential. To demonstrate subject matter competency in FLGS, only the two General Science subtests are required. Because less content is required for the examination route to the FLGS subject matter competency than is required for the Single Subject Science credential examination route, the Commission might consider requiring FLGS programs with fewer than the 45 semester units required of Single Subject Science credential programs. NCLB’s requirement of 32 semester units is one place to begin the discussion of how many units should be the minimum required for a FLGS subject matter program…”

For more details about this Information Item, please visit


Quarterly Agenda for CCTC — This useful document includes major agenda items for April, June, and August 2010 CCTC meetings such as (a) the Mathematics Specialist Standards and (b) the Adoption of Preconditions for Foundational Mathematics and Foundational Science Single Subject Matter Program.


(4) 2010 NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego–Call for Volunteers

Contact: Janet Trentacosta –

The 2010 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) will be held on April 21-24 at the San Diego Convention Center and neighboring hotels.

In order to have a successful conference for the more than 14,000 participants expected to attend, hundreds of volunteers are needed. If you are interested in volunteering to serve on one of the committees, please go to the NCTM Web site, and you will be contacted later with your specific assignment:

Volunteers will receive a conference “Volunteer” shirt, which can be worn while on duty and will also be recognized in the conference newspaper. (Volunteers must be registered for the conference to be able to attend presentations.)

If you have any questions, please contact Janet Trentacosta, Volunteer Committee Co-Chair, at 




(1) Education Secretary Arne Duncan Addresses Nation’s Governors on Education Goals

URL (Kickbush blog):
URL (Maxwell blog):
URL (Video):

The National Governors Association (NGA) serves as the collective voice of the nation’s governors. Members include governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. The 3-day Winter Meeting of the NGA was held in Washington, DC, and concluded yesterday. Following the meeting, representatives told the press that the governors worked very well together in a spirit of true bipartisanship and urged the president to rely on them for action on important topics such as education reform.

The event included meetings of five NGA committees, including the Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee (see On Sunday afternoon (2.21.2010), U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the committee.

Kickbush blog:

Duncan praised governors for their leadership and participation in a 48-state effort to raise standards on a voluntary basis. This “is exactly what our country needs,” he said.

Duncan talked about ED’s “framework” for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The proposal will provide incentives for states to adopt college- and career-ready standards, more competition in grant programs, and more flexibility. We want to be “tight on the goals, loose on how you get there,” he said.

The secretary also highlighted the need to reward, encourage, and learn from high-performing schools-and to turn around low-performing schools. “We as a country have been too passive” about the 1-5% of our lowest performing schools. We have a responsibility not to accept the status quo in these schools, he said.

Duncan told the governors that he is concerned about potential layoffs facing schools in the months ahead and the potential negative impact for students.

Maxwell blog:

The billed topic at the National Governors Association education committee hearing this afternoon was the rewrite of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. But nearly every governor at Sunday’s confab with …Arne Duncan…was more interested in talking about the $4 billion Race to the Top Fund competition. The secretary indicated that the process of picking finalists is on a fast track and that states that make the final cut are due to come to Washington for interviews by the middle of March.

Of course, most of the states have applied for a piece of the economic-stimulus program prize. So, naturally, most of the governors took advantage of their mike time to plug their state’s applications and shower the secretary with accolades for the Obama administration’s education agenda…  It was the ultimate public lobbying effort, which no doubt continued on in more private conversations once the 90-minute panel discussion ended…

Between all the plugs for states’ Race to the Top proposals, though, there were a few conversational threads about renewing the ESEA, known in its current form as the No Child Left Behind Act, which is how many governors still refer to it. Though renewal of the law this year remains highly uncertain (see, three governors, Mr. Beshear, Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado and his fellow Democrat, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, stressed the importance of giving states flexibility in the law’s new version.

Mr. Ritter said governors needed to be major participants in shaping the renewed law and that “the time has come for federal policy to support state leadership.”


(2) President Obama Outlines Plans for a Redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

URL (Video):
URL (Schwarzenegger comments):

On Monday morning, President Obama addressed the National Governors Association, focusing a number of his remarks on education. An archived video of his remarks is available at  (“Opening Meeting with NGA: From Earlier”; minute marker 13:00).

The President is calling for a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that includes a comprehensive, new vision to help states successfully transition to and implement college- and career-ready standards by improving teacher preparation and development, upgrading classroom instruction, and supporting high-quality assessments.

“America’s prosperity has always rested on how well we educate our children–but never more so than today,” said President Obama. “This is true for our workers, when a college graduate earns over 60 percent more in a lifetime than a high school graduate.  This is true for our businesses, when according to one study; six in ten say they simply can’t find qualified people to fill open positions…”

The President continued, “I want to commend all of you for acting collectively to develop common academic standards that will better position our students for success… We want to figure out what works, and we want to make sure that we are giving you the support and resources you need to implement what works… We are calling for a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act that better aligns the federal approach to your state-led efforts while offering you the support that you need…”

Specifically, the Obama Administration will integrate new policies into a re-designed ESEA which will:

1.  Require all states to adopt and certify that they have college- and career-ready standards in reading and mathematics, which may include common standards developed by a state-led consortium, as a condition of qualifying for Title I funding.

2.  Include new funding priorities for states with college- and career-ready standards in place, as they compete for federal funds to improve teaching and learning and upgrade curriculum in reading and math. This priority applies to the President’s FY2011 budget request for new Effective Teaching and Learning programs in literacy ($450 million) and STEM ($300 million).

3.  Encourage states, schools districts, and other institutions to better align teacher preparation practices and programs to teaching of college and career-ready standards.  This priority supports the President’s FY2011 budget request for a new Teacher and Leaders Pathways program ($405 million).

4.  Assist states in implementing assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards, under a new Assessing Achievement program. The President’s FY2011 budget supports $400 million in state grants under this program.

5.  Support the expansion of the Race to the Top, beyond funding in the Recovery Act, to dedicate $1.35 billion in awards to states and school districts that have college- and career-ready standards in place as a condition of funding.

6.  Support professional development for teachers, leaders and other school instructional staff to better align instruction to college and career-ready standards.  This supports the President’s FY2011 budget request for the Effective Teacher and Leaders state grant program ($2.5 billion).

A fact sheet is available at


Related Articles:

(a) “Obama Plan Would Tie Title I to College-Career Standards” by Alyson Klein
Source: Eduation Week – 22 February 2010

(b) “Obama Pitches Education Proposal to Governors” by Peter Baker and Sam Dillon
SourceThe New York Times – 22 February 2010


(3) Preparing the Teachers and School Leaders of Tomorrow: Secretary Arne Duncan’s Remarks at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Conference


Last Friday (2.19.2010), U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan opened the 2010 Annual Meeting & Exhibits of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) with a presentation on the Obama administration’s education policies and priorities related to teacher and principal preparation. The text of this presentation is available in its entirety at  Brief excerpts from Duncan’s speech appear below:

… As I’ve often said, talent matters tremendously in the classroom. It’s no surprise that the single biggest in-school influence on student academic growth is the quality of the teacher standing in front of the classroom–not socioeconomic status, not family background, but the quality of the teacher at the head of the class.

Yet, in so many respects, the federal government, states, districts, certification agencies, unions, and universities, all regularly act as though talent did not matter tremendously…  How do we explain this paradox of on the one hand revering teachers, yet on the other hand, failing to elevate the teaching profession?

I believe part of the answer is that our schools and teacher preparation programs were designed in an earlier industrial age, when schools were thought of as conveyor belts in a factory where students moved from class to class and grade to grade with little differentiation between teachers or principals, and little differentiation of instruction for students…

I want to make the case that our teacher and principal preparation programs need transformational change, not tinkering with the status quo.

Three profound shifts–including new realities within schools, the demographics of the teaching force, and an altered American economy–drive the need for transformational change. Business as usual is not an adequate response to these new challenges. As Richard Riley, one of my predecessors, put it, “We can no longer fiddle around the edges of how we recruit, prepare, retain, and reward America’s teachers… our colleges of education can no longer be the sleepy backwaters.”

The first of these challenges is that students and workers today compete in a global economy for the first time in history. The education that millions of Americans got in the past simply won’t do anymore…

The second challenge is the civil rights challenge, the imperative to live up to the great American Dream of equal opportunity…

We are no longer willing to gloss over the educational failures of the bottom five percent of the nation’s 100,000 schools. We are going to insist on rigorous change in chronically underperforming schools, and the federal government is going to provide generous incentives to implement those changes. But to turn around our lowest-performing schools, we will need a new generation of principals and teachers prepared to take on this difficult challenge, in addition to new support for teachers currently in these schools who are committed and ready to transform the educational opportunities of their students.

The third and final challenge is demographic. A massive exodus of Baby Boomers from the teaching force in the next decade is going to drive demand for more and better teachers. We currently have about 3.2 million teachers. But more than half of all teachers and principals are Baby Boomers.

During the next three to five years, we could lose a third of veteran teachers and school leaders to retirement. The challenge to our schools is not just a looming teacher shortage, but rather a shortage of great teachers in the schools and communities where they are needed the most, and that have been historically underserved…

Teaching has never been more difficult, it has never been more important–and the need for student success has never been so urgent. I am convinced that our ability to attract, and more importantly, retain, great talent over the next five years will shape public education for the next thirty years. It is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

In my talk last fall at the Teachers College at Columbia I called for a sea-change in our schools of education. I challenged schools of education for failing to teach aspiring teachers how to use data to differentiate and improve instruction, and boost student learning. Great teacher after great teacher I’ve talked with around the country told me that they learned those skills on the job, not in school.

I criticized some ed schools for a lack of rigorous and relevant research, and for failing to provide sufficient high-quality, hands-on practical training about managing the classroom, especially for high-needs students. And I said that colleges of education had to do a much better job of gathering data on the effectiveness of their graduates in the classroom and their impact on student achievement. At present, most colleges of education know little to nothing about the impact of their graduates on student learning….

It takes a university to prepare a teacher. The arts and sciences faculty play an essential role in strengthening the content knowledge of aspiring teachers and developing a rigorous, scientifically-based curriculum in how to best teach math and science…

Despite the concerns I raised, I was then–and am now–highly optimistic about the prospects for reform. The seeds of change are taking hold due to visionary leadership…

One of the most promising initiatives is the development of the first nationally accessible, performance-based assessment of teacher candidate readiness, pioneered by Linda Darling-Hammond…and a consortium of teacher preparation programs in California…

In our budget, … we’ll be doubling funding for teacher preparation programs and providing a five-fold increase for leadership and principal preparation programs… And even though our department is planning to dramatically boost federal funding for teacher preparation and principal preparation programs, I appreciate that shifting toward competitive funding with multiple players can create legitimate concerns.

Let me tell you why we have proposed this shift. To put it in the simplest terms, we believe teacher preparation programs should be focused on results.

I’m talking about program outcomes such as how well graduates accelerate student performance in the classroom, the extent to which program graduates teach in high need schools and shortage areas, and whether program graduates stay in the teaching profession.

Under our budget proposal [for the 2011 fiscal year, 1 October 2010 – 30 September 2011], teacher and principal preparation grants can go to school districts, states, and IHEs and non-profits partnering with LEAs and SEAs, to create or expand effective teacher preparation programs–especially in high-need schools, subjects, or areas. Grants will be made to both traditional and alternative certification providers, just as they have in the past.

Successful applicants will demonstrate a real record of results in preparing teachers to succeed, or present a strong plan to commit to tracking the results of their graduates. Funding what works is the right thing to do for children, and is in the best interests of teacher preparation programs as well…

I sometimes hear it said that great teachers are unsung heroes and the principalship is a thankless job. But teaching and school leadership are among the few professions that are not just a job or even an adventure–they are a calling. Great teachers and outstanding principals strive to help every student unlock their potential and develop the habits of mind that will serve them for a lifetime. They believe that every student has a gift–even when students doubt themselves.

Henry Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity–he can never tell where his influence stops.” That is a weighty responsibility but also an amazing privilege.

I thank you for all you have done, and will do, to train the next generation of teachers and school leaders. Your commitment to developing the next generation of talent, I’m convinced, will not just change our students’ lives forever, but over the long term will ensure that America will once again lead the world in college graduates. I can’t think of a more noble, or more important, battle to fight together..