COMET • Vol. 12, No. 02 – 8 February 2011


New Mathematics Instructional Added Authorization (MIAA) and Mathematics Instructional Leadership Specialist (MILS) Credential — Program Standards and Proposed Regulations

Sources: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
URL (Agenda): 

At its meeting on 28 January 2011, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing heard from Commission staff regarding proposed amendments and additions to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations pertaining to (a) the Mathematics Instructional Added Authorization (MIAA) and (b) the Mathematics Instructional Leadership Specialist (MILS) Credential. Proposed changes include updating the title, requirements, and instructional authorizations for the MILS Credential (originally the Mathematics Specialist Instruction Credential) and adding regulations and authorizations for the MIAA.

Each of these two new authorizations would allow the holder to teach mathematics in grades K-12 up to and including either pre-Algebra or Algebra I. The level would depend on the program candidate’s assessed level of mathematics content knowledge. A MILS Credential would require that the applicant possess a MIAA. For more details, view the Program Standards for the MIAA and the MILS Credential at

Since this was simply an information item at the January Commission meeting, action on the proposed regulations was not taken. An action item is expected to be presented at the March Commission meeting. Visit to view the proposed regulations for the MIAA, and visit to view the proposed regulations for the MILS. A recording of this agenda item is available at

Until the regulations are approved, no MIAA and MILS credentials may be issued. However, Commission staff can be consulted by institutions wishing to develop a MIAA or a MILS credential program. Contact Terry Janicki at or Rebecca Parker at

Related Information:

On February 2, the Commission released a Program Sponsor Alert (PSA 11-05; to provide information for institutions interested in offering a MIAA or a MILS Credential:

This notice is to alert all interested parties that on September 30, 2010, the Commission approved revised standards for the Mathematics Specialist Credential and established standards for a Mathematics Instructional Certificate. In addition, a new name was proposed for the Mathematics Specialist Credential to become the Mathematics Instructional Leadership Specialist Credential. Included in this PSA are the links to the adopted standards, the Handbook for Teacher Educators, and a link to the Teaching Mathematics Advisory Panel (TMAP) website…

Program Standards

Program Standards Handbook

Teaching Mathematics Advisory Panel (TMAP) Website

For questions concerning added authorization and credential requirements and authorizations, contact the Commission’s Information Services Unit at (888) 921-2682, Monday through Friday between 12:00 noon to 4:45 pm or by email at


Commission Approves new Preconditions for Foundational-Level General Science (FLGS) Credential; Preconditions for Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) Programs to be Presented at an Upcoming Commission Meeting

Sources: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
URL (Agenda Item): 
URL (PR): 

The Single Subject Credential in Foundational-Level General Science (FLGS) was established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in February 2009 to help solve the problem of a shortage of teachers qualified to teach general and integrated science, particularly at the elementary and middle school levels.  (Visit for more details about this credential.) Two pathways were created to demonstrate subject matter competency for the credential: (a) pass the two General Science CSET subtests or (b) complete a Commission-approved university subject matter program in general science.

A press release from the Commission states that since the establishment of the FLGS credential option, not one university program has come forward to seek approval for this credential. Commission staff members queried university science and education program faculty to determine the problem and were informed that it was not possible to provide forty-five semester units while keeping the content at the foundational level.

A second survey determined that that a thirty-two semester unit program would suffice to cover the necessary general science content. In addition, the thirty-two semester unit requirement meets federal requirements for Highly Qualified teachers.

At its 27 January 2011 meeting, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing adopted proposed program preconditions to reduce the minimum number of semester units required for a Foundational-Level General Science (FLGS) subject matter program from forty-five to thirty-two. (Visit to listen to this presentation.) This recommendation was initially raised as a discussion item at the March 2010 Commission meeting:  That agenda item included a discussion of the preconditions for subject matter programs for both the FLGS and for the Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) credential.

A proposal to reduce the minimum number of units for a FLM subject matter program from forty-five to thirty-two will be considered by the Commission at an upcoming meeting this spring. (Like the FLGS, no FLM subject matter program has been approved by the Commission to date.)

Programs currently approved for the full science subject matter programs in biology, chemistry, geosciences and physics will be allowed to recommend candidates for the Foundational-Level General Science credential immediately through a written statement to the Commission that the program intends to use its approved general science coursework for the new credential.


Three New Teacher Representatives are Added to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing


The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing welcomed three new members to 3-year terms at the Commission’s meeting on January 27. All were appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before he left office and will serve on the Commission as Teacher Representatives. Mark Freathy, James Hines, and Hilda Villarreal Wright were introduced to the Commissioners by Chair Ting Sun, who read their professional biographies at the beginning of the meeting. Excepts follow below. (A video of the meeting is available at  Mark Freathy and Hilda Wright both served on the California Academic Content Standards Commission last year.

Mark Freathy spent the first 17 years of his career as a special educator, serving as a special day class teacher, resource specialist, and program director. He has spent the past 17 years as a mathematics teacher for the Elk Grove Unified School District and currently serves as the mathematics Curriculum Specialist for Elk Grove. He has been highly involved in providing professional development throughout his career, serving as a mentor teacher, department chair in both special education and mathematics, and workshop presenter for the California League of Middle Schools and the California Mathematics Council. He was named the Elk Grove Teacher of the Year in 2008.

James Hines worked as a Computer Technician and later as a Lighting Consultant before deciding that teaching would be a more fulfilling career. He earned his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and CLAD Certificate at Fresno State, and has been teaching at Wilson Elementary in Fresno since 1999.  Besides teaching, Mr. Hines has served as a master teacher, mentor for beginning teachers, and as grade level chairperson for his fourth and sixth grade teams. From 2007 to 2009, he was a member of the Instructional Leadership Team for Fresno Unified School District (FUSD). Since 2008, Mr. Hines has been a member of the Superintendent’s Teacher Council for FUSD, while also acting as school site representative for the Fresno Teachers Association.

Hilda Villarreal Wright started working in Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) 17 years ago as a bilingual aide. In 2002, she became a mathematics and ELD teacher at Washington Middle School in the district. After 4 years as a full time teacher, Wright became the Academic Math Coach at her school site and continues to teach 8th grade Algebra. She is a tutor and anchor for “Do the Math,” a local math tutoring television show for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. She is a member of the California Mathematics Council, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and TODOS-Mathematics for All. She provided SB472-English Learner Professional Development training and served on the Math Curriculum Commission for BCSD.


New Publication from the California Department of Education: A Look at Kindergarten through Grade Three in California Public Schools 


The California Department of Education has produced a comprehensive document that provides a summary of subject matter curriculum organized by grade level (K-3). Entitled A Look at Kindergarten through Grade Three in California Public Schools, the document also includes information about the Common Core State Standards. In addition, appendices include useful information on the following topics: Statewide Testing and Accountability, Federal Accountability and Funding, Classroom Assessment, Instructional Materials, and the California Standards for the Teaching Profession. Chapters from a prepublication version of this document are available for download from

The following is an excerpt from the Introduction:

This publication was developed as a service to teachers, parents, administrators, and others who want to know what students are expected to learn at specific grade levels across all of the curricular areas. It was also developed to assist educators with the transition from the standards adopted in 1997 for English language arts and mathematics to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with California additions for English language arts and mathematics adopted in August 2010.

This course level guide is intended to be an overview. It provides basic information on education for students in California. Those interested in a more in-depth discussion of any subject area are encouraged to review the state-adopted curriculum frameworks for kindergarten through grade twelve. These documents are available for purchase from the California Department of Education (CDE) Press or may be downloaded for free at the CDE Curriculum and Instruction Web page at …


CMC STEMPosium to be Held This Month Near Fresno in O’Neals

Sources: California Mathematics Council

The Central Section of the California Mathematics Council is proud to announce its Inaugural STEMposium located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada on February 25-26. (The conference site is approximately 30 miles north of Fresno.)

Attend sessions that focus on the value of STEM learning environments as a way to engage students and increase motivation in grades 6 to 12 classrooms. Experience activities you can implement in your classroom that create a strong understanding of mathematics and science concepts. Exposure to real world contexts provides relevance as students grapple with and develop a deep understanding of the STEM disciplines that will be the basis for their careers in the 21st Century. Each 2-hour session allows you to experience a STEM activity and deconstruct the activity for its mathematics and science standards. This event is ideal for both mathematics and science teachers!

A private VIP dinner is provided for the first 100 people registered and includes a dynamic presentation on the TI Nspire with door prizes provided by Texas Instruments! The VIP Dinner begins at 6:30 pm.

Administrator sessions start at 3 pm on Friday and continue on Saturday.

For more information and to register, visit  (Early registration ends on February 14.)


References to Education in President Obama’s State of the Union Address

URL (Text): 

President Obama made numerous references to education in his January 25 State of the Union address. Visit the Web sites above to view a video or read a transcript of his address. A brief except follows below:

“Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders.’ Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.

“In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child–become a teacher. Your country needs you.”

Following the State of the Union address, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed a number of education-related questions in a live telecast. An archived video is available at


The Nation’s Report Card Shows That Less Than Half of U.S. Students Are Proficient in Science

Sources: National Center for Education Statistics

According to results released on January 25 from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)–also known as The Nation’s Report Card–34% of the nation’s fourth- graders, 30% of eighth-graders, and 21% of twelfth-graders are performing at or above the Proficient level in science, meaning that less than one-half of students are demonstrating solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter.

Partial mastery of the prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work was demonstrated by 72% of students performing at or above the Basic level at grade 4, 63% at grade 8, and 60% at grade 12.

“These results shed light on the critical need to ensure that all students have a strong foundation in science,” said David Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees policy for NAEP. “Science helps students further their understanding of our world, enabling them to connect ideas across disciplines and making them better problem solvers.”

The assessment, administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), was given to 156,500 fourth-graders, 151,100 eighth-graders, and 11,100 twelfth-graders. Assessment questions measured students’ knowledge and abilities in the areas of physical science, life science, and Earth and space sciences.

National-level results are reported for public and private school students at all three grades, and state-level data are available for public school students in 46 states and Department of Defense (DOD) schools at grades 4 and 8. The results are reported as average scores on a scale of 0 to 300, and as percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.

The science framework, which describes the knowledge and skills that should be assessed, was recently updated to incorporate new advances in science, research on science learning, and components from international science assessments. Because of the changes to the assessment, the results from 2009 cannot be compared to those from previous assessment years; however, they provide a current snapshot of what the nation’s fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders know and can do in science that will serve as the basis for comparison with future science assessments. The 2009 science results also highlight differences in students’ performance based on demographic characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, family income, and school location) and how results in participating states/jurisdictions compare to the national results.

Score gaps among racial/ethnic groups were evident at all three grades in 2009, with White students scoring at least 25 points higher than Black or Hispanic students at all grade levels. Scores also differed by gender and school location. Male students scored higher on average than female students in 2009 at all three grades. At grades 4 and 8, students attending schools in city locations scored lower on average than students in schools in suburban, town, or rural locations. At grade 12, the average score for students in city schools was lower than the score for students attending suburban schools but not significantly different from the scores for students in other locations.

Thirty-four percent of twelfth-graders reported that they either completed or were currently taking courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. These students scored higher on average than those who reported taking just biology and chemistry, or taking only biology or other science courses. Fifty-eight percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders reported taking biology, chemistry, and physics, which was higher than the percentages of other racial/ethnic groups taking all three courses.

The Nation’s Report Card: Science 2009 Grades 4, 8, and 12 is available at  More materials are available at

Related Article

Comments from the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction on the 2009 NAEP Science Results

Source: California Department of Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson commented on the release of the results from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for Science:

“As a science teacher, these results are troubling. Despite the enormous efforts being made by educators, we’re seeing the consequences of lagging behind other states in investing in education,” Torlakson said. “This test is a less-than-precise measure of student performance in California, but it is one more signal about where we stand and where we’re headed.

“These scores are telling us–loud and clear–that it’s time to expand science instruction and close the achievement gap, starting with making sure our schools have the resources they need to do the job,” he said.

“Like other educators and business leaders across California, I have become increasingly concerned about this issue–and more determined than ever to see more science taught in our schools. My Transition Advisory Team includes a working group on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to make this effort a priority.”

At grade four, the overall average scores for both California and the nation were at the NAEP Basic achievement level, which denotes partial mastery of fundamental skills at each grade. At grade eight, the overall average score for California fell below the NAEP Basic achievement level, while the overall average score for the nation was at the NAEP Basic achievement level. For more details about the 2009 NAEP: Science results for California, please visit


Student Experiments (Grades 5-12) Sought for Final Space Shuttle Flight

Sources: Jim Greco, California Department of Education
Contact: Jeff Goldstein, Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
(; Cell: 301-395-0770)

The last scheduled NASA space shuttle flight that has received funding to date is the April 2011 mission of the space shuttle Endeavor (STS-134), which will be commanded by Mark Kelly, husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. However, NASA has requested funding for a final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-135), and Jeff Goldstein, Director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, invites your students to apply to be part of that mission (see letter below).

Letter from Jeff Goldstein:

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE; announces a truly remarkable opportunity for your school district on the final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-135)–which is the historic final flight of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.

This is an opportunity for your school district to be part of a high visibility, keystone U.S. national STEM education program of the highest caliber, and capable of garnering significant media coverage.

We are now inviting school districts across the U.S. to be part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). SSEP was designed as a keystone national STEM education initiative to engage and inspire America’s next generation of scientists and engineers through immersion in real science. We believe that “student as scientist” represents the very best in science education.

Each participating school district will be provided an experiment slot in a real microgravity research mini-laboratory flying on Space Shuttle Atlantis. Our Center will then guide your district through an experiment design competition within the grade 5-12 range, which you can open up to as many as 3,200 students. Or you could opt for participation by a single middle or high school. Your student teams then design real experiments vying for your reserved slot on this historic flight, with designs constrained by mini-laboratory operation and the need to pass a real NASA Flight Safety Review.

Additional SSEP programming leverages the flight experiment design competition to engage your entire community–students, teachers, families and the public–embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education.

As a benchmark, for the final flight of Shuttle Endeavour (STS-134), 16 communities came aboard, offering 20,000 students the ability to participate. 447 proposals from student teams were submitted and the 16 experiments chosen for flight are now going through NASA Flight Safety Review.

Please consider SSEP for your school district. Our goal for Atlantis is 50 communities and 100,000 students participating… (The deadline for submission is March 15, 2011.)

If interested, visit the SSEP website ( for a full description of the program, links to profiles of communities currently participating, and descriptions of the experiments selected for flight on Shuttle Endeavour.

Video Clip on SSEP Program: