COMET • Vol. 12, No. 08 – 20 April 2011


Technical Assistance Meeting on May 11 Designed to Assist Institutions in Developing New Mathematics Specialist Programs; Comments Invited on Proposed Title V Regulations

Source: Terry Janicki – California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
URL (Hearing)

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) is offering a technical assistance meeting/webcast to assist institutions in developing programs for the new mathematics specialist standards. This meeting/webcast is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 11 May 2011, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. To register, go to

For information about developing and submitting programs for the adopted standards, please review the Program Handbook:

Background and Upcoming Public Hearing: At its 30 September 2010 meeting, CCTC approved revised standards for the Mathematics Specialist Credential and established standards for a Mathematics Instructional Certificate (later renamed the Mathematics Instructional Added Authorization–MIAA)–see At the Commission’s 3 March 2011 meeting, proposed modifications to Title 5 regulations (California Education Code) pertaining to the two authorizations were approved. Changes included adding regulations and authorizations for the MIAA, as well as updating the title, requirements, and instructional authorizations for the Mathematics Specialist Credential (renamed the Mathematics Instructional Leadership Specialist–MILS–Credential). This approval was required “in order to schedule a public hearing following the required 45-day response period.”

Last Wednesday, CCTC released a notice for a June 2 public hearing, during which comments regarding the proposed Title 5 regulations which govern the MIAA and the MILS credential will be considered. See for details. The notice states that “any interested person, or his or her authorized representative, may submit written comments by fax, through the mail, or by email on the proposed action. The written comment period closes at 5:00 p.m. on May 30, 2011. Comments must be received by that time or may be submitted at the public hearing.”


Commission Approves Reduction in Number of Required Mathematics Units for Foundational-Level Mathematics Subject Matter Programs

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

URL (Video archive link–1:36 marker):
URL (CAMTE Statement)

At its 14 April 2011 meeting, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) approved a recommendation introduced by CCTC staff at last month’s meeting ( to revise the preconditions for Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) Subject Matter Programs to reflect a reduction from 45 to 32 semester units of coursework. As stated in the agenda item document (, “preconditions define the number of units required in a program and the content areas within the subject which must be included in the program.” At least 20 of the 32 units must be mathematics courses, while the balance of the units may be either mathematics or “mathematics-based courses, such as engineering, physics and computer science.”

In presenting this agenda item, CCTC consultant Helen Hawley noted that while preconditions for the FLM credential were originally adopted in 2003, no subject matter preparation programs have been approved by CCTC since that time. The agenda item includes the following rational for requesting the revised FLM preconditions:

1.  The Commission’s commitment to offer multiple routes [(i.e., CSET or coursework)] to meet subject matter requirements
2.  The lack of sufficient lower level mathematics coursework available at the postsecondary level
3. The narrower scope of subject matter content required for FLM [than for a full math credential] 4. The NCLB legislation requires 32 semester units as a measure of a highly qualified teacher
5. The shortage of fully-prepared mathematics teachers

Following Consultant Hawley’s presentation, comments were received from Katie Valenzuela of Public Advocates, who urged clarity in the exact authorization for the FLM credential so that teachers are not misassigned.

Dr. Joanne Rossi Becker, President of the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE), then spoke on behalf of the organization’s members. In her statement, she expressed concern that the current CSET mathematics subtests that are required to demonstrate subject matter competency are “are inadequate in assessing a teacher’s depth and breadth of mathematical experience and understanding.” Research coordinated by Jorgen Berglund found that “around 50% of those who earned an FLM credential on California State University campuses and met subject matter competence via CSET subtests had taken no more than one or two university-level mathematics courses, and all of those were lower division courses.” Thus, CAMTE supported the proposed action in order to “encourage campuses to be able to develop programs that encourage course-taking rather than test-taking for the [FLM] credential.”

Dr. Becker then expressed CAMTE’s concern with the authorization of the FLM: “As the FLM currently exists, a credential holder is authorized to teach through Algebra II. This is the course that completes the state’s A-G requirements in mathematics for high school students who plan to attend college. It is extremely troublesome to many mathematics teacher educators in the state that a teacher as under-prepared as some of those currently earning an FLM credential could be teaching such an important and advanced course. There would be far less resistance to the FLM credential by mathematics teacher educators if the instructional authorization were limited to Algebra I or Geometry. This more limited scope would be consistent with the authorization provided by the Subject Matter Authorization in Introductory Mathematics, an authorization that requires 32 semester units of mathematics coursework, compared to the FLM’s minimum of 20 semester units of mathematics. It seems a bit incongruous for an authorization with fewer required university mathematics courses to permit the credential holder to teach more advanced mathematics courses.”

Dr. Becker added that CAMTE would like CCTC to consider mandating that a mathematics pedagogy course be required for an FLM credential, even for those who already hold a Single Subject credential in another subject matter area.

Visit the CAMTE Web site for Dr. Becker’s full statement: (final item on the Web page). Also visit for links to files from the AMTE preconference session on middle school mathematics teacher preparation that helped serve as a basis for the opinions expressed in the CAMTE statement.


New Report: Teacher Supply in California, 2009-2010

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
URL (Appendix)

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) released a new report on teacher supply in California at its meeting last Friday (April 15).


From nearly 26,000 newly issued credentials five years ago to a low of 20,000 in 2009-10, the supply of new teachers for California’s classrooms has continued its downward trend… A previous report recorded a high of 31,397 newly prepared teachers in 2003-04.

“The decreased interest in the teaching profession is a sign of the times,” stated Commission Chair Ting Sun. “The employment situation is bad now, but we anticipate an upswing in the next few years. It may be difficult for [teacher] preparation programs to gear up again in time to meet the expected increase in demand.”

An indicator of a continued drop in teacher supply, enrollment in teacher preparation programs has declined in five years by over 22,500, from 64,753 credential candidates in 2004-05 to 42,245 in 2008-09.

One bright note for students and parents is the continued decrease in the number of emergency-type permits issued. Down from 9,027 in 2005-06 to 1,379 in 2009-10, these permits are available from the state only when a suitable, credentialed teacher cannot be found through a documented, diligent search. California experienced an all time high of 34,309 emergency permits in 1999-2000.

The number of teachers coming to California from other states has remained fairly steady for the past five years at an average of 3,550 per year. Over half of the credentials granted for out-of-state prepared teachers in 2009-10 were for instruction at the middle and high school levels.

The report Teacher Supply in California, 2009-2010 is provided annually for the Legislature, Governor and policy makers. This report (including a separate appendix) can be found on the Web sites above.


NCTM Conference Draws Over 8000 to Indiana

Source: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

The Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) was held last week in Indianapolis, Indiana. Over 8000 educators attended the conference. Links to a variety of conference-related Web pages can be found at  Webcasts of the following sessions can be found at

– Opening Session – “Flatland: The Power and Story of Mathematics” by Jeffrey Travis (Director of the IMAX 3-D movie, Flatland: The Movie)
– “The Power and Beauty of Geometry: Reasoning, Constructing and Transforming” by
 Mike Shaughnessy, NCTM President
– “No More Leftovers: Making Democracy a Reality in Schools” (Iris M. Carl Equity Address) by
 Cathy Seeley, NCTM Past President
– “The Department of Education’s Priorities” by
Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education
– “The Common Core: Were Do We Go from Here?” by
 William McCallum and Zalman Usiskin
– “The Art of Geometry” (Closing Session) by 
Bathsheba Grossman


FY2011 Budget Passed; STEM Education Fares Well

Source: Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education – 15 April 2011

[From the Triangle Coalition’s Legislative News report] On 15 April 2011, Congress passed the FY2011 spending bill (H.R. 1473) to fund the federal government, including the agencies, through 30 September 2011. The bill passed in the House by a vote of 260 to 167 and the Senate by 81 to 19. The measure makes historic spending cuts totaling nearly $40 billion, the largest non-defense cut ever…

While education did see its share of cuts, STEM education programs fared rather well considering the overall reductions. The Department of Education saw a $1 billion cut from levels enacted in FY2010. The budget of the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources division was reduced by $10 million. It’s Research and Related Activities is also down $43 million. NASA Education’s budget was cut by $38 million. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science also saw a reduction of $35 million.

The White House reports, “We protected funding for critical programs that invest in science programs, our kids’ education, and critical health programs… Even though we will no longer double the funding of key research and development agencies, you will still see strong investments in National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation and the Office of Science.”

The measure does continue two of the administration’s key education priorities, which were both initiated in the Recovery Act. The Investing in Innovation (i3) program is slated to continue with another $150 million. Although surprising to some, the Race to the Top will continue another round with $700 million. While Obama had hoped to see districts compete in the next round, the measure only allows for states to enter.

Several of the Department of Education’s programs were eliminated, including the $100 million Education Technology State grants. The legislation also cut $138 million from Perkins by eliminating Tech-Prep and cutting back the Perkins Basic State Grants by $35 million.

National earmarks including Teach for America, National Writing Project, and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards will now have to compete for funding through a 1 percent set-aside within the Teacher Quality State Grants program…


Museum of Mathematics Receives $2 Million Grant from Google

Source: Museum of Mathematics – 6 April 2011

The Museum of Mathematics (, which will open in the heart of Manhattan in 2012 and will boast dynamic exhibits and programs that will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of math, announced on April 6 that it has been awarded a $2 million grant from Google. The money will be used to support the development of the state-of-the-art museum as well as to create innovative, hands-on math exhibits that will be shared with museums around the world.

Glen Whitney, founder and executive director of the Museum of Mathematics, said: “We are grateful to Google for this extremely generous gift. Google’s support will not only help us raise the bar of our own museum, but will also help us create a new repertoire of exhibits that will generate enthusiasm about mathematics in science museums throughout the country and around the world.”

Michael T. Jones, chief technology advocate at Google, added: “By transforming the curious learners of today into the innovators of tomorrow, museums perpetuate both creativity and accomplishment. That’s why I am thrilled that Google is supporting beloved science museums including the Museum of Mathematics.”

Google awarded a total of $12 million to seven science museums across the U.S. and England to fund projects such as the construction of new facilities and the development of new exhibitions and curricula. Other recipients include the New York Hall of Science, the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, the Museum of Science in Boston, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Friends of Science Museum in London.

About the Museum of Mathematics

Mathematics illuminates the patterns that abound in our world. The Museum of Mathematics ( strives to enhance the public understanding and perception of mathematics. Set to open in NYC in 2012, the Museum of Mathematics will feature exciting exhibits and programs that will showcase the beauty, creativity, and real world applications of mathematics. The Museum’s activities will lead a broad and diverse audience to understand the evolving, creative, human, and aesthetic nature of mathematics. To further generate interest in mathematics, the Museum created a traveling exhibit, the Math Midway (, which is now in Dallas, Texas, and recently launched a monthly public presentation series called Math Encounters (