COMET • Vol. 13, No. 01 – 18 January 2012


Committee Members Sought for California Mathematics Framework Revision

Source: California Department of Education
Contact: Deborah Franklin: 916-319-0442,

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that members are sought for the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee for the revision of the Mathematics Framework. See below for excerpts from the superintendent’s letter:

“The California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) are pleased to announce that they are recruiting applicants for the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC) to assist with the revision of the Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Mathematics Framework). The Mathematics Framework will be revised to incorporate and support the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, adopted by the SBE in August 2010, and to reflect recent research on effective mathematics instruction and current statutes.

“Applications will be accepted through April 18, 2012. The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) will submit a list of recommended applicants to the SBE for appointment in July 2012.

“The CFCC will meet up to six times to conduct the work of revising the Mathematics Framework. The meetings have been tentatively scheduled for the following dates: September 6-7, 2012; October 4-5, 2012; November 1-2, 2012; December 6-7, 2012; January 16-17, 2013; and February 13-14, 2013. All CFCC meetings will be public and take place in Sacramento. The CFCC will work with the framework writers and CDE staff to develop a draft Mathematics Framework that will be submitted to the IQC for field review in March 2013. The SBE will take final action on the Mathematics Framework in November 2013.

“The CFCC will include between 9 and 20 members who will be selected to ensure balanced representation of regions, mathematical content knowledge [(e.g., at least one member of the CFCC must have a doctorate in mathematics)], and grade-level experience. Please note that there is no stipend for service on the CFCC, but reimbursements for travel costs will be provided by the CDE. Unfortunately, the CDE cannot provide reimbursements for substitute costs.

“The application process uses an online application posted on the CDE Mathematics Curriculum Framework Web page at

“If you have any questions regarding the CFCC or the framework revision process, please contact Deborah Franklin, Education Programs Consultant, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, by phone at 916-319-0442 or by e-mail at”

Related Notice from CDE

Deadline Extended for Membership on the Instructional Quality Commission

The State Board of Education has extended the deadline for educators to apply for membership on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) toJanuary 25, 2012. The IQC (formerly known as the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission) is responsible for advising the State Board of Education on matters related to curriculum and instruction. Some of the first activities of the IQC will be revising curriculum frameworks and evaluation criteria aligned to the Common Core State Standards with California additions for mathematics and English language arts. For specific information about the roles and responsibilities of the IQC and an application for service on this commission, please visit


Governor Brown’s Remarks on Education in Today’s State of the State Address: Fewer Tests and More Local Control Advocated

URL (Video)

This morning, California Governor Jerry Brown delivered his State of the State address and covered topics such as his support for high-speed rail, renewable energy, a temporary tax initiative, restoring the Delta ecosystem, and improving schools.

On the topic of education, Governor Brown made the following remarks:

“I want to say something about our schools. They consume more tax dollars than any other government activity and rightly so, as they have a profound effect on our future. Since everyone goes to school, everyone thinks they know something about education and in a sense they do. But that doesn’t stop experts and academics and foundation consultants from offering their ideas–usually labeled reform and regularly changing at ten year intervals–on how to get kids learning more and better. It is salutary and even edifying that so much interest is shown in the next generation. Nevertheless, in a state with six million students, 300,000 teachers, deep economic divisions and a hundred different languages, some humility is called for.

“In that spirit, I offer these thoughts. First, responsibility must be clearly delineated between the various levels of power that have a stake in our educational system. What most needs to be avoided is concentrating more and more decision-making at the federal or state level. For better or worse, we depend on elected school boards and the principals and the teachers they hire. To me that means we should set broad goals and have a good accountability system, leaving the real work to those closest to the students. Yes, we should demand continuous improvement in meeting our state standards but we should not impose excessive or detailed mandates.

“My budget proposes to replace categorical programs with a new weighted student formula that provides a basic level of funding with additional money for disadvantaged students and those struggling to learn English. This will give more authority to local school districts to fashion the kind of programs they see their students need. It will also create transparency, reduce bureaucracy and simplify complex funding streams.

“Given the cutbacks to education in recent years, it is imperative that California devote more tax dollars to this most basic of public services. If we are successful in passing the temporary taxes I have proposed and the economy continues to expand, schools will be in a much stronger position.

“No system, however, works without accountability. In California we have detailed state standards and lots of tests. Unfortunately, the resulting data is not provided until after the school year is over. Even today, the ranking of schools based on tests taken in April and May of 2011 is not available. I believe it is time to reduce the number of tests and get the results to teachers, principals and superintendents in weeks, not months. With timely data, principals and superintendents can better mentor and guide teachers as well as make sound evaluations of their performance. I also believe we need a qualitative system of assessments, such as a site visitation program where each classroom is visited, observed and evaluated. I will work with the State Board of Education to develop this proposal.

“The house of education is divided by powerful forces and strong emotions. My role as governor is not to choose sides but to listen, to engage and to lead. I will do that. I embrace both reform and tradition–not complacency. My hunch is that principals and teachers know the most, but I’ll take good ideas from wherever they come…”

[See article below about Gov. Brown’s conversation with teachers and administrators in Burbank.]

Related Articles

Gov. Jerry Brown Goes over Budget with Burbank Educators

Source: The Burbank Leader – 18 January 2012

Just hours after delivering the State of the State address in Sacramento, Gov. Jerry Brown brought his message to Burbank on Wednesday, meeting with several dozen local educators at Bret Harte Elementary School to discuss how his budget proposal would affect education on the ground level.

Brown spent about 20 minutes with Burbank Unified administrators, an exchange that participants described as warm and frank.

“It was a good meeting,” Burbank Unified Supt. Stan Carrizosa said. “He sat down around the round table with about six or seven of us. It was a very intimate conversation. He was very open and honest”…

The remainder of the nearly two-hour visit was spent with about 40 teachers, all Burbank Teachers Assn. representatives from their respective school sites. The conversation touched on everything from lack of funding for public education to excessive standardized testing, teachers reported…


Gov. Jerry Brown to Call for Less State Testing in Schools

Source: The Sacramento Bee – 17 January 2012

Sue Burr, executive director of the State Board of Education [and Governor Jerry Brown’s top education advisor]…spoke [on January 17] at an annual workshop produced by School Services of California, which advises districts on how to budget for the next school year.

“We think there’s way, way too much testing in our system right now,” Burr said. “Just as an example, a 10th grade student takes 15 hours’ worth of tests. So that sophomore is losing 15 hours of their instructional program.”

Burr said that while some testing is necessary for measuring schools, Brown will ask lawmakers to “take (hours) away from testing and give it back to instruction”…

A common complaint by [Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg] and Brown is that the statewide testing system has driven teachers to focus too heavily on English and math. Brown wants to change school incentives so that teachers feel comfortable emphasizing other subjects as well.

“We’ve spent way too much time over the last several years narrowing our curriculum to English language arts and mathematics,” Burr said. “While those are critically important, we can’t ignore history. We can’t ignore science. We can’t ignore civics. We can’t ignore the arts.”

She also noted that Brown wants to improve educator performance by focusing on all teachers and school leaders, not just rewarding top performers and firing the worst. “We think that’s a wrongheaded conversation,” she said. “We must build the capacity of all of our teachers”…


News Related to the Common Core State Standards

Source: California Department of Education 

— The California Department of Education has updated its Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Web site ( and is offering the opportunity to “receive information and updates regarding the implementation of the CCSS” via the CCSS Resources e-list (visit

— Publishers of mathematics and language arts instructional materials have been invited by CDE to submit supplemental instructional materials that bridge the gap between programs currently being used by local educational agencies and the CCSS. Teachers and content experts are being recruited to review these supplemental materials for alignment to the CCSS. The reviewer application (due January 31, 2012), general information, and a schedule of significant events can be found on the Curriculum Frameworks & Instructional Materials Web page at


SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium Updates

Source: California Department of Education

To receive SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)/California Department of Education electronic updates, register at

Visit the SBAC Web site to view the latest SBAC PowerPoint presentation at

Related Articles

“Innovative Use of Computers is Part of Groups’ Vision” by Catherine Gewertz

Source: Education Week – 9 January 2012

With one set of academic standards now serving as the educational guideposts in nearly every state, questions are hovering about what the tests for those standards will look like. But gradually, details are emerging that show plans that could fundamentally change the U.S. testing landscape.

Documents issued by the two groups of states that are designing the tests show that they seek to harness the power of computers in new ways and assess skills that multiple-choice tests cannot. Those plans are very fluid, however, since several years of design, dialogue, revision, piloting, and reworking lie ahead before the assessments are ready in 2014-15. But early documents offer glimpses of the groups’ thinking…

The information is trickling out in solicitations issued in the past two months by the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium( and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers ( PARCC, for vendors to work on the tests. Those two consortia of states are using $360 million in federal Race to the Top money to create new assessments for the Common Core State Standards, which all but four states have adopted…

In a request for proposals issued last month [and due today:], SMARTER Balanced seeks development of 10,000 selected-response or constructed-response items and 420 performance tasks in math and English/language arts to facilitate pilot-testing in the 2012-13 school year. Most will be scored by machine, the document says.

Part of the work will be conducting research to find out which types of items are best suited to automated scoring and which must be scored by hand.

The request for proposals also asks the prospective vendor to hire and train teachers from SMARTER Balanced states to write items and tasks and review items for content alignment, accessibility, and bias…


New App Available for the California Common Core State Standards


In September 2010, the Sacramento County Office of Education provided the staff for the 
California Academic Content Standards Commission’s work in developing the California Common Core State Standards ( Deputy Superintendent Stickel served as Project Director.

Last week, SCOE released a free eStandards Web app to help users quickly find California’s K-12 Mathematics Standards and Language Arts Standards by subject, grade, and category on their smartphones and other mobile devices

“SCOE is placing important information about the standards right into the palm of a teacher’s hand,” said Stickel. “This information will serve as a great reference tool for students, teachers and families to better understand the standards.”

“We are always looking for new and better ways to help our teachers,” said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon. “It is our hope that this California Common Core resource will help teachers and curriculum specialists better apply the standards in their daily lessons.”

The Web app is freely available and optimized for iOS and Android smartphone users. Instructions for downloading/installing the new app are available at An enhanced, searchable version of the service, including additional resources, will be available in the coming months in the iTunes App Store and the Android Market.

The eStandards Common Core website ( provides similar information for traditional computer users.


NBPTS Science Standards Public Comment Period

Source: Jim Greco –
URL (Survey)

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is currently conducting a public review of the Science Standards, Third Edition for teachers of students ages 11-18+. (Note: These are not the Next Generation Science Standards.)

NBPTS Standards reflect the Five Core Propositions that are the foundation of National Board Certification; identify specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support accomplished practice, while emphasizing the holistic nature of teaching; illustrate how a teacher’s professional judgment is reflected in action; and describe how the standards come to life in different settings.

The Science Standards will be available for public review through February 5. The standards can be accessed online at

Please visit the NBPTS Web site ( for information on standards development. For assistance or additional information about the public review process, please contact NBPTS at


January 26-27 Meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

URL (Agenda):

Although no agenda items for next week’s meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) are specific to mathematics or science, there are a few items that may be of interest to COMET readers. Details about each agenda item are contained in the indicated PDF file:

– Agenda Item 1C: CTC Consent Calendar–Recommendation to Approve FLM Credential Program at CSU-LA


Pages 15-17 of the CTC Consent Calendar (Agenda Item 1C) include a recap of the approval process for new credential programs as well as a brief overview of the Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) credential program submitted by California State University, Los Angeles. CTC has recommended that the proposed program be approved.


– Agenda Item 3B: Report on Passing Rates of Commission-Approved Examinations from 2006-2007 to 2010-2011 (CSET Mathematics and Science Subtests Highlighted Below)


Agenda Item 3B “reports the passing rates [from 2006-2007 to 2010-2011] of Commission-approved examinations. For each examination, the purpose of the examination, its structure, the scoring process, the examination volume, the first-time passing rate, and the cumulative passing rate are discussed. When available, the passing rate by demographic data is also discussed.”

Page 8 of this item includes a table showing the passing rates for the mathematics portion of the CBEST (test required of almost all credential candidates). “The overall first-time CBEST Mathematics passing rate is 79.8 percent and the overall cumulative CBEST Mathematics passing rate for the past five years is 86.0 percent.” Pages 9-10 contain CBEST data broken down by gender and ethnicity.

Notes on page 13 provide a clear explanation of the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) requirements for those pursuing a single subject credential in mathematics or science (foundational-level or full teaching authorization). Some background of the CSET is also provided: “The first administration of the initial CSET examinations was in January 2003. During this first phase, CSET examinations in Multiple Subjects, English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science were offered as well as Foundational-Level Mathematics [(FLM)]. CSET examinations in Science (Specialized) were added in fall 2003… The Foundational-Level General Science [(FLGS)] authorization was added in 2009…”

Table 9 on page 15 shows the number of individuals who took the CSET subtests for full and foundational-level mathematics and science credentials from 2003-2011, and Table 10 contains the annual (2010-2011) and cumulative (2003-2011) passing rates. During this time period, the cumulative passing rate was 61.6% on mathematics subtests I-III. “The cumulative passing rate for the sciences [(full science credential)] ranged from 66.2percent for Physics to 87.2 percent for Chemistry (Specialized).”

Appendix B contains CSET passing rates (2010-2011 and cumulative) for each CSET subtest separated by gender, ethnicity, and educational level.


– Agenda Item 4A: Upcoming Vacancies on the Committee of Credentials 2012-13


The seven-member Committee of Credentials generally meets three days a month in Sacramento to “review individuals for fitness to receive and/or retain credentials.” It is anticipated that the positions of the elementary teacher representative and one of the three public representatives will be declared vacant as of July 1 and that advertising of these positions will begin following next week’s CTC meeting. (A third position–a school board member–may also be available.)

Related Articles

California Teacher Candidates (Program Completers) by Subject Matter, 2009-2010

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)

Recently-released data shows that in 2009-2010, more than 15,000 initial teaching credentials were granted in California. “An analysis of program completers by their subject matter area indicates that nearly half have elementary education or multiple subject credentials. Another one-tenth were in special education and about one-third were in the following four single subject areas combined: English (8.8%), Social Science (8.7%), Mathematics (7.8%), and Sciences (7.1%). The remaining subject matter areas are distributed as follows: Physical education (3.3%), Music (1.3%), Art (1.3%), Foreign Languages (1.1%), Health Science (0.6%), Agriculture (0.3%), Business (0.3%), Home Economics (0.1%), and Industry and Technology Education (0.1%).” For more details, please visit the Web site above.


Middle Grades Math Forum: Why Algebra Matters and How Technology Can Help

Source: John Fensterwald, Editor, Thoughts on Public Education (

[From John Fensterwald]

You are invited to a conference titled, “Why Algebra Matters and How Technology Can Help,” on Thursday, February 2, 2012, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Stanford University. This event is hosted by Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and NewSchools Venture Fund. The conference sponsor is the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

The forum will feature keynote speakers and a series of panel discussions on the importance of algebra success. Education technology experts will also share and discuss what’s becoming possible with the proliferation of digital technologies in today’s schools. Speakers and panelists include:

– Ted Mitchell, President & CEO, NewSchools Venture Fund

– Dr. Michael Kirst, President, California State Board of Education

– Tarkan Maner, President & CEO, Wyse Technology

– Dan Meyer, Math Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator

– Manny Barbara, Silicon Valley Education Foundation

– John Danner, Rocketship Education

– Phil Daro, Senior Fellow for Mathematics of America’s Choice and Co-Director of Tools for Change, University of California at Berkeley


For more information and to register, visit



Request for Applications to Join the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership

Source: Howard Gobstein (SMTI/APLU) –; W. Gary Martin (Auburn University) –

The Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is pleased to announce that the application process for joining the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (MTE-Partnership) is now open. The MTE-Partnership has the goal of transforming the preparation of secondary mathematics teachers to ensure they can promote mathematical excellence in their future students, leading to college and career readiness as described in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

APLU institutions (or other qualifying research universities) are invited to form and lead partnership teams that include at least one K-12 school district or other K-12 entity, and perhaps one or more additional higher education institutions. All members of the team should be committed to working together in “ground-up” redesign of programs to prepare secondary mathematics teachers. The national need to improve secondary mathematics teacher preparation is significant, critical, and urgent, as the CCSS-M highlight. By joining the partnership, institutions are positioning themselves at the vanguard of a nationwide effort to meet this challenge.

As a first step, partnership teams will be invited to a conference convened by the MTE-Partnership in spring 2012 with funding from the National Science Foundation. At this meeting, attendees will develop a set of guiding principles for secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs to meet the challenges of new mathematics standards and to identify key priorities for further coordinated research and development that embody best practices in the field. Through the collaborations offered by the MTE-Partnership, institutions will gain both tools and insights that will help to guide efforts to ensure that their teacher preparation programs provide their teacher candidates with the skills and knowledge they need. Moreover, being a member in the MTE-Partnership will be prerequisite to potential selection to a future smaller group of “core partners” that will lead the charge in a second phase of the partnership involving development of revised models and programs.


Further information on the partnership and the application process can be found at Applications are due January 31, 2012.


Siemens STEM Academy Offers Teachers Free Professional Development Opportunities for Summer 2012


The Siemens STEM Academy announces two professional development opportunities for middle and high school educators (those who teach a STEM subject in grades 6-12). These experiences are designed to bolster STEM learning and help participants develop skills that can be used in the classroom. See below for descriptions about these two all-expenses-paid programs:

(a) Siemens STEM Institute (July 29 – August 3, 2012)

Do you want to learn new digital tools and technologies that can boost learning in the classroom? Do you want to engage with top STEM leaders and scientists and experience behind-the-scenes access of national STEM institutions? The Siemens STEM Institute selects 50 middle and high school educators to attend a week at Discovery’s world headquarters outside of Washington, D.C. Participating teachers will learn about hands-on STEM integration in the classroom, take field trips to leading institutions to observe real-world STEM applications at leading STEM institutions, and network and engage with STEM leaders and peers from across the nation.

(b) Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs)

Have you ever wanted to be part of a scientific research team? Have you ever wanted to bring the excitement of authentic research into the classroom? STARs gives middle and high school STEM educators the opportunity to spend two weeks engaging with top scientists and researchers on short-term mentored research projects at one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories. Twenty educators will be work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee (June 17-29, 2012), while another twenty will be work at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington (July 8-20, 2012).

Visit for more information about these free professional development experiences. The deadline to apply is February 9. Please direct any questions to