COMET • Vol. 14, No. 06 – 16 May 2013


State Board of Education Adopts Timeline for New Common Core Mathematics Materials 

Contact: California Department of Education
URL (SBE Agenda): 

California will begin its review of instructional materials based on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics this year to provide students with new print and digital materials by the fall of 2014 under a timeline approved on May 8 by the State Board of Education.

At the recommendation of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the Board approved an accelerated timeline for the review and adoption of new materials to assist schools in the transition to the new standards.

“[This] action keeps the remodeling of California’s education system on track to prepare students for the challenges of a constantly changing world and the jobs of the 21st century,” Torlakson said. “Moving forward now brings us closer to the goals of ensuring that all students get the world-class education they deserve and achieve the proficiency in mathematics California’s businesses need from their employees.”

The Board approved the appointment of 105 Instructional Materials Reviewers (IMRs) and 11 Content Review Experts (CREs) to help in the review of the mathematics materials. A majority of the IMR appointees are classroom teachers, but the group also includes curriculum specialists, program coordinators, and consultants. All of the CRE appointees have an advanced degree in mathematics.

The role of the IMRs is to verify that the submitted materials align with the content standards and the evaluation criteria adopted by the Board. The role of the CREs is to confirm that the instructional materials are mathematically accurate and based on current and confirmed research. 

Seven publishers have expressed an interest in participating in the 2014 Mathematics Primary Adoption. Based on this number, it is estimated that 14 panels of reviewers will be needed, with each panel consisting of 5-7 IMR members and one CRE expert.

The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) will lead the training of reviewers in Sacramento on June 17-21. Publishers will submit instructional materials for review in July. The Commission will reconvene the reviewers in September and facilitate a report of findings. The Commission will then hold public meetings to discuss the findings and provide recommendations. The Board will take action on the Commission’s recommendations in January 2014, providing time for schools to purchase new materials in time for the start of the 2014-15 school year.

For a complete listing of the schedule of events and names of appointees, see Item 8 on the May 2013 State Board of Education Agenda (



The May 2013 State Board of Education meeting video is archived at The Board meeting agenda is available at


Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel Encourages Educator Feedback on Recommendations 

Source: Commission on Teacher Credentialing

The Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel (TAP) was appointed by the Executive Director of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in December 2011 and charged with reviewing “the content, structure and requirements for California teacher preparation and licensure to ensure that these remain responsive to the conditions of teaching and learning in California’s public schools.” The 12 February 2013 issue of COMET summarized some of the draft recommendations relevant to mathematics and science teachers (

On May 7, CTC announced the availability of updated TAP recommendations, as well as an online survey instrument seeking feedback. Feedback on the 39 recommendations is encouraged from all educators. The survey, which is available at, will be open through Friday, 7 June 2013. 

The Panel’s recommendations will be presented at the 13 June 2013 CTC meeting. Because many educators are on vacation during the summer, feedback is being collected prior to the June meeting rather than following the meeting, as is the usual procedure. 

An accompanying document provides detailed information about all of the recommendations, as well as the Panel’s rationale for each. For the “Rationales and Recommendations” document, visit

More details: The Panel organized its work around key topics, offering recommendations under each topic area as shown below: 

General Recommendations 

  •  Diversity of the California Workforce
  •  Standards Writing Panel
  •  Removal of One-year Cap (see SB 5 below*)
  •  Delivery Models for Commission-approved Educator Preparation Programs

Credential and Authorizations 

  • Grade Level-Grade Span Changes [for Multiple Subject and Single Subject credentials]
  • Subject Area Changes [(e.g., Blend the nine current science credentials into no more than four science content areas with one of the four continuing to be the Foundational Level General Science content area)]
  • Special Emphases [(e.g., Early Childhood and Middle School)]

Preliminary Teacher Preparation 

  • Subject Matter Preparation [(“TAP recommends that the Commission explore with the State Board of Education (SBE) the use of Elementary Subject Matter Waiver programs to serve as an additional option for candidates to demonstrate subject matter competency needed for a multiple subject credential. Such subject matter waiver programs would be developed to address revisions to the K-12  Content Standards due to adoption of the Common Core State Standards.”)]
  • Field Experience
  • Performance Assessments
  • Online and Blended Teacher Preparation
  • Intern-Early Completion Option
  • Linked Learning

Earning a Clear Teaching Credential

  • Induction

Additional Recommendations 

  • Special Education
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Master Plan for Professional Learning
  • Credential Renewal
  • Statewide Survey
  • Credential Fees
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Performance Assessment for a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential


Related Item 

* Senate Bill 5 Progress (Bill Would Double Current Cap on Teacher Preparation Program Length to Two Years)


Senate Bill 5 (Teacher Credentialing) “allows teacher preparation programs to include up to two years of professional preparation which is double the current cap of one year of professional preparation” (from the Senate Education Committee Analysis prepared for the May 1 hearing: The bill, which was discussed in the March 5 issue of COMET (, was passed unanimously by the Education Committee and then today by the Appropriations Committee, after which it was ordered to the Assembly. 


Governor Brown Issues May Budget Revision: Boosts Investment in Education 

URL (Gov.):
URL (Budget):

On Tuesday (5/14/2013), California Governor Jerry Brown released his revised budget plan for 2013-14. At the center of the May Revision is a significant investment in the state’s public schools. From 2011-12 to 2016-17, the Proposition 98 guarantee will increase funding from $47.3 billion to $66.5 billion. The Governor’s proposed plan provides $1,046 more per K-12 student in 2013-14 than was provided in 2011-12. Under the plan, funding levels will increase by $2,754 per student through 2016-17.

In addition to the higher level of ongoing funding, the May Revision proposes to invest $1 billion in one-time revenues to fund professional development, instructional materials, and enhancements to technology to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards. (See and for more details on the proposed state budget.)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson responded to the May Revision by releasing the following statement: 

“As a teacher, it’s heartening to finally see new resources directed to California’s schools after so many years of painful cuts. Californians want our schools back on solid financial ground, and Governor Brown’s proposal represents another important step in the right direction.

“I’m particularly pleased to see a substantial share of these new investments devoted to helping our schools prepare, train, and equip themselves to fully implement the Common Core State Standards. These funds will help California’s schools prepare children for the challenges of a constantly changing world, and graduate armed with the real-world skills they need to thrive in college and a career.

“In addition, we must continue to work to see that all children, including our youngest and most vulnerable, benefit from California’s recovery. We must commit ourselves to rebuilding California’s early learning system–which suffered nearly $1 billion in cuts over the past few years–with this budget and in budgets to come.”


Free Webinar Next Thursday: “Innovative Use of the K–8 Mathematics Learning Progressions Professional Learning Module” 

Source: CCSS Update (California Department of Education)

The California Department of Education (CDE) and the San Mateo County Office of Education will offer a free Webinar next Thursday (May 23) on the CDE Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Professional Learning Module (PLM), “K-8 Mathematics Learning Progressions.” 

During the Webinar, which will be held from 3:30-4:30 p.m. PDT, participants will deepen their understanding of how mathematics learning progressions are sequenced across and within grade-level spans, as well as learn how to apply learning progressions to support student achievement in mathematics. The Webinar will include an overview of the module, the instructional guide, and the materials available for use. 

Access Details:


Free Online Short Course (“How to Learn Math”) for Teachers and Parents Available in July 

Source: Jo Boaler –

Jo Boaler is a professor of mathematics education at Stanford University and author of the book, What’s Math Got To Do With It? This summer, Jo is offering a free online short course designed for mathematics teachers, parents, and others who are interested in learning how to support mathematics success and how to develop a positive attitude toward mathematics learning among students. “How to Learn Math” is an adaptation of an intervention course designed for students that will be offered online this fall. 

Jo writes, “In the teacher/parent version I will share the ideas I will present to students and hold a conversation with teachers and parents about the ideas. There will also be sessions giving teachers/parents particular strategies for achieving changes in students and opportunities for participants to work together on ideas through the forum pages. The ideas I will share will be really helpful as teachers prepare to implement the new Common Core State Standards…”

“The course will consist of eight short sessions. Your watching /listening time will be 10-15 minutes per session. In those sessions I will combine some videos of me, interviews with students, cutting edge research ideas, interesting visuals, and some peer and self-assessments. The course will also include interviews with some of the world’s leading thinkers, such as Sebastian Thrun (Udacity/Google) and Carol Dweck (expert on mindset)…”

For more information and to register for the course, which will launch on July 15 and close on 27 September 2013, visit the following Web site:


Ten Unified School Districts Receive “Math in Common” Grants to Support Implementation of the Common Core State Standards 

Seven unified school districts (USDs) from throughout California recently joined Oakland, Sacramento City, and San Francisco USDs in receiving Math in Common grants to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in grades K-8. Successful proposals were received from the following districts: Dinuba, Elk Grove, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Oceanside, Sanger, and Santa Ana. 

The multi-year, renewable grants were provided by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, which supports a number of STEM initiatives in California. On its Web site, the Foundation states, “In addition to focusing on their individual plans, these ten districts will participate in a community of practice to share the challenges and successes they encounter in implementing the standards. The Foundation’s goal is for the tools developed and lessons learned from these districts to be made available to all districts in California.”


White House Launches New Series of Google+ Hangouts, “We the Geeks” 

Source: Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
URL (Google+): 

At 11 a.m. PDT today (5/16/2013), the White House kicked off a new series of Google+ Hangouts to highlight the future of science, technology, and innovation. Today’s “We the Geeks” Hangout focused on Grand Challenges, which are ambitious goals on a national or global scale that demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology. 

Grand Challenges are an element of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation ( On April 2nd, the President called on companies, research universities, foundations, and philanthropists to join with him in identifying and pursuing the Grand Challenges of the 21st century (see An example of a past Grand Challenge was the sequencing of the entire human genome, and more recently, President Obama recently announced the BRAIN Initiative, a new research effort to revolutionize understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury ( 

During today’s “We the Geeks” Hangout, Cristin Dorgelo (Assistant Director for Grand Challenges at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy–OSTP) joined Tom Kalil (Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the OSTP) and a panel of innovators from around the country to discuss the elements of an “all hands on deck” effort to pursue Grand Challenges. Those participating are listed below: 

  • Matt Grob, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
  • Rob High, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Watson Solutions
  • Kathryn Latham, recent graduate from Duke University with a degree in engineering and participant in the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program (
  • Sebastian Thrun, a research professor at Stanford, a Google Fellow, and a co-founder of Udacity


“Galileo’s Arithmetic” by Tony Phillips

Source: American Mathematical Society

The Web site of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) features a column of mathematical essays designed “for those who have already discovered the joys of mathematics as well as for those who may be uncomfortable with mathematics.” The column authors write, “Mathematics is a fast growing and evolving subject. The domain of ways that mathematics is being applied is growing by leaps and bounds. Examples include CT scans, DVDs, face recognition systems, and cell phone technology. Our goal is to share our excitement about these developments with you… We hope these columns will be read by teachers, students, and the general public, as well as by mathematicians. Thus, we have tried to write in a way that will make it possible for people at many different levels to get something out of what is here…” 

April’s essay topic was Sustainability. “Can mathematics help us understand issues of sustainability and make it possible to realize enjoyable lives for all the people who share this planet, now and far into the future?…”

The essay theme for May 2013 focuses on the arithmetic of Galileo: “We are very fortunate that many of the handwritten working documents of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) have been preserved and have been made available for online study. The website, Galileo Galilei’s ‘Notes on Motion’ ( … contains color photographic reproductions of 168 pages of Galileo’s work, with transcriptions and high-resolution versions of each image. 

“The manuscripts allow us very unusual, if not unique, access to the private calculations of a great scientist; it is as if we could look over his shoulder and watch him at work. From a mathematical point of view they allow us to see the very state of the art in computation in the period 1604-1636 when they were written. In fact they show that in Galileo’s hands the use of base-ten place-value notation in arithmetic had reached its modern form. The way he performs multiplication of large numbers, long division and square-root extraction is exactly the way 20th century students were taught. One exception is that Galileo never used a decimal point, and represented numbers smaller than unity by fractions. Another more minor one is that Galileo performed as many steps as possible in his head, and only wrote down the essential…” 

To read more, visit