COMET • Vol. 4, No. 26 – 13 October 2003


(1)  Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Education Plan: ‘Meeting the Needs of California’s Students’ 


…As Governor, I will:

Make sure California’s schools have the tools they need to serve California’s students. We will start by:

1.  Letting Schools Make Decisions and Take Responsibility

2.  Investing in High-Quality Teachers

3.  Meeting Special Needs

4.  Empowering Parents

5.  Building More Schools, More Efficiently

Consolidate Categorical Programs

In 1993, there were 40 categorical programs in the state education budget. In 2003, that number has more than doubled, to More than 90. In 1988-1989, categorical made up 22% of the state education budget; in 2001-2002, it was 31%. The sheer number and complexity of these programs is keeping money and resources from being used efficiently in the local communities where they are needed. Earlier this year, California Department of Education officials admitted they have no idea where the money goes or how the well the programs work.

*  To create more flexibility and send more of our education funding into classrooms, we need to consolidate the more than 90 categorical state programs into a few flexible grants that help educators meet their specific needs – not special interest concerns. Needs like: well-trained teachers, quality instructional materials, clear performance evaluation, meeting special needs, engaging parents and communities, and adequate learning facilities.

*  For example, the Legislative Analyst has proposed consolidating 19 categorical programs, totaling $1.8 billion into a single grant to provide services for underperforming students, such as English-language learners and students “at high-risk of dropping out.” Programs including remedial summer school and dropout prevention programs would be included in this new grant to schools…

Roll Back State Laws and Regulations that Limit Innovation and Create Waste

*  I will work to repeal prescriptive state laws and rescind the burdensome state regulations that serve special interests and waste education dollars on non-instructional uses.

*  SB 1419 demonstrates what’s wrong with the top-heavy approach to education under Gray Davis, and I will call for its repeal. Passed in 2002, the bill restricts the ability of school and community college districts to contract out for non-educational services like transportation, maintenance, and landscaping.

*  The Los Angeles Unified School District estimates that it could save $25 million annually by using competitive bidding. And they are not alone. Many districts are spending 10 to 40 percent more than they need to for non-instructional services. I will repeal SB 1419 and free up between $100 and $300 million so our local leaders can invest in teachers and students.

Empower School Principals to Improve Their Schools

*  California needs to embrace innovative ideas to empower school principals, particularly in schools that need improvement. There are dozens of examples around the country of dynamic principals turning around low-performing schools. Empowering school leaders works for public charter schools and we need to offer that opportunity to all of California’s public schools.

*  I will work to give principals authority for hiring qualified staff, managing their school’s money, choosing instructional strategies and materials that work, and setting class schedules.


Related link:  ‘Arnold’s Views’


What is your education platform?

Education is my passion and California is not where it should be. Our children are not where they can be. The academic achievement for California students must improve. Parents, teachers, principals, school boards and businesses know this. We have an achievement gap that leaves behind too many of our state’s children. This is unacceptable. I will take aggressive measures to improve our public schools. I guarantee to every Californian:

*  Schools that are safe and clean

*  Classroom instruction based on proven research

*  Quality textbooks for every student

*  Tests that measure student and school progress

*  After-school tutoring and public school choice when schools fail to make progress

*  Increased local control

My goal is to shift more power to local communities and give them more say over their budgets and get more money into the classroom.


You have spoken a great deal about the importance of after school programs. Why?

I believe the importance of a safe, academically enriching after school environment cannot be overstated. That’s why I authored and sponsored the passage of Proposition 49, the After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2003. Proposition 49 will dedicate funds for after school programs when additional revenue is available.

We know that after school programs make a difference in the lives of our kids. Among students, those who attend quality after school programs achieve higher test scores, graduate at higher rates, and are more likely to attend college. They also use drugs less, abuse alcohol less, commit fewer violent crimes and have fewer children out of wedlock.

Providing a safe, enriching environment for kids should be a priority for our elected leaders…


What are your education priorities and how will you implement and pay for them?

I believe that one of the most important things we can do for our children is to provide them with a quality education. As a parent, I realize parents need choice in their children’s education. I believe in dramatically expanding charter schools by allowing universities, mayors and others to grant charters, and ensuring parents can exercise their school choice rights when our schools fail to meet standards for excellence. The bottom-line it that every child – whether they attend as public, private or a charter school, deserves a quality education. I support smaller class sizes because I believe they create a better learning environment for students and teachers. I also support smaller schools. Budget mismanagement in Sacramento and a bloated state education code have created a situation where schools can’t focus on local needs. As Governor, I will consolidate the current categorical programs and direct more money and authority to the local level so they can afford to keep classes small. We should not put schools in the position of having to choose between small classes, sufficient textbooks or quality teachers.


In case of future budget problems, should the state suspend Proposition 98 to fill holes in other parts of the budget?

My top budget priority is to protect education. I support Proposition 98, and I will protect our investment in schools, but I will seek changes to ensure more money is spent in the classroom instead of being wasted on bureaucracy. Parents, teachers and school board members from all over California express concern that not enough money is being spent directly on kids. We need to streamline state categorical programs, cut regulations and maximize the use of existing education dollars. California’s schools will also benefit when we get the state’s economy back on the right track. Under Proposition 98 schools will see their share of the economic recovery.


If public schools are performing poorly, should the state encourage vouchers to allow those schools’ students to attend private school or oppose vouchers to allow those schools’ students to attend private school?

My priority is to improve our public schools. Charter schools are a great option for parents. I support lifting the cap on charter schools. I will reduce red tape that is strangling charter schools. I support the school choice provision in the No Child Left Behind Act that provide parents and students with options when public schools are falling them.


Should the needs of Latinos be treated differently when it comes to K-12 and higher education in California? If yes, why and how?

A student in East L.A. deserves the same quality education as the student from Newport Beach. California needs to provide all students with the same level of educational [opportunity]. As Governor, I will propose the Legislature fully-fund community colleges under Prop 98 requirements.


What is your position on bilingual education?

English is my second language and I am proud of my heritage. But we should keep English as the primary language taught in schools. Immigrant children do better in school when they are taught in English, and they earn more money after they graduate. I will work for expedited consideration of citizenship applications to immigrants who complete advanced civic education and English immersion programs.

(2)  California Department Of Education Releases CAHSEE Results from the 2002-03 School Year (Press release – 10 October 2003)


On October 10, the California Department of Education (CDE) released the results of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) from the 2002-03 school year. These scores are the aggregate results at the school, district, county, and state levels from each of the six administrations given last year.

The information includes the May administration for the first time, adding test results for approximately 44,000 students and completing the report for the class of 2004 and 2005. The final overall percentage of pass/fail changes only slightly from the numbers released in June. (refer to:

In English-language Arts, approximately 78 percent of the 402,958 students in the class of 2005 (grade 10) passed the CAHSEE and approximately 59 percent of the 411,912 passed the mathematics portion of the exam.

The CAHSEE addresses state academic content standards in English-language Arts through grade 10 and mathematics through Algebra I. During the 2002-03 school year, there were six administrations of the CAHSEE exam. The Class of 2005 took the exam only one time in the Spring of 2003. Students in the Class of 2004 could take the exam up to three times. Test scores for the class of 2004 reveal aggregate numbers, and in the case of students taking the test multiple times during this testing period, the results contain multiple scores for those students. The Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) will be providing a report later this month designed to provide further analysis for the class of 2004 and 2005 test results with the goal of counting each student only once, including estimated pass/fail rates for each part of the CAHSEE. This Year 4 CAHSEE Independent Evaluation Report will be posted on the CDE Web site soon.

“I continue to be encouraged by these results. The overall trend continues to show that we are on the right track,” stated Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. “I look forward to the findings of the upcoming HumRRO report which should provide us additional information on our progress toward the CAHSEE becoming a requirement for graduation.”

In July of this year, the State Board of Education voted to delay the consequences of CAHSEE to the class of 2006. Students in the Classes of 2004 and 2005 are no longer required to pass the CAHSEE to receive a high school diploma. Students in the Class of 2006 will have their first opportunity to take the CAHSEE in February 2004.

The CAHSEE’s independent evaluator found that local efforts to provide students with instruction in the state’s academic content standards have increased. To assist local instruction activities, the CDE continues to provide a variety of resources, including teacher guides, released CAHSEE questions from prior test administrations, training materials, and workshops. Resources are available at the CAHSEE Web site <>…

(3)  ‘No Algebra, No Graduation’ by Claire Luna

Source: Los Angeles Times – 6 October 2003


A California law passed in 2000 requires all high school students, starting with this year’s senior class, to complete Algebra I to graduate. There’s no wiggle room; special education students, English learners and those at continuation schools must all pass the class before they get their diplomas.

Lawmakers demanded the requirement after concluding that too many graduates lacked a foundation in math to succeed in the workplace or in higher education. At the time, some detractors protested that many students would not be able to meet the more rigorous standard and schools didn’t have enough money to provide additional support.

But schools and students are adjusting, and the results are proving positive.

Closing the achievement gap between black and Latino children and their white peers can be done only if all students are held to the same standards, said Merle Price, deputy superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“Watered-down [expectations] just won’t make it in this economy anymore,” he said. “The goal here is not to deprive kids of a diploma but to make the diploma meaningful.”

In most districts, officials said, just a handful of seniors are at risk of not meeting the algebra requirement. The majority of California students finish algebra before entering high school and most of the others learn algebra in a series of classes that, at some schools, may last up to three years, said Ron Fox, an administrator with the California Department of Educationf

(4) Teleconference to Continue Discussing Proposed Changes to the California Mathematics Framework


A second teleconference to continue discussing recommendations made by mathematics content reviewers for proposed revisions/additions to the current Mathematics Framework will be held on Wednesday, October 15, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. as indicated in the Public Notice posted on the Commission’s Web site.  Following the Commissioners’ deliberations, there will be time for public comment.

Northern California Teleconference Locations:

California Dept. of Education; 1430 N Street, Room 1103 Sacramento, CA

(916) 319-0881;  Contact: Tom Akin

Oakland Unified SD; 1025 Second Avenue, Administrators Office; Oakland, CA

(510) 332-4904 ; Contact: Kerry Hamill

Southern California Teleconference Locations:

University City High School; 6949 Genesee Ave., Room 442;  San Diego, CA 92122

(858) 457-3040 ext. 128; Contact: Dr. Sandra Mann

CSU-Northridge; Science Building 2, Room 2102; 18111 Nordhoff; Northridge, CA

(818) 677-3356;  Contact: Dr. Stan Metzenberg

Los Angeles Unified School District;  333 S. Beaudry Avenue, 25th Fl.; Los Angeles, CA

(213) 241-6444;  Contact: Dr. Norma Baker

For more information, contact:  California Department of Education, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, 1430 N Street Suite 1201, Sacramento, California 95814; Office:  916-319-0881, Fax:  916-319-0172.

(5) Preparing Mathematicians to Educate Teachers (PMET) Grant Proposals are Due on October 15


The PMET project will award mini-grants of $2,000 to $5,000 each year to faculty to support their efforts to improve the mathematical education of teachers at their institutions.

Mini-grants support projects in educational innovation that change instruction and curriculum in particular courses taken by future teachers with the goal of having these changes implemented by all faculty in a mathematics department.

Each mini-grant project must have three components:

1.  Creating new mathematics courses, or reworking existing courses, in which future teachers are at least 40% of the enrollment;

2.  Organizing activities to make other faculty in the mathematics department more concerned about teacher education as an educational priority of the department and more knowledgeable about the particular mathematical needs of future teachers; and

3.  Networking with other mini-grant leaders to share experiences and, more generally, to create the critical mass of concerned faculty needed to sustain participants’ enthusiasm for many years.

These components correspond to the three target audiences of the PMET project:

*  New mathematics courses directly impacts the mathematical instruction of teachers.

*  Organizing activities impacts the visibility and support for teacher education in mathematics departments.

*  Networking impacts the visibility and support for teacher education in the broader mathematics community.

The proposals are due this Wednesday, October 15.


(1)  $30M NSF Grants Establish New Centers For Learning and Teaching at Missouri, Rutgers, Berkeley (Press release – 6 October 2003)

Source: National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the award of 5-year, $2 million annual grants to the University of Missouri, Rutgers, and the University of California-Berkeley to establish new K-12 Centers for Learning and Teaching.

The purpose of the grants are to build current and future leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education through the schools’ graduate programs; improve elementary and secondary education practice, and provide opportunities for research.

The foundation supports Centers for Learning and Teaching that specialize in one of three categories: Issues in Elementary and Secondary Education, Issues in Higher Education and Nanotechnology Education.  Today’s awards raise to 13 the number of centers focused on elementary and secondary issues.  There are presently two centers for higher education and faculty enhancement. A solicitation to establish the first nanotechnology centers is currently open.

“These awards demonstrate the National Science Foundation’s continued commitment to addressing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education concerns at all levels,” said Dr. Judith A. Ramaley, who leads NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources.  “The centers will be the link between science and the science of learning.”

UC-Berkeley has titled its center “Technology-Enhanced Learning in Science,” or “TELS.”  Led by Berkeley’s Marcia C. Linn, TELS is a collaboration between Arizona State University, Boston University, Mills College, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central University, Penn State University, the Technion Institute of Technology, Berkeley (Calif.) Public Schools, Mount Diablo (Calif.) Unified School District, Tempe (Ariz.) public schools and Maynard (Mass.) Public Schools.

The University of Missouri has titled its center the “Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum,” which will be led by Barbara Reys.  Collaborators include Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, University of Chicago, Horizon Research, Inc., Columbia (Mo.) Public School District, Novi (Mich.) Community School District, Battle Creek (Mich.) Public Schools and Kalamazoo (Mich.) Public Schools.

Rutgers has titled its center “The Center for Mathematics in America’s Cities.”  This center is led by Joseph G. Rosenstein and unites Rutgers with the City University of New York, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey public school districts and institutions.


Useful National Science Foundation Web Sites:

* NSF Home Page:

* News Highlights:

* Newsroom:

* Science Statistics:

* Awards Searches:

(2) Series on Mathematics Education in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel–Written by Alan J. Borsuk

(a)  5 October 2003: Division Flares up over MathSome Teachers Develop a Middle Ground’


Despite the importance of a future work force that can cope with the everyday demand for math proficiency, students across the United States are not doing very well. And there is no consensus on how to respond.

(b) 6 October 2003‘Bottom Line for Math Students: Good Teaching is What Counts


Despite waves of change in math education, quality teachers – more than the choice of a curriculum – continue to spell the difference between success and failure. One problem: There aren’t enough of them.

(c) 7 October 2003: ‘Elite Math Classes Show Increase’


Some high school students are taking advanced math classes earlier than ever before. And then there are those headed for remedial classes in college.

(d) 8 October 2003: ‘Rhetoric Aside, Math does Matter’


Competence in math enhances quality of life, can create a more disciplined mind and can open the door to better jobs. But most math competency exams offer mixed news, at best.

(3) The Math Forum’s Active Problem Library


Have you always wanted to use the Math Forum’s Problems of the Week but the timing wasn’t quite right? Now, your students can submit to any of over 800 creative, non-routine challenges at any time in the new Active Problem Library:

Encompassing all past and active services, the Active Problem Library organizes PoWs for browsing by mathematics topic and story topic (see In addition, it rates problems for difficulty level, and provides for searching by keyword.

The public has free access to browse the library. For unrestricted access and submission to the Active Problem Library, subscribe to Membership Services, available for students, teachers, classes, schools, and parents. Read more about the benefits of membership here:

The organization of the topics list has been expanded to include sub-topics and related resources, including links to Math Tools, Ask Dr. Math, and the NCTM Standards.