COMET • Vol. 4, No. 31 – 20 November 2003


(1) Update on Supplementary Authorizations (Middle School Mathematics, etc.)

Source: Dale Janssen–Director, Assignment and Waivers Division, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)

URL (CTC November meeting agenda):

At its November meeting, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing delayed action on the supplementary and degree authorizations (Agenda Item GS-10-C) until the Commission’s February 2004 meeting.  CTC staff is to meet with middle school representatives prior to the February meeting to discuss middle school staffing issues.

Related note: For more details and background concerning the development of the proposed changes in supplementary authorizations, see (“Proposed Amendments and Additions to Title 5 Regulations Pertaining to Supplementary and Degree Authorizations”). Included in this agenda item addendum is the following letter from Bob Wells (Executive Director, Association of California School Administrators) and Peter Murphy (Executive Director, California League of Middle Schools):

“On behalf of the California League of Middle Schools (CLMS) and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), we are writing to urge the Commission to delay action, for at least two months, on the proposal to modify the current supplemental authorization to conform to the requirements for “highly qualified teachers” under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). We recognize and generally support the efforts of the CTC to align state credentialing requirements with NCLB so that prospective teachers are not required to comply with two separate sets of standards. However, in this instance, we believe the proposed changes to the supplemental authorization would result in many negative, unintended consequences that would be detrimental to middle schools and the students they serve. A delay of several months would allow an opportunity for the many organizations, agencies, and individuals involved in middle school education to work with the CTC and other state agencies to reach agreement on the best policy recommendations for this important and often neglected grade span.

“In our opinion, it is widely recognized that the requirements of NCLB do not fit well with realities of middle school education. Requirements that are written for the elementary or high school grades do not precisely or appropriately fit the needs of middle schools. We believe that the proposed changes to the supplemental authorization could put increased pressure on school districts to approve inappropriate grade level configurations in schools, increase class sizes in certain subjects, and obstruct efforts to personalize the educational experience of individual students in the middle grades by placing barriers in the way of efforts to integrate standards and content across core curricular areas.

“To review these issues, we recommend that CTC convene a meeting of stakeholders on issues concerning the supplemental authorization and the teaching staff in California’s middle schools. The CTC and the State Board of Education have done an excellent job in bringing people together to work through the difficult issues related to aligning California’s credentialing system with the requirements of NCLB. We believe these issues are even more complex as they apply to the middle grades and we respectfully urge the CTC to delay action on the proposed changes to the supplemental authorization until further in-depth discussion of the middle grades issues can be completed.”

(2) Teleconference to Discuss Proposed Changes to the California Mathematics Framework

Source: Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission


On 18 November 2003, the Mathematics Subject Matter Committee of the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission (Curriculum Commission) held a teleconference to discuss comments received from the mathematics content reviewers for proposed revisions/additions to the current Mathematics Framework. A second teleconference will be held on Tuesday, 25 November 2003, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. as indicated in the Public Notice posted on the Commission’s Web site (see above URL).  One of the topics to be discussed is algebra readiness.

The public is invited to join the Commissioners at the teleconference sites below; time will be allowed for public comment. (According to a report, there were a total of ten observers for the teleconference on Tuesday.)

Northern California Teleconference Locations:

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

(916) 319-0881; Contact: Tom Akin

Oakland Unified School District; 1515 Clay St., Room 2210; Oakland, CA

(510) 622-3231; 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.

(3) “GetGrants”–Grant Sources

Source: Governor’s Office for Innovation in Government


This website will allow you to identify grant sources within State agencies and departments through a single search, without being required to know the name of the department administering the grant. Grants are available in a number of categories, including education.

(4) “My California” Web Portal


This Web site contains a plethora of links and up-to-date information on California. A link to “Education and Training” on this page takes you to a page of multiple links for teachers, K-12 administrators, parents, and students. The specific link for teachers include numerous annotated links on topics such as teaching credentials, teacher occupation guides, professional development opportunities, content standards and curriculum, and ideas for the classroom.

(5) “Math at Home” (Guide for Parents)

Source:  Sonoma County Office of Education


“Math at Home” is a publication developed by the Sonoma County Office of Education to support and encourage parents to help their children learn and enjoy mathematics. It is available for bulk purchase in English and Spanish at a cost of 15 cents per copy, and is also available for free download at the above Web site. The booklet includes the following topics:

– Making Math Part Of Your Family’s Life

– Giving Your Child A Good Start In Math

– Discovering The Math In Your Home

– Understanding The Math Standards

– Helping With Math Homework

– Building A Math Tool-Kit

– Taking A Look At High School Math


(1) “Meeting NCLB Goals for Highly Qualified Teachers: Estimates by State from Survey Data”

Source: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)


This document presents state-by-state data on the qualifications of teachers in grades 7-12. The 50-state results from the Schools and Staffing Surveys of 1994 and 2000 show the percentage of teachers in each state that are fully certified and have a major in their assigned teaching field. The analysis is intended to help state leaders, educators, and others obtain a picture of highly qualified teachers in their state and to be able to compare their state statistics with states across the nation. Since states have some flexibility in meeting the standard for highly qualified teachers outlined by NCLB, the analyses presented in this paper from a national survey may be useful as a common benchmark for use by states as they develop their own state-specific definitions and measures. [This 33-page document is available free of charge as a PDF file at the Web site above.]

Note: The CCSSO has produced a number of documents related to NCLB that are available for free download. Among these are the following:

– State Content Standards: A 50-State Resource

– No Child Left Behind Act: A Description of State Responsibilities

– Incorporating Federal Requirements into State Accountability Systems: Lessons Learned from Four States

– Statewide Educational Accountability Under NCLB

– Making Valid and Reliable Decisions in Determining Adequate Yearly Progress

– SSTN: Improving Achievement in Low-Performing Schools

(2) National Science Board, Citing Census Stats on Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers, Releases Workforce Report With New Sense of Urgency

URL (report):

On 19 November 2003, the National Science Board (NSB) released a report on the U.S. science and engineering (S&E) workforce following a three-year study, saying that new figures on the proportion of foreign-born workers in science and technology occupations make it crucial for the government to “act now” to meet future needs in science, engineering and technology fields. This report, entitled The Science and Engineering Workforce–Realizing America’s Potential,” is available as a PDF file (address above).

NSB members briefing media at the National Press Club said that a sampling from 2000 Census figures indicates a larger than previously known percentage of degree-holding, foreign-born professionals working in the United States in science and engineering occupations.  The NSB presenters also revealed a downturn in the number of H1-B visas issued to foreign-born workers in science and technology.

According to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) figures derived from the 1990 Census estimates of foreign-born workers in 1999 holding bachelor’s degrees represented 11 percent of the total population in S&E-classified occupations.  Foreign-born individuals with master’s degrees held 19 percent of the S&E occupations held by master’s recipients overall.  Foreign-born Ph.D.s represented 29 percent of those positions.

The 2000 Census figures, however, allowed for the first time a sampling that takes into account foreign workers holding degrees obtained in countries outside the United States.  When factored in, the estimated proportions of foreign-born workers in S&E occupations in 1999 rose between six and 10 percent per category. Foreign-born workers with bachelor’s degrees actually represented 17 percent of the total in S&E positions held by people with bachelor’s degrees.  The foreign-born proportion went up to 29 percent among those with master’s degrees, and 38 percent among doctorate holders.  NSF analysts point out that during the 1990s, there was a large influx of foreign-born scientists and engineers across most fields…

The NSB began its review of the workforce in October 2000, even then recognizing that global competition for S&E talent was intensifying while the number of native-born graduates entering the S&E workforce was declining, a trend likely to continue, it said.  The newest figures confirm the need for national-level action to ensure the nation’s capacity in these critical fields in the face of an increasingly competitive global market, said members today.

“These trends provide policymakers with the unusual challenge in the coming years of producing enough talent from pools of both U.S. and foreign-educated professionals to fill the important and growing numbers of positions we expect in critical fields,” said Warren M. Washington, NSB chair.  Washington led the Press Club discussion on the board’s new report, The Science and Engineering

Workforce – Realizing America’s Potential…

Members said stakeholders must “mobilize” to initiate efforts to “increase the numbers of U.S. citizens pursuing science and engineering studies and careers.”  But at the same time, the officials on hand today were careful to point out that this effort should not be a tradeoff for, or at the expense of, foreign-born talent that the nation needs, desires and appreciates.

Among the NSB’s key recommendations was that the government should provide undergraduate students and institutions with substantial new support in scholarships, financial assistance and incentives to assure success in S&E study by American students. The membership called for more federal support for graduate and postdoctoral research programs through improved stipends, benefits and interdisciplinary opportunities.  Pre-college teachers of mathematics, science and technology also need better compensation, in-service training and support as an integral part of the scientific and engineering professions.

The following is an excerpt from the Executive Summary of the report:

In partnership with other stakeholders, the Federal Government should act now to attract and retain an adequate cadre of well-qualified precollege teachers of mathematics, science and technology.

To make precollege teaching more competitive with other career opportunities, resources must be provided to:

= Compensate teachers of mathematics, science and technology comparably to similarly trained science and engineering (S&E) professionals in other sectors;

= Reinforce the profession of teaching as an important and rewarding career and include teachers as an integral part of the scientific and engineering professions;

= Support classroom training and expedite teacher certification of scientists and engineers from professions other than teaching;

= Support in-service training to enhance classroom skills and subject matter expertise; and

= Support programs in teacher preparation at institutions that succeed in integrating faculty and curricula of schools of engineering and science with schools of education.

“To improve effectiveness of precollege teaching, stakeholders must collaborate to:

= Support outreach efforts to K-12 by science and engineering professionals to motivate high-quality curricular standards and expand content knowledge for classroom teachers; and

= Support research on learning that better informs K-12 mathematics and science curricula and pedagogy development.”


The NSB is made up of 24 presidential-appointed scientists, engineers and educators from across the United States who serve as a policy oversight advisory body to the President and Congress on the state of U.S. science and engineering research, education and workforce.  Its other role is to provide oversight for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the independent federal agency that provides support to science and engineering research programs in almost all fields, and for math and science education programs nationwide.