COMET • Vol. 5, No. 08 – 12 March 2004


(1) 2004 NCLB Teacher Requirements Resource Guide


The latest version of the NCLB Teacher Requirements Resource Guide was posted on the California Department of Education web site this month. It can be downloaded as a PDF or Word file from the Web site above.

Do You Have Questions About the Federal NCLB Teacher Requirements in California?

California Department of Education (CDE) staff are available to respond to questions from district and county administrators who are assisting teachers and working on the implementation of the NCLB teacher requirements. Individual teachers should first go to their own district administrators with questions and requests for assistance.

All credentialing questions, including those regarding supplementary authorizations and subject matter examinations, should be directed to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing at

NCLB Teacher Requirements questions can be directed to CDE staff at or to one of the following staff members:

NCLB Teacher Requirements (General questions):

Penni Hansen (Lead)

…NCLB Science and Mathematics Issues:

Phil LaFontaine

What is the Purpose of this NCLB Teacher Requirements Resource Guide?

This guide has been developed to clarify the federal requirements for the NCLB goal of providing all students with “highly qualified teachers” and to provide practical information for California school districts as they implement them. In general, the federal act requires that teachers:

— Have a bachelor’s degree,

— Have state certification and

— Demonstrate subject matter competence for each core subject they teach.

The guide is intended to provide information for principals, teachers, and district office personnel to help them determine which California teachers currently meet the federal requirements and what steps need to be taken to assist all California teachers in meeting the federal requirements. The steps for making this determination are presented in this guide, including options for demonstrating subject matter competence in the core subject areas. In addition, for teachers who do not yet meet the federal requirements, resources are identified that may assist local educational agencies to ensure that they are in compliance by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

[The document includes the “NCLB TEACHER REQUIREMENTS: Certificate of Compliance” and California HOUSSE forms.]


NOTICE [from the California Department of Education]: NCLB Timelines and Responsibilities Regarding Teacher Requirements

It has come to our attention that there may be some misunderstanding regarding the timelines for districts to comply with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) teacher requirements. NCLB requires that teachers hired into Title I, Part A, programs after the first day of the 2002-03 school year are to have been “highly qualified,” and that all teachers teaching in core academic subjects within the State are to be “highly qualified” not later than the end of the 2005-06 school year. In June 2003, California requested that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) allow a transition period (until June 2004) for newly hired Title I teachers to meet the NCLB Teacher Requirements, but USDE responded that NCLB does not allow for such a transition period. California will continue to seek some flexibility regarding this aspect of the federal requirements, but in the mean time, is complying with the federal requirements.

It should be noted that nothing in the No Child Left Behind Act requires that teachers who have not yet demonstrated that they meet the NCLB Teacher Requirements be fired. In fact, the statutory scheme is that federal funding is made available to enable local education agencies (LEAs) to assist teachers in their efforts to meet the requirements. LEAs are responsible for meeting the teacher requirement goals of NCLB. Title I requires that LEAs set aside not less than five percent of their Title I funds each year for professional development activities to ensure that all teachers are NCLB-compliant by the end of the 2005-06 school year. Additionally, NCLB Title II, Part A, funds may be used to help teachers to prepare for and take exams, and to provide professional development in order to meet this goal…

Please continue to check the above Web site for the latest information on NCLB Teacher Requirements.

(2) Agenda for the March Meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing


The agenda for the March 25 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is posted at the above Web site.

Information Item 2F may be of interest to current and prospective middle school teachers desiring an update on the status of supplementary authorizations and degree authorizations:

2F:  Additions to Title 5 Regulations Pertaining to Degree Authorizations

At the request of the Commission, staff met with stakeholders to discuss proposed additions to Title 5, California Code of Regulations pertaining to degree authorizations and how they align with the “highly qualified” teacher requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This agenda item reviews the highlights of that meeting as well as proposes additions to Title 5 pertaining to degree authorizations.

URL: See

(3) Upcoming Meeting: Committee on Accreditation

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing – 12 March 2004


The Committee on Accreditation (COA) will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, March 18th at the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 1900 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, California beginning at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to the regular business of the Committee, the agenda includes time devoted to discussion with stakeholders about the process for conducting the Commission’s review of its existing accreditation system for educator preparation.  At its meeting in January, the Commission directed the Committee on Accreditation to develop options for a process for conducting the review that is open, inclusive, and consultative.

A subcommittee of COA met with key stakeholders on February 26 and three options were discussed, with a preferred option identified by the group. These options will be presented to the full COA for discussion and additional stakeholder comment.   A copy of the agenda can be found on the Commission’s website ( under the section devoted to the Committee on Accreditation.

(4) Teaching Mathematics to Prospective Elementary Teachers:  A Summer Workshop for Math Faculty

Source: Dale Oliver, Humboldt State University

WHAT—-The Mathematical Association of America is engaged in a multifaceted program to strengthen the Mathematical Education of Teachers.  A primary component of project PMET (Preparing Mathematicians to Educate Teachers) is workshops for mathematics faculty.  The focus of the PMET workshop in Arcata is the mathematical preparation of elementary teachers.  Workshop activities include:

— Connecting college math courses to school mathematics

— Demonstration course with prospective teachers

— Discussions of school standards, both state and national

— Course development projects by participants

— Guest lectures by experts, including learning theory researchers

— Discussions of curricular materials and educational reports

— Use of technology

For more information on the Arcata workshop, visit and click on “PMET workshop.”  There will be an optional second summer follow-up workshop (June 12 – 18, 2005) that will include a focus on improving continuing education in mathematics for elementary teachers.

WHO—-The workshop is for all math faculty who teach or are interested in teaching mathematics courses for prospective elementary teachers.  This includes faculty from community colleges, liberal arts colleges, comprehensive universities, and research universities.

WHERE—-The workshops will be held on the beautiful campus of Humboldt State University, located on the north coast of California in the redwoods.

COST—-Support for workshops is provided by the National Science Foundation and Texas Instruments.  PMET pays participants’ room, board and tuition. Participants’ only cost is travel plus incidentals.

TO APPLY—-Go to to complete an on-line application by April 9, 2004.  Notification of acceptance and housing information will be sent by email no later than April 26, 2004.

MORE INFO—-For information on project PMET, including other available faculty workshops, see  For specific information on the Arcata workshop, please contact workshop faculty Dale Oliver ( or Phyllis Chinn ( of the Humboldt State University Math Department.

(5) State Board of Education Approves Criteria for K-8 Science Instructional Materials

Source: Art Sussman, WestEd

On Wednesday, March 10, the California State Board of Education unanimously approved revised adoption criteria for K-8 science instructional materials. Publishers will use these criteria as the basis for the K-8 science texts that they submit in the fall of 2006. The state uses the criteria to evaluate those instructional materials and decide if they are adopted or not. Districts can then use state funds to purchase adopted instructional materials.

The criteria are now posted on the web. The document can be accessed at   Under “Curriculum Frameworks,” click on the first bullet: “Criteria for Evaluating Science Instructional Materials for Kindergarten through Grade Eight; 2006 Primary Adoption. Approved by the State Board of Education on March 10, 2004.”

The Curriculum Commission, an advisory commission to the State Board, had previously submitted a draft that included numerous provisions. One provision that caused particular concern and controversy within the state as well as nationally was that publishers must provide evidence “that the California Science Standards can be comprehensively taught from the submitted materials with hands-on activities composing no more than 20 to 25 percent of science instructional time (as specified in the California Science Framework).”

Ms. Rae Belisle, the Executive Director of the Board, helped craft a compromise revision that changed that mandate from “no more than 20 to 25 percent of science instructional time” to “at least 20 to 25 percent of the science instructional program.” If a publisher submits a program that cannot be taught using at least 20% hands-on instruction, it would therefore fail this critical criterion and should not be recommended for adoption. Other language that provoked controversy (e.g., a prohibition on mentioning national standards in the instructional materials) remained in place.

In a rare show of unanimity, everyone involved in the issue testified at the March 10 State Board Meeting in support of the revised criteria based on the March 5th negotiations attended by representatives from education, government, and industry. This testimony included those who had argued for the “at least 20 to 25 percent” change as well as people who had written the original language restricting hands-on instruction.

The California Science Teachers Association, under the leadership of Ms. Christine Bertrand, played a major role in helping to keep the dialogue focused on key issues and enabling this consensus to be reached. Input and testimony to the Board came from many sources including teachers, industry, higher education, legislators, and K-12 education associations. The CEOs of Bechtel, Intel, Pixar, Genentech, Lucasfilm, and Adobe Systems, as well as the President of the University of California, leaders in the CSU system, and the Chancellors of each of the UC campuses all advocated changing the language with respect to hands-on instruction.

It should be noted that the proposed and approved criteria include many other provisions. In effect, many of these mandate that publishers focus on the California Science Standards. Extraneous lessons or topics must compose no more than 10 percent of the science instructional time. Each hands-on investigation must cover one or more of the science standards in that grade level. Many educators who are familiar with the current materials consider these to be very welcome requirements in that current materials frequently have significant amounts of extraneous content, and the hands-on activities often do not address the standards content.

Following are some excerpts from the adopted requirements that relate to hands-on instruction:

“Students should have the opportunity to learn science by direct instruction, by reading textbooks and supplemental material, by solving standards-based problems, and by doing lab investigations and experiments.”

Publishers must provide evidence “demonstrating that the California Science Standards can be comprehensively taught from the submitted materials with hands-on activities composing at least 20 to 25 percent of the science instructional program (as specified in the California Science Framework). Hands-on activities must be cohesive, connected and build on each other to lead students to a comprehensive understanding of the California Science Content Standards.”

(6) George Lucas Signs Letter to Save Hands-On Learning in California’s K-8 Science Classrooms

Source:  GLEF [George Lucas Educational Foundation] Blast – 11 March 2004

George Lucas, chairman and CEO of Lucasfilm and chairman of GLEF, recently joined with a number of University of California chancellors and CEOs, such as Arthur Levinson of Genentech and Craig Barrett of Intel, in a letter to the California State Board of Education.

The group urged the State Board of Education to move beyond a textbook-only approach in teaching K-8 science and to expand options for districts to purchase both textbooks and hands-on, inquiry-based instructional materials. Responding to substantial input from the scientific and education communities, this week the State Board approved a larger role for hands-on investigations and experiments.

Read the letter here:

Read three GLEF stories in which hands-on learning goes beyond the textbook:

= Laptops on Expedition:

= Geometry in the Real World: Students as Architects:

= Geo-Literacy: Forging New Ground:

[The George Lucas Educational Foundation is a nonprofit operating foundation located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Established in 1991 by filmmaker George Lucas, the Foundation documents and disseminates materials sharing hundreds of powerful examples of learning and teaching already successful in our nation’s schools. We hope this information will stimulate active involvement and guide choices in school reform.]


(1) Request for Mathematics Textbooks for Historical Collection

Message from:  Barbara Reys (

As you may know, the National Science Foundation recently funded a new Center for Learning and Teaching focused on mathematics curriculum.  Please check the website to find out more about the goals and activities of the Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum (CSMC):

As part of the work of the CSMC, I am gathering a historical collection of K-12 mathematics textbooks that can be used for examining the evolution of mathematics curriculum.  A collection of several hundred old mathematics textbooks (late 1700s to early 1900s) has recently been donated to the Center and I am now trying to locate textbooks published in the last 50 years.

If you have some textbooks from this period that you’d like to donate to the Center, please consider sending them to us to add to the collection.  Feel free to contact me via the above e-mail address if you’d like to explore this possibility.  If you know of others who have textbooks they might like to donate, please pass this message along to them. Thanks!

(2) Links to Recent Articles that May be of Interest to COMET Readers:

(a) ” Why Johnny Can’t Add–Improve math class, save jobs for kids” by David Eisenbud

Source:  San Francisco Chronicle – 12 March 2004


(b) “Why Johnny Can’t Add–Leave no teacher maligned” by Suzy Ronfeldt

Source: San Francisco Chronicle – 12 March 2004


(c) “Algebra Standard SoftenedState lets districts apply for waivers so seniors can graduate” by Bill Lindelof

Source: Sacramento Bee – 12 March 2004 


(d) “Plan to Let Schools Divide Sexes–Bush proposal to pay for all-girl or all-boy classes” by Heather Knight

Source: San Francisco Chronicle – 4 March 2004


(e) “Congress Orders Thorough Study of Teacher Education Programs” by Julie Blair

Source: Education Week – 3 March 2004