COMET • Vol. 6, No. 15 – 14 May 2005



(1) Governor’s Budget: May Revision 2005-2006


On Friday, May 13, Governor Schwarzenegger released the May Revision of his proposed 2005-2006 budget. The entire document is available for download at Brief excepts from two sections (K-12 Education and Higher Education) appear below:

K-12 Education

Focus On Student Achievement

California’s academic standards are among the highest in the nation. In classrooms throughout the state, students are being taught a rigorous curriculum based on these standards. Governor Schwarzenegger is firmly committed to continuing standards-based reforms. To this end, the May Revision proposes the following major initiatives:

= Expansion of Class Size Reduction

= Teacher Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition Block Grant

= Supplemental Instruction for the High School Exit Exam

= Expanding Beginning Teacher Support

Higher Education

Science and Math Teacher Initiative

The May Revision for higher education remains consistent with the 2004 Higher Education Compact, includes workload increases and a policy change for the Cal Grant program and introduces the first phase of the Science and Math Teacher Initiative designed to increase the supply of highly qualified teachers in these subject areas. Overall General Fund and related Proposition 98 growth for higher education increases 7.7 percent over the current year revised level in the May Revision, as compared with the 6.9 percent growth increase provided in the Governor’s Budget.

In 2002-03, all segments of California higher education collectively awarded 1,389 mathematics degrees, yet the total need for new math teachers that year was 2,131. Also, recent studies have shown that California is falling behind the rest of the nation in teaching science and math skills to its students and is finding it difficult to meet the needs in all classrooms. In response, the Compact calls for the University of California (UC) to work with the California State University (CSU) and others,including California industry, to develop a major initiative to improve both the supply and quality of science and mathematics teachers in California. Developing a workforce with the knowledge and critical skills required by an economy increasingly reliant on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is essential for California and its industries to remain competitive.

To help meet these challenges, the May Revision includes $1 million to establish the first phase of the new Science and Math Teacher Initiative. This augmentation also includes funds for CSU to work with UC to complement UC’s effort. With the segments matching the state investment, adequate funding will be available to operate the UC centers to oversee student advising, school placements, monitor student progress, coordinate student transportation, and provide program assessment data for accountability. The May Revision also proposes to expand the Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) program by authorizing 350 new awards in the budget year for students recruited by participating campuses in these new science and math teacher preparation programs…

(2) State Schools Chief Responds to Release of Governor’s May Budget Revision


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued the following statement regarding Governor Schwarzenegger’s revised budget:

“I am deeply disappointed that the Governor has missed this opportunity to make good on his promise to California students. He claims his revised budget includes $509 million more than what the law requires, but in fact, it does not provide a single additional dollar in ongoing Proposition 98 funding for schools in California above his January proposal. His promise to repay our schools the loan of almost $4 billion remains broken. His claim of additional school funding is at best misleading.

“The Governor’s budget forces schools to continue their struggle to educate California’s students with funding that is lower than 42 other states. Coupled with his so-called ‘Live Within our Means Act,’ California schools are at risk of falling even more shamefully behind.

“The Governor is not listening to the people of California. In poll after poll since the Governor released his January budget proposal, the people of California have overwhelmingly and consistently supported additional funding for education.

“Instead of listening to the people, the Governor is showing himself to be precisely the kind of politician he vowed to ‘sweep’ from Sacramento.

“California needs leadership that truly invests in our future. A piecemeal approach to funding our schools is woefully inadequate and fails our children. I hope the Governor and the Legislature will reach agreement on a budget that provides for meaningful investment in California’s most valuable asset–our children.”


(1) CNN Presents: “High Stakes: The Battle to Save our Schools”

URL (Classroom Edition–Educator Guide):

Broadcast dates/times (check local listings for this CNN program):

 Saturday, May 14  — 8 p.m., 11 p.m. (video also available online for subscribers)

Program Overview

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the most comprehensive attempt at educational reform in generations, aimed at dramatically improving the nation’s worst schools. Central to the program is the use of testing to prove that children have learned the required skills. But many parents, educators and students across the country are finding that these high stakes tests are having unforeseen and devastating consequences. In this hour, award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson and CNN Presents take a look at the real high stakes for children, especially minority children, as the reform movement sweeps the country.

Grade Levels: 9-12, college

Objectives: The CNN Presents Classroom Edition: High Stakes: The Battle to Save Our Schools and its corresponding discussion questions and activities challenge students to:

*  Examine how high stakes testing is being implemented in states throughout the country;

*  Analyze the potential benefits and drawbacks of using high stakes testing to determine promotion;

*  Assess the potential short- and long-term social, economic and political consequences of high stakes testing;

*  Investigate how testing in their school district is being implemented;

*  Propose alternative solutions for holding schools and their students accountable for meeting standards…

Curriculum Connections, Discussion Questions, Suggested Activities, and Suggested Resources on this topic are also included on the above Web page.

More information: CNN Student News

CNN Student News airs on CNN Headline News Monday through Friday from 3:12 – 3:22 am ET. Educators use CNN Student News in their classrooms for the news of the day, as well as segments that encourage student participation. CNN Student News is easy to integrate into any lesson and is closed-captioned for use by hearing impaired or ESOL classes.

(2) Spellings Says Americans Serious About Education Reform

Source:  U.S. Department of Education – 6 May 2005

On Friday, May 6, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings called the movement toward high standards and accountability in our nation’s schools a “quiet revolution” made possible by the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.

In a speech to the Education Writers Association in St. Petersburg, Fla., Secretary Spellings cited the underlying aim of the law, asking, “Are we really serious about educating every child in America?” The vast majority of states, Spellings maintained, have answered in the affirmative.

“They are hard at work, helping students achieve. It’s a ‘quiet revolution’–an underreported revolution, I would add,” Spellings said. “We have shed old attitudes and behaviors, confronted the truth, rolled up our sleeves and gotten down to work.

“And the work is paying off: in states such as North Carolina, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Georgia, Illinois and New Mexico, to name just a few, students are achieving and the achievement gap is closing.”

The decision by some to challenge the law and put classroom funds at risk, Spellings said, must be viewed in that light.

“The contrary actions of a couple of states and one union do not constitute a ‘grassroots rebellion,'” Spellings said. “All 50 states–including, I would add, those now challenging the law–have accountability plans in place that have laid the foundation for continuous school improvement and real student achievement.

“The bottom line is that most respected, national education organizations are working with us to continue the unprecedented national progress that No Child Left Behindhas begun. So are most states, 15,000 school districts and 96,000 schools across the nation.”

Noting the historic nature of the law, which was passed over three years ago, Spellings said, “Never before in the 229-year history of our nation has the United States made a promise to provide all children with a high quality education.”

She also reminded the writers of the declining student achievement levels and growing achievement gaps that have plagued many schools. “You’ve covered the studies,” she said. “For too many students, a high school diploma has become little more than a ‘certificate of attendance.’ Millions of children have been given a seat in the classroom but not a meaningful and useful education.

“We must give them all a chance. It is the moral imperative of the 21st century.”

Spellings argued that the achievement gap hurts all Americans, not just a few, by undercutting our leadership in the world.

“How can you make your readers believe that the achievement gap affects them? Our nation’s leadership position in the world is being challenged. For example, 38 percent of bachelor’s degrees in China were awarded in engineering as opposed to less than 6 percent in the U.S. And in the decade from 1990 to 2000, India increased its number of students enrolled in college by 92 percent.

“Intel CEO Craig Barrett has noted that 2.5 billion people have joined the world market, with China, India and Russia in the World Trade Organization. Even if only 10 percent of them are highly educated, that still means 250 million new competitors that our country will face. According to Thomas Friedman’s book, The World Is Flat, as of 2000 nearly 40 percent of scientists and engineers with PhDs in the U.S. labor force were foreign born. Meanwhile, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reports that students in this country lose interest in science and math as they advance through the educational system.

“We must turn this around. I am optimistic after seeing the nation’s governors and respected business leaders, such as Bill Gates, come together and call for reform of our nation’s high schools. It’s urgently needed, and it’s something in which the president and I strongly believe.”

The complete text of the Secretary’s prepared remarks can be found at:

Related Article:

“Inside the Revolt Over Bush’s School Rules”
Source:  Time – 9 May 2005

(3) Free Products Available from the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC)

Source: Gail Hoskins, Senior Outreach Coordinator (

A variety of ENC products are available free of charge while supplies last. To request these items (e.g., issues of Focus Magazine, Guidebook of Federal Resources,pens, post-its), go to

We are eager to send quantities for distribution to math and science teachers in your district or for state/local conference bag stuffing.  It is important to request these items soon, while ENC can still ship them to you.

Because ENC’s federal funding will end in September, the web page referenced above also explains the change to a subscription-based service for access to the online resources currently available free of charge at  The Web site also contains important information about how you can receive the bi-monthly Focus Magazine free of charge. (Current subscribers must also complete the form found on the Web page to continue receiving this publication.)