COMET • Vol. 6, No. 18 – 7 June 2005


(1) Governor Joins UC, CSU, and Private Sector Partners to Unveil Major Initiative to Bolster K-12 Science and Mathematics Teacher Work Force

URLs:  and

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the University of California President Robert C. Dynes, California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed, and business leaders last Tuesday in announcing the creation of a bold new effort to enhance the supply and preparation of science and mathematics teachers for California’s public schools. The governor asked UC to develop this initiative in collaboration with CSU in his May 2004 “compact” with the two university systems.

“If California is to be a leader in tomorrow’s economy, we need to put more emphasis on science and math instruction,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “This science and math Initiative will expand the efforts of our UC and CSU systems, with the goal of graduating at least four times as many new science and math teachers by the year 2010. The California Science and Math Initiative is the right investment for California’s future.”

Under the “California Teach” program, the UC system plans to quadruple its annual production of credentialed science and mathematics teachers, from 250 per year to 1000 per year, by 2010. This initiative is the largest of its kind in the nation. Undergraduate students at UC will be able to achieve, in four years of study, both a bachelor’s degree in science, mathematics or engineering and the preparation to enable them to become a secondary-school science or mathematics teacher.

With 23 campuses serving every region of the state, the California State University (CSU) System produced 12,798 teachers in 2002-03, representing 59 percent of the credentials granted. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing reported that only 1,466–less than 7 percent–of all credentials in 2002-03 were in math and science. More than half of these–748–were awarded to students who completed CSU teacher preparation programs.

“A core mission of the California State University is to prepare the state’s teachers to meet the changing needs of our K-12 schools and our state’s industries. The CSU has the faculty, the infrastructure, the expertise and the commitment to step up to meet California’s growing need for highly qualified math and science teachers in the public schools,” said CSU Chancellor Reed. “It is a challenge we have already begun to address, and, with this additional funding, we stand ready to do more.” CSU’s plans include the following:

*  Developing routes for math and science majors to work in schools and get a credential along with their bachelor of science degree, thus shortening their time to a teaching career.

*  Encouraging math and science majors to consider teaching through incentives, fellowships, and student loan forgiveness partnerships with business/community to support students in their fieldwork or internships.

*  Replicating the current “blended programs” in math and science at three CSU campuses so that students at other CSUs can get their math or science degree and credential simultaneously.

*  Establishing a student and family support pipeline through outreach and high school counselors and teachers to support students in middle and high school who come from groups whose college going rates have been low.

*  Partnering with low performing schools that have mandatory tutoring requirements to place undergraduates in tutor positions.

The overall effort is aimed at bolstering California’s long-term economic prospects, which are largely dependent on the availability of a work force that has the scientific and mathematical skills to help California’s knowledge-based industries thrive. The objective is to expand and strengthen that skilled work force by improving the quality of K-12 science and mathematics instruction through an expansion of the supply and preparation of teachers in these fields.

To launch the University of California’s program, corporate leaders from across California have pledged to contribute an initial $4 million over a five-year period. A catalyzing lead gift of $1 million was provided by SBC. In addition, Intel Corp. has added a key contribution of $2 million from its foundation.

In total, 18 companies have committed private funds to help UC improve K-12 science and math instruction, including Qualcomm, Boeing, Sun Microsystems, HP, Adobe Systems, US Bank, Apple, Chiron, Amgen, Biogen, Idec, Edwards Lifesciences, Apacheta, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Invitrogen, Wind River, and Burrill & Co. Discussions are underway with additional companies wishing to support the initiative.

“SBC Communications supports the communities we serve with a focus on education and technology,” said Chuck Smith, president and chief executive officer of SBC West. “We are proud to support the California Teach program because it will develop the highly trained work force that our state needs to keep our economy growing.”

“The average performance of our students in science and mathematics is an alarming problem,” said Craig Barrett, Intel chairman. “The issue is one of competitiveness: To remain the world leader in technology with a vibrant and growing economy, we need to substantially upgrade our science and math instruction so our children become the architects of tomorrow’s great innovations and technologies. The collaboration between business and government on the California Teach initiative represents a good first step toward improving science and math education.”

In addition, the governor has pledged $1 million in the May Revision to his 2005-06 state budget proposal to support the planning and operation of the first phase of the program at UC and CSU. Furthermore, the governor’s May Revision proposes to expand a loan-forgiveness program of the California Student Aid Commission, authorizing 350 new awards in 2005-06 for students participating in this science and mathematics teacher preparation program.

CSU’s Teaching training programs can be accessed at A description of UC’s “California Teach” program is available at

(2) 2005 Foreign Language, Mathematics, and Reading Language Arts/English Language Development Follow-up Adoption Deliberations

Source: Curriculum Commission, California Department of Education

Deliberations for the 2005 Follow-Up Adoption of Instructional Materials (K-8) will be held on June 13-15, 2005.


– Capitol East End Complex, 1500 Capitol Avenue

– California Department of Education, 1430 N Street

* Pre-meeting with the Curriculum Commissioners/Facilitators in the Auditorium of the Capitol East End Complex–8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. on June 13, 2005

* General Session in the Auditorium of the Capitol East End Complex–9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on June 13, 2005

* Deliberation Sessions:

June 13, 2005, following the conclusion of the General Session until 4:30 p.m.±

June 14-15, 2005, from 8:00 a.m.+ to 4:30 p.m.±

Panel Location (Mathematics):

1430 N Street (after General Session)

Panel 1: Room 3101

Panel 2: Room 4101 on June 13 and 14, Room 4102 on June 15

(3) “School Board Delays Vote to Put All Students on College Prep Track” by Joel Rubin

Source:Los Angeles Times – 25 May 2005 

With hundreds of boisterous parents and students rallying outside its doors, the Los Angeles Board of Education postponed a vote Tuesday on a controversial proposal to require all high school students to complete a set of rigorous college preparation courses…

Under the proposal, students would need to complete four years of English, three years of math and at least two years of history, science and a foreign language. To meet this standard, the school district would have to toughen existing graduation requirements to include two years of foreign language and a second year of algebra…

The proposal has met with increasing resistance in recent weeks as some board members expressed concerns that there had not been sufficient time to discuss the plan and how it would be implemented.

Most supported the call for increased rigor, but questioned whether the plan allowed schools enough time to prepare low-performing students for the tougher classes and whether students not planning to attend college would still have access to vocational classes…

Board member Julie Korenstein, the proposal’s most vocal opponent, …said, “The district graduation requirements are already very stringent . and still half of the kids are not reaching them. Does it make sense to raise the bar higher?”…

The vote is now scheduled for June 14.

(4) “10 Districts Sue State Over Testing” by Duke Helfand

Source: Los Angeles Times – 2 June 2005

Ten California school districts sued the state Wednesday, accusing top officials of violating the federal No Child Left Behind education law by requiring students with limited English skills to take annual standardized tests in English rather than in their primary languages.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that such English-language tests produce invalid and unreliable test scores for California’s 1.6-million students who are still learning the language.

The test results for math, English and other subjects are used to evaluate schools and districts under No Child Left Behind. Campuses can face sanctions, including the removal of staff, if they fail to adequately raise scores.

District superintendents and bilingual advocates say the state’s testing system unfairly penalizes school systems that serve large numbers of immigrant and migrant students with a limited command of English.

The school officials want the state to comply with No Child Left Behind’s guidelines that allow schools to wait up to five years before giving English-language tests to students who are not proficient in the language…

In addition to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the suit names Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, members of the state Board of Education and the state Department of Education…

Most California public school students are now taught in English, the result of a 1998 voter-approved initiative that sharply limited bilingual education. Still, it often takes students several years to become proficient in English, a factor that affects test results.

No Child Left Behind does not require states to measure academic proficiency in English until such students have been enrolled in a school in this country for three or more years. Districts can exempt students for an additional two years if they still are not proficient in English.

By contrast, all California students are tested annually in English on exams tied to the state’s academic standards; the scores of first-time test takers with limited English skills are not counted against schools…

“We are defeating the purpose of No Child Left Behind when we don’t test kids validly,” said Mary Hernandez, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.


(1) MATHCOUNTS National Competition (*ESPN2 Will Broadcast the Countdown Round Today*)


The 2005 MATHCOUNTS National Competition took place on May 5-8 in Detroit. Hosted by MATHCOUNTS national sponsor General Motors, this exciting and inspiring event brought together 228 of the nation’s top middle school mathematicians at the GM Headquarters and Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. The National Champions and coaches met with President Bush in the Oval Office on May 12, 2005.

ESPN2 will air an hour-long TV program on the 2005 MATHCOUNTS National Competition at 3 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, June 7 (check local listings). Focused primarily on the drama of the Countdown Round, the program will highlight the energy and excitement of the Mathletes as they test their math teamwork and communication skills.


Related article:

“See What Didn’t Make The Final Cut”

[From the Problem of the Week section of the MATHCOUNTS Web site]  The Countdown Round of the 2005 MATHCOUNTS National Competition is being aired on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PDT) on Tuesday, June 7. In order to stay within the hour-long time slot, some editing of the Countdown Round needed to be done. Only problems that did not play a role in determining the winners of the rounds were edited out… problems that were not answered correctly. There certainly weren’t too many, but here are a few. (Now remember, you only have 45 seconds, you’re trying to beat the Mathlete beside you, you have an audience of 600 people staring at you, you just finished an incredibly difficult written competition that morning, you’re up on a stage with ESPN cameras and lights all around, and the national title is on the line…)


(a) The measure of angle ACB is 40 degrees. (Ray CB is pointing east, and ray CA is pointing in a northeast direction.) If ray CA is rotated 480 degrees about point C in a clockwise direction, what will be the positive measure of the new acute angle ACB, in degrees?


(b) A number is 1/4 of x and 35% of y. What is the ratio of x to y? Express your answer as a common fraction.


(c) The median of the set of integers {5, 8, 12, 7, x} is the same as the mean. What is the sum of all the distinct possible values of x?


The solutions will be available on Monday, June 13, 2005.

(2) “Schools, Businesses Can Do More to Strengthen American Competitiveness in Math & Science, Witnesses Tell Congress”

Source:  U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce–John Boehner, Chairman

Foreign competition in the fields of math and science is leaving America at a competitive disadvantage, and steps must be taken to strengthen math and science education, witnesses told members of the U.S. House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness on May 19.

Subcommittee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) said colleges and universities, K-12 teachers and schools, and America’s business community must make a greater commitment to strengthen American competitiveness in math and science. He described a recent visit to China where he saw first hand the strides the country is making in both its economy and education.

“While the U.S. stills lead the world in scientific and technological innovation, we must continue to be adaptive and flexible to meet the challenges of today and of tomorrow,” McKeon said. “The problem is not a lack of spending, but a lack of focus on math and science and the importance of continued American competitiveness”…

“Recognizing the tremendous challenges and opportunities, leading universities have made significant investments in engineering,” said Dr. Thomas Magnanti, Dean of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, citing several examples. “And yet, what we have done is only a tiny fraction of what we need to do meet the many challenges. While retaining a strong foundation in the fundamentals, science and engineering education needs to be more exciting and provide more hands on experience and context.”

Magnanti also cited the importance of encouraging local officials and educators at the K-12 education level to encourage student interest in math and science.

“[M]ore should be done in our K-12 to promote interest and motivation in science and engineering,” Magnanti added. “Recent education research has highlighted the importance of a positive classroom learning environment and active learning methods for improving K-12 student academic achievement and motivation. Engineering would be a wonderful context for such active learning and a great motivator not only for technology, but also science and math”…

Norm Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, highlighted statistics that show the lack of American competitiveness has serious implications for the future.

“China now graduates about 200,000 engineers a year; India and Japan, 100,000 each; the United States, 50,000,” said Augustine. “In the U.S., five percent of all bachelors degrees awarded are in engineering. In China, the corresponding figure is 40 percent.”

For American students preparing to pursue advanced levels of math, science, and technology, there are many challenges, Augustine noted.

“A youth wishing to become a mathematician, scientist or engineer must decide in ninth grade to take courses which preserve the option to pursue a career in any of these fields,” said Augustine. “Further, the ‘leakage’ rate in the process of producing credentialed researchers is very high. In the field of mathematics, for example, based on current trends one must begin with 3,500 ninth-graders in 2005 to produce 300 freshmen qualified to pursue a degree in mathematics. Of these, about 10 will actually receive a bachelors’ degree in the field. Finally, one PhD in mathematics will emerge in about 2019.”

Improving American competitiveness by strengthening math and science education is a challenge that must be addressed comprehensively, McKeon noted. Educators and business leaders should be applauded for coming together to identify the problem, McKeon argued, and now they must also work together to develop solutions that will increase student interest and achievement in math and science.