COMET • Vol. 7, No. 05 – 7 February 2006


(1) Mathematics IMAP and CRP Applications Should be Posted this Week

Source: Mary Sprague, California Department of Education (; 916-319-0510)

Application information for service on an Instructional Materials Advisory Panel (IMAP) or a Content Review Panel for the 2007 K-8 Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption is due to be posted on the above Web site within the next few days.

(2) Schools Chief Jack O’Connell Delivers State of Education Address

 Source:  California Department of Education – 7 February 2006
URL (Address Text):

Earlier today, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell delivered his third annual State of Education address in which he outlined how educators must adapt to ensure that California’s student population is prepared to compete in the fast-paced global economy of the 21st century.

O’Connell described how the pace and degree of technological change over the last few decades have increased exponentially, while the way we educate students has not changed much over the last century.

O’Connell called the diversity of California’s student population rich in potential for California’s strength in the global economy, but noted that the population of students that is growing the fastest is lagging the furthest behind their peers academically. He called improving teacher and school administrator quality key to closing the achievement gap, even as nearly a third of California’s teaching force is expected to retire over the next 10 years. This would be accomplished by:

*  Reestablishing and fully funding regional teacher recruitment centers and incentives for talented teachers to serve in the lowest performing schools;

*  Expanding the intensive professional development programs for teachers in the subjects of science and history/social science;

*  Providing $53 million in funding to provide outstanding teacher coaches in all subject areas in the most challenging schools;

*  Expanding pathways for becoming a classroom teacher and new ways for talented administrators to move from the private sector to careers in school; and

*  Providing ongoing professional development for inexperienced school principals.

To increase the rigor and relevance of high schools, O’Connell called for an expansion of smaller learning communities where academics are blended with a focus on careers. He urged increasing the number of California Partnership Academies and will seek legislation to expand these academies to all four years of high school.

O’Connell also called for incentives in the infrastructure bond for education that will lead to the construction of school facilities that are more reflective of the changing world.

“In this Conceptual Age, we should question whether it still makes sense to build classrooms that were designed more than 100 years ago for the Industrial Age,” he said. “With this type of infrastructure investment comes tremendous opportunity to impact not only student achievement and experience, but, in fact, the very communities in which we all live. Let’s build energy efficient, high-performance learning environments that work in a world of continuous computing.”

Finally, O’Connell announced that the California Department of Education, in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, will initiate a new function as a broker of expertise to share research and innovative best practices in a practicable way with schools around the state.

O’Connell concluded by asking educators to use technology and data to tailor our educational system to more directly meet the needs of each student. “It’s time to work together in our communities to find innovative ways of meeting all children where they are,” he said.


Note from the 6 February 2006 issue of the “NCTM Legislative and Policy Update”:  Last Thursday, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio) won a largely unexpected victory in the race for a new Majority Leader in the House, defeating Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).  The elevation of Boehner to the Majority Leader’s position opened up the chairmanship of the Education and the Workforce Committee to Congressman Howard “Buc”” McKeon (R-Calif.).  McKeon will join the Committee’s Ranking Democrat George Miller (D-Calif.) to give the Golden State unprecedented currency when it comes to education policy making.


(1) Live Chat Tomorrow (2/8/06) on Math and Science Education in the USA

Source: Education Week

Education Week will host a live Web chat on Wednesday, February 8, from noon to 1 p.m. PST to discuss the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative, along with growing concerns about the state of mathematics and science education in the United States. No special equipment other than Internet access is needed for this text-based chat.

Featured guests include the following:

=  Jim Rubillo, Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM);

=  Jodi Peterson, Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA); and

=  Sean Cavanagh, who covers math and science issues for Education Week.

For background, read these recent Education Week stories:

“Bush Proposes Steps to Boost Math and Science Teaching”:

“Advocates Urge Bush to Boost Federal Role in Math and Science”:

To submit questions in advance, visit

A complete transcript will be posted shortly after the completion of the chat at

(2) Science and Math Education Part of Major New Initiative Unveiled During the President’s State of the Union Address to the Nation; Proposed PACE Act

Source: NSTA Legislative Update – 6 February 2006 (Contact: Jodi Peterson–

In last week’s issue of COMET, excerpts from the President’s State of the Union Address related to mathematics education initiatives were included, along with information about the American Competitiveness Initiative ( This week’s NSTA Legislative Update provides additional information about this initiative, as well as a link to an article in last week’s Update about new legislation being introduced in the Senate to support mathematics and science education.


As expected science and math education were highlighted during the State of the Union (SOTU) address last week as part of the Administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). The new Administration initiative seeks to significantly expand Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) science and math programs, bring 30,000 professionals into high school classrooms nationwide, and create new programs similar to the Reading First initiative for math education at the elementary and middle levels. The Administration is also calling for NCLB science assessments to be part of state accountability systems to determine adequate yearly progress (AYP)…

The Year of Math and Science

Details of the ACI were released by the U.S. Department of Education a few days after the President’s address. New programs in the FY 07 Budget Request include:

 National Math Panel ($10 million), which would evaluate the effectiveness of mathematics materials and approaches to teaching math. [The charge of this panel would be similar to that of the National Reading Panel (NRP); the NRP findings guided the design of the Reading First initiative. The Math Panel is expected to convene this spring.]

 Math Now for Elementary School Students ($125 million) and Math Now for Middle School Students ($125 million): New programs at the elementary and middle school levels will be similar to the Reading First initiative. Will improve math instruction through diagnosis and remediation to prepare more students for algebra; middle level programs will help to diagnose student deficiencies in math.

 Evaluation of ongoing federal math and science education programs ($5 million) to determine ineffective programs.

 Expansion of the AP and IB programs ($122 million). The goal is to triple the number of students (700,000 by 2012) who take these courses and to train 70,000 more teachers in these areas. Money provided by the federal government would be matched by the states to develop this initiative.

 Adjunct Teacher Corps ($25 million): Grants to districts and states to encourage up to 30,000 math and science professionals to become part time high school teachers by 2015.

In addition, the Department is also supporting these programs as part of the ACI:

 Including Science Assessments in NCLB: Under NCLB, science must be assessed but does not have to count toward the state accountability system. The Department of Education wants science assessments included in the state accountability system.

 Developing a High School Reform Initiative: This initiative would award grants to states and school districts for targeted interventions to increase the achievement of high school students, and require NCLB testing in two additional high school grades.

 Awarding Academic Competitive/SMART Grants: This program would award supplemental grants to low-income college students who major in math, science, and critical foreign languages and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. (This program has been passed by the Senate and is expected to be passed by the House.)

 Expanding a Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program: This would be aimed particularly at low-income schools.

In addition to these programs, the President seeks to double the federal commitment to basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years, and make the research and development (R&D) tax credit permanent.

To read the ACI Education Initiative, which begins on p. 18, visit To read the President’s remarks about the new ACI during the SOTU, visit

** The programs proposed by the Administration are separate from the PACE legislation introduced in the Senate on January 25. To read the NSTA Legislative Updateregarding the PACE legislation, visit  Excerpts from this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update about the proposed legislation appear below:

On January 25 Senators Domenici (R-NM), Bingaman (D-NM), Alexander (R-TN) and Mikulski (D-MD) introduced the Protect America’s Competitive Edge (PACE) Act, three bills designed to implement 20 recommendations contained in the National Academies (NAS) report Rising Above the Gathering Storm. The number one action item in the report was to improve K-12 science and mathematics education.

Two of the bills contain a large number of programs for science and math education.

The PACE-Education bill would establish:

— Baccalaureate degrees in Math and Science with Concurrent Teacher Certification: Grants from the Secretary of Education would go to collaborations of Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) teacher preparation programs and departments of STEM to develop courses of study that would lead to a degree in science, math, or engineering with a concurrent teaching certificate.

— Master’s Program for Current Science and Math Teachers: Grants from the Secretary of Education would go to IHE STEM departments and teacher preparation programs to develop a part-time, three-year master’s program for current teachers.

— NSF Scholarships for Science and Math Teachers: NSF merit-based scholarships of up to $20,000 would go to students majoring in a STEM program with concurrent teacher certification.

— NSF Fellowships for Science and Math Teachers: NSF fellowships of $10,000 annually for four years to teachers who complete a baccalaureate degree in STEM with concurrent teacher certification and commit to teaching full time in a high need school.

NSF fellowships of $10,000 annually for five years for teachers who have completed a master’s degree program and assume a leadership activity, such as mentoring.

— AP and IB Programs: Grants from the U. S. Department of Education to provide training to teachers to teach AP or IB programs and to increase the number of students who take these courses.

— National Clearinghouse on Mathematics and Science Teaching Materials: Authorizes the Secretary of Education to convene a national panel to collect proven K-12 science and math teaching materials and to create a clearinghouse for such materials.

— Coordination of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education Programs: Creates a standing subcommittee in the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology to develop national goals for STEM education across the various federal agencies. Creates a new position in the Office of Science and Technology Policy that would coordinate the federal budgets for STEM education programs.

The PACE-Education bill also would increase research programs and equipment grants; increase the NSF, NASA, and Department of Defense research budgets by 10% annually through 2012; create a new Presidential Innovation Award; create a new student visa for doctoral candidates; provide certain exemptions to the numerical limitations to employment based immigrants; and develop science parks.

The second bill involving science and math education programs is the PACE-Energy bill. This bill amends the Department of Energy DOE Science programs to appoint a “Director of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education Programs.” The bill establishes a number of new STEM education initiatives at the DOE under the purview of this new director:

— High School Math and Science Specialty Schools: Establishes or expands specialty schools for math and science at the high school level.

— Summer Internships for Students: Creates summer internships at the DOE national Laboratories and elsewhere, for middle and high school students to promote experiential learning.

— Centers of Excellence in Mathematics and Science: Authorizes each of the National Laboratories to support a Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science at one public high school located near the national lab.

— American Scientists Scholarships: Establishes a merit-based American Scientist scholarship program through DOE for up to $20,000 a year to assist students pursuing a degree in STEM.

— Graduate Research Fellowship: Provides tuition and financial support for Master’s and Doctoral students enrolled in STEM programs

— Summer Institutes: Establishes summer institutes at each of the National Laboratories and through grants to IHE and other nonprofit groups for K-12 teachers; focus will be on K-8 teachers.

The PACE-Energy bill also has programs that will establish a joint program between institutions of higher education and the national labs for 100 scientists, and includes a number of research grants for scientists. The bill also seeks to double the authorized level of funding for basic research in the physical sciences.

The PACE-Tax bill would double the R&D tax credit; create a tax credit to encourage investment in continuing education; and provide grants and loan guarantees for U.S. Science Parks.

During the press conference, staffers were hopeful that the Senate would act on this bill sometime this year. The legislation has to go through both an authorization and an appropriations process…

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House; in early December, Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN), ranking Democrat on the House Science Committee, introduced the “10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds” Science and Math Scholarship Act (H.R. 4434). The bill provides scholarships to science, math, and engineering students who complete a program that combines a degree in these areas with a teaching certificate and commit to teaching K-12 science and math after graduation. The legislation also authorizes summer professional development institutes for current teachers to improve content knowledge; establishes master programs for in-service teachers, and creates more training for in-service teachers to teach AP and IB courses in science and math. To read more about the proposed legislation, visit

[The paragraph below is from the February 6 issue of the NCTM Legislative and Policy Update.]

A common theme in the focus on STEM education is the necessity to involve the private sector.  On February 1, the House STEM Education Caucus held a luncheon briefing on sustainable public-private partnerships in conjunction with the American Chemical Society (ACS).  The event featured panelists from Intel, the Discovery Channel, and the Society of Automotive Engineers, who discussed their respective companies’ work to improve STEM education.  Of note was the relationship Intel has developed with Project Lead the Way in Colorado.  The relationship promotes an engineering-related curriculum to middle school and high school students with underlying financial support from Intel.  Students participating in Project Lead the Way courses have demonstrated greater participation rates in engineering curricula at postsecondary institutions and are less likely to drop out of engineering programs, helping to decrease the startling attrition rate in undergraduate engineering departments.

For more information on the PACE legislation and general STEM issues, contact Andrew Stringer at or Jodi Peterson at

(3) President’s FY 2007 Budget Request for the National Science Foundation

 Source: National Science Foundation – 6 February 2006

The President’s budget for fiscal year 2007 requests $6.02 billion for the National Science Foundation–an increase of $439 million or 7.9 percent over fiscal year 2006. The increase reflects a 10-year budget-doubling effort for NSF and other agencies as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative that President Bush announced in the State of the Union address last week.

“This is a great day for NSF, and that means it’s a great day for the nation,” said NSF Director Arden L. Bement, Jr., at a public presentation held at NSF’s Arlington, Va., headquarters yesterday…

Bolstering K-12 Education

Skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are increasingly necessary for success in the workforce and for full participation. These programs will support research experiences for teachers, facilitate math and science graduates to enter the education profession, provide more effective math and science education assessments, improve science and learning in the elementary grades, and introduce cutting-edge discoveries and research experiences into K-12 classrooms.

*  NSF will invest $104 million in the Discovery Research K-12 program to strengthen K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.  The program will support targeted research to advance understanding in developing effective science and mathematics assessments for K-12; improving science teaching and learning in the elementary grades; and introducing cutting-edge discoveries into K-12 classrooms.

*  Funding for the Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education program increases by 9.9 percent to $55.66 million, supporting an estimated 1,000 graduate fellows and encouraging effective partnerships between institutions of higher education and local school districts by pairing graduate students and K-12 classroom teachers.

*  A total of $3 million will fund a new program to improve geosciences education at the middle and high school levels.

*  The request includes $46 million (down $17 million) to support 13 Teacher Institutes for the 21st Century as part of the Math and Science Partnership program….