COMET • Vol. 8, No. 03 – 3 February 2007


(1) Curriculum Commission Extends Deadline for Content Review Panel (CRP) Applications to February 15

Contact: Suzanne Rios, Administrator, Instructional Resources Unit, California Department of Education – (916) 319-0665;

At last week’s meeting of the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission (Curriculum Commission), the Commission recommended approval of six Content Review Panel (CRP) applicants (Cohort 3) for the 2007 mathematics adoption. The total number of CRP applicants recommended by the Curriculum Commission is only 10, half the number of panelists needed.

Therefore, the Curriculum Commission has extended the CRP application deadline to February 15, 2007. (No more IMAP applications are being accepted.)  CRP applicants must have an advanced degree in mathematics or a related field (e.g., physics or engineering). The application to serve on a CRP is available for download from the above Web site.

Applications will be reviewed the following week, and approved names sent to the State Board of Education for consideration at the March 7-8 meeting.

(2) Proposed Amendments to the Education Code Regarding Instructional Materials: Notice of Public Hearing

Source: California Department of Education – 20 January 2007

The California Department of Education (CDE) staff, on behalf of the State Board of Education (SBE), will hold a public hearing beginning at 8:30 a.m. on March 13, 2007 at 1430 N Street, Room 1101, Sacramento…[where interested parties may] present statements or arguments, orally or in writing, relevant to the proposed action…  The 45-day public comment period began on January 20, 2007 and ends on March 13, 2007. [See the “Instructional Materials” section on the above Web site for details regarding the submission of comments, as well as to download the full text of the proposed amendments.]

The proposed regulations set forth the process by which the State Board of Education (SBE) adopts curriculum frameworks, evaluation criteria, and instructional materials for kindergarten through grade eight… It is necessary to adopt these regulations pursuant to the [Administrative Procedures Act] to ensure that the adoption process for kindergarten through grade eight is an open, public process, with clear timelines and procedures.

[Two sections with recommended changes appear below:]

[Section] 9511.  Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee Composition and Membership Qualifications.

(a) The SBE may establish a Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC) to assist in the process of reviewing and/or developing a curriculum framework and evaluation criteria and making a recommendation to the Curriculum Commission and SBE.

(b) The CFCC shall be composed of a minimum of 9 to a maximum of 20 members appointed by the SBE.

(c) The Curriculum Commission shall make recommendations to the SBE on appointing CFCC members according to the qualifications stated below.

(d) CFCC members shall have subject matter expertise and professional knowledge of, and successful experience with, effective educational programs and practices.

(e) A majority of CFCC members, at the time of appointment, shall be classroom teachers, or mentor teachers, currently assigned to teach kindergarten or grades 1-12.

(f) Nothing in this section shall preclude public members, i.e., non-educators, from serving as a CFCC member as the SBE may deem appropriate.

(g) All CFCC members operate under the guidance and at the pleasure of the SBE.

[Section] 9512.  Appointment of Instructional Materials Reviewers and Content Review Experts.

(a) The SBE shall appoint Instructional Material Reviewers (IMRs), and Content Review Experts (CREs) to serve as advisors to the Curriculum Commission and SBE, in the review of instructional materials submitted for adoption.

(b) The Curriculum Commission shall make recommendations to the SBE on appointing IMRs and CREs according to the qualifications stated below.

(c) The primary qualification for IMRs shall be subject matter expertise and professional knowledge of, and successful experience with, effective educational programs and practices.

(d) A majority of IMRs, at the time of appointment, shall be classroom teachers, or mentor teachers, currently assigned to teach kindergarten or grades 1-8.

(e) Nothing in this section shall preclude public members, i.e., non-educators, from serving as IMRs as the SBE may deem appropriate.

(f) CREs shall be experts in a content field who:

(1) hold a doctoral degree in that field, or

(2) have a masters degree or higher in that field and 5 or more years of curriculum expertise in that field.

(g)  All IMRs and CREs operate under the guidance and at the pleasure of the SBE.


(3) Commission Strategic Plan Stakeholder Survey

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing is in the process of developing a new five-year Strategic Plan and is seeking stakeholder input into the design of that plan. The Commission invites you to participate in the Commission Strategic Plan Stakeholder Survey in order to provide that input. There will also be two Stakeholder Input Sessions, one in southern California and one in northern California. It is anticipated that these sessions will be held in early March.

Your opinions are very important to us as the Commission develops its new Strategic Plan. We ask that you complete the survey no later than February 19, 2007, at which time the survey will be removed from our Web page.The current mission of the Commission is to assure the fully prepared and effective educators all students deserve and our communities require…  The Commission adopted the following six goals in 2001 to help achieve its mission:

1.  Promote educational excellence through the preparation and certification of professional educators.

2.  Continue to refine the coordination between Commissioners and staff in carrying out the Commission’s duties, roles and responsibilities.

3.  Provide quality customer service

4.  Continue effective and appropriate involvement of the Commission with policymakers on key educational issues

5.  Enhance effective two-way communication with the Commission’s stakeholders

6.  Provide leadership in exploring multiple, high quality routes to prepare professional educators for California’s schools

The Commission would like to receive feedback from a broad spectrum of the education community via this survey and at subsequent stakeholder meetings… Groups (professional organizations, schools, or other groups) wishing to provide an organizational response to the survey may send a letter to the Executive Office in care of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 1900 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, CA 95814.The survey will ask for some demographic information in order to assure broad representation of viewpoints. You will also have an opportunity to expand on some of your responses and/or provide any additional information or comment that you believe should be considered by the Commission as it reviews and revises its Strategic Plan. Thank you for contributing your thoughts to the Commission.

To start the survey, go to the following web page:


(4) Research Opportunity for Teachers this Summer in San Diego

Source: Vadim Ponomarenko, REUT Program Director –

San Diego State University, with support from the National Science Foundation, is proud to host a Research Experience for Undergraduates and Teachers (REUT).  The program is designed to give a mathematics research experience to motivated, interested, and qualified teachers. Participating teachers will do original, supervised mathematics research in small teams; they will improve their creative, mathematical, and communication skills; they are likely to coauthor a scholarly publication; and they will also receive a stipend of $3000.  The program dates are June 4-July 27, 2007, and the application deadline is March 1.  The research topics this year are biomathematics and statistics.  For more details, as well as application materials, please visit the program website:



(1) “Math Education: Critical Skills for the 21st Century” —  Education News Program to be Broadcast on February 20

Source: The National Math Panel news list (“MathPanelUpdates”)

The National Math Panel would like to inform you of an upcoming television broadcast on “Math Education: Critical Skills for the 21st Century.”  The U.S. Department of Education’s February broadcast of Education News Parents Can Use will include U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; Chair of the National Math Panel, Dr. Larry Faulkner; CEO of Girl Scouts U.S.A., Kathy Cloninger; and other esteemed guests, including award-winning school practitioners and business leaders.  A full description of the show along with ways to view the program is detailed below.


… Everywhere you turn, it’s evident:  today’s students are growing up in a world very different from that of their parents.  In the last century, America led a communications and technology revolution that connected people around the world as never before and transformed the way we live and the way we work.  Labor market trends indicate that tomorrow’s high-growth, high-wage jobs will go to those with strong backgrounds in mathematics and science and to high-skill technical workers.   This foundation is cultivated in the early grades, where children need to develop the critical thinking skills that will be necessary for them to pass algebra and gain the pre-algebraic competencies to take and pass more rigorous courses through high school and beyond.  And yet…

— Only 7 percent of 4th and 8th graders achieved an advanced level on the 2003 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) test, compared to 41 percent of 4th and 8th graders in Singapore;

— A recent survey by the Raytheon Company found that 84 percent of middle school students would rather clean their rooms, take out the garbage or go to the dentist than do their math homework;

— Our 15-year olds rank 24th out of 29 developed nations in math literacy and problem solving; and

— Less than half of our students graduate from high school ready for college-level math and science.

If we as a country are going to keep our edge–and ensure that this and future generations of students have the math and science skills to lead the way–we must build a stronger foundation in these subjects in the early grades, and encourage more children to consider careers in math and science.  To help address these urgent needs, states will now be required to also measure and report student progress in the sciences, and the President has proposed a series of targeted math and science-related investments under the American Competitiveness Initiative.  The Initiative aims to strengthen K-12 math and science education through a number of innovative programs, including the National Math Panel, which is building a scientific-research base of proven math classroom practices; Math Now, which will promote research-based practices in elementary and middle school math instruction and prepare students to master Algebra and prepare for advanced math in high school; and the Advanced Placement-International Baccalaureate Program, which will train 70,000 teachers to lead advanced math, science and language courses over the next five years.

Guests on the February 20 edition of Education News…will talk about the American Competitiveness Initiative and explore such questions as:

—  What is the “global economy” and what new demands does it place on our students and our schools?

—  How does No Child Left Behind strengthen math and science?  How will the 2007 science assessments help?

—  How will the American Competitiveness Initiative help to improve math and science instruction, student competence and achievement, and ultimately close the achievement gaps?

—  How can parents encourage their children to learn mathematics and science outside the classroom?

—  What should students be learning in mathematics and science at the elementary, middle and high school grades?  What must change in the way these subjects are currently being taught?

—  How can we encourage all students–especially girls and minority students–to pursue math and science careers?

Viewing Details

The show will be broadcast on Tuesday, February 20, 2007, from 8:00 – 9:00 PM EST. Visit for more information regarding live and archived webcasts of Education News shows.

Education News is available through your local education, government or public access channels; The Learning Channel (TLC); some PBS member stations; and the Dish Network and DirecTV. For more details on where to catch the program live and rebroadcast, please select the “ways to watch” option at


Education News Parents Can Use focuses on schools, learning and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. On the third Tuesday of each month during the school year, Education News airs live via satellite, offering parents and anyone else with an interest in education vital information about getting involved in children’s learning.  More information about the program can be found at


(2) NCLB Reauthorization Plans; CSU Resolution Supporting Substantial Revisions of NCLB


During his State of the Union address last month, President Bush outlined his plan for education, including the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Visit the above Web site for more details.

One of the committees of the California State University’s Academic Senate is the Committee on Teacher Education and K-12 Relations (TEKR). Members are listed on   The minutes of the committee’s last meeting are available at   One of the members, Otto Benavides, reports that the committee is “moving a resolution requesting a ‘substantial revision of NCLB'” and that “the second reading will take place at the Plenary Session on March 8-9.” A draft follows below. Feedback can be provided to members of the TEKR committee.

Support for Substantial Revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind)

RESOLVED: The Academic Senate California State University urges California’s congressional leadership to advocate for substantial revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) to include:

* The elimination of penalties imposed upon school districts for student nonparticipation in the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting program;

* A definition of “highly qualified teacher” that does not impose undue hardships on rural and small schools of California,

* A balance in the assessment of curriculum standards that includes natural sciences, social sciences, the humanities and other disciplines for which state standards have been adopted,

* Goals for the achievement of state standards that recognize the continuing immigration of English Language Learners to California.


(3) Diagnostic Algebra Assessment (DAA) Study — Algebra Teachers Needed for Phase 3

Contact: Helena Miranda – (617) 552-3646 and

With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative at Boston College (InTASC) is attempting to develop tests that will provide more diagnostic information about student learning than traditional standardized tests.

The algebra misconception tests are designed to identify whether a given student’s achievement in algebra is being hindered by one or more common algebraic misconception. If successful, these new tests will provide information to students and their teachers about misconceptions that an individual student may hold.

From January 2005 to June 2006, studies were conducted to develop diagnostic “testlets” for several algebraic misconceptions. The testlets were validated during the second phase of our study in the summer and fall of 2006. As our study enters its third phase, we are gearing up to start an experimental study designed to assess whether instructional interventions are effective in mediating the equalityvariable, and graphing misconceptions.

Currently, we are seeking algebra teachers who teach grades 8 or 9 to participate in the experimental phase of our study. The study is scheduled to start on February 19, 2007 and it will run until March 23, 2007. The study is a pretest-posttest experimental design with random assignment to groups. The instructional intervention consists of lesson plans and practice exercises designed to target the equality, variable, and graphing misconceptions. Please visit the above Web site to learn more about the study and the tests.

Teachers who choose to participate need to commit to have one class (any number of students) participate in the study and must complete all of the required instruments and questionnaires to be eligible for a $250 stipend.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Helena Miranda at, providing the following information:

1) Name

2) State

3) Grades taught

4) Ability level of students (above average, average, below average)

5) Number of students who will participate

6) Access to computers (“I have desktops or laptops in the classroom,” “I have access to a computer lab,” “Access to computers is difficult at my school.”)


(4) Science’s Breakthrough of the Year Salutes the Poincaré Theorem Solution

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

In 1904, Henri Poincaré proposed a conjecture that described a test for showing that a space is equivalent to a hypersphere, the three-dimensional surface of a four-dimensional ball. A century later, the reclusive Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman provided proof of the elusive conjecture. Read about Science‘s 2006 Breakthrough of the Year and the nine other achievements on Science‘s Top Ten list, reported in the journal’s December 22 issue.