COMET • Vol. 9, No. 25 – 27 October 2008


(1) Science Framework for California Public Schools K-12

Source: California Science Teachers Association

The groundwork is being laid for the review and updating of the science framework, scheduled to be completed in 2010. The framework provides guidance for teachers on teaching the content standards and, importantly, establishes the criteria by which new instructional materials will be evaluated in the 2012 adoption. Frameworks are reviewed on a six-year cycle; the science framework was last revised in 2004.

The process calls for four focus groups of science teachers to be convened throughout the state to give input into the content of the framework. Science teachers are urged to attend the focus group meeting in their area to voice their suggestions for the revised framework. [Two of the focus group meetings have already taken place. The third meeting will be held from 3-6 p.m. today (October 27) in Stockton at the San Joaquin County Office of Education, and the fourth meeting will be held from 3-6 p.m. on October 28 in the Bay Area at the Alameda County Office of Education in Hayward.]

The majority of the work on the framework will be done by the Curriculum Framework and Criteria Committee (CFCC), a specially-appointed group of nine to 20 members, a majority of whom must be K-12 teachers. The CFCC will receive public input and work on a draft framework from June to October 2009 (Framework timeline: and present the draft to the Curriculum Commission in January 2010. Applications for the CFCC are posted on the CDE website (click the link in the letter from Superintendent Jack O’Connell): The applications are due by December 3.

Science teachers are being urged to serve on both the CFCC and the focus groups, but those teachers not selected for these bodies are still encouraged to give input at the meetings. It is through your comments and suggestions that the framework will be built, so it’s imperative that the views and needs of practicing science teachers be represented, both on the CFCC and focus groups, and during public comment periods.

As was done with the 2006 adoption of instructional materials, CSTA will closely monitor the framework development process. Ongoing updates on the process will be posted on the CSTA website:

The current science framework is available for download from


(2) Proposed Timeline for Implementation of the Algebra I Testing Requirement

Source: State Board of Education

The California State Board of Education is meeting on November 5-6, and Item 14 on the Agenda is “Consideration and Approval of a Timeline Waiver Agreement for the Purpose of Demonstrating Compliance with the Algebra 1 Assessment Requirements of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.”

In part, the agenda item states, “State Board of Education (SBE) staff recommends that the SBE, acting in its role as the State Education Agency (SEA), approve the attached draft timeline waiver agreement negotiated by the SBE and the United States Department of Education (ED). In approving the timeline waiver agreement, the SBE holds that it is consistent with its July 2008 direction to staff to negotiate an agreement with the ED to allow the State of California a reasonable amount of time to build capacity across the system to implement the SBE policy that the Algebra I assessment serve as the sole test of record for purposes of accountability for eighth grade mathematics under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).”

The draft timeline waiver agreement that is attached to this item is entitled, “Memorandum of Agreement Regarding Grant of Timeline Waiver to the California State Board Of Education.” This 4-page document states in part:

“The Department (ED) has determined that California’s assessments for mathematics do not comply fully with Title I statutory and regulatory requirements in that approximately half of all 8th-graders in California take a mathematics assessment that is aligned with 6th- and 7th-grade mathematics content standards.

“To correct this deficiency, California is developing a plan to prepare all students to succeed in Algebra I in 8th grade and to ensure that, by the end of the 2011-2012 school year, the Algebra I end-of-course examination will be the sole test of record for federal accountability purposes for 8th-grade mathematics in California. Accordingly, within four years, all 8th-grade students in California will be assessed on a mathematics test that is aligned to Algebra I content standards…

SBE agrees that, no later than January 15, 2009, it will provide to the Department a draft action plan describing in detail how SBE plans to ensure that, by the testing window for the assessments to be administered in the 2011-2012 school year, all 8th-grade students in California will be required to take an assessment aligned with Algebra I content standards (the Plan). SBE further agrees that it will submit the final version of the Plan, reflecting input from and approval by the Department, no later than March 2, 2009. Upon its submission to the Department, the final version of the Plan will be designated Appendix A to this Agreement.

Among other action steps to be included in the Plan, the SBE agrees to submit to the Department annual reports [(Oct. 2009-Oct. 12)] containing the following information:

* The number and percentage of 8th-grade students in California who enrolled in and completed an Algebra I course during the prior school year;
* The number and percentage of 8th-grade students who took the Algebra I assessment during the prior test administration;
* The number and percentage of 8th-grade students in California who took any statewide mathematics assessment that is not aligned with the Algebra I content standards during the prior test administration; and
* The number and percentage of students in grades 4, 5, 6, and 7 who scored proficient or above on California’s grade-level assessments in mathematics during the prior test administration…

Because the Department has determined that California’s assessments for mathematics do not satisfy all of the Title I statutory and regulatory requirements for State assessments, the Department is authorized … to withhold all or a portion of California’s Title I, Part A administrative funds. By granting this timeline waiver and entering into this agreement, the Department agrees that it will refrain from exercising this authority so long as SBE timely submits the draft and final versions of the Plan, the reports required by this agreement, and the evidence required by this agreement, and so long as the Plan and those reports and evidence indicate that California is taking all appropriate steps to require all 8th-grade students to take the Algebra I assessment by the 2011-2012 school year…”



(1) “Education and the Next President” Debate

Source: Education Week
URL (Debate): 
URL (Transcript):

“Education and the Next President” was a live debate that took place October 21, 2008 at Teachers College, Columbia University, between Linda Darling-Hammond, education adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, and Lisa Graham Keegan, education adviser to Republican presidential nominee John McCain. (See for more information about the education advisors and this debate.) The event was exclusively Webcast by

The 90-minute debate can be viewed at the “debate” Web site above. A rough draft transcription of the entire debate is available at the “transcript” Web site above.


(2) “Panel Discussion: What’s At Stake For Schools?”

Source: Education Week

Education Week’s Associate Editor David Hoff hosted an October 21 post-panel analysis, “What’s at Stake for Schools,” following the debate, “Education and the Next President,” hosted by Teachers College, Columbia University. Guests on this panel included:

* Lucy M. Calkins, Robinson Professor of Children’s Literature at Teachers College, Columbia University, Director of the Literacy Specialist Program, and Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

* Jeffrey Henig, Professor of Political Science and Education, Program Coordinator of the Politics and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University.

* Eugene W. Hickok, Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education during President George W. Bush’s first term and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education under then-Governor Tom Ridge.

* Joseph P. Viteritti, Blanche D. Blank Professor of Public Policy and Chair of the Department of Urban Affairs & Planning at Hunter College.

This 43-minute analysis by panelists focused on topics such as assessment, No Child Left Behind, teachers, and charter schools. Visit to view the video of this post-debate analysis.


(3) Alan Schoenfeld Receives Senior Scholar Award

Source: Special Interest Group for Research in Mathematics Education (SIG/RME)

The Special Interest Group for Research in Mathematics Education (SIG/RME) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) announces the selection of Alan Schoenfeld of the University of California, Berkeley as the recipient of the second SIG/RME Senior Scholar Award. This award is presented in alternate years in recognition of the research of a single scholar within the field whose programmatic work has been essential in mathematics education.

In their selection of Dr. Schoenfeld for this honor, the Award Committee noted that Schoenfeld’s empirically grounded research has so contributed to development within the field that his work now serves as a primary theoretical reference on mathematical problem solving as well as a model for classroom instruction. Schoenfeld’s study of problem solving has systematically addressed the cognition of individual students and the modeling of thinking patterns within classroom environments. He is currently studying issues of equity in students’ access to quality mathematics education. As such, Schoenfeld’s work has established constructs and results that are used regularly by others as his theoretical frame spans problem-solving strategies, monitoring and control, beliefs, and practices.

Dr. Schoenfeld received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Stanford University and is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, holding the Elizabeth and Edward Conner Chair in Education. A past president of the American Educational Research Association, Schoenfeld is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was a lead author of the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The recipient of numerous research grants, Dr. Schoenfeld has offered his professional service to several organizations, including the Mathematics Association of American, the American Mathematical Society, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Academy of Education.

The following is an excerpt from

In their award letter, SIG/RME Chairs Judith T. Sowder and Patricia F. Campbell wrote: “Your work has established an intellectual heritage whose constructs and results are used regularly by others. Further, your efforts to develop a doctoral program in mathematics and science education at the University of California Berkeley has nurtured a generation of doctoral and post-doctoral students who, by adopting and adapting your research focus on mathematical cognition, have developed additional research that is breaking new theoretical ground in the study of mathematical thinking. “
They also noted that Schoenfeld’s theoretical and empirical research in mathematics education had “contributed significantly to the broader field of educational inquiry while at the same time advancing the identity and progress of research in mathematics education.”

The Senior Scholar Award will be presented at the 2009 AERA annual meeting in San Diego (April 13-17, 2009), at which time Schoenfeld is expected to give an address at the conference.