- ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)
- (1) In Memoriam: Nicholas Branca (1942-2008), Former Executive Director of the California Mathematics Project
- (2) State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell Launches New Interactive Web-Based Resource for Middle Schools
- (3) RFP is Now Available for the 2008 Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) Professional Development Grants
- ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS)
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)
“The Web portal is a major step forward in ensuring success and closing the achievement gap for all of California’s middle grade students. This rich resource is full of relevant, time-honored ideas and practical solutions, and is available 24/7 at no additional cost to our schools,” said O’Connell.
In his State of Education address in January, O’Connell announced a reorganization of the California Department of Education (CDE) to help focus efforts on closing the achievement gap. One goal is to have the department become a “broker of expertise” by gathering all available educational research that meets high standards and to develop workable strategies specific to the needs of California’s diverse schools.
The new Web portal: Taking Center Stage–Act II (TCSII), Ensuring Success and Closing the Achievement Gap for All of California’s Middle Grades Students, was developed by CDE’s Middle and High School Improvement Office–and is a first example of the Brokers of Expertise program and the type of information the department can gather and disseminate to educators and administrators throughout the state and beyond.
The Web portal is a dynamic, interactive resource for middle level educators built on 12 recommendations for middle level educators that are organized by four focus areas: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structures and processes.
TCSII utilizes the latest technology, delivering hyperlinked research-based content, vignettes of school practices and provides a connection to middle grades organizations. Members of the California Middle Grades Alliance partnered with the CDE to produce the recommendations and assisted in the development of the portal.
“I believe this program is a star maker for middle school teachers,” said Peter Murphy, Executive Director of the California League of Middle Schools. “With this resource, every school will have the opportunity to share with others across the state and the nation practices that are working in the middle school classroom. This Web-based tool will become the standard for all other resources in education.”
“I am convinced that by providing easy access to research-based information and promising educational practices that engage young adolescents, middle level educators will inspire their students to become lifelong learners,” said O’Connell.
To access the TCSII Web portal, visit http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/TCSII/
(3) RFP is Now Available for the 2008 Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) Professional Development Grants
Contact: California Postsecondary Education Commission
A Request for Proposals (RFP) for 2008 Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) teacher professional development grants is now available for prospective applicants. The California Postsecondary Education Commission, which administers the program, has posted the RFP on its website (see above).
Approximately eight million dollars will be awarded in targeted grants to postsecondary education institutions in California to support partnerships that provide high-quality professional development to teachers in local school districts. The grants are funded through Title II-A of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
Grant proposals for 2008 Improving Teacher Quality grants are limited to projects that help elementary school teachers address the achievement gap among their students. Successful applicants will develop whole-school approaches to serving teachers, and must include the development of teacher leaders as a key component of their proposals. Successful applicants must also conduct scientifically-based evaluation research to demonstrate the effects of the project on teaching practice, student achievement, and the gaps between student groups. There is no minimum limit for a grant, but no more than one million dollars will be awarded to any project for the four-year grant period.
Grants will only be awarded to partnerships with three mandated partners:
– An Institution of Higher Education (IHE) school of education, AND
– An Institution of Higher Education (IHE) school of arts and sciences, AND
– A high-need Local Educational Agency (must meet U.S. Census guidelines).Additional partners are encouraged, including community colleges, school districts, county offices of education, and non-profit community organizations. However, all three of the mandated partners above must be represented in any proposal.
Further information, including an electronic version of the RFP, a list of qualifying school districts, information on technical assistance meetings for prospective applicants on April 1 and 2, contacts for questions, application instructions and forms, and additional resources, may be found online at http://www.cpec.ca.gov/FederalPrograms/2008RFP.asp
Source: Wall Street Journal – 5 March 20008
URL: http://biz.yahoo.com/wallstreet/080305/sb120465579132610785_id.html?. v=2
A presidential panel, warning that a “broken” system of mathematics education threatens U.S. pre-eminence, says it has found the fix: A laserlike focus on the essentials.
The advisory panel’s 19 members include eminent mathematicians and educators representing both sides of the math wars. The draft of the final report declines to take sides, saying the group agreed only on the content that students must master, not the best way to teach it.
The group said it could find no “high-quality” research backing either traditional or reform math instruction. The draft report calls a rigid adherence to either method “misguided” and says understanding, which is the priority of reform teachers, and computation skills, emphasized by traditionalists, are “mutually supported.”
Still, the draft report says calculators shouldn’t be used on tests used to assess computation skills. Some states allow disabled children to use calculators on tests of arithmetic.
The draft report urges educators to focus on “critical” topics, as is common in higher-performing countries. The panel’s draft report says students should be proficient with the addition and subtraction of whole numbers by the end of third grade and with multiplication and division by the end of fifth. In terms of geometry, children by the end of sixth grade should be able to solve problems involving perimeter, area and volume.
Francis Fennell, president of the math teachers group and a panel member, said the group’s specific recommendations could help parents determine whether their kids are on the right track.
The draft report recommends a revamp of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a widely followed test administered by the Education Department, to emphasize material needed for the mastery of algebra, especially fractions. The draft calls for similar changes to the state tests children must take under the federal No Child Left Behind Law.
The document urges publishers to shorten elementary and middle-school math textbooks that currently can run on for 700 to 1,000 pages and cover a dizzying array of topics. Publishers say textbooks often must cover a patchwork of state standards.
Source: U.S. Department of Education
A Miami [Ohio] University survey of nearly 2,000 girls in grades 4-8 found they liked science and math less in 8th grade than they did in 4th grade.However, they started out liking social sciences and language arts even less, and similarly lost interest in those subjects as they approached 8th grade.