In This Issue...
(1) Mathematics Framework Update: Applications are Invited for Focus Group and for Writing Committee
The California Department of Education (CDE) is currently
accepting applications from individuals wishing to participate in one of
the following two groups as part of the process to update the
Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten
Through Grade Twelve.
Mathematics Framework Focus Group
These meetings mark the beginning of the Framework update
process. All meetings are open to the public and will be held in the
afternoon (approximately 3:30-6:30 p.m.) on the dates and at the
locations specified below:
Although these are public meetings and anyone is welcome to attend as part of the audience, members of the focus group must be educators at the time of appointment. According to California Education Code Section 44013(a), "'educator' means a certificated person holding a valid California teaching credential or a valid California services credential issued by the Commission who is employed by a local education agency or by a special education local planning area and who is not employed as an independent contractor or consultant."
The Focus Group recruitment letter is available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/math2011frmwkfgltr.asp The application is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/documents/math2011frmrkfgapp.doc The application deadline is March 3, 2009.
The CFCC will work with a primary writer contracted with the CDE to prepare a draft of the Mathematics Framework. The CFCC will include between 9 and 20 members, selected in a way to ensure balanced representation of regions, knowledge, and grade level experience. (Note: Members of the CFCC do not have to be credentialed teachers.) The five meetings of the CFCC members will be held in Sacramento between November 2009 and June 2010.
The direct link to the CFCC recruitment letter is http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/math2011cfccappltr.asp The application is available for download from http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/documents/math2011cfccapp.doc The CFCC application deadline is May 12, 2009.
CDE also plans to contract with a writer for the update of the framework. Individuals, organizations or local educational agencies interested in this opportunity should contact Mary Sprague (email@example.com) for additional information.
The Mathematics Framework is designed to provide guidance to teachers, administrators, and parents in the implementation of mathematics education that reflects the state-adopted content standards. The Framework will also provide additional guidance on ways to help close the achievement gap between lower-performing and higher-performing students. A framework is like the scaffolding upon which the state builds support for teaching the content standards, i.e., the subject matter teachers teach in the classroom that is appropriate for the grade level being taught.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell recently asserted, "Young people today live in an age where virtually everything they interact with has a basis in technology, whether it's a computer, iPod, or mobile phone. Technology starts with an understanding of mathematics. In addition, mathematics teaches valuable critical thinking skills. That's why we must have a well-developed Mathematics Framework to help students focus on the skills they will need in order to function and compete in a more global, technologically challenging world."
Please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/math2011timeline.asp to view the timeline of events for the 2011 Mathematics Framework update.
Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC)
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) began a discussion at its October 2008 meeting related to the preparation of mathematics teachers (http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2008-10/2008-10-2D.pdf). At the November 2008 Commission meeting, CCTC staff presented a plan for addressing issues related to mathematics credentials/authorizations (see http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2008-11/2008-11-2G.pdf). A related item on the December 2008 agenda focused on the Mathematics Specialist Credential (see http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2008-12/2008-12-3G.pdf).
An Information Item on the January 29 Commission meeting agenda "continues the discussion begun at the October 2008 Commission meeting related to the teaching of mathematics in California. The focus of this item is the authorization statements for documents that authorize the teaching of mathematics." Please refer to the complete text of this item at http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2009-01/2009-01-3E.pdf
A very useful chart containing the following categories related to mathematics credentials and authorizations is included in this document: (a) Credential Type, (b) Authorized Assignments, (c) Grade Levels/ Settings, and (d) Subject Matter Preparation Required. A note indicates whether or not an authorization is NCLB-compliant. The credentials and authorizations included in the chart are the following: Multiple Subject Credential, Single Subject Credential in Mathematics, Single Subject Credential in Foundational-Level Mathematics, Subject Matter Authorization in Mathematics, Supplementary Authorization in (Introductory) Mathematics added to Elementary Credential, Supplementary Authorization in (Introductory) Mathematics added to Secondary Credential, Short-Term Staff Permit in Mathematics, Intern Permit in Mathematics, Local Teaching Assignment Option (LTAO) in Mathematics, and the Single Subject Limited Assignment Permit in Mathematics.
Live audio and video of the January 29 Commission meeting are available via the Internet. See the links at the top of the Web page on which the agenda is posted: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2009-01/2009-01-agenda.html
(3) A California Teacher of the Year, "The Rappin' Mathematician," is One of Four Finalists for Top National Teaching Honor
Source: California Department of Education
Last Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell expressed pleasure that Alex Kajitani, a 2009 California Teacher of the Year from San Diego County, had been selected as one of four finalists nationwide for the prestigious 2009 National Teacher of the Year award.
Kajitani, who was named in November as one of five California Teachers of the Year for 2009, teaches mathematics at Mission Middle School in the Escondido Union (Elementary) School District in San Diego County.
"Alex Kajitani is an amazing teacher and an incredible communicator and motivator," said O'Connell, who nominated him for the National Teacher of the Year honor. "He is best known for his use of rap music to connect with his students, but his real talent lies in his ability to reach those students who have all but given up on school. Mr. Kajitani employs this cultural medium because of his deep concern about the achievement gap and what it is doing to his students and to all students who are struggling in school."
Teachers from Colorado, Connecticut, and North Carolina were also named last Wednesday as national finalists.
In his application for California's program, Kajitani wrote:
"As a society, we cannot afford to produce 18-year-olds who have only a
sixth grade education. We cannot allow an achievement gap that preys
upon our ethnic minorities, especially our Latino and African American
students, to persist."
Over the past decade, California has had five finalists, including Kajitani, and two have gone on to become the nation's top teacher. The 2009 winner is expected to be announced in April.
Kajitani earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1995, and a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from San Diego State University in 2004.
For more information on Kajitani, his teaching philosophy, and his music, visit The Rappin' Mathematician Web site: http://www.mathraps.com/ Kajitani can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the National Teacher of the Year
Program, a project of The Council of Chief State School Officers, please
URL (Education Agenda): http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/education/
Approximately an hour after taking the oath of office yesterday, President Barrack Obama signed official nomination documents for his Cabinet selections. Later in the afternoon, six of these nominees were confirmed by the Senate in a single voice vote. With this vote, Arne Duncan (http://www.cps.k12.il.us/AboutCPS/people/Duncan/duncan.html) was approved as Secretary of Education.
President Obama's education agenda is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/education/ An excerpt from the K-12 education agenda appears below. (In the original text, each paragraph begins with "Obama and Biden will," which has been removed below to reduce redundancy.)
- Reform No Child Left Behind: Reform NCLB,
which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should
not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in
bubbles on standardized tests. They will improve the assessments used to
track student progress to measure readiness for college and the
workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized
manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB's accountability system
so that schools that need improvement are supported, rather than
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations
The House Appropriations Committee sets funding priorities for every discretionary program in the federal budget. Examples include national security, education, health, environmental protection, criminal justice, housing, rural development, national parks, transportation, veterans' programs, and numerous others. Last Thursday (January 15), the committee, chaired by Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI), released a 13-page summary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. Brief excerpts appear below. For the bill's summary and full text, visit the Web sites above.
In the next two weeks, the Congress will be considering the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. This package is the
first crucial step in a concerted effort to create and save 3 to 4
million jobs, jumpstart our economy, and begin the process of
transforming it for the 21st century with $275 billion in economic
recovery tax cuts and $550 billion in thoughtful and carefully targeted
priority investments with unprecedented accountability measures built
...This plan targets investments to key areas that will create and preserve good jobs at the same time as it is strengthening the ability of this economy to become more efficient and produce more opportunities for employment...
EDUCATION FOR THE 21st CENTURY
We will put people to work building 21st century classrooms,
labs, and libraries to help our kids compete with any worker in the
"Stimulus Plan Aids Education" by Alyson Klein
(3) Majority of U.S. Teens Feel Prepared for Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Yet Many Lack Mentors
Source: Lemelson-MIT Program - 7 January 2009
American teens are embracing the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with increasingly positive attitudes, yet many lack the necessary encouragement from mentors and role models in these fields, according to this year's Lemelson-MIT Invention Index. The annual survey, which gauges Americans' perceptions about invention and innovation, also reveals teens' altruistic intentions and feelings of preparedness to pursue careers in STEM fields.
The 2009 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index found an overwhelming majority of teens surveyed (85 percent) expressed interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with "curiosity about the way things work" as the driving factor for their interest (44 percent). Of those teens expressing interest in these areas of study, most would be motivated to work in related fields out of altruistic versus materialistic motives: more than half of teens (56 percent) selected "protecting the environment" or "improving our society" as their inspiration. Less than one-fifth (18 percent) said they were motivated to pursue science, technology, engineering or mathematics for the purposes of becoming rich or famous. Not only did the majority of teens convey interest in STEM, but 80 percent also feel their schools have prepared them to pursue a career in these fields, should they choose.
Teens' optimism about STEM is also evident in their perceptions of people employed in related professions. Contrary to traditional stereotypes of the "geeky scientist," more than half of teens surveyed (55 percent) believe scientists, engineers and mathematicians are best described as "intelligent" and one-quarter (25 percent) chose "successful." Only five percent of teens selected "nerdy" as the best description.
"As an educator, it's exciting to see that teens have such positive perceptions about science, technology, engineering and mathematics; traditionally, many students find these subjects intimidating," said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer with the Lemelson-MIT Program, a non-profit organization that recognizes outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.
"Increased exposure to STEM through hands-on learning and interaction with teachers and professionals in these fields may be partly responsible for this positive shift in teens' perceptions," added Estabrooks. "It may also continue to help shake off any existing stereotypes, making STEM careers seem more accessible."
Despite interest and feelings of preparedness, nearly two-thirds of teens indicated that they may be discouraged from pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics because they do not know anyone who works in these fields (31 percent) or understand what people in these fields do (28 percent). Estabrooks further states, "If teens feel discouraged from pursuing a career in STEM, society may be deprived of emerging problem solvers and thought leaders to address pressing issues. The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative is one way schools can serve as vehicles to introduce mentors and role models into the process."
Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. The initiative is designed to excite high school students about invention; empower students to problem solve; and encourage an inventive culture in schools and communities. The 2008-2009 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative alone has provided nearly 350 teens with real-world experience and role models in STEM.
"The InvenTeam initiative is just one example of how young people can experience the impact of invention in everyday life. Our hope is that exposing students to mentors in STEM fields will empower and motivate them to seek inventive careers and support their optimism at the high school level," states Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. "As a society, we must continue to cultivate future generations of STEM thinkers and inventors. This is a fundamental investment in the future strength of the U.S. economy."
Additional survey findings:
* Obsolete Inventions: 37 percent of teens surveyed believe
that gas powered cars will most likely be obsolete in five years from
now (versus the landline phone, computer mouse and television).
More Information about the Lemelson-MIT Program and this Survey
The Lemelson-MIT Program recognizes outstanding inventors, encourages sustainable new solutions to real-world problems, and enables and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.
Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history's most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. The Lemelson Foundation, which funds the program, is a private philanthropy that celebrates and supports inventors and entrepreneurs to strengthen social and economic life.
The 2009 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index teen survey was conducted in the Opinion Research Corporation--teen omnibus conducted November 13-17, 2008, using a phone-based, multiple-choice, format. A nationally representative sample of 501 teens, ages 12-17 years old was used. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level was +/- 4.3% for the entire sample.
COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.
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