In This Issue...
All the best for a joyous holiday season and a reinvigorating winter break! ~ C. Bohlin
Source: California Department of Education
CalEdFacts is a compilation of statistics
and information on a variety of issues concerning education in California. This
useful resource is available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/pn/fb/ One of the items contained in this collection is a 2011 calendar
of education events, available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/pn/fb/yr11calendar.asp
Sources: Kay Garcia (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards-NBPTS, Northern California Office) and Linda Manuel (NBPTS, Southern California Office); California Department of Education
URL (NBPTS): www.nbpts.org
On 15 December 2010, the National Board for
Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) released the names of 342 California
teachers who achieved National Board Certification this year. National Board
Certified Teacher (NBCT) status was granted to 30 teachers in the certification
area of mathematics and 23 in science.
"Teachers earning this prestigious distinction
have demonstrated great skill in teaching after going through a demanding
process to obtain NBCT status," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Jack O'Connell. "I congratulate all teachers who have earned this status for
their hard work, passion, and dedication to the art of teaching. Their
leadership in the classroom is needed to help close the achievement gap and
prepare all students for success in the future."
National Board Certification is a voluntary
assessment program designed to recognize outstanding teachers, reward them, and
increase their skills. While state licensing systems set basic requirements to
teach in each state, NBCTs have successfully demonstrated advanced teaching
knowledge, skills, and practices. The certification process typically takes
between one and three years to complete. As part of the process, teachers build
a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, videotapes, and a
thorough analysis of their classroom teaching, including evidence of fairness,
equity, and access in meeting student needs. Teachers are also assessed on their
knowledge of the subjects they teach.
California's newly certified teachers bring the
statewide total of NBCTs to 4,913 or about 2 percent of the state’s teaching
force. Nationwide, there are 91,000 NBCTs or about 3 percent of the nation’s
For information about the National Board for
Professional Teaching Standards and a listing of districts that have NBCTs,
please visit the NBPTS Web site at www.nbpts.org To see if a teacher in a particular field has received
NBCT status, visit http://www.nbpts.org/resources/nbct_directory The searchable database allows you to sort by city,
state, certificate area, year certified, school district, and certification
area. If you would like to receive this information in an Excel spreadsheet,
please contact Kay Garcia at KGarcia@nbpts.org or
Linda Manuel at LManuel@nbpts.org
(1) Nominations are Currently Being Accepted for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)
California Contacts: Diana Herrington (California PAEMST Coordinator for Mathematics: firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-327-1000) and Jim Miller (California PAEMST Coordinator for Science: email@example.com or 916-319-0600)
The Presidential Award for Excellence in
Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the Nation's highest honor for
teachers of mathematics and science in grades K-12. The awards recognize
outstanding K-12 teachers for their contributions in the classroom and to their
Recipients of the award receive the following:
- A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, which can be used at the recipient's discretion,
- A paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities (see articles below for more information about the recognition events held last week), and
- A citation signed by the President of the United
In addition to recognizing outstanding teaching in
mathematics or science, the program provides teachers with an opportunity to
build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation. This growing
network of award-winning teachers serves as a vital resource for improving
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and keeping America
globally competitive. Since 1983, more than 4,000 teachers have been recognized
for their contributions to mathematics and science education.
Nominations are currently being accepted for
teachers in grades 7-12. Nominations for elementary teachers (grades K-6)
will be accepted during the subsequent nomination period (2011-2012). The
deadline for nominating outstanding middle and high school mathematics and
science teachers is 1 April 2011. The nomination form should be completed
early enough to ensure that the nominated teacher is given enough time to
thoroughly prepare an application that reflects exemplary teaching prior to the
application deadline. Applications are due by 2 May 2011.
The following are eligibility criteria for applicants:
- Teach mathematics or science at the 7-12th grade level in a public or private school.
- Hold at least a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
- Be a full-time employee of the school or school district as determined by state and district policies, and teach K-12 students at least 50% of the time.
- Have at least 5 years of full-time, K-12 mathematics or science teaching experience prior to the 2010-2011 academic school year.
- Teach in one of the 50 states or the four U.S. jurisdictions.
- Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
- Not have received the PAEMST award at the
national level in any prior competition or category.
If you know a gifted math or science teacher,
nominate him or her to join this prestigious network of professionals!
Self-nominations are also encouraged: http://www.paemst.org/controllers/nomination.cfc?method=nominate&self_nomination=true Please direct any questions to the PAEMST state
coordinators. In California, the contacts are listed in the header of this
Source: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy - 20 December 2010
... On December 13, the President welcomed to the
White House the 85 newest recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for
Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed upon scientists
and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. And on
Thursday the newest recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in
Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)--103 of the Nation’s best middle- and
high-school teachers in math and science--met with the President, who showered
them with praise for giving students the preparation they will need in order to
devise innovative solutions to the challenges facing our Nation.
Both awards recognize individuals who are working
to ensure that the United States remains a global leader in science and
technology for generations to come. By shining a spotlight on teachers who are
getting kids excited about science and math in novel and effective ways--and
on scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, have already
distinguished themselves as cutting-edge researchers and community leaders--the
awards help keep the pipeline of American ingenuity flowing.
The PAEMST award recognizes outstanding math and
science teachers and is administered by the National Science Foundation on
behalf of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The award
alternates each year between teachers of grades K-6 and grades 7-12. Recipients
are given a $10,000 award and an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an
awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events. Those
events this year included visits with OSTP Associate Director for Science Carl
Wieman--a noted STEM education researcher and Nobel laureate, Secretary of
Education Arne Duncan, National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh, and
Members of Congress.
In a speech he delivered at the award ceremony for
the PAEMST awardees, OSTP Director John Holdren underscored just how important
top-notch math and science teaching is to the Nation’s future:
"What I see in this room is some of our country’s
best kindling," Dr. Holdren said, referring to the teachers. "You are here this
evening because you know how to spread the spark of curiosity, feed the flame of
enthusiasm, and help bring fully to life within your students the burning desire
to learn more, to consume the knowledge and the experience you bring to the
classroom…. Remember you are fanning embers--generating sparks--that in the
years ahead will catalyze enormous change and will surely make our world a
better and brighter place. For that I am truly grateful, and I thank you for
Source: U.S. Department of Education
On 15 December 2010, the Presidential Awardees for
Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Education offered Education
Secretary Arne Duncan advice about how to leverage the "huge opportunities" that
exist in our country to move forward with education reform.
Soliciting their input on a range of issues,
Duncan called on teachers whom he described as "the best of the best" to share
their ideas to improve the quality of education that students get in our
country. Citing recent PISA scores released by the OECD this month that rank the
United States as 17th in science and 25th in math, Duncan said, "This is about
more than just math and science. It’s about our country’s strength and long term
Recommendations from the teachers focused on
improving teacher preparation and professional development and on holding
parents and students accountable for their part of a child’s education. When
Becky Jones, of West Virginia, called for more rigorous training of elementary
math and science teachers, affirmations of "Yes!" reverberated through the
audience of PAEMST winners. Awardee Camsie Matis, a science teacher and Einstein
Fellow from New York, offered to work with other PAEMST winners to mentor other
math and science teachers. Other winners offered to write up their teaching
ideas, which the Department will post soon on the blog (see http://www.ed.gov/blog/).
Award-Winning Teachers Revel in a Scarce Resource: Time To Talk
Source/Contact: Siemens STEM Academy
The Siemens STEM Academy strives to
provide the most useful and effective resource library for promoting STEM
education. To accomplish this, we need your help! Be among the first 75 teachers
to upload and describe two or more resources and receive a free Siemens STEM
Academy tote bag to carry around your notebooks and lesson
By sharing your lesson plans,
multi-media presentations, worksheets, and other resources, you are helping
other educators from around the country bring STEM education to life in their
classrooms. Visit the Web site above to upload your resources, and search the
database of STEM teacher resources at http://siemensstemacademy.com/index.cfm?event=showResourceLanding&c=37
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
The NAEP (National Assessment of Educational
Progress) Data Explorer for the High School Transcript Study database now
provides more information on the course-taking patterns of high school
graduates. Users can access the data and create statistical tables and charts on
the types of courses students take, credits earned, grade point averages, the
relationship between course-taking patterns and achievement on NAEP assessments,
and performance on other assessments.
Source: American Institute of
Physics - 22 December 2010 issue of FYI
On Tuesday afternoon, House Science and Technology
Committee Chairman Bart Gordon rose on the House floor to [call up H.R. 5116,
the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010]... The House’s consideration
of H.R. 5116 took about an hour. Gordon and House Science and Technology
Committee Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX) each controlled half of the time.
Hall becomes the chairman of the Science Committee when the new Congress
convenes in early January. The House debate followed passage of this bill by
the Senate on Friday.
Gordon began by citing the "Rising Above the
Gathering Storm" report, and spoke of efforts on both sides of the aisle and in
both ends of the Capitol to draft this legislation. He concluded his remarks by
"I cannot think of anything I would rather be doing, on what is likely my final act on this House floor after 26 years of service, than sending this bill to the President's desk. It's important to me personally because I have a 9-year-old daughter, and if we do not want our children and grandchildren to inherit a national standard of living less than their parents, a reversal of the American Dream, we need to support research, foster innovation, and improve education... [Visit the Web site above for more information about points made in support of and against this bill. Also see article below for more details about the bill.] The debate ended with brief closing remarks by Chairman Gordon and Ranking Member Hall. When the roll call vote was taken, 228 representatives voted for passage, and 130 against. No Democratic representative opposed the bill. Sixteen Republican representatives voted for the bill, and the remainder were opposed.
Source: Office of Congressman Dan Lipinski
Research and Science Education Subcommittee
Chairman Dan Lipinski is a co-author of the America COMPETES Reauthorization
Act, H.R. 5116, which the President is now expected to sign into
"I’m proud to have helped write and pass the
America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, which makes essential, job-creating
investments in advanced research and science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics education," said Congressman Lipinski, a former professor and one of
the few members of Congress trained as an engineer. "I am grateful for the
valuable feedback I received from the Association of American Universities and
the Association of Public Land-grant Universities while writing the NSF title of
this bill. Because of their expertise, and because of what I learned from
scientists and research administrators across the country, I believe this
legislation will have an enduring positive impact on university-based research
and STEM education programs...
The COMPETES reauthorization includes Congressman
Lipinski’s National Science Foundation reauthorization bill, H.R. 4997. Under
the legislation, annual funding for STEM education will increase significantly,
rising by nearly 20 percent by 2013, and new grant and fellowship programs are
authorized to improve STEM education... [Visit URL above for more details about
this bill's provisions.]
"The reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act
takes a critical piece of legislation and makes it even better," Congressman
Lipinski said. "It is an important first step on the path to doubling investment
in basic research programs; supports transformative research in key areas such
as clean energy; improves STEM education; invests in research to enhance the
manufacturing sector’s productivity and innovation; and improves programs to
ensure researchers’ discoveries translate into new products, jobs, and
companies. This legislation builds on the longstanding and highly successful
partnership between the federal government and our nation’s colleges and
universities, which has yielded countless extraordinary scientific advances and
has helped lay the foundation for America’s economic growth and prosperity over
the last 60 years."
Over 1,000 years before Pythagoras was calculating
the length of a hypotenuse, sophisticated scribes in Mesopotamia were working
with the same theory to calculate the area of their farmland.
Working on clay tablets, students would "write"
out their math problems in cuneiform script, a method that involved making
wedge-shaped impressions in the clay with a blunt reed.
These tablets bear evidence of practical as well
as more advanced theoretical math and show just how sophisticated the ancient
Babylonians were with numbers--more than a millennium before Pythagoras and
Euclid were doing the same in ancient Greece.
"They are the most sophisticated mathematics from
anywhere in the world at that time," said Alexander Jones, a Professor of the
History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity at New York
He is co-curator of "Before Pythagoras: The
Culture of Old Babylonian Mathematics," an exhibition at the Institute for the
Study of the Ancient World in New York.
"This is nearly 4,000 years ago and there's no
other ancient culture at that time that we know of that is doing anything like
that level of work. It seems to be going beyond anything that daily life needs,"
Many scribes were trained in the ancient city of
Nippur in what is now southern Iraq, where a large number of tablets were
discovered between the mid-19th century and the 1920s. Typical problems they
worked on involved calculating the area of a given field, or the width of a
These problems, says Jones, required the kind of
math training taught to American Grade 10 students, but not in a format we would
"It's not like algebra, it's all written out in
words and numerals but no symbols and no times signs or equals or anything like
that," he said.
This system, and the lack of recognizable Western
mathematical symbols such as x and y, meant that it was several years before
historians and archaeologists understood just what was represented on these
It took a young Austrian mathematician in the
1920s, named Otto Neugebauer, to crack the mathematical system and work out what
the ancient Babylonians were calculating. But despite his advances, it is only
recently that interest in Babylonian math has started to take
"I think that before Neugebauer and even after
Neugebauer, there wasn't a lot of attention placed on mathematical training in
Babylon even though we have this rich cuneiform history with the tablets," said
Jennifer Chi, Associate Director for Exhibitions and Public Programs at
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.
One of the aims of the institute, she says, is to
find interconnections between ancient cultures as well as look at what the
institute sees as under-represented ancient cultures--and the culture of ancient
Babylonian math, she says, is ripe for popular revision.
"When we think of ancient mathematics, the first
names that come to mind are Pythagoras and Euclid," she said, but that "this
shouldn't be the case"... [Visit the Web site above for more information about
the mathematics contained in these tablets.]
Related Web site:
(9) True Loves Be Warned: Despite Weak Economic Picture PNC Christmas Price Index Jumps A Staggering 9.2 Percent
Source: PNC Wealth Management
Despite a sluggish economy and low inflation, the
2010 PNC Christmas Price Index (CPI) surged 9.2 percent in the whimsical
economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management based on the gifts in the holiday
classic, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." To view the multimedia assets
associated with this release, please visit http://www.multivu.com/players/English/42903-PNC-Christmas-Price-Index/
According to the 27th annual survey, the price tag
for the PNC CPI is $23,439 in 2010, $1,974 more than last year. This is the
second highest jump ever and largest percentage increase since 2003 when the
index rose 16 percent. That comes on the heels of a modest 1.8 percent increase
a year ago.
"This year's jump in the PNC CPI can be attributed
to rising gold commodity prices, represented by the Five Gold Rings which went
up by 30 percent, in addition to higher costs for wages and benefits impacting
some entertainers," said James Dunigan, managing executive of investments for
PNC Wealth Management... Among the 12 gifts in the PNC CPI, only four items
(Pear Tree, Four Calling Birds, Six Geese a–Laying and the Eight
Maids-a-Milking) were the same price from last year...
After modest increases last year, prices for the
birds flew higher in this year's index, in part due to the costs of feed as well
as the availability and demand for certain feathered friends that amplified
several prices. The Two Turtle Doves increased 78.6 percent to $100 and the
Three French Hens surged 233 percent to $150...
As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth
Management also tabulates the "True Cost of Christmas," which is the total cost
of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song's verses. This
holiday season, very generous True Loves have to fork over $96,824 for all 364
gifts, an even more eye-popping 10.8 percent increase compared to last
For a historical look at PNC's index, the updated
Web site can be viewed at www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com. This year's site incorporates interactivity with a
pop-up book theme narrated by Dunigan, allowing visitors to enjoy and reveal the
2010 PNC CPI results at their own pace.
Each year, educators across the country use the
Christmas Price Index to teach economic trends to middle and high school
students. With that in mind, this year's site includes interactive activities,
annual results and PNC CPI trends in a Flash presentation, MP3 download, games
and much more.
COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.
~ To unsubscribe from COMET,
following message to firstname.lastname@example.org: Unsubscribe
~ To subscribe to COMET, send the following message to email@example.com: Subscribe COMET [followed by your name]
Subscribe COMET Arne Duncan
COMET is produced by:
2010 Archive >