COMET  Vol. 12, No. 4 - 4 March 2011

In This Issue...




ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)

Title 5 Regulations Approved for Two New Mathematics Specialist Authorizations

Sources: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
URL: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2011-03/2011-03-2C.pdf

URL (Video): http://tinyurl.com/4l3k22w


At its meeting yesterday, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved modifications to Title 5 regulations pertaining to the new Mathematics Instructional Added Authorization (MIAA) and Mathematics Instructional Leadership Specialist (MILS) Credential. Approved changes include updating the title, requirements, and instructional authorizations for the MILS Credential (originally the Mathematics Specialist Instruction Credential) and adding regulations and authorizations for the MIAA. This approval was required "in order to schedule a public hearing following the required 45-day response period." 

Each of these two new authorizations would allow the holder to teach mathematics in grades K-12 up to and including either pre-Algebra or Algebra I. The level would depend on the program candidate's assessed level of mathematics content knowledge. A MILS Credential would require that the applicant possess a MIAA.

Commission Consultant Tammy Duggan, who presented this agenda item, noted that an MIAA holder would be a leader at the school site level, whereas a MILS Credential holder would receive more advanced training to perform leadership duties at the school district or county level. Consultant Terry Janicki directed attention to page 2C-7 of the agenda item document (http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2011-03/2011-03-2C.pdf), where additional duties that a MILS credential holder needs to be prepared to perform at the district level are described.

Commissioner Hilda Villarreal Wright noted that she has been a math coach at the middle school level for five years.  She asked, "If someone doesn't have this, can they still be a coach?" Consultant Duggan responded that a person with a single subject teaching credential in math would be able to serve as a math coach. The new authorizations provide employers with evidence that a teacher has advanced training.

Commissioner Wright asked whether the content knowledge expected of a MIAA/MILS candidate would now include the new California Common Core State Standards (CaCCSS). Consultant Janicki responded that four to five Math Panel members had looked at the elaborated math content that was included in the Program Preconditions and made some changes in light of the CaCCSS.

Commissioner Wright also asked how mathematics content knowledge would be verified for a MIAA program candidate. Consultant Janicki responded, "It will be up to the individual universities. We're actually working with our testing vendor currently to create an examination that would be an entrance examination that would verify [mathematics content knowledge]. And we're working with panelists to determine that [this] examination would measure the content...in those content specifications. But then, in addition, an individual university could choose to have--in engaging with their math faculty--to have some other method [that would be approved by CTC] to verify that they have the subject matter knowledge. The way the [Math] Panel thought of this is that it's really critically important that they have the math skill and the math background before they learn the specific math pedagogy."

Consultant Janicki later added that the specifications for the prerequisite mathematics content knowledge for admission to a MIAA program is provided in detail in the adopted Program Standards and Preconditions. (Note: See the "Program Standards Handbook" at http://www.ctc.ca.gov/educator-prep/standards/mathematics-specialist-handbook.pdf)

Consultant Teri Clark added that the current Subject Matter Authorization (SMA) in Introductory Mathematics, while requiring 32 units of mathematics, "doesn't require anything about pedagogy." She stated that the new MIAA "would be an authorization that is steeped in the same level of content [as the SMA]...but it's going to be heavily influenced by content-specific pedagogy -- not only do you know the mathematics but do you know how to teach the mathematics.... [The members of the Panel felt that the MIAA and the MILS are] going to be better than the Subject Matter Authorization that is out there now."

In response to a question regarding the availability of these programs, Consultant Janicki replied, "It's up to universities to decide whether they want to offer one or both or neither [program]."

Institutions wishing to develop a MIAA or a MILS credential program may contact Terry Janicki at tjanicki@ctc.ca.gov or Rebecca Parker at rparker@ctc.ca.gov.



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Discussion of Preconditions for Foundational-Level Mathematics Subject Matter Programs

Sources: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
URL (Agenda): http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2011-03/2011-03-agenda.html

URL (FLM): http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2011-03/2011-03-3A.pdf


The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing adopted proposed program preconditions to reduce the minimum number of semester units required for a Foundational-Level General Science (FLGS) subject matter program from 45 to 32 at its 27 January 2011 meeting. A similar proposal for the Foundational-Level Mathematics (FLM) subject matter program was presented for discussion at yesterday's Commission meeting. At least 20 of the proposed 32 units would be mathematics courses, and 12 units would be "affiliated" or mathematics-based courses. The foundational-level programs were primarily designed to improve instruction in mathematics and science, particularly through the middle school level.

The preparation of middle school mathematics teachers is a topic of great concern for many mathematics teacher educators. Members of the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE) recently discussed this topic at a session at the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators' conference in Irvine, California. See http://camte.org/AMTE_Pre-Conf_2011.html to view the presentation files. The FLM credential was a much-discussed topic during this session. Part of the concern was that no FLM subject matter programs currently exist in the state, so those desiring the credential must earn it by passing two subject matter content exams (CSET: Mathematics Subtests I and II) and a single subject methods course. The current agenda item was designed to help address this limitation by reducing the required number of math units in a subject matter (waiver) program, which would assist most institutions in being able to develop programs that could be approved by the Commission.

California State University, Chico mathematics professor Jorgen Berglund addressed the Commission on behalf of CAMTE, stating that he was both concerned and excited about this particular agenda item. While the proposed move from 45 to 32 units would allow more campuses to create potentially strong FLM subject matter programs (if the approved courses are well-designed), there is still concern over the instructional authorization of the FLM. Although it was clear from their comments that most Commissioners view the FLM as an authorization for teachers of middle school mathematics, Jorgen made the point that the FLM allows a credential holder to teach Algebra II, which is typically taught at the high school level and is the minimal level of mathematics required for admission to California State University. He noted that it is thus possible for a student to enter college having only had a mathematics teacher with an FLM credential, which is a concern. Thus, the Commission may wish to revisit the teaching authorization of the FLM.

Jorgen also shared some of his research on the mathematics preparation of teachers who have earned an FLM credential by passing the two required CSET: Mathematics subtests, pointing out that in many cases the teachers have not taken more than one or two college-level mathematics courses. He noted that while the CSET subtests do contain very challenging mathematics content (as Commissioner Mark Freathy--whose son and he both took and passed the mathematics subtests--shared at the meeting), it appears conceivable that someone can pass the tests if these items are skipped.

In her presentation of this agenda item, Consultant Helen Hawley made a distinction between the Subject Matter Authorization (SMA) for Introductory Mathematics (which requires 32 units of non-remedial mathematics) and the proposed 32-unit FLM subject matter program. "One advantage of the Foundational-Level Math over the Subject Matter Authorization for math is that these [FLM] are approved programs that have to meet the same standards that are in the full credential for a more limited scope and aligned with the K-12 standards. The Subject Matter Authorization as mentioned before is just a collection of 32 college-level mathematics [units]...  So this is a similar scope to the Foundational-Level Math, but there's no review of these programs [SMA] by the Commission; they're not approved--it's just a collection of coursework that fits that scope... Another advantage [of the FLM] is that the SMA [just] adds onto another credential. The Foundational-Level Math credential is a stand-alone credential, and it can be coupled [with another credential]... If a person chose to get a Multiple Subject credential and a Foundational-Level Math credential...[he or she] would only need to take a few additional courses to be able to have both the Multiple Subject and a Foundational-Level credential in their undergraduate program. That would perhaps solve some of the issues that you're looking at for the Math Specialist leadership [credential]..." Consultant Teri Clark added later that the Single Subject Math credentials (full and FLM) and the new MIAA/MILS credential all include subject-specific pedagogy instruction, whereas the SMA does not.

Consultant Hawley later said that the Commission would provide technical assistance to universities regarding the scope of the mathematics content for FLM subject matter programs.

This agenda item did indeed spark quite a bit of conversation, and the interested reader is encouraged to view the video of the meeting at http://tinyurl.com/49bwmhl It would also be instructive to read the full text of the agenda item: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2011-03/2011-03-3A.pdf

Since this was a discussion item, no formal action was taken at this time, but it was noted that conversations with interested parties will continue.




ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS)

Pi Day is Coming Soon

Source 1: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Source 2: Annenberg Learner Update March 2011
URL: http://www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?id=2147483830
URL: http://www.learner.org/about/news.html#10


The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a Web page dedicated to the celebration of "Pi Day," celebrated annually on March 14 (3/14). On that day, a "Pi Minute" can be celebrated at 1:59. Visit http://www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?id=2147483830 for links to a number of other interesting Web sites devoted to Pi Day.

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Annenberg Learner produces a monthly newsletter with a plethora of links to Web sites related to special days in the month such as March 14, which is not only Pi Day but the anniversary of Albert Einstein's birth in 1879. Visit http://www.learner.org/about/news.html#10 and peruse the links to a number of lessons and videos.


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Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in Science Results Announced

Source: National Center for Education Statistics
URL: http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/


The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) announced the results of "The Nation's Report Card: Science 2009 Trial Urban District Assessment" (TUDA) on February 24. To access a variety of files related to this study, please visit http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/

Representative samples of fourth- and eighth-grade public school students from 17 urban districts across the United States participated in the 2009 science assessment. Between 900 and 2,200 students were assessed at each grade in the participating districts. Students responded to questions designed to measure their knowledge of science. The content of the NAEP science assessment is guided by the 2009 NAEP science framework (http://www.nagb.org/publications/frameworks/science-09.pdf). It provides the theoretical basis for the assessment and describes the types of questions that should be included and how they should be designed and scored. (See http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/science/whatmeasure.asp)

The framework organizes science content into the following three broad areas reflecting the science curriculum students are generally exposed to across the K-12 curriculum:

- Physical Science -- Includes concepts related to properties and changes of matter, forms of energy, energy transfer and conservation, position and motion of objects, and forces affecting motion.
- LifeScience -- Includes concepts related to organization and development, matter and energy transformations, interdependence, heredity and reproduction, and evolution and diversity.
- Earth and Space Sciences -- Includes concepts related to objects in the universe, the history of the Earth, properties of Earth materials, tectonics, energy in Earth systems, climate and weather, and biogeochemical cycles.

In addition to science content, the framework assesses student understanding of how scientific knowledge is used by measuring what students are able to do with the science content. These four science practices describe how science knowledge is used.

- Identifying Science Principles -- Focuses on students' ability to recognize, recall, define, relate, and represent basic science principles in each of the three content areas.
- Using Science Principles -- Focuses on the importance of science knowledge in making accurate predictions about and explaining observations of the natural world.
- Using Scientific Inquiry -- Focuses on designing, critiquing, and evaluating scientific investigations; identifying patterns in data; and using empirical evidence to validate or criticize conclusions.
- Using Technological Design -- Focuses on the systematic process of applying science knowledge and skills to propose or critique solutions to real world problems, identify trade-offs, and anticipate effects of technological design decisions.

Summary of Findings:

- At grade 4, scores in large cities overall and in 14 of the 17 participating districts were lower than the score for the nation. Scores for Austin, Charlotte, and Jefferson County were not significantly different from the score for the nation. View more grade 4 results and achievement gaps across participating districts at http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/g4_district.asp
- At grade 8, scores in large cities overall and in 16 of the 17 districts were lower than the score for the nation. The score for Austin was not significantly different from the score for the nation. View more grade 8 results and achievement gaps across participating districts at http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/g8_district.asp

For more information, browse the report online at http://nationsreportcard.gov/science_2009/tuda_science_2009_report/ or download a copy of the report from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/dst2009/2011452.asp


________________________________________________________

Statement by U.S. Education Secretary Duncan on 'The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment, Science 2009'

Source: U.S. Department of Education - 24 February 2011
URL: http://tinyurl.com/4uec2eo


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement on "The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment, Science 2009," National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at Grades 4 and 8:

"The results released today show that students in our cities are further behind in science than in reading and mathematics. In the 21st century economy, today's students will need scientific knowledge to be the world-class innovators and inventors who will sustain America's long-term economic prosperity. With 44 percent of fourth graders and 56 percent of eighth graders scoring below NAEP's basic level, these results show that large city districts aren't preparing enough students to succeed in the knowledge economy.

"President Obama is committed to improving achievement in science and has set a goal to recruit 100,000 new science and mathematics teachers over the next decade. In his fiscal 2012 budget, he's investing more than $4 billion to improve the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of teachers in the classroom. Of that investment, $206 million will improve the quality of teaching in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and another $80 million will prepare future math and science teachers. The budget also will support the recruitment of effective teachers in science and other subjects into hard-to-staff schools, many of which are in urban districts.

"In his State of the Union Address, the President called on parents, teachers, administrators, academics, local leaders, and the private sector to work together to advance science and mathematics education. Our nation's long-term economic prosperity depends on providing a world-class education to all students regardless of their zip code."


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U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan Addresses the Senate Budget Committee on the President's FY 2012 Education Budget

URL (Hearing): http://tinyurl.com/4adhljw
URL (Budget): http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget12/index.html
URL (Duncan): http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=ad2e450e-5c0c-4551-a383-cd2060386d07


On March 1, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing to receive testimony about the President's FY 2012 education budget from U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

Video and a transcription of Committee Chairman Kent Conrad's opening remarks and questions for Secretary Duncan, archived video of the entire hearing (2.25 hours), and Secretary Duncan's prepared testimony can be found on the Web site above.

Senator Conrad's opening remarks included the following:

"I am very pleased to welcome Secretary Duncan to the Budget Committee today. This is the Secretary’s first appearance before the Committee, and we look forward to his testimony.

 I personally believe that education is the key to our country’s economic future... So, even as we look to cut spending to bring down the deficit, which we must do, we also need to ensure that we get our priorities right. And education needs to be a priority as we proceed with reducing government expenditure. We need to be careful not to cut education in a way that would come back to hurt the nation’s long-term economic growth and security. We simply must maintain a strong education system if we want to keep pace with our global competition.

"Let me just go through quickly a couple of charts that I think raise concern. First of all, we are now falling behind competitors in key areas. American students no longer are at the top of their class. We rank 25th out of 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in math, well below the OECD average. 

We rank 17th out of 34 OECD countries in science. [Charts shown during the hearing on these statistics and more can be found at http://tinyurl.com/4sfrpb6] Our global competitors are making education a priority. The contrast with China is striking. In the mid-80's, we produced nearly as many engineers in graduate school as China. But now, China is producing far more engineers than we do... The education achievement gap that has opened between the United States and its global competition is already hurting our economic strength... Education is a key to our past success and our future strength."

Secretary Duncan's remarks can be found at the Web site above. Below are two paragraphs from his 5+ page prepared statement.

"...The President is proposing to sustain and expand important reforms by providing $900 million for Race to the Top... In the first two RTT competitions, forty-six States created bold comprehensive reform plans that have buy-in from governors, legislators, local educators, union leaders, business leaders and parents. The 2012 request would focus on supporting district-level reform plans while also emphasizing cost-effective strategies that improve student achievement in a time of tight budgets. The Department would also carve out a portion of funds for rural school districts to ensure that communities of all sizes and from all geographic areas are able to compete for a fair share of Race to the Top funds.

"The 2012 request also would encourage reform and innovation through a $300 million request for the Investing in Innovation (i3) program to develop, evaluate, and scale up promising and effective models and interventions with the potential to improve educational outcomes for hundreds of thousands of students. The request includes priorities for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and early learning, as well as an overall focus on increasing productivity to achieve better student outcomes. The Department would include a refined rural priority in the i3 competition to ensure geographic diversity in the communities served by recipients, and would fund applications from providers and other entities proposing evidence-based approaches to address the unique needs and priorities of rural districts and schools. We also would take a page from the Department of Defense by creating a new Advanced Research Projects Agency: Education (ARPA-ED) that would use $90 million in discretionary and mandatory funds to pursue breakthrough developments in educational technology and learning systems, support systems for educators, and tools that improve outcomes from early learning through postsecondary education. We see this as a natural complement to the innovations found in the field through the i3 program..."

The Secretary answered questions from Senators for over an hour following his prepared statement. Topics of discussion included Pell grants, the high school drop-out rate, and the importance of early childhood education, among others.


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Related Articles

"Obama Signs Bill to Head off Government Shutdown" by Brian Montopoli

Source: CBS News - 2 March 2011
URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20038315-503544.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody


President Obama has signed a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government running beyond Friday.

The bill, which the president signed in the Oval Office Wednesday afternoon, provides funding for government operations and means a temporary reprieve from a government shutdown.

The Democrat-led Senate passed the measure earlier in the day in a 91-9 vote. The Republican-led House passed it on Tuesday.

The bill, which cuts federal spending by about $4 billion, provides just two weeks of government funding. Lawmakers must now scramble to work out a new agreement before March 18th, when the short-term resolution runs out, to avoid a shutdown.

Democrats and Republicans were able to work out a deal on the two-week extension bill because the spending cuts came from areas where both parties agree. The $4.1 billion in cuts in the extension bill includes $1.24 billion in cuts to eight programs that Mr. Obama targeted for termination in his 2012 budget.

Those programs include $650 million in highway funding and $468 million in education funding among other measures. [Note: According to EdWeek, these programs include the National Writing Project and Teach for America, among others; see http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2011/03/short-term_measure_cuts_a.html ] The remaining $2.7 billion is from cutting 2010 earmark funding.

But crafting a longer-term spending bill - one that goes through the rest of the fiscal year, which expires September 30 - will be a challenge... [See last week's issue of COMET for information on H.R. 1: http://tinyurl.com/4t8wa9o]


 


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