Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education
31Jan/19Off

The January Beacon is Here!

The latest issue of the CESE Beacon, for January 2019, has arrived!

President Ken Whiton writes "This issue of The Beacon features the work of three insightful authors, all teachers. Confused by PARCC, EOCs, Common Core and NGSS? Then Lisa Durkin's ’s article, “Disentangling Test Talk,” is a must-read. Anyone wanting to improve education in New Mexico should read this issue's article by Jessica Apgar and Jesse Chenven, “Beyond More Money: How to Support and Retain Quality Teachers in NM.” In this article, you will learn where we have progressed, where our system has failed our students, parents and educators, and how to find a path forward."

This issue of the Beacon, along with every other issue, can be found on the CESE Beacon Page.

18Dec/18Off

Secretary of education needs these 9 qualities

The Coalition For Excellence In Science And Math Education (CESE) is a 501c(3) non-partisan entity.

Ken Whiton, President of the Coalition For Excellence In Science And Math Education and retired teacher

We’ve had almost 8 years of turmoil in New Mexico education. Brushing aside all the manipulated statistics and grandstanding, New Mexico’s education system still ranks at, or near, the bottom of all the states in educational achievement. The leadership of the Public Education Department and their agenda have failed us, not our schools or teachers.

We can do better – we must do better. Let’s describe an ideal Secretary of Education.

The new NM Secretary of Education must:

1) Be a true leader, inspiring, validating, encouraging and collaborating with all our teachers, school staff, principals, administrators and district leadership with a vision of what we can be. This means telling the truth at all times instead of constantly issuing self-serving press releases. We need someone who is more interested in New Mexico’s children than in padding a resume hoping to step up to a better job.

2) Defend public education. Approximately 90% of students in America attend public schools. Those students, parents and educators deserve strong support and advocacy.

3) Lead by example. Be a graduate of an accredited College of Education with a minimum of a Masters Degree and a 3.0 or better, GPA. Most teachers have a Masters Degree and many have PhDs. Anyone expecting to lead an education system must have those minimal credentials as a scholar and be a lifelong learner.

4) Have the training to accurately understand data collection and its limitations and uses. One or two college level courses in statistics and their application are essential. In today’s data-driven world, this knowledge is required for fully understanding what works and doesn’t work in any teacher evaluation and school grading system. These tasks cannot be understood or delegated to others without a basic knowledge of statistics and how to use them. Claiming to be data-driven isn’t enough. One must understand what constitutes real data.

5) Foster respect for science. New Mexico is a leader in science. Students should be encouraged to take advantage of this world-class expertise. There isn’t room for pseudoscience, watered-down science, or science tainted by anyone’s personal belief system.

6) Have a minimum of five years of teaching experience in a public school classroom. This is the only way to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to capably fill any administrative position. On the most basic level, successfully managing a classroom and successfully managing adults both require the same communication and people skills. One of the most primary of those is treating everyone with respect.

7) Believe that an important part of “treating everyone with respect,” involves transparency and accessibility. Secrecy and “stonewalling” are out. Transparency and accessibility will be in.

8) Find out why we have a crisis in education and work to find remedies. Enrollment in colleges of education is down and our educators are leaving our state or leaving education entirely. This is according to a study by The New Mexico State University College of Education Southwest Outreach Academic Research Lab, as reported in the Albuquerque Journal, November 4, 2018.

9) Be recognized by students, parents, teachers and administrators, as a superior teacher and leader. This recognition goes far beyond student test scores and teacher evaluations. It asks, is this person a great teacher? Can this person lead others?

When our new governor takes office on January 1, 2019, we hope she will give New Mexico’s children, parents and educators a fresh start with a new Secretary of Education, a qualified candidate who will, beginning on day one, truly listen to parents, teachers, other professional licensed staff, principals and school administrators. Let’s begin a meaningful dialogue that will help all of us feel valued and respected.

These actions will go a long way toward improving morale in public schools that has been steadily deteriorating over the last several years. They will give our students the skills they need to thrive and succeed in today’s rapidly changing world.

Published on December 17th, 2018 in the Albuquerque Journal.

Read more CESE Op-eds here.

17Oct/18Off

It’s the October 2018 Beacon!

Teacher Evaluations: the Gathering Storm

The latest issue of the CESE Beacon, for October 2018, has arrived! In addition to President Ken Whiton's article on what an ideal NM Secretary of Education would be like, there's a major analysis of both the teacher evaluation and school rating systems. CESE believes that these flawed systems are in need of systemic change .

The article also includes "Example 2: What Do the Current PED Mandated Standardized Tests Show?" and "Example 3: How Well Do PED Teacher Evaluations of Effective or Above Rankings Align with PED
ABCDF Grades?"

This issue of the Beacon, along with every other issue, can be found on the CESE Beacon Page.

14Aug/18Off

Marvin Moss, former CESE Board Member

Marvin Moss, a long time member of CESE, and a board member for a number of years, has died in California, where he moved in 2016. He was active in many things, including politics, The New Mexico Academy of Science, and CESE.  He was a founder of the first Montessori school in Albuquerque; both of his daughters attended this school in the 1960s. He also was one of the people who pushed for the creation of Explora, and saw it through until it became real brick and mortar. He loved opera and was a member of the Southwest Opera Guild when he lived here. He met his wife, Joan Carolyn Moss, when he was working in Los Alamos.  Their first date was at the Santa Fe Opera, right after it was first established; Joan passed away in 2001. Marvin was a punster, a player with words, and a very precise speaker. He was an eloquent and passionate defender of science, science education, and civil liberties, and will be missed.

There were no announcements regarding memorials.

The "Darwinist Swat Team", May 16th, 2008. L-R Marvin Moss, Marshall Berman, Genie Scott, Kim Johnson, Mark Boslough, Jesse Johnson and Harry Murphy.

Filed under: News Comments Off
18Jul/18Off

New Board Elected at Annual Meeting

CESE held its 2018 Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018. The meeting included a vote on the new slate. This year's board members are listed on the Board Roster page. After remarks by outgoing president Jesse Johnson, and incoming president Ken Whiton, NCSE's Glenn Branch gave the keynote.

Outgoing president Jesse Johnson addressed the audience. He described the past year's major accomplishments.

Incoming president Ken Whiton talked about CESE's plans for the coming year.

Board member Lisa Durkin was given a special award to acknowledge her years of effort on behalf of CESE.

Lisa Durkin's plaque. It reads :
In Recognition of
Lisa Durkin
CESE past President, and a passionate advocate for the CESE mission over many years. You are an exemplary teacher and role model for all teachers as someone who is personally dedicated to your students’ success. Your colleagues in CESE recognize and honor your dedication and initiative, will forever be grateful for the example you have set, and cherish your friendship.

Kim Johnson introduced keynote speaker Glenn Branch.

Kim presented Glen Branch with a plaque recognizing his efforts supporting opposition to NM PED's anti-science standards in the fall of 2017.

Glenn Branch's plaque reads

In Recognition of
Glenn Branch
Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education. You have supported this organization from its very beginning. You were instrumental in getting national press for the attempted weakening and politicization of Next Generation Science Standards by the New Mexico Public Education Department. You are a true friend to New Mexico.

Glenn Branch spoke on the topic"Why Is It So Hard to Teach Evolution and Climate Change?"

Glenn described anti-science efforts across the nation, and the efforts to oppose politicization of evolution and climate change.

Several members of the CESE board joined Glenn Branch for dinner at El Pinto.

 

Filed under: Governance, News Comments Off
22Jun/18Off

2018 Annual Meeting, June 23rd: Glenn Branch

We are pleased to announce that Glenn Branch, Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) will be the keynote speaker for our 2018 CESE membership meeting. Glenn has written extensively on issues of teaching evolution and climate change. He was instrumental in getting national press for the attempted weakening and politicization of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by the PED. Glenn will answer the question;

Why Is It So Hard to Teach Evolution and Climate Change?

Saturday, June 23, 2018
1:30 PM
The UNM Anthropology Lecture Hall
FREE and open to the public

Directions: From Central and University, go north on University until you get to Las Lomas. Turn right, then right into the parking lot. The lecture will take place in the Anthropology building lecture hall, immediately south of the parking lot. Parking is free on Saturdays. We look forward to seeing you there.

A brief business meeting will follow Glenn's talk.

 

 

5Jun/18Off

Glenn Branch to speak in Los Alamos on Friday, June 22nd

“Doubt and Denial as Challenges to, and in, Teaching Climate Change”

Glenn Branch, Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), will be speaking on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 7 p.m., in Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos, NM.
Sponsored by the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education (cese.org)

Scientists overwhelmingly agree about the occurrence, causes, and consequences of climate change. But the public is not so sure. And science education is suffering as a result. Reviewing recent controversies over the place of climate science in state science standards and summarizing the results of a recent rigorous national survey of science teachers, Glenn will explain how doubt and denial about climate change are affecting science education.

Filed under: General, News Comments Off
25May/18Off

The May 2018 Beacon is Here!

The latest issue of the Beacon, for May 2018, is out, and it's a big issue!  It includes a President’s Message from Jesse Johnson. In "What Will the Candidates for Governor do to comply with the A-B-C-D-F Schools Rating Act?", three candidates responded to our survey, and the Beacon shows what they think about state-required teacher evaluations. We celebrate our State Science Fair Winners. A Toon by Dave Thomas looks at PARCC. Editor Becky Reiss contributed a piece titled "My Genes, Your Genes Your Genes, we All Have the Same Genes." And the Beacon announces our upcoming Annual Meeting, featuring a keynote address by Glenn Branch of NCSE.

 

 

You can catch up on past issues of the Beacon here.

12Dec/17Off

The December 2017 Beacon has Arrived!

Main Article - PED's STEM-Ready Standards

CESE is pleased to announce the publication of the latest Beacon, for December 2017. Edited by Becky Reiss, the new Beacon includes a President’s Message (Jesse Johnson), Editor’s Message (Rebecca Reiss), Next-generation Science Standards Versus New Mexico STEM Ready Standards. The Whole Story? (CESE), A Toon by Thomas, and Notes From The Trenches: Why we Lose Teachers (Lisa Durkin).

Here are some teasers from President Jesse Johnson's introductory article.

I am asking for an answer to a deeper philosophical question than just the wording of math and science standards and I think an earnest discussion regarding this needs to take place. What do we want for our students at the end of their public education? It is a seemingly simple question that is difficult to answer, and I do not believe that we have answered it. If we cannot answer the question of what the end game is, how can we expect to realistically evaluate our teachers, students and schools? Test scores alone do not account the effects of demographics, and leads good teachers in schools populated by impoverished minorities getting poor evaluations. ... If we cannot answer this basic question of what our students should get out of the school system, then we have lost our way. - Jesse Johnson

The Main article, "Next-Generation Science Standards Versus New Mexico STEM Ready Standards: The Whole Story?" 

Lisa Durkin's article

is a detailed account of the PED STEM-Ready Standards showdown. It includes the following sections:

 

  • NM Science Standards: A History
  • The Next Generation Science Standards: A History
  • PED’S “NM STEM-Ready Science Standards”
  • October 16, 2017: The Showdown
  • The Aftermath

What is that Ruszkowski up to now?

This issue's "Toon by Thomas" also involves the Standards debacle.

 

You can catch up on past issues of the Beacon here.

28Oct/17Off

After PED Change on Science Standards, What Now?

After a tumultuous hearing in Santa Fe on October 16th, 2017, NM's Public Education Department has apparently reversed its deletion of topics including evolution, the age of the earth, and climate change from proposed state science standards. While the PED has announced that it will include the complete Next Gen Science Standards (NGSS), some concern remains over the exact nature and wording of six remaining New Mexico-specific additions to the NGSS.

Meanwhile, new concerns are being raised about omissions in history standards, according to the Santa Fe Reporter: "Not Done Yet: As New Mexico's Public Education Department promises new science standards, it quietly guts history and health requirements."

Several CESE board members spoke at the October 16th hearing.

 

The hearing room was packed, and many were turned away for lack of room. Sen. William Soules, D.-Las Cruces, is calling for a public hearing on whether the PED's science standards process violated open-meetings laws.

 

 

CESE board members Lisa Durkin, Becky Reiss, and Terry Dunbar spoke against the PED "STEM-Ready" standards. (Several other CESE members, not pictured, also attended and/or spoke.)

Lisa Durkin

 

Dr. Becky Reiss (behind student testifying)

 

Dr. Terry Dunbar (to left of KOB4 Logo)

On October 19th, CESE secretary Dave Thomas had an op-ed in Socorro's El Defensor Chieftain, titled "Why does PED want to weaken public school science standards?" Dave was also quoted at length in an October 13th Santa Fe New Mexican piece on a pre-hearing Teach-In in Santa Fe, "Teach-in’ uses facts, humor to challenge science standards".

CESE Treasurer Steve  Brügge authored a  guest column in the October 22nd, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, titled "Science standards don’t need New Mexico-only additions." Steve also had a letter in the October 24th Santa Fe New Mexican, "Showing Up."

CESE board member Kim Johnson has been following the situation closely. From the October 18th issue of the Albuquerque Journal, "PED dropping some proposed changes to science standards":

 "The whole concept of changing the Next Generation Standards is silly,” said Kim Johnson, a physicist and former president of the New Mexico Academy of Science. “For goodness sakes, please do not mess with science.” Johnson said Wednesday that PED’s new proposal still omits valuable information, such as a lesson comparing embryos from different species and a framework that provides teachers with guidance for their instruction.."

The next step is to see exactly what PED changes remain in the NGSS standards. Stay tuned for further reports!