Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education

2014 Annual Meeting Minutes are Posted!

Click here to read the minutes of the 2014 Annual Meeting (June 7th). Comments from out-going president Terry Dunbar, and from in-coming president Patty Finley; election of slate for 2013-2014; presentation of award, general discussion.


 Want more Annual Meeting Minutes? Click here!


Does a Brutal Winter mean ‘So Much for Global Warming?

days-below-0-fNow that we're leaving the winter of 2013-2014 behind, we've probably heard several comments to the effect "With all this snow back east, so much for Global Warming, huh?"

However, this season's bizarre ups-and-downs are more of a symptom of climate change than a disproof of the same. Yes, there can still be heavy storms - a warmer climate means more moisture, and the potential for more snow at times.

The fact is, there used to be more frequent snow-storms before the late 20th century.  A recent XKCD cartoon called "Cold" makes this point very well. The cartoon shows that the frequency of days below 0 degrees F in St. Louis, Mo. has fallen off as global warming continues.

A few months back, CESE's Kim Johnson and Dave Thomas were guests on the 94 Rock Morning Show, and discussed various topics related to climate and warming. As  prep for the show, Dave downloaded 80 years of climate data for the Albuquerque International Sunport, and plotted a chart similar to XKCD's for St. Louis. The same trend exists in Albuquerque - frigid days (below 0 deg. Fahrenheit) used to happen two or three times a decade before 1990, but only one such day has occurred since 1990 - and that was the infamous Groundhog Day Blizzard, which paralyzed much of the nation for a couple of days in February 2011.  If you were in Albuquerque in the winter of 1970-71, you probably remember the severe cold snap of 17 deg. below zero. It's on the chart!

Groundhog day Blizzard in Peralta, NM, February 2011

The Groundhod Day Blizzard of 2011, as seen by Dave Thomas at his home in Peralta, NM.

You can listen to Kim and Dave on 94 Rock at these links:


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Be Friends with CESE on Facebook!


CESE now has a new Facebook Page. Check it out, and be sure to Like the page, and Share it with your friends!

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2013 Annual Meeting Minutes are Posted!

Click here to read the 2013 Annual Meeting (June 29).  Comments from out-going president Ken Whiton, and from in-coming president Terry Dunbar; election of slate for 2013-2014; keynote speaker Zack Kopplin, on "Why we need a Second Giant Leap."

My beautiful picture

Zack Kopplin addresses the CESE 2013 Annual Meeting.

 Want more Annual Meeting Minutes? Click here!


New Mexico, Brace for a Zack Attack!

It's just a few days until our 2013 Annual Meeting! We hope you will join us to hear young dynamo Zack Kopplin, who will be speaking on the topic "Why we need a Second Giant Leap."

zack-hardballThe Time: Saturday, June 29th, 1:00 PM.

The Place: the main lecture hall at Northrop Hall, Room 122, on the University of New Mexico campus.

Zack has led a vigorous opposition to that state's anti-science legislation, the so-called “Louisiana Science Education Act,” which was introduced by Governor Bobby Jindal. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. You can be sure he'll have some interesting things to say Saturday.

Click here for a map to Northrop Hall, and here for a one-page flyer to post on bulletin boards and such.

Bring a friend!


Zack Kopplin to be Keynote Speaker for Annual Meeting

CESE is pleased to announce that our keynote speaker for this year's Annual Meeting (to be held on Saturday, June 29th, 1:00-4:30 in Albuquerque, New Mexico) will be none other than Louisiana activist Zack Kopplin. Kopplin has led a vigorous opposition to that state's anti-science legislation, the so-called "Louisiana Science Education Act."

Read Zack's March 22nd 2013 op-ed in the Guardian (UK) here. Stay tuned to the CESE website for details of the annual meeting are finalized; click here for descriptions of previous annual meetings.

Also, read some of Zack's work at the "Creeping Creationist Vouchers" website.

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CESE Webmaster Goes on Speaking Tour

It's the Spring Break 2013 Climate Change Speaking Tour!

It's Spring Break at New Mexico Tech, and CESE webmaster Dave Thomas is taking a road trip to give a series of talks on the topics of science, pseudoscience, climate change and global warming denial. Here is the schedule. There is a small fee for the Lifelong Learning classes.


  • LifeLong Learning for New Mexicans: Science, Pseudoscience and the Battle over Global Warming
    Instructor: David Thomas, $14/2 sessions; Monday, March 11 & 18, 10 am – 12N;
    Faith Lutheran Church, 10000 Spain Road, NE, Albuquerque, NM
    The first of these two lectures will examine what makes science unique among human endeavors. While political, religious and legal arguments all involve making one's case by cherry-picking facts,science proceeds by cherry- picking those hypotheses that best explain all facts. We will consider the role of scientific consensus and peer review, Cargo Cult science, cognitive illusions and more. At the second meeting, we will consider how these concepts apply to climate change and global warming. Why is carbon dioxide more worrisome than other greenhouse gases? How can we tell man-made warming from natural climate change? Has the "Climategate" scandal really disproved global warming? Has science found human-caused global warming to be real, or do we need more data?
  • New Mexico Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA), March 12, 2013
    Dave Thomas on "Climate Change: Just Nature, or are Humans the Problem?" The AWMA March meeting will be in the Banquet Room at the Golden Corral Buffet and Grill, (10415 Central Avenue NE, northeast corner at Eubank) in Albuquerque on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Dave, a New Mexico physicist and teacher, will talk about how can we tell man-made warming from natural climate change, why carbon dioxide is more worrisome than other greenhouse gases, whether the "Climategate" scandal really disproved global warming, if more data are still needed to decide, and more.
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The November Beacon is On Line!

The November 2012 Beacon  (Vol XVI, No 3) is online!

Contents Preview: President’s Message from Ken Whiton. Message from Editor Kim Johnson - "Here They Come Again!"  Plus "Clarification on the Urey-Miller Experiment (initial creation of organic molecules on Earth) that creationists never get right" by Dr. Paul Braterman.

You can browse previous issues of the Beacon here.

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CESE Welcomes New Board Member

CESE is pleased to welcome our newest Board Member at Large, Patty Finley.

Patty is a chemical engineer who taught high school science for many years and middle school science for one year. Patty's interests include statistical analysis, which she worked on in quality control years ago.

Welcome aboard, Patty!

The full board is listed here.


Message from CESE 2012-2013 president Ken Whiton

Cheers to the board and our membership for a great annual meeting.


  • Thanks to Terry for a great year as president.
  • Thanks to Matt for serving as our Vice President.
  • Thanks to Jerry for serving so long and so effectively as our treasurer.
  • Thanks to Marilyn for her expertise and dedication as our secretary.
  • Thanks to our At Large Board Members: Rebecca, Marshall, Steve, Cindy, Lisa, Jack, Jesse, Kim, Marvin and Dave.
  • Thanks to Pauline Eisenstadt for her insider's explanation of the inner workings of that often beneficial, often malevolent organism we know as our state legislature.  It's a sad commentary on our history that being the first woman to serve in both houses of the legislature is a noteworthy achievement, but I know we're glad it was Pauline.  Thanks to Pauline for all the good work she did to make New Mexico a better place to live and especially for taking the lead in the Evolution Wars.  I read part of the Evolution Chapter relating the history of the battle for Science in our public schools and recommend to book to everyone.
  • Thanks to all who made the meeting a success:
  • Thanks to Kim who arranged for Pauline to be our speaker,
  • Thanks to "The Amazing Dave" who held our rapt attention with a magic trick so stunning he didn't need a shapely female assistant.  Dave also obtained our new domain name and arranged for the room, with the help of sponsor Les McFadden of UNM Geology Department.
  • Jerry and Nancy, who signed people in at the door,
  • Cindy who managed the book sales,
  • Marilyn, who provided doughnuts and sent e-mail notices about the meeting,
  • Thanks to those who had the foresight to create and sustain this organization.
  • Thanks to all our loyal and supportive members.  Nothing would happen without you.
  • Thanks to you for entrusting me to lead CESE as your president.  I know I can count on you all for guidance and support.

CESE Goals   2012/2013

  1. Continue the Murfin work.  This is our most important contribution to teaching and learning in New Mexico.  No one else is setting aside hunches, solutions that feel good, or solutions based on anecdotal information, in favor of cold-blooded research, statistical analysis and fearless presentation of the facts.   At this moment, "Think New Mexico" is pushing their "Smaller Schools Initiative," claiming they have research showing, "smaller schools have better graduation rates and stronger school achievement, particularly for the most vulnerable students."   Walt Murfin's method proves otherwise.  Meanwhile The Santa Fe School District is already moving in that direction.  No other organization is able to separate those factors which affect student performance but are outside the control of school staff, from areas that are.  No other organization can tell when a school is outperforming or underperforming what is expected of it based on demographics.  This is not to make excuses for poor performance.  It is to show the role society plays in student achievement and the limitations of our schools.   Others, including PED, have made attempts but the Murfin analysis has proven they fall short.
  2. Expand the audience for the Murfin work.  Presentations have been given in several forums.  Who else needs to hear what has been developed?  How can they be reached with limited funds and time?
  3. Clarify CESE’s roll in educational improvement as strictly non-partisan and neither pro-union nor anti-union.  Both political parties are wrong in their approach to student achievement.  Solutions based on political ideology have failed.
  4. Continue supporting public policies that result in better Science teaching and encourage members to take part in the political process. Rather than only reacting to anti-Science proposals, CESE will advocate for legitimate, peer-reviewed Science. Creationists will have to explain why they want to redefine Science to fit their theology.  Instead of just opposing bad legislation, we can also support good legislation.
  5. Recruit new members.  CESE is unique among organizations working to improve teaching and learning.  CESE invites and welcomes teachers into their ranks and respects the complexities of teaching.  CESE actually listens to teachers.  One group missing from our membership is principals, assistant principals and other school leaders.  It’s easy for teachers to demean administrators (I’m good at that), but, it’s important to recruit them, include them, respect the complexities of administration and learn from them.