Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education
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.

2Jul/17Off

Etscorn Delights Audience; Jekowski gets Award

Frank Etscorn, inventor of the Nicotine Patch

Psychology Professor Frank Etscorn regaled the audience with tales of science, and the importance of determination, at CESE's annual meeting on June 24th, 2017. Professor Etscorn described his multiple attempts to succeed at a career, and the fascinating story of his discovery that absorption of nicotine through the skin could alleviate the desire for a cigarette. Etscorn's initial experiments, which involved 360-degree vomiting, showed the dedication of this adventurous researcher.

 

 

Jack Jekowski receiving his award

In other meeting business, long-time CESE board member and education/business wonk Jack Jekowski was honored with a plaque.  The plaque reads: 

 

Jack, you have been a tireless contributor to CESE since the organization’s earliest days.  Your efforts to help those in New Mexico’s business community understand the complexities and realities of education and the difficulties involved in education reform have positively touched thousands of lives.  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.

 

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25May/17Off

The May 2017 Beacon is HERE!!

CESE is pleased to announce the publication of the latest Beacon, for May 2017. It is the first Beacon done by new editor Becky Reiss. Here are some teasers from President Jessica McCord's introductory article.

 

The first article, A Vindication of the Criticism of New Mexico Public Education Department’s Teacher, Evaluation System, is an analysis by CESE of a December 2016 peer-reviewed publication that includes a coauthor who is the primary architect of the current teacher evaluation and school grading systems in use today in New Mexico. You will find that this paper’s conclusions do not support the use of the current NM teacher evaluation system.

The next article, How New Mexico’s Teacher Evaluation System Translates to the Classroom, is a personal account of one teacher’s experience with the evaluation system; a journey that will leave you with a better understanding of the effect these policies have on teachers. The results are evocative.

Then, we present one cartoon about NM graduation rates and the cut-off score that students need to achieve to graduate.. There is a long story behind this, but the cartoon has the answer to a question all New Mexicans interested in education should be asking about those graduation rates. Hint – look behind the curtain.

Finally, we are please to announce this year's keynote speaker for our June 24th Annual Meeting, Dr. Frank Etscorn. Dr. Etscorn is the award-winning inventor of the nicotine patch. The critical discoveries that lead to the 1986 patent Transcutaneous Application of Nicotine were made while he was mentoring students as a Professor of Psychology at New Mexico Tech in Socorro. He will discuss a subject very near to our prime mission: "Never Give Up on a Student."

You can catch up on all the CESE Beacons here. It's our 20th anniversary, see what we've been up to for the last couple of decades!

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27Feb/17Off

CESE Board meets President’s Baby

board-meeting-2-22-2017s

The CESE Board was delighted to meet president Jessica McCord's new baby Ryleigh. Shown above at our February 22nd, 2017 regular board meeting are secretary Dave Thomas, vice-president Jesse Johnson, board members Kim Johnson, Lisa Durkin, treasurer Steve Brugge, Cindy Chapman, Ken Whiton, Becky Reiss, Terry Dunbar, and president Jessica McCord (with Ryleigh).

Thanks to Betty Ann Whiton for a marvelous Bread Pudding!

bread-pudding

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27Jun/16Off

Large Crowd hears Lawrence Krauss Speak

UNM's Maxwell Lecture Hall was filled to capacity for Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss's appearance at the CESE Annual Meeting on June 25th, 2016. It was a memorable event. Here follow some photos of the goings-on.

A 275+ crowd is ready to hear Dr. Krauss (front, hat).
Outgoing president Lisa Durkin addresses the crowd. The membership approved the new slate of officers for CESE: President: Jessica McCord; Vice-president/president elect: Jesse Johnson; Secretary: Dave Thomas; and Treasurer: Steve Brugge.
Dr. Krauss discussed several topics in physics and cosmology, including the Cosmic Microwave Background (shown), and the importance of the recent detection of the gravitational waves predicted by Einstein.
A lively question-and-answer period followed the talk.
Dr. Krauss signed dozens of books, and graciously obliged requests for photographs as well.
At a post-meeting gathering at Bruno's, outgoing secretary Marilyn Savitt-Kring (left) received a plaque of appreciation for her many years of service as CESE's secretary. The award was presented by Lisa Durkin; Mark Fraser is on the right.
19Feb/16Off

Our Annual Meeting Speaker (June 2016) will be…

Lawrence_KraussLawrence M. Krauss, prominent physicist, author, and commentator!

CESE is pleased to announce that Dr. Krauss will be the keynote speaker for CESE's 2016 Annual Meeting, slated for the afternoon of Saturday, June 25th 2016, at a venue still to be determined. Stay tuned for details - you won't want to miss this one!

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8Aug/15Off

New Slate Elected at CESE 2015 Annual Meeting

Lisa Durkin

Lisa Durkin

A new slate of officers for the year 2015-2016 was nominated and elected at CESE's Annual Meeting (June 27th, 2015). Leading CESE for the next year is new president Lisa Durkin.

 

Jessica

Jessica McCord

The vice-president/ president- elect for this year is Jessica McCord. Steve Brügge will continue as treasurer, and Marilyn Savitt-Kring is staying on as secretary. Other CESE board members are Marshall Berman, Cindy Chapman, Terry Dunbar, Patty Finley, Jack Jekowski, Jesse Johnson, Kim Johnson, Becky Reiss, Dave Thomas, and Ken Whiton. Jerry Shelton asked to change his status to board member emeritus, which gives him all privileges except voting rights.

CESE thanks outgoing president Patty Finley for a fine year of service at the helm.

Jerry and Nancy Shelton

Jerry and Nancy Shelton were honored with plaques commemorating their years of service to CESE.

At the meeting, which was held at the home of Buzz and Patty Finley, long-time CESE supporters Jerry and Nancy Shelton were given plaques honoring their years of service with CESE.

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in June, CESE treasurer Steve Brügge was also given a CESE plaque on the occasion of his retirement from teaching.

In addition to the certificate below, Steve also got a copy adorned with salutory comments on his teaching, from an online Albuquerque Journal story.

Steve Brügge's award

Steve Brügge's award

 

Jack Jekowski (left) and Kim Johnson (middle) present a CESE award to treasurer Steve Brügge

Jack Jekowski (left) and Kim Johnson (middle) present a CESE award to treasurer Steve Brügge

 

 

 

 

16Feb/15Off

CESE and NMSR are Sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Michael Shermer

moral-arcThe Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education  (CESE) and New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) are pleased to sponsor a lecture by Dr. Michael Shermer on Saturday, February 21st, 2015, 1:30PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 3701 Carlisle Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87110.

Dr. Shermer will be signing copies of his new book, "The Moral Arc of Science - How Science Has Bent the Arc of the Moral Universe Toward Truth, Justice, Freedom, & Prosperity."

The arc of the moral universe bends toward truth, justice, freedom, and prosperity thanks to science-the type of thinking that involves reason, rationality, empiricism, and skepticism. The Scientific Revolution led by Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton was so world-changing that thinkers in other fields consciously aimed at revolutionizing the social, political, and economic worlds using the same methods of science. This led to the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, which in turn created the modern secular world of democracies, rights, justice, and liberty.

unitarian

Michael_Shermer

About the Speaker
Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Dr. Shermer's latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies-How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. His last book was The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. He also wrote Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is the author of The Science of Good and Evil and of Why People Believe Weird Things. Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!). Dr. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown.

 

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1Feb/15Off

Use caution with teacher evals

My beautiful pictureKudos once again to CESE Past President Ken Whiton for another stirring editorial in the January 29, 2015 issue of the Albuquerque Journal (link). Ken's latest op-ed is titled "Use caution with teacher evals."

Here follows Ken's letter.  Well said once again, Ken!

As it has with many other aspects of modern life, our federal government has increasingly interfered in individual states’ education policies, usually with disastrous results.

Now, under President Obama’s “Race to the Top,” the U.S. Department of Education is requiring New Mexico’s Public Education Department to use a Value Added Model, or VAM, based on student growth when evaluating teachers.

Supposedly, this method measures the contribution of a teacher to a child’s learning, which makes sense until you consult experts in the field.

The American Statistical Association has found the VAM to be unreliable, at best. Research conducted by another group contracted by the U.S. Department of Education found that one in four teachers who are actually average in performance will be erroneously identified for rewards or punishments by VAMs.

Our children and their teachers deserve better than an evaluation regime based on this level of error, especially when a “poor” evaluation can destroy a qualified teacher’s career.

Unfortunately, Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera has chosen to base 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on these same unreliable VAM scores, which is the maximum allowed by the U.S. Department of Education. And yet, she has already lowered Santa Fe’s VAM percentage to 35 percent. Why isn’t she treating all our school districts equally?

If the method Skandera is supposed to use is as bad as the American Statistical Association says it is – and who would know better? – why use the maximum amount of an unreliable method to evaluate teachers? Shouldn’t we want to make the best of a bad situation by using the smallest percentage possible, rather than the largest?

My second point: The U.S. Department of Education is also now allowing states more time to make the required changes in their public education systems. The goal is to avoid problems, to make certain reform is done correctly and to ensure teachers are evaluated accurately.

Skandera should take the same care and consideration and do what our most qualified educators across our state are asking: Give us more time.

If other states can negotiate with the U.S. Department of Education, why can’t New Mexico?

We must comply with “Race to the Top.” But when its requirements are making a quality education for all our children harder to provide, we should be looking for ways to lighten that load.

Skandera should reduce the effect of the thoroughly discredited VAM on teacher evaluations for the entire state to the amount already set for Santa Fe schools. And, give our students and educators the extra time the U.S. Department of Education is allowing for states to implement these large changes.

Let’s take the time to get it right, for our children’s sake!

17Aug/14Off

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.

2014annual-3

 Want more Annual Meeting Minutes? Click here!