Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education

Etscorn to keynote CESE Annual Meeting on June 24th, 2017

Dr. Etscorn at the Socorro March for Science

Dr. Etscorn giving the commencement speech at New Mexico Tech, May 2017.

CESE’s 20th annual meeting will be on June 24th, 1:30 pm at the UNM Anthropology department lecture hall. Our featured speaker is Dr. Frank Etscorn, 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. We think you will be entertained and enlightened by Dr. Etscorn. There will also be a brief business meeting and election of officers.

Saturday, June 24, 2017, 1:30 PM
"Never Give Up on a Student"
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 buliding lecture hall, immediately south of the parking lot. Parking is free on Saturdays. We look forward to seeing you there.


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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.

Lawrence Krauss to speak at 1:30 PM Saturday, June 25th, for the CESE Annual Meeting!

LawrenceKraussMark your calendars for 1:30 PM on Saturday, June 25th. The keynote speaker for CESE's annual meeting, Lawrence Krauss, will be speaking on

Gravity Waves: a Journey to the Beginning of Time.

Location: Maxwell Museum of Anthropology Lecture Hall.

Time: 1:30 PM Saturday, June 25th, 2016.

Free and open to the public!









There will also be a short business meeting and election of CESE's proposed Slate of Officers for 2016-2017:

  • President: Jessica McCord
  • Vice-president: Jesse Johnson
  • Secretary: Dave Thomas
  • Treasurer: Steve Brugge
  • plus the board members-at-large
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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 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






CESE Annual Meeting set for Saturday, June 27!

meteor-impactYou are cordially invited to CESE's Annual Meeting!
We will meet at the Los Lunas home of Buzz and Patty Finley on Saturday, June 27th, at 1:30 PM. The Business Meeting will be followed by an open discussion on the Impacts of Education Reform.


From Albuquerque & points north: South on I-25 to Los Lunas exit (Hwy 6). East on NM Hwy 6 to Los Lentes Rd (McDonalds at corner). North on Los Lentes Rd. to 2000 block (about 1.5 miles); Turn right onto Macario Lane, cross irrigation ditch and curve right. House is first behind adobe wall, 912.

On Google Maps: 912 Macario Ln, Los Lunas, NM 87031.

Please RSVP to Marilyn Savitt-Kring, at 505-856-6654.

See you there!

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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!


CESE Comments on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

My beautiful picture CESE President Terry Dunbar, on behalf of the Coalition, has written Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera a letter regarding New Mexico's adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards.  His January 6th letter can be read in its entirety here.

Here follow some points from Terry's letter:

 The Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education (CESE) recommends that New Mexico adopt the Next Generation Science Standards for the following reasons:

NGSS standards are a comprehensive set of guidelines for the teaching of science that will be indispensible for teachers, administrators, and for those at the district and state level who wish to improve classroom teaching and learning in science. ...

Implementation of NGSS in New Mexico

If we are to achieve the ambitious and dynamic vision described in the NGSS and accompanying documents, considerable resources will have to be generated at the district and state level. No standards or curriculum can achieve change in the classroom by itself. The “taught curriculum” even now differs dramatically from the written curriculum and standards. To achieve change in the classroom, many issues must be addressed. Among these are curriculum writing, professional development for science teachers, coordination with teacher training programs, buying and upgrading science supplies and equipment.

The writers of NGSS included recognition of the massive systemic culture change necessary to successfully implement broad changes in actual science classroom practice. They cited the challenges for teachers posed by students who vary widely in demographic background, language ability, level of preparation, work habits, parental expectations, etc. Teachers will need a level of support considerably higher than that which now exists in order to embrace and faithfully implement NGSS.

CESE recommends the adoption of NGSS. Our organization of scientists, engineers, teachers, statisticians, curriculum writers, and concerned citizens stands ready to assist in any way we can to see that the rollout of these world-class standards is successful.


Terry Dunbar, Ph.D.
President, CESE

The full document, including detailed comments on features of the NGSS, is available here.


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!


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.