Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education
19Jan/14Off

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.

Sincerely,

Terry Dunbar, Ph.D.
President, CESE

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

9Sep/13Off

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!

23Sep/12Off

CESE Welcomes New Board Member

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

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.

2Jul/12Off

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 cese.org 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.

Ken

11Jun/12Off

CESE 2012 Annual Meeting set for Saturday, June 23rd

Mark your calendars for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education.  This will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012.  The location for the event is the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology lecture hall on the UNM Campus, just north of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and just east of University Blvd.

CESE is pleased to announce that our keynote speaker for the annual meeting is longtime CESE supporter Sen. Pauline Eisenstadt.

Stay tuned for more details in the Beacon.

We hope to see you there!

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Previous Annual Meeting Summaries