Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education
19May/20Off

May 2020 Beacon: Annual Meeting Announced

The May 2020 Beacon (XXII, No. 2) is now available! This issue has a president's message on "Teaching and Learning Online in a New COVID-19 World," an article on Distance Learning challenges for teachers and students, and a toon by Thomas.

Read the whole account here.

Mark Boslough in Africa, looking for the famed Libyan Desert Glass. Used by Tutankhamun's artisans, it was forged by a meteor's atmospheric plunge.

This issue also announces our Annual Meeting. The New Mexico Coalition for Science and Math Education is pleased to announce that our 2020 annual meeting will feature Mark Boslough, Ph.D., a research professor at University of New Mexico, and physicist with Los Alamos National Laboratory. Mark will be speaking on "The Importance of Astronomical Drama", and will discuss how meteors and comets impact society, with examples from his own life, from history, and from pre-history. Perhaps you've seen Mark discussing impact science on television shows like NOVA on PBS. Join us on live on YouTube, Sat., June 27th, 1:30 - 3:00 pm.

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

5Feb/20Off

February 2020 Beacon: Letter from a Teacher in the Trenches

The February 2020 Beacon (XXII, No. 1) is now available! This special issue is devoted to one topic, "A Day At School in New Mexico." What it is like to be a teacher these days? We received this article from a New Mexico teacher; someone in the trenches. This science teacher offers a rare and candid glimpse into the experience. By most accounts, this is not atypical. Other K-12 teachers report similar classroom and school-wide frustrations, obstacles, and yes, joy and satisfaction.

Read the whole account here.


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

22Sep/19Off

Election of New Board at June’s Annual Meeting

CESE elected a new slate of officers at its 2019 Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 1st, 2019.  The 2019-2020 CESE Board now consists of president Lisa Durkin, treasurer Steve Brugge, secretary Dave Thomas, and past president Ken Whiton. The complete board and members at large are presented on this page,

After the brief business meeting, Secretary of Education Dr. Karen Trujillo spoke on "A Shared Vision of Student Opportunities for Success in New Mexico." Dr. Trujillo's talk covered a wide range of concerns, and was well received.

Members of the audience followed the lecture with interest.
Secretary Trujillo gave a relaxed, engaging presentation,
After the talk, a lively question and answer period follows, Here, Ellen Bernstein follows up on some points brought up in the presentation.
Board members and Secretary Trujillo attended a dinner at El Pinto following the meeting.

CESE thanks Dr. Karen Trujillo for an informative talk.

23May/19Off

CESE Annual Meeting to feature Dr. Karen Trujillo, Secretary of Education

Save the date! On June 1st, 2019 from 1:30 to 4:30, CESE will hold its 23rd annual meeting. The keynote speaker is Karen Trujillo, Ph.D., New Mexico's new Secretary of Education. The topic of her talk is: "A Shared Vision of Student Opportunities for Success in New Mexico". The meeting will be held at the Anthropology Lecture Hall, Room 163 at the Maxwell Museum on the University of New Mexico. See you there!

10May/19Off

CESE’s Graduation Rate Analysis

Graduation rates have been touted as one of the indicators that the previous eight years of New Mexico education “reforms” have been working.  But, when taking a closer look at the actual data, this is really not so clear.  The following short briefing by M. Kim Johnson addresses the veracity of increasing graduation rates compared to student performance on standardized tests.

10May/19Off

The May 2019 CESE Beacon has been published!


The May 2019 Beacon (XXI, No. 2) is now available! It includes a President’s Message, Legislative Session Summary, Science Fair Winners, In Memoriam, and a Toon from Thomas.

President Ken Whiton writes "The 2019 Annual Meeting of The Coalition For Excellence In Science And Math Education will be held Saturday, June 1st. As in the past several years, we will be meeting in the Anthropology Lecture Hall, Room 163 in the Maxwell Museum on the University of New Mexico campus. We are pleased to announce that this year’s speaker will be Dr. Karen Trujillo, Secretary of Public Education for New Mexico. Dr. Trujillo has chosen as her topic, “A Shared Vision of Student Opportunities for Success in New Mexico."

The 2019 Legislative Session Summary: Education Bills with Significant Impact
It was a busy legislative session. Governor Lujan Grisham signed 282 bills (according to KOAT TV in Albuquerque). Of these, 61 (22%) involve the Public Education Department (PED) or affect K-12 education. Thirty-one bills that involve higher education (11%) and 48 (17%) affect children, state retirement, and professional certifications. These do not include all the bills that may have a peripheral or minimal impact or those bills that are annually connected, such as the budget bill. Read the full article.

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

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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.

27Sep/17Off

CESE Op – Eds Online

From our CESE Op - Eds and News page, some relevant articles by our own Ken Whiton!

Ruszkowski faces myriad challenges as head of PED
By Ken Whiton / Albuquerque resident
Monday, August 7th, 2017

Gov., Skandera, Journal just don’t get it on evals
By Ken Whiton / Albuquerque resident
Thursday, June 12th, 2014

6Aug/17Off

New CESE Officers Announced

Picture shows CESE luncheon at Jessica McCord's house, August 5th 2017

It's official, the new CESE Slate has been approved by the membership!

Here are the CESE officers for 2017-2018:

  • Past President: Jessica McCord
  • President: Jesse Johnson
  • Vice President/President elect: Ken Whiton
  • Treasurer: Steve Brugge
  • Secretary: Dave Thomas
  • Board Members At Large:

    • Rebecca Reiss
    • Lisa Durkin
    • Jack Jekowski
    • Kim Johnson
    • Marilyn Savitt-Kring
    • Cindy Chapman
    • Terry Dunbar
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