Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education

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.


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