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.

31Oct/13Off

Update on CESE Method Now Available

CESE board member Kim Johnson has been hard at work refining our presentation on the CESE Method for determining how New Mexico's schools,  students and teachers are faring.  While the method was originally developed to provide clear paths to school improvement, it can also be used to make teacher merit evaluations much, much fairer than the proposed PED A-F method of assigning scores for performance.

figure-merit

You can peruse the updated presentation here. Questions about the CESE Method should be directed to board member Kim Johnson.

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!

11Aug/13Off

Teachers Deserve EFFECTIVE Evaluations

kensopedKudos to CESE Past President Ken Whiton for a stirring editorial in the August 10th, 2013 issue of the Albuquerque Journal (link). Ken's op-ed was titled "Teachers deserve effective evaluations: PED’s new teacher review system is wrong as are school grades."

Here is a snippet:

An editorial in the Aug. 3 Journal characterizes all opposition to a new teacher evaluation scheme as, “dedicated to the status quo.”

Is defense of “the status quo,” really the reason for opposing the New Mexico Public Education Department’s plan? Look at the track record of the previous “school reform” scheme in New Mexico. The plan for grading schools met with widespread legitimate criticism by dedicated teachers, principals, administrators, parents, legislators and a prestigious organization of scientists and mathematicians who perform statistical analysis for a living.

The Public Education Department was wrong about school grades and it is wrong about evaluating teachers. Even after training sessions, the plan is still not understood by those who will be using it. It is still statistically indefensible. The evaluation plan still does not take into account the complexities, subtleties and realities of teaching in New Mexico. It seems to pull evaluation categories and percentages out of thin air.

Read the entire article here. Well said, Ken!

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11Jul/13Off

Videos of Annual Meeting are On-Line!

Courtesy of CESE board member Jack Jekowski, we are pleased to provide several videos from our June 29th, 2013 Annual Meeting.

CESE Annual Meeting 2013 - Zack Kopplin Talk (30 minutes)

CESE Annual Meeting 2013 Zack Q&As (24 minutes)

CESE Annual Meeting 2013 Zack Q&As #2 (7 minutes)

Dave Magic Trick - CESE Annual Meeting 2013 (6 minutes)

CESE thanks Zack Kopplin for an inspiring talk!

25Jun/13Off

New Mexico, Brace for a Zack Attack!

It's just a few days until our 2013 Annual Meeting! We hope you will join us to hear young dynamo Zack Kopplin, who will be speaking on the topic "Why we need a Second Giant Leap."

zack-hardballThe Time: Saturday, June 29th, 1:00 PM.

The Place: the main lecture hall at Northrop Hall, Room 122, on the University of New Mexico campus.

Zack has led a vigorous opposition to that state's anti-science legislation, the so-called “Louisiana Science Education Act,” which was introduced by Governor Bobby Jindal. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. You can be sure he'll have some interesting things to say Saturday.

Click here for a map to Northrop Hall, and here for a one-page flyer to post on bulletin boards and such.

Bring a friend!

9Jun/13Off

The June Beacon is Here!

The June 2013 Beacon  (Vol XVII, No 1) is online!

Contents Preview: Editor’s Message – Kim Johnson;  Darwin and Wallace, What did they really think of religion? - Dr. Paul Braterman;  School Testing – Lisa Durkin; Cartoon - Dave Thomas; Meeting Announcement at the NM Museum of Natural History – Announcing the CESE 2013 Annual Meeting with a special guest, Zack Kopplin.

The Elephant in the Classroom - Too Many Tests!

The Elephant in the Classroom - Too Many Tests!

You can browse previous issues of the Beacon here.

29May/13Off

Kopplin to Speak on “Why we need a Second Giant Leap”

zack-kopplin-current-2013Our Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, June 29th, 1:00-4:30 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the main lecture hall at Northrop Hall on the University of New Mexico campus.  Our speaker is noted Louisiana activist Zack Kopplin, who will be speaking on the topic "Why we need a Second Giant Leap."

Zack's efforts to overturn Louisiana's pro-creationist "Science Education Act" were discussed by Phil Plait in a May 5th blog at Slate.

More details about June's Annual Meeting will be forthcoming in the new Beacon.

Stay tuned!

Download this handy one-page flyer to give to your friends and social networks!

MAP TO NORTHROP HALL

unm_northropNorthrop-street

 

9May/13Off

The Elephant in the Classroom

The Elephant in the Classroom - Too Many Tests!

The Elephant in the Classroom - Too Many Tests!

 

This cartoon is a sneak preview of the upcoming Beacon, which should appear in the next few weeks.  We're releasing it early because it resonates all-too-well with an article by Hailey Heinz in the Albuquerque Journal for Thursday, May 9th entitled "Some N.M. students face dual final exams.And, we should mention that CESE's very own Lisa Durkin is prominently featured in the article!

A snippet:

Teachers, parents, students and school board members around New Mexico have pushed back in recent weeks against new state end-of-course exams being given in certain core high school classes.

Chief among their complaints are that the tests are taking more time away from instruction and that students who already spend much of the spring semester taking exams are now being tested twice on the same content.

“At some point, we’re losing so much instructional time that we don’t have time to instruct for the subject that they’re being tested on,” said Lisa Durkin, who teaches biology at Valencia High School in Los Lunas. “And the kids aren’t taking the test seriously, because they’ve had to take so many tests that it just doesn’t mean anything to them anymore.”

State education chief Hanna Skandera said this week she never intended for students to take the end-of-course exams in addition to their existing finals, and agrees that is too much time spent on testing.

Well said, Lisa!

24Mar/13Off

Zack Kopplin to be Keynote Speaker for Annual Meeting

CESE is pleased to announce that our keynote speaker for this year's Annual Meeting (to be held on Saturday, June 29th, 1:00-4:30 in Albuquerque, New Mexico) will be none other than Louisiana activist Zack Kopplin. Kopplin has led a vigorous opposition to that state's anti-science legislation, the so-called "Louisiana Science Education Act."

Read Zack's March 22nd 2013 op-ed in the Guardian (UK) here. Stay tuned to the CESE website for details of the annual meeting are finalized; click here for descriptions of previous annual meetings.

Also, read some of Zack's work at the "Creeping Creationist Vouchers" website.

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