INFORMATION & LEGISLATION
CSTA works to ensure that the interests of science educators
are represented at the state level, with legislators and state
education policy-makers. Learn about some successes achieved
on your behalf by clicking here.
Second Year Science Graduation Requirement - Update: June
The Second Year High School Science Graduation Requirement
The legislature rejected Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate
the state mandate requiring a second year of high school science.
Yesterday the legislature passed the education trailer bills
1476 and SB
1016). The bills contained no language to modify the high
school science graduation requirement as proposed by Governor
Brown in his January
budget proposals. Our most sincere thanks goes out to all
of you who contacted their legislators and let them know that
diminishing the high school science graduation requirements
was a step in the wrong direction for California’s future.
Our thanks also goes out to our friends at the California
STEM Learning Network who joined in the fight with us
and played a key role getting the word out and raising awareness
of the issue amongst its members and members of the state
legislature. Thank you also goes out to the California
Council for the Social Studies, the
Jewish Community Relations Council, BSMARTE,
Engineers in California Government, and the
California Association of Professional Scientists. These
organizations all sent letters and expressed their opposition
to the Governor’s proposed cuts. Thank you to NSTA
who also sent out emails to raise awareness of the issue.
So what’s next? There is still litigation pending between
the Department of Finance and the Commission on State Mandates
on the Graduation Requirement mandate (Visit https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/publicdms/search.aspx
and search for Case # 34-2010-80000529-CU-WM-GDS, Department
31). So it is possible that this issue could come up again.
CSTA will of course be keeping a watchful eye and will keep
its members informed should this issue arise again in the
next budget year. We wish you an enjoyable summer and look
forward to seeing you in October in
If you would like to comment on this issue, tweet the news,
post it on your Facebook page, or otherwise spread the word,
Classroom Science and use the tools available there.
Second Year Science Graduation Requirement - Update: June
The state budget vote that occurred on June 15 did not include
this issue. The topic of the second year science graduation
requirement is still being discussed and we are not out of
the woods yet on this issue.
Because the issue remains fluid, and until such time as the
governor signs the budget and the anticipated education trailer
bill (expected early this week) CSTA urges you to
continue to bring awareness around this issue by
sharing this information broadly and signing
the petition to Save Science. Click
here to find the contact information for your representatives
at the state level. Clcik here for talking
points. Please urge your reresentative to oppose
the proposal to dilute the high school science graduation
In his May revision of the 212-2013 budget, the governor
made several changes to his education block grant proposal
(designed to reform the education mandate system, of which
the graduation requirement is a part). One thing he did not
change was his proposal to eliminate the “Graduation Requirement”
mandate, which requires high school students to complete two
years of science to fulfill their graduation requirements.
Links to Information and News Covering the Issue
California Classroom Science:
In the Media:
Next Generation Science Standards
For information about the Next Generation Science Standards,
please click here.
Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning Reports
Science Framework and Materials
As one of the strategies taken to resolve the state's budget
crisis, the 2009-10 budget bill allows for flexibility in
the way school districts spend their education dollars by,
among other things, eliminating the earmark for the purchase
of instructional materials. Until 2013, districts may spend
those dollars in any number of ways; they may or may not purchase
textbooks and other instructional materials. The state adoption
of instructional materials has, therefore, been put on hold
for five years.
Subsequently, the governor eliminated funding for the Curriculum
Commission and the ongoing revisions of curriculum frameworks,
which form the basis for the adoptions, stating that
it is unnecessary for the Curriculum Development and Supplemental
Materials Commission to continue to advise the Board on
content frameworks and instructional materials adoptions
for the next five years or until an agreed-upon process
The elimination of all funding for the Curriculum Commission,
which is a mere $700,000 out of a multi-billion dollar budget
deficit, and the governor's cryptic allusion to an "agreed-upon
process" clearly point to political motives for the governor's
move. It is widely believed that some in the governor's office
and some members of the State Board of Education were not
happy with the early draft chapters of the new science framework,
which was being written and approved by practicing science
teachers. The fear among science education leaders in the
state is that the governor's move marks a return to the secrecy
and behind-the-scenes manipulation of the framework that were
the hallmarks of the 2004 framework, where science teachers'
voices were largely ignored.
The next science adoption was to have occurred in 2012; it
is unclear when or if a new adoption schedule will be developed.
However, even if the adoption is reinstated in 2013-2014,
as is currently planned, it could be 2017 before new science
materials can be adopted. Given that the new framework , which
includes the criteria by which new instructional materials
are to be evaluated, will need to be completed first, and
the adoption process, which includes time for publishers to
develop their materials based on those criteria, takes about
30 months, we are looking at districts using materials that
are 11-12 years old before new materials will be available.