Saturday, July 3, 2010

ACSC meeting notes June 18

June 18, 2010

Day 2 at the ACSC Meeting

Submitted by Kathlan Latimer

The bulk of the meeting time was devoted to an overview of the CA content standards and an in-depth comparison of CA and Common Core Standards Initiative (CCSI) K-7 standards. Once the crosswalks were made available the sense of relief in the room was palpable; commissioners were under the impression that that was the work that they had ahead of them. Thanks to the yeoman work of Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) staff, the crosswalks provided a clearer picture and matches and misses became apparent. The crosswalks are available on the SCOE website.

The group will work as one body and not break up into smaller ELA and Mathematics workgroups during the commission meetings nor will they break up into smaller workgroups between meetings. While most of the commissioners have indicated a specific specialization, many have not and are interested in the deliberations relating to both subject areas. Also, only one room at the county office can be video streamed and the commission wants to honor its commitment to the public for openness and transparency by providing the web cast. Relating to meetings between commission meetings:

  • Meetings of workgroups with more than 2 members require ten-day public noticing and public attendance availability per Bagley-Keene.
  • No additional funding is available for interim meetings.
  • Video or phone conferencing is allowable; however Bagley-Keene does apply.

Given these constraints, the work will be completed within the remaining four commission meeting days.

Course specific standards for mathematics were not discussed; the body wants to wait until the course descriptions are available at the end of the month. It was noted that

the high school descriptions are being compiled by Achieve and are not the work of the CCSI work group.

There was discussion about creating the best possible standards without concern for assessment, Race to the Top, ESEA funding, etc. Although relevant, most speakers felt that development of the best set of standards possible for the students of CA comes first and concerns for accountability later. Assessment may include formative as well as summative components. Standards may include more than what is assessed in multiple choice formats; some may be classroom-based.

Towards the end of the day, as a means of providing direction and focus to the work of the commission, agreement was made (No formal vote was taken) to use the CCSI standards in their totality as the base for the standards to be developed with the idea of supplementation with CA standards. An exception was noted for further discussion of the literacy standards as well as grade 8 mathematics.

The CCSI standards include literacy standards for history-social science and other content areas (pages 61-62 of ELA CCSI standards). These standards may be adopted with the ELA standards, or within the content area standards. The purpose is shared responsibility for literacy (See pages 3-4 of ELA CCSI standards introduction). The literacy standards generated discussion regarding ELA teachers having responsibility to teach content area topics and content teachers to teach literacy and interdisciplinary collaboration. The bottom line question: Whose job is it to teach language? Majority response: everybody’s. Comments were shared regarding the need for high expectations coupled with support as required for both our students and our teachers.

Algebra 1 at grade 8: Speakers acknowledged the need for alternatives at this grade level. Concerns arose for accountability (particularly federal), but the discussion returned to the question: What do our students need? Not all are ready for Algebra 1 at grade 8. Do we take the CCSI standards for grade 8 and supplement them with Algebra 1 topics? Create an Algebra 1 course that can be taught at grades 8 or 9? Propose both grade 8 and Algebra 1 standards for this grade and let the chips fall where they may? To summarize the discussion: some students are ready; others are not. How might the commission craft standards to meet all needs at this grade level?

This will be the challenge for the commission. What might our input be?

Other questions raised:

· What happens to the ELD standards which are intricately linked to the current ELA standards? Plan to revise?

· Do the standards meet the needs of the jobs of tomorrow? Will they allow students to be the next innovators?

Reference was made to the EdSource publication California and the Common Core provided in the packet provided to commissioners.

Given Bagley-Keene requirements, agenda topics for the remaining four meeting days

were brainstormed: parliamentary procedures, literacy standards, international benchmarking, algebra in grade 8, high school mathematics, adoption of CCSI standards, supplementation of the standards, meaning of college and career readiness, assessment.

Meeting dates: July 6, 7, 14, 15.

Location: SCOE, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

1 comment:

  1. Kathlan Latimer asks in her blog, what should our input be?

    I think the ACSC should adopt the CCSI standards with the allowed 15% improvements. These are excellent standards and provide a well thought out sequence leading to Algebra 1 in ninth grade. CA currently allows qualified students to take Algebra 1 in seventh or eighth grade and that provision should be continued with the new standards. A strong statement could be included setting the goal of increasing the numbers of students taking Algebra 1 in eighth grade.

    One reason we shouldn’t rewrite the CCSI standard for 8th grade and turn it into Algebra 1 is it would then be necessary to make substantial changes in the 6th and 7th grade standards to accelerate students enough to be ready for Algebra 1 in 8th grade.

    I understand the sentiment that the ACSC should decide on the best standards first without regard to other considerations like funding. On the other hand maybe some have forgotten the staggering amounts of money that would be needed to make Algebra 1 the required 8th grade course.

    Jack O'Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, released the The California Algebra 1 Success Initiative in 2008. Mr. O’Connell estimated $3.1 billion as the cost of making Algebra 1 the required 8th grade course. This is just not possible, so making Algebra 1 the required course should not be an option.