State Board of Education 8/2/2010 Meeting Item 3, Part 1

President Mitchell: Item three. Member Chan: Is
it appropriate this time to ask Kathy a question? Is
it? President Mitchell: Sure. Member Chan: Can I ask related to what she said. So regarding the
recommended text that you just mentioned, so we are saying that with this packet we are
not really looking at or approving these text lists. There is a list thats included on page
31 for example, Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I mean,
we’re not talking… Is that what you’re talking about? Undersecretary
Radtkey-Gaither: Well, the appendices I
think we’re not forwarded by the Commission. No, I was referring to some preparatory materials
that were part of the released document from the national Common Core writers but our concern
in speaking with our attorneys is that because that preparatory material is not standards
and we’re not certain what legal impact they would have if you accepted those as part of
the standards, we’re requesting that you accept only the standards themselves. Does that help?
Chan: Somewhat, because what I am referring to on text illustrating the complexity. It is part
of the package. It is not an appendix and you have a list for schools for K-5 and you
have a list for 6-12 on the books that we are supposed to have so we are adopting that,
no? Mitchell: Let me take a try at that in
just a second because this is an important question but
I don’t want us to go down that whole this way. Thanks Kathy. Let’s take up item three.
Deb Sigman is going to introduce the item and then we will hear from the commission
and commissioners. After that, board members I think it would be appropriate for us to
ask questions of the commissioners before we go into public comment. I know there are members
of the public who would like to give us their guidance and we will appreciate that but I
do think, Yvonne, that clarifying what it is that we’re being asked to do today and what it
is that we are not being asked to do today is absolutely essential and I want to reserve
the right to kind of break-in at the appropriate moment to try to separate those two things but
as we as we do go into this item, I want to echo something that I know that the superintendent
believes and was in the recommendation and Kathy Gather also mentioned it, that this is a
historic moment but it is not something new for us. California led the way in the development
of standards-based reform and this is an opportunity today thanks to the good work at the academic
content standards Commission for us to once again lead the nation in developing, promulgating,
and building curricula and assessment around the highest quality standards in the land and
if we were to go ahead with this, as I hope we do, we will indeed be leaders in the coalition
of the most advanced States in guiding the nation toward a coherent set of standards.
So Deb, all yours. Deputy Sigman: Thank you President Mitchel and good morning to you and Superintendent
O’Connell and board members and executive director Schweitzer. Welcome. I’m here to open and introduce
the item for consideration of the California Academic Content Standards Commission’s recommendations
to adopt the Common Core Standards including California specific standards and in particular,
I want to provide to you Superintendent O’Connell’s recommendation with regard to
the Common Core. Undersecretary Gather gave a beautiful background in terms of how we
are here today, so I will cut that a bit short but only to say that as she mentioned the
Superintendent, President Mitchell and the Governor sent forth a letter in the fall, pardon me,
in May of 2009 wanting to be part of the Common Core effort and the superintendent at that point,
as did the other authors of the letter, wanted to make sure that the standards would not
be watered down, that we would maintain our rigorous set of standards. That was obviously
incredibly important to the Superintendent. Then of course SBX 51 authorized the California
Academic Content Standards Commission, which met during the months of June and July, three
meetings, six days, and as Undersecretary Gaither mentioned, long hours and very hard work to
get to the point where we are today, and set forth a document including the standards but
additional text to which I think Secretary Gather was referring. The superintendent recommends
that this board adopt the Common Core Standards, the recommended additional standards, and the
recommendations as acted upon by the Commission. He also recommends that you direct the California
Department of Education to submit an implementation plan and a time line for the implementation
of the standards that is consistent with the Elementary Secondary Education Act and that it
be brought forward to you in a future meeting. That is the Superintendent’s recommendation.
I’m happy to take questions and if there are none, I’m going to introduce the next speaker.
Mitchell: Let’s keep going. Sigman: It’s my
pleasure to introduce Sue Stickle, the Assistant Superintendent of
Curriculum and Interventions at the Sacramento County Office of Education. Sue also served
as the Project Director of the Commission. Sue. Assistant Superintendent Stickel: Well,
good morning. Good morning President Mitchell,
Superintendent O’Connell, Board members, and congratulations Executive Director Schweitzer.
My name is Sue Stickle and my day job is to work at the Sacramento County Office of Education.
My 24/7 job for the past six weeks has been to serve as the Project Director for the Academic
Standards Commission and, as with most things, I am grateful for the opportunity. It’s my task
this morning to provide you with just a brief amount of background about the Common Core
Standards, give you a little history, give you a little bit of background to help base your
decision. A little over a year ago, the words “Common Core Standards” really were not…I was
thinking about it last night…we didn’t even utter those words but now they’ve become part of
our everyday work and everyday vocabulary. The Council of Chief State School Officers
and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices began work on the Common
Core Standards last summer. The focus of the standards was ensuring that our students are
college and career-ready when they graduate from high school. With this in mind, these
organizations, along with experts throughout
the country, developed the college and career-ready standards
for English language arts and mathematics and they were completed last fall of 2009.
As the experts continued to work on the K-12 content standards that were ultimately released
on June 2nd, they used this college and career-ready work as the beacon and they embedded these
standards in their future work. In doing this work, the development team could have easily
taken all of the state standards of the 50 states and identified what they had in common and
called it good, but we all know that’s not a really good choice and so they have done a
very a great deal of thoughtful work with a lot of feedback over the past year. The
overarching goals of these standards are to
ensure that our students are meeting college and work
expectations, that they’re prepared to succeed in our global economy and society, and that
they’re provided with rigorous content and applications of knowledge through higher order
thinking skills. The standards build upon the strengths and the lessons of current state
standards and it is quite evident that California standards had a huge role in this area and
that the standards that you see before you today have been well informed by research.
In developing the standards, four groups of experts were involved: an advisory group, a
standards development work group that included experts that were involved in developing California
Standards (Dr. Woo, Professor Emerituss from Berkeley and Dr. Luis Emouth), an expert
feedback group, and a validation committee that ensured that the standards met the development
criteria. Five California experts were members of this group. On June 2nd the final product
was released. To date nearly thirty states have adopted the standards. So let’s just briefly
talk about English language arts and mathematics now. It’s important to note that three parts
of California standards were used: reading foundations, the grade by grade standards, and the
focus from our 2008 framework on vocabulary and writing. Ways the Common Core have improved
on our current standards are as follows: a greater balance between literature and the
analysis of informational text and systematic almost stair step development of reading comprehension,
a focus on text complexity (which is the heart of failures of many of our students
for college readiness), reading and writing across the curriculum, and a focus
on writing arguments and drawing evidence from sources. In the area of mathematics they
also used California standards in their development. The college and career standards in mathematics
served as guide posts for the Common Core. They were built with a focus on preparing students
also for success in algebra 1. The math Common Core are a balanced combination of procedure
and understanding. The design of the standards feature the hierarchical nature of content
with clarity and specificity and they focus on conceptual understanding of key ideas. They
travel by grade level in grades K through 8 and then there’s sets of standards grouped in
conceptual clusters in high school such as
algebra, functions, geometry, but the Common Core in mathematics
also feature the Standards of Mathematical Practice. This is expertise that the standards seek
to develop in their students–things like reasoning abstractly and quantitatively and making sense
of problems and persevering in solving them. In conclusion, the Common Core Standards that
were released on June 2nd are rigorous. They form a coherent set of standards and they
prepare students for college and career and are sensitive to the needs of English learners
and the students with disabilities. And so now, it is my great pleasure to introduce Greg
Geeting who served as the Chair of the Standards Commission. He did incredible work and in three
short meetings…they seemed incredibly long but they were short…the time was short…
he did yeoman’s work and he’s here to talk to you about what we’re bringing forward to
you today. Mitchell: Thank you Sue for an
extraordinary job. Good morning Greg. Chair Geeting: Yes,
indeed thank you very much Sue. President
Mitchell, Superintendent O’Connell, board members, Executive Director Sweitzer, and distinguished
guests, thank you for allowing me to participate in this review of the Academic Standards Commission’s
recommendation of new English language arts and mathematics content standards. The recommendation
is based, as Sue told you, on the national Common Core Standards released June 2nd by the National
Governors Association and the council of chief State School Officers. This morning my intent
is to provide you some background information on the Commission and its work and then to
highlight some key additions to the Common Core that the Commission included in its
recommendation. For the most part the
Commission proposed additions to reflect material that actually appears
in or was inspired by the current California ELA and mathematics standards. At the outset
I must praise the individuals who served on the commission and they’re appointing authorities.
These individuals brought a wealth of diverse backgrounds and experiences to the Commission’s
charge and they went about their work with diligence, with intelligence, and with passion.
There were times that the passion became a challenge given the pressure of the ticking clock,
but in retrospect I’m glad that passion ran high. The journey we shared, even through objections
and amendments and points of order and motions to postpone, fundamentally visited places of
principal and belief about what students should learn and be able to do and visiting such
places as those is not time wasted. These commissioners are men and women of substance who did their
very best for the students of our state. I must also take a minute to praise the outstanding
staff who supported the Commission under the able leadership of Project Director Sue Stickle.
When we initially thought about this effort we envisioned perhaps five or six staff. Well
last week I prepared thank you letters to 21 individuals who contributed to the staffing
effort. I literally ran out of superlatives to describe their work over our month of togetherness
but suffice it to say that they were magnificent and as for Sue, as Superintendent O’Connell
well knows, her talents and abilities long ago transitioned from mere stories to mythical
proportions and with this effort she truly transcends into the stuff of legend. We cannot
thank her enough. Now some of the details. There were 21 commissioners appointed for the most
part in early June about the same time the national Common Core was released in its final
form. We met for six days, two in mid-June, two in early July, and then we wrapped it up on
July 14th and 15th. We provided many opportunities for the public to access our meetings. Our
in person audience generally ranged from 20 to 40 each day and between 200 and 300 unique
individuals viewed our proceedings via online streaming almost every meeting day and we
entertained public input frequently. We learned about the national Common Core from David
Coleman and Jason Zimba who were assigned to assist California as official emissaries
from the NGA and CCSSO. Our staff did presentations on the existing California Standards, the process
of international benchmarking, ways of determining college and career readiness, and most importantly,
the crosswalks between California’s standards and the national Common Core. We also had individual
presentations by a supporter and a dissenter on the national Common Core for ELA and then
again for mathematics. In short, commission members embarked upon their deliberations
with a fair, balanced, and substantial informational base. A key decision was to include essentially
the whole of the national Common Core in the Commission’s recommendation. [inaudible] argued
that the statute actually allowed something less than a hundred percent of the Common
Core Standards but the Commission did not pursue that consideration. What the Commission
did do was take very seriously its authority to recommend a package of additions to the
national Common Core. Our staff suggested additions. Some were accepted. Some were accepted with
modifications. Some were not. Also some of our members suggested additions. Again, some were
accepted with modifications and some were not. Commissioners were guided in their decisions
by a mental checklist of criteria including whether the proposed changes were substantive,
addressed perceived gaps, were defensible to practitioners, kept intact the original sense
of the standards to which they would be attached, and helped insure rigor. Ultimately the package
of ELA additions was accepted without descent. However, the package of additions in mathematics,
which thus became the vote on the final recommendation as a whole, passed by a two-thirds vote with
two members voting against and the remainder declining to vote, so clearly, the vast majority
of the Commission enthusiastically endorses this package and urges the State Board to
adopt it. Now let’s take a look at just three key proposed additions in the area and English
Language Arts. Arguably the most significant addition is a strand related to formal presentations
in the speaking and listening domain. This strand appears in each grade level from grade
1 through grades 11-12. The Strand cycles through different types of presentations including
poetry recitation, narratives, and informational speaking. See for example page 21, where the
strand begins in grade one with memorization and recitation of poems, rhymes, and songs. Nearby
you’ll see this strand continue in grade 2 and then on page 23, it winds its way through
grade 5, and then on pages 46 to 48 you see the strand continue in grades 6 through
12. For example, one example being grades 9-10 and which is page 47 and 48, there’s delivery
of an informative or explanatory presentation as well as a reprise of formal recitations
such as poetry. A second area in English Language Arts is in the language domain in grades 2
through 4. Standards are added related to hand writing or penmanship. See for example page
24 where creating readable documents and legible print is added to grade 2, and then on page
26, writing fluidly and legibly in cursive or joined italics is added to grade 4. Third,
I want to point out an additional footnote related to foundational skills in kindergarten,
which appears on page 14. The footnote relates to major vowels and short and long vowel
sounds. The Commission was actually advised while we were meeting that this footnote
would be added to the national Common Core, so basically we helped you out by incorporating
the new footnote among our additions. Now various other language arts additions I’ll
just touch on briefly: following simple and then progressively complex directions in the
early grades, providing more specificity about the use of and differentiation among pronouns,
thesis statements in informational texts, alternate word choices, archetypes (one of my personal
favorites), and more specific references to career development documents such as business
letters. Turning next to mathematics, I’ll again highlight just 3 of the Commission proposed
additions. By far the most noteworthy addition relates to algebra 1, which begins at page
45. As presented to you, this algebra 1 package represents one of two options for mathematics
content at grade 8, the other being the grade 8 Common Core itself, which begins on page
51. The grade 8 Common Core actually incorporates a generous portion of geometry as preparation
for algebra in high school. Now thanks to Undersecretary Kathy Gaither, I’ll skip a major part of
the detail that I was going to provide about algebra 1 but I want to highlight a couple of things
that were very important to the Commission. First, based on local decisions, nothing, nothing in
this package prohibits this algebra 1 package from being presented either as a traditional
one-year course, as a two-year algebra 1 course, or as a series of multiple year integrated
mathematics courses. The algebra 1 package includes the grade eight Common Core along
with some Common Core high school mathematics and parts of California’s existing algebra
1 content. And the other highlight I wanted to mention was the most important one,
which is that either of these two options provides all students in grade 8 ample time
in high school to complete the advanced mathematics coursework necessary for admission to a four
year college. Now, a second change in mathematics brings down from grade 8 to grade 7, and similarly
from grade 7 to grade 6, some of the content standards related to number sense in geometry.
Examples of this can be seen on pages 36 and 41. The Commission felt that presenting this
content earlier helps strengthen students algebra readiness by grade 8. A third key change
added considerable material from California’s existing standards to the Common Core in high
school mathematics including California’s standards for Calculus and for AP Probability
and Statistics which were added in their entirety. I will just briefly note that additions in
earlier grades included clearer or stronger references including such matters as concepts
of time, relating time to events, counting by multiples, estimation strategies, verifying
reasonableness, English units of major, use the number line, and distinguishing among shapes.
Now, as I wrap up my presentation I would like to leave you with these two thoughts assuming
that you will decide to adopt the Commission’s recommendation which you are strongly encouraged
to do. First, the success or of failure this venture will depend to a great extent on the
substance and the adequacy of the implementation plan. If you leave this meeting today thinking
that you have done a great thing, you will be sadly mistaken if the implementation plan
is skimpy or underfunded. As doctor Michael Kirst of Stanford University reminds us, the
content standards well quite visible are really the easiest part of a standards-based system.
Creating opportunity to learn what implementation is all about is the most difficult. The implementation
plan needs to address many complicated issues surrounding the transition from our current
content standards to the new ones including refinements to the new standards that you
may find necessary as well as future changes to the Common Core that will inevitably be
coming along, framework development, and the creation of a new ELD standards document, instructional
material selection, professional development, changes in teacher preparation, and modification
of assessments. Second, and perhaps more importantly, you must ensure that this process of transition
does not result in any loss of integrity or continuity in the system of accountability that
California has constructed over the past dozen years, much under the leadership of Superintendent
Jack O’Connell, and those developments have been with the considerable investment of time and
money not only by the state but by local agencies and government as well. Be alert to excuses
that begin with “because the content standards changed.” You really must not allow these new
standards to become a rationale to justify declines in achievement or evasion of responsibility.
If these new content standards are the keys to a shiny new car with all the latest features,
then please be sure that the car is consistently well maintained, treated with respect, and always
driven sensibly. Thank you and where do I go next? Mitchell: You do and we get to thank you.
Geeting: I know we have commissioners in the audience who would like to add comments as well so…Mitchell: And
I think that would be great and if you don’t mind, I would love you to introduce them and help
us out with this next part, Greg, but before you do I want to thank you not only for those
comments, which I think are extraordinarily good guides for us members as we take this
up, but for your incredible leadership of the Commission doing an impossible task with an
impossible timeline with extraordinary professionalism and great grace so thank you so much. Geeting: It was
a pleasure to be associated with these terrific individuals. I enjoyed that part tremendously.
Mitchell: Great. Well, if you could…if you wouldn’t mind introducing us to some of the commissioners
we could hear from…Geeting: I would be happy to do that. I hadn’t anticipated you doing that. We
should probably proceed alphabetically. Mitchell: That makes good sense to me or just volunteers
from the front of the room to the back. Geeting: Let’s begin with a very active commissioner in the
area of mathematics, Commissioner Scott Farrand, professor at Sacramento State. Scott…Mitchell: Thank
you so much, Scott, for your work. Commissioner
Farrand: Thank you I think I get a place in heaven, don’t I, because
I agree with what has been said. It’s been said very well and I don’t need to take much
time. Thank you. Mitchell: Thank you.
Mitchell: Commissioners are you surprised? Geeting:
I clearly hadn’t anticipated Scott being – I would also
like to introduce Commissioner Pat Sabo who helped out at one point in time chairing temporarily.
Mitchell: Thank you so much Pat. Commissioner Sabo:
I’m going to have a place in heaven right next to Scott and at
this point I agree with everything that has been said and will come up if I disagree.
Mitchell: Fantastic. Sabo: Thank you. Geeting:
And now I’d like to introduce another very active commissioner, Commissioner Ze’ev Wurman.
Mitchell: I think Commissioner Wurman and
Commissioner Evers are going to come together.
Commissioner Evers: President Mitchell, Superintendent
O’Connell, board members, I’m Bill Evers. I’m at
the Hoover Institution at Stanford. This is Palo Alto
businessman Ze’ev Wurman. I have five quick points to make. First of all, the K-
seven mathematics preparation is inadequate in these standards as they are before you.
They are not going to be prepared to take algebra in grade 8. The algebra in the grade 8
course is overstuffed and un-teachable. It is two years combined in one. It is a double dose
course, 74 standards instead of the normal 30-35. Second point, minorities and low-income
students under our current standards have been doing well. They’ve been doubling, tripling,
and quadrupling, depending on which demographic you’re looking at, their success rates at algebra
in 8th grade. They have been catching up with other students. This adoption, if you make it,
will damage severely this success. Point three, this is a major public policy ship that you’re
undertaking today in this decision. It’s going to have a serious affect, a disparate impact
on minorities and other disadvantaged children. I think you have a moral and a legal obligation
to have held regional hearings on the completed project and in the handout that I have put before
you, I give you the statutory passage that says that you must hold regional hearings.
Fourth point, there’s an experimental geometry matter in the standards pertaining to similar
and congruent triangles. So just to refresh minds, remember side angle, side angle, side angle
and all those sorts of things…so there’s a
Russian mathematician. His name is Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov and he
invented this method that’s being proposed and he tried it in an elite, gifted, and talented
boarding school in Russia and here’s what his student wrote in a famous memorial essay on
this Russian mathematician. This is from a student Vladimir Tikhomirov: “It has to be honestly
said that these ideas are unacceptable, unsuitable for acceptance into math schools.” Okay, so this
is pertaining to the thing that you…if you vote for this are going to be imposing on
the California students and my colleague Scott Farrand from the Commission said during the
deliberations that this was the most
worrisome thing that he found in the Common Core Standards. Final
point, I would pose a challenge to all the other speakers that come before you from the
CTA, from the California Federation of Teachers, from the California Mathematics Council, and
other presenters: Do you regard this algebra in 8th grade package, as a teachable, as doable
for the sixty percent of students that we succeed…that we have in our algebra in 8th
Grade now, and even for the numbers of success we have now–sixty percent–can they take this
double dose course? If you’re okay with that mathematics program, a second question…how
do you regard the deprivation of opportunity to minorities and low-income students? And
board members I ask you, as you listen to any of these presenters, answer these two questions
about the overstuffed and about the disparate impact on minorities and low-income children.
Are they being forthcoming in their answers? Are they being evasive? Are they not answering?
Thank you very much. Mitchell: Thank you Bill and thank you for your extraordinary work on the Commission.
Thank you Ze’ev. Geeting: Next I’d like to call up
Commissioner Jim Lanich. Mitchell: Good morning Jim. Commissioner
Lanich: Good morning. President Mitchell,
Superintendent O’Connell, board members, I was an inner-city school teacher for a long time
for Los Angeles Unified in a riot recovery area. My wife taught in the poorest square mile in the
United States for most of her teaching career. We’re a teaching and learning family. I went on
to become a bureaucrat and led Los Angeles County Office of Education programs for Curriculum and
Instruction for ten years. I worked in the 100 lowest-performing schools of Los Angeles
County. I went on to represent the business community for eight years in raising student
academic achievement and closing the achievement gap and I currently serve as the Director
of the California State University Center to Close the Achievement Gap. Simple message…
the absolute vast majority of the members on this Commission have taught kids. They were
excited. They liked what they saw. They improved upon it and they’re really looking forward
to getting more kids to grade-level than we’ve ever gotten in our state before. They put before
you a recommendation that I think is strong and well-deserved. I appreciate your time that
you’ve given to listen to us all today and I’m just really looking forward to getting
the job done. Thank you. Mitchell: Thank you Jim.
Geeting: Next I’d like to invite up Commissioner Mark Freathy
who teaches mathematics in Elk Grove Unified. Commissioner Freathy: I was not exactly prepared
to do this but I’m happy to be here and this
was a great honor to be on this commission and to have
some input. I’m excited. I’m excited because in a few days I get start my 34th year of
teaching and I’m excited when I looked at these standards. The grassroots – when I talk
to people across the state, especially elementary school teachers, and I told them what I was
involved in, they were really excited that we could have some standards that they could
focus on because they continued to say “there’s too much” and so When we went through the
standards, the practitioners unanimously were very supportive that this can work. The people
that have been doing this, we’ve been preparing kids for algebra for years and years with
high success rates in some schools, but the success rate that we have, sixty percent of
students taking algebra, to me, is not the scorecard. It’s how many students are successfully completing
algebra at all levels. That should be our scorecard, and if you look at the data, the data suggest
that the best thing we can do is prepare kids for algebra I so that they’re successful in
taking algebra I the first time they take it. Thank you. Mitchell: Thank you. Geeting: And
last, but certainly not least, my buddy from
here in my days with the California Department of Education, Dr.
Deborah Keys. Commissioner Keys: Good morning President,
members of the Board. I’ll be very, very brief. It was a privilege for
me to work with the commissioners who have brought forth their recommendation to you
today. I have been in education for a very long time and have great concerns about our
students in California. I believe that what you have been presented with in terms of the
recommendation indeed is going to support and move our kids forward. I want to also commend
the work Of the staff of SCOE who enabled us to really do the job that we needed to
do in a very, very short timeline. It was a very short timeline and we wouldn’t have been able
to do it as well as we did without the support and the work of SCOE, so I want to publicly
thank Sue Stickle and her staff and I thank you so very much for really taking into account
the valuable work and time that the expert panel actually put into making its recommendation
today and I full heartedly supported it. Thank you very much. Mitchell: Thank you. Geeting:
I regret to say there’s a bit of tarnish on the
legend. I had been told that Debora Keys was the last but there is
one more commissioner. Eleanor Evans is also here. Elinor…
Mitchell: Eleanor was simply sitting in the blind spot.
That’s all. Commissioner Evans: Good morning.
I am Eleanor Evans from San Diego Unified School District. I am
the student that Dr. Evers talked about. I am the student. I’m a part of California public
schools, but I am a student that struggled with math through middle school and high school
and I want to say that the math component is excellent. I only wish that…My one regret
about going from high school to college is that my friends didn’t go with me, okay, and
the reason why was because they did not have the math background. Math as you all know is
a gateway for college, for careers, and I would implore you to please, please support the Common Core
Standards in mathematics. Thank you very much. Mitchell: Thank you. Great. Thanks commissioners,
and board members, I hope you will join me
in a round of applause for the commissioners, obviously for those
who are here today but for everyone who served so amiably. Public service is often thankless
and it is not very often heroic, and hopefully, we have and will continue to provide the thanks
and certainly the service was and continues to be heroic in preparing us to make the decision that’s
in front of us today. One second. Great.
So what I’d like now to do, board members, is to see if there are any clarifying questions
that you might have. While you’re thinking about that, I’d like to return to Greg Geeting’s
comments, if I might, for just a second and see if I can remind the board of the task
that’s before us today. I think that Greg put it very well, so I’m really simply reinforcing
points that he made. I think that it’s critical as we take this up to differentiate between
what we’re being asked to do today and what we’re not being asked to do today and, by extension,
what we as a board and we as a Department and the Legislature will be asked to do in
the future because I think that differentiating between those will provide us with a way of
making a decision in a world that’s actually very complex, but a world in which we’re taking
one bite today. So let me see if I can, again, emphasize some of the points that Greg
made first by talking about what we’re not being asked to do today. So I think critically, we
are not being asked to determine grade level curriculum, courses, materials, or assessments.
Those are all steps in the process that, if we begin it today, will take place in an orderly
fashion where we will be involved in each step of the way, but those are steps that we’re
not being asked to take today. We’re not, even more specifically, being asked to array the
proposed standards within grade levels. Many of our colleagues and superintendents are
here today and they will tell you that even after the frameworks are established, that’s
important work that they engage in with their teachers. We are not…and Greg thank you so
much for making this point…we are not being asked to step back, repudiate, or throw away
our current standards or our system of accountability, but when we think about an implementation
plan, we need to be very clear with ourselves and the field that the current standards are
in place, that there’s a transition to new standards, but there’s work to be done on the
blueprints, work to be done on materials adoptions, work to be done on assessments, and that when
that work is completed, and only then, will the state transition to a system based on
Common Core if we choose to take that step today. Further, we are not being asked to redesign
professional development for teachers, teacher certification for entry level teachers, nor
are we being asked today to connect the Common Core with any of those kinds of teacher professional
evaluation we’ve talked about in other areas of our work. So that’s not what we’re being asked to
do today. What is it that we are being asked to do today? And here the legislation is very
specific as are the usual ways that we operate as a board and as a system…What we are being
asked to do is to adopt or reject the academic content standards that have been proposed
to us. If we do so, we begin the process that Greg talked about. We begin the process of
unfolding blueprints that will operationalize these standards in the lives of teachers and
kids. We unfold the opportunity to create new assessments, new materials adoptions programs,
and for those of us who’ve been around this particular set of decisions for a while, we
know that that means that we’ll be seeing more of Tom Adams as he walks us through that
work, but members, as we go through our decision-making process today, I implore you…and will probably
do so several times…I implore you to remember that that work, that critical, important work,
is tomorrow’s work, not today’s work. Questions? Comments? Vice President Bloom: If I may? First of all,
I was very happy to hear Greg refer to the great work that was done in 1997 with our California
standards and I was also very pleased to note that…have you note that our California standards have been…were a
part of the base national Core Standards. It’s a major, major step and because we did that in
1997, it allows us, a different board, different people, but the Board of Education for the
State of California a comfortable place in order to accept this knowing as Ted has
said that we have a very, very long road ahead of us and that is in every aspect, that it’s like
telling your teenage daughter you can go out on a date and then, somewhere down the line,
she’s going to get married and have a family because that is…we’re at the very beginning of
something. I appreciate the fact that commissioners have disagreed as well as agreed with the
math standards but I also am a great believer that from way back in graduate school, that
if you set high standards, you will teach to high standards and it will happen. I mean I’ve
been pleased in my many visits to schools over the years as a board member to have seen
classrooms where teachers have been trained and teach the state standards in their classes,
in their classrooms very different from the days when I was a teacher and I didn’t even
know what a curriculum was and it was in the bottom drawer, I think, on the right, and inventing
my own way, but I am comfortable with this first step. I am also comfortable with the
fact that it has been that there are thirty states that have agreed to this and that a
great portion is…was done through California. I appreciate Sue’s work and I look forward
to seeing what this board and this office and this state is going to do to make this
a reality in the future. So thank you. Mitchell: And thank you Vice President Bloom and just as a reminder
to board members, that I hope that we can use this as an opportunity to ask some clarifying
questions. We’ve got quite a lineup…Nick and I were conferring…quite a lineup of people
who would like to provide public comment. I want to turn to that in just a minute
so that we can hear from the public and then move to take action. Are you alright with that?
Great. So I’d like to now turn to public comment. We have over 25 people signed up for public
comment and given the hour, and Mr. superintendent, I know we’ve got a clock to watch, I would
love members of the public to keep their comments, in this instance, to one minute. Beth… Rice: The first
three are Arun Ramanathan, Sherry Griffith, and Shelley Kriegler. Mitchell: Great, thank you. Good morning
Arun. Ramanathan: Good morning State Board
President Mitchell, Superintendent O’Connell, and members of the
State Board of Education. My name is Arun Ramanathan. On behalf of my colleagues at
the Education Trust West, I thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. While
we realize that there are many important issues before you, none is as closely watched as the
decision on the Common Core standards and the Commission’s recommendations. California
has long been a leader in both standards and assessments. We at the Education Trust West
have long been advocates for increasing the rigor of our standards and graduation requirements
with the goal of ensuring that all of our high school graduates have a true choice between
college and career. We’ve consistently highlighted the opportunity in achievement gaps that prevent
so many students of color and students in poverty in our state from achieving college
and career readiness, and over the past eight years, we have pressed you consistently to
close those opportunity and achievement gaps and live up to the promise of our rigorous
standards. While we understand that the adoption of the Common Core will not by itself close
those opportunity and achievement gaps, we do believe that adoption of the Common Core
and the commission’s recommendations is an important step in the right direction. First
and foremost, the Common Core were built upon a clear determination of what students need
to know by the end of high school in order to be college and career-ready. Second, the
college and career standards are benchmarked against international standards, and third,
by focusing on depth instead of breath, the standards present a true pathway and true
promise for our students of color and students in poverty in the State of California. As a
result, we do hope that you adopt the Common Core and we do hope that you take the commission’s
recommendations. Thank you. Mitchell: Thank you very much and thank you for making the trip here today. Griffith:
Good morning board members, Superintendent O’Connell. Sherry Griffin with the Association
of California School Administrators. We are absolutely thrilled and pleased to support
the recommendations of the Commission both with the Common Core and the strengthening
through California specific standards. Our position is twofold. One is that we strongly
support the Common Core and the California- specific standards, and secondly, ACSA has made
as one of its highest priorities a comprehensive, fully-funded implementation plan of Common
Core if you adopt today. We commit to that over the next five years. We believe it’s critical
for stakeholders and policymakers to, in a collaborative fashion, work closely together.
We want to commend the stellar work of the Commission. You would be so proud of these
educators. We were there witnessing firsthand their work, the stellar work of Sue Stickle
and her staff. It was just a phenomenal experience. We had to bring sleeping bags I think almost
a couple of nights, but it was excellent. I think what you’ll see in the recommendations
is not only the strength of Common Core but where these content experts took it further
in ELA where they added what we needed in informal presentations. In math, for the first
time, and so historic, that we’re going to have eighth grade Common Core math standards and
algebra I as an option. Think about this, our administrators will no longer have to relegate
kids to repeat sixth and seventh grade standards, and has Kathy Gaither said, for the first time,
you’re going to have two options for college readiness. We are so proud. Thank you. Mitchell: Thank
you very much,
and I do appreciate everybody working through their remarks in a sub two-minute fashion. It’s
very helpful. Kriegler: Well then you’ll be happy with me because I agree with what everyone has
said except Bill Evers. I’m Shelly Krieger and I flew up here today because I wanted to endorse…
to encourage you to adopt the standards and I thank you very much for your work. Mitchell: Thank
you very much and thanks for making the trip. Rice: Okay, the next three people line up so we can
move through quickly. Doug MacRae, Kathlan Latimer, and Juan Godinez. McRae: Good morning. I’m Doug McRae.
I’m a retired test publisher from Monterey and a veteran of the war of 1997 over California
content standards. I’d urge a “yes-comma-but” vote and I must say that I’ve heard a lot
of the conversation regarding the “comma-but” part of it…because the “comma-but” in my urging
has to do with the implementation of them. Frankly you’re under the gun with seven hundred
million dollars potentially on the table and that’s a practical matter. When the family
is hungry, there’s a responsibility to put food on the table, and so I understand
that. On the merits, the Standards Commission recommendation, especially for math, looks like
a horse designed by a committee with an unknown number of humps not unlike the camel. The content
standards need to have a strong horse–you’ve talked about this–capable of pulling five
standards-based carts: curriculum frameworks,
instructional materials, professional development, assessments, and
accountability systems. The content standards
as they currently exist are not ready to pull those carts. There’s
a DC policy wonk that said the rush to common core standards this summer is not unlike joining
a fitness club: a lot of claims for benefits before the workout schedule has been determined,
etcetera. That’s all the stuff that’s in front of you, so I…go ahead and urge you to do it
but do pay attention to the implementation issues. There are some major implementation
issues that may need revision of the standards before you can do them. Thank
you. Michell: Thank you, Doug. Latimer:
Good morning. I’m Kathlan Latimer, President-elect at the California
Mathematics Council, and to the point, California Mathematics Council endorses the recommendation
of the Academic Content Standards Commission for adoption of the augmented Common Core
Standards. We feel that the newly recommended standards provide an opportunity for K-8 students
to build a solid foundation with experiences in mathematical thinking that lead to stronger
and deeper understanding of mathematics. A few argue that the recommended standards will
not prepare students to take algebra I in eighth grade. CMC disagrees. In primary grades,
these standards emphasize number sense and other foundational skills critical for success
in mathematics. Many students who struggle in mathematics…struggle in algebra are weak in
these skills and that creates a poor understanding
of important topics. It’s important that students are successful
the first time they take algebra. CMC supports the Commission’s recommendation that generates
opportunities for success at grade eight algebra as well as grade eight standards. While some
may see this as tracking, CMC sees this as the alternative to repeating courses, so we
do stand firmly behind the standards as augmented and presented. Finally, we’d like to congratulate
the members of the Academic Content Standards Commission for their commitment to improve
education and know that the California Mathematics Council stands ready to support all aspects
for successful implementation of these Common Core Standards. Thank you. Mitchell: Thank you very much.

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