California Online Mathematics Education Times (COMET)

COMET is a weekly publication designed to keep mathematics teachers and educational leaders on the cutting edge of news and information regarding professional issues, events, and opportunities. COMET is produced by Carol Fry Bohlin and supported by the California Mathematics Project. Back issues of COMET (2000-2015) are available in a searchable archive at



California News as of 2/5/16

California’s Teacher Shortage: New Publication Addresses the Growing Challenge



The Learning Policy Institute (LPI, is a new national nonprofit organization focused on research and related policy for PK-12 public education. Led by President/CEO Linda Darling-Hammond (Professor Emerita at Stanford University and Chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing), LPI released the report, Addressing California’s Emerging Teacher Shortage: An Analysis of Sources and Solutions at a conference held in Sacramento on 19 January 2016. 


According to the report, “estimated teacher hires for the 2015-16 school year increased by 25 percent from the previous year, while preliminary credentials issued to fully prepared new teachers increased by less than 1 percent from the previous year, and enrollment in teacher education programs increased by only about 2 percent” (p. i; also see Figures 4 and 5 on pp. 5 and 6 for a visual representation of the estimated number of new teacher hires in California between 2001-02 and 2015-16, as well as the dropping enrollment in teacher preparation programs between 2001-02 and 2013-14). 


Further, “in 2014-15, provisional and short-term permits…nearly tripled from the number issued two years earlier, growing from about 850 to more than 2,400. In all, the number of teachers hired on substandard permits and credentials nearly doubled in the last two years, to more than 7,700, comprising a third of all the new credentials issued in 2014-15…


“In mathematics and science, the number of preliminary credentials awarded to new, fully prepared teachers dropped by 32 percent and 14 percent, respectively, over the last four years. In that same time, the numbers of underprepared mathematics and science teachers (those with temporary permits and waivers and intern credentials) have increased by 23 percent and 51 percent, respectively” (p. i). See Figure 7 on page 10 of the report for trends in the mathematics and science teacher supply between 2011-12 and 2014-15.


The full report is available online at A related policy brief is available at Visit for more information about the report.


Presenters and panelists at the conference, entitled “California’s Emerging Teacher Shortage: New Evidence and Policy Responses,” included policy leaders, senior researchers, and local practitioners. Keynote addresses were givn by Darling-Hammond and California Senate Education Committee Chair Carol Liu. (Visit Liu’s website to view a video on her support of STEAM


The conference was co-sponsored by LPI, PACE (, and the Education Policy Center at AIR ( PACE noted on its website that the event featured presentations on new approaches to teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention that might help to ameliorate the worst impacts of the shortage on California students ( Four panels were included:

– California’s Emerging Teacher Shortage in Perspective 

– Critical Shortages

– Policy Responses, Pre-Service 

– Policy Responses, In-Service


Archived videos of these panels and keynote speakers are available on the PACE website:


The 33-minute keynote address by Darling-Hammond addressed a wide range of topics focused on teacher recruitment and retention. She stated that a strategic focus on recruitment is necessary and gave examples of ideas included in the LPI report (see pp. 23-27 in A video of Darling-Hammond’s keynote address is located at




Related article:


“Legislators Challenge Sacramento to Tackle Teacher Shortage” by Louis Freedberg and John Fensterwald 

SourceEdWeek – 2 February 2016



“In the most concerted effort to tackle the teacher shortage in years, three California lawmakers have introduced a package of bills designed to attract new teachers to the profession, ease the burden of getting through preparation programs, and provide rigorous training in the form of year-long ‘residencies’ under the guidance of a master teacher.


“The lawmakers are state Sen. Carol Liu, D-Glendale, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica. All were intimately involved in public school education before they came to Sacramento.”




New Comprehensive Guidebook Provides Ideas and Strategies for Mathematics Teacher Recruitment 



The national shortage of mathematics teachers has received much attention in recent years, and one of the efforts to address the shortage has been supported by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The organization’s Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (MTE-P) is led nationally by Howard Gobstein and W. Gary Martin. The California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office has been very active in supporting and facilitating a CSU System-wide partnership (CSU MTE-P). Visit for more information about the effort.


One of the Research Action Clusters (RACs) of the MTE-P is “Marketing for Attracting Teacher Hopefuls (MATH).” Led by Ed Dickey, Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of South Carolina, the RAC’s focus has been on mathematics teacher recruitment. A major product of this RAC was the Secondary Mathematics Teacher Recruitment Campaign Implementation Guide, a comprehensive volume containing useful modules on topics ranging from effective campaign planning to uses of social media. Mathematics teacher educators who prepare future math teachers as well as outreach coordinators will find this document especially useful. 


The guidebook is available free of charge via the following link (Note: This takes you to a very short survey required for access to the link for the entire volume.) 


Last week, Dickey spoke to CSU mathematics educators at the CSU MTE-P meeting at the CSU-Fullerton regional campus in Irvine and also presented the keynote address at the 2016 Annual Conference of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE): “Rebranding the Teaching Profession: Ideas and Strategies for Effective Recruitment of Mathematics Teachers.” His presentation file is available for download from


Dickey will be one of two mathematics educators honored at the 2016 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Barbara Reys will also be honored with this award at the conference, which will be held on April 13-16 in San Francisco.




New Brochures Help Teachers Explain the California Common Core State Standards to Parents, Guardians, and Other Community Members

Source: Deborah Franklin, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division,

California Department of Education


The California Department of Education recently produced two sets of new brochures that focus on the California Common Core State Standards. The brochures were developed as a tool for K-12 teachers to explain the Standards and as a starting point for discussion about student learning. 


The four brochures on the Mathematics Standards are organized by grade span (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12). They showcase sample problems and highlight the progression of learning through the grade levels. Each brochure also provides suggestions for parents and guardians to support student learning as well as a list of additional resources. Four similar brochures were created for the English Language Arts/Literacy Standards. 


Both sets of brochures can be downloaded from the State Resources section of the Sacramento County Office of Education webpage at (The brochures are designed to be printed double-sided, then folded into thirds.)


The brochures were developed on behalf of the Consortium for the Implementation of the Common Core under the leadership of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division of the California Department of Education and the Sacramento County Office of Education. 




Free Workshop at MSRI Next Week–Observing, Evaluating and Improving Mathematics Teaching from the Early Grades through the University

Contact: Jenn Murawski –



For over a decade, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley has hosted a series of workshops addressing key problems in education. The Critical Issues in Mathematics Education series seeks to provide an opportunity for mathematicians, mathematics education researchers, and K-12 teachers to learn about current and relevant research, share their perspectives about related issues, make connections with each other, and develop approaches to tackle problems related to mathematics teaching and learning.


Videos and related documents from past workshops are available at


The focus of this year’s workshop, which will be held at MSRI on February 10-12, is Observing, Evaluating and Improving Mathematics Teaching from the Early Grades through the University. For more details about this free workshop (e.g., speakers, registration, schedule, etc.), visit




Phil Daro to Provide Keynote Address for the March 11-12 Central Valley Common Core Mathematics Symposium



The Central Section of the California Mathematics Council and the South Kern Mathematics Partnership present the Central Valley Common Core Mathematics Symposium on March 11 (11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. for administrators and lead teachers) and March 12 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for teachers and administrators) at California State University, Bakersfield


This year’s theme is Common Core State Standards and Productive Struggle. In addition to grade-level breakouts, Saturday’s sessions include keynote speaker Phil Daro, a co-author of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Daro’s topic will be “Using Progressions to Make Progress.” 


Daro writes, “Mathematical concepts build on each other. In writing the Common Core Mathematics Standards, we put a lot of effort into sequencing concepts that depend on each other in a coherent way. Progressions also must align to cognitive development of children. The Standards lay out progressions across grades, but do not specify progressions of lessons and chapters within a grade. Instructional programs must do that. The toughest job, however, belongs to teachers who must deal with the progressions within each lesson, day in and day out. This session will show how differences among students within each lesson reveal the real progressions along which students travel to learn. The variety of ways students think about a particular problem can and should be used as stepping stones within each lesson to bring students up to grade level thinking each day.”


Registration for the CMC Central Symposium is now open. Please visit for more information.




National Mathematics Education Conferences come to the San Francisco Bay Area in April


Registration is now open for two major mathematics education conferences this coming April:


(a) National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) in Oakland on April 11-13:


(b) National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in San Francisco on April 13-16:




Statewide Science Education Conference Invites Workshop and Short Course Proposals


You are invited to submit a proposal to present at the 2016 California Science Education Conference, which will be held in Palm Springs on October 21-23.


Please visit for more information.




Smarter Balanced Online Test Administration Manual is Now Available

Source: California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Flash #1 – 19 January 2016


The California Department of Education (CDE) has initiated a series of flash announcements to provide updates about assessment-related topics. To receive these announcements and weekly updates, you may subscribe to the CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) list by sending a blank message to


Flash #1 announced that the Smarter Balanced Online Test Administration Manual (TAM) for the Smarter Balanced Online Summative Assessments for Mathematics and for English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) has been posted to the CAASPP Instructions and Manuals webpage ( 


To view the TAM, please visit


One feature highlighted in the TAM is Section 7.5 (p. 47), which describes the Early Assessment Program (EAP). The EAP is a joint program of the California Department of Education, California State University (CSU), and the California Community Colleges (CCC). The EAP provides high school students with an early indicator of their college readiness in English and mathematics prior to starting the senior year. Students taking the grade 11 CAASPP ELA and mathematics assessments will automatically be participating in the EAP. 


Students may voluntarily release their grade 11 CAASPP ELA and/or mathematics results to the CSU and CCCs (see pages 67-68 in the TAM). EAP results may earn students an exemption from the English and/or mathematics placement tests that are required for entering freshmen at CSU and participating CCC campuses.




Related item:


California State Board of Education Provides Update on Smarter Balanced Assessments, Digital Library, and California Next Generation Science Standards Assessments


Item 3 on last month’s meeting agenda for the California State Board of Education includedupdates on activities related to the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments, Interim Assessments, and Digital Library, as well as the California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) and California Next Generation Science Standards assessments. To read this agenda item, visit




Archived Webinar Available for Every Student Succeeds Act Presentation at State Board of Education Meeting

Source: California Department of Education


Agenda Item 1 of the January 2016 State Board of Education (SBE) meeting provided an update of the state’s implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Julia Martin of Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC, presented “The Every Student Succeeds Act Summary and Key Points.” Her PowerPoint slides are available at, and her presentation may be viewed in the archived webcast now located on the SBE website at The agenda for the January SBE meeting is available at




Related Item:


Webinar Video: Implications of Every Student Succeeds Act for California and Equity

Source: EdSource – 22 January 2016



EdSource reports that the video, slides, and background document (including a history of ESEA and a comparison of NCLB and the Every Student Succeeds Act–ESSA) are now available for its 90-minute webinar on the implications of the ESSA for California and equity (visit the website above).


The webinar panel, EdSource writes, provided a diverse and insightful array of perspectives on how the new law might affect efforts to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed in school.


The webinar, sponsored by EdSource and Partners for Each and Every Child(www.foreachandeverychild.orgwas moderated by EdSource Executive Director Louis Freedberg. 




– Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute

– Christopher Edley, Chair, Partners for Each and Every Child, Co-Founder, The Opportunity Institute

– Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts

– Michelle Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent, Santa Ana Unified School District

– Tom Saenz, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

– Socorro Shiels, Superintendent, Santa Rosa City Schools, Education Director, California Collaborative for Educational Excellence

– Ryan Smith, Executive Director, The Education Trust-West 




Free Online Reviews of Topics Assessed on the Mathematics and Science CSET Subtests will begin on February 20



The Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) at California State University, Fresno will offer free, synchronous, online reviews of the content assessed on CSET: Mathematics Subtests I and II and CSET: Science Subtests I, II, and III (for all areas of science) starting on Saturday, February 20


Prospective or current mathematics and science teachers who need to demonstrate subject matter competency via the CSET to earn a full or Foundational-level Single Subject credential should find these interactive workshops very helpful. Following the conclusion of each session, participants will receive a link to the archived webinar so they can review the material later if desired. Reimbursement of CSET fees may also be possible for webinar participants.


Space is limited, so please visit for more information and for registration details.