[CESElist] Earth System Science Certification Program

Thomas McGuire cavecreekdigital at msn.com
Mon Jul 30 23:00:52 MDT 2007


I can speak of Earth science in New York State, where my 32 year teaching
career was.

The ³laboratory science² issue is taken care of by the requirement that
physics, chemistry, biology and Earth science offered as ³regents courses²
must include at least 1200 minutes of student lab work, documented by the
individual¹s lab reports. Of these, biology & E Sci are generally considered
the easiest and consequently these two are the most popular. It is important
to note that all four carry the same kind of science credit. The NY regents
exams are statewide external assessment. There are three all-new and secure
exams offered every June, August and January. Each science assessment
carries a laboratory proficiency section. The ES practical is a hands-on
series of tasks done in a testing environment by each individual. I think
that roughly and perhaps more than 50% of NY students take an academic level
ES course.

A school is not required to offer regents Earth science. But the factors
above create demand by students and parents.

New York State offers certification in each of these four science areas.
Finding certified ES teachers for each school is a challenge, but generally
successful. It¹s been a long time since I was certified, but I think the
current certification requires cadet teaching experience, passing a content
exam and college level course requirements.

This seems a little different than what you are suggesting, but these
factors have produced a strong statewide program in New York.

Of course, ³Why we do things the way we do?² seems to be the product of two
forces: 1) How have we ³always² done it? and 2) political forces. Bringing
the two together is too rare.

A few states have recently made ES content a requirement. But it appears
that the content need not be offered in a course dedicated to ES in many if
not most of them. Geology, often the strongest strand in ES/ESS, is not as
strongly a part of our economy as it once was. So kids want to be doctors,
engineers and lawyers. Meteorology and astronomy are often considered a part
of applied physics and chemistry. No Nobel in the geosciences. Many parents
do not consider ES a ³real science.² (A former president of NSTA years ago
told me the same thing!) Some states that ³model² their standards on the
National Standards seem to ignore that the National Standards have strong ES
content. But that¹s the political bias that needs to be overcome. No small

I also hold colleges responsible. Support for pre-college ES should come
more strongly from the college community. Most departments are pleased to
enroll students with strong backgrounds in math, chemistry and physics. I
suppose this is understandable. That¹s the best brainpower pool.  But I
think that more support for pre-college geoscience would benefit the college
geoscience departments. The ³walls of ivy² need to become more permeable if
this connection is to be strengthened. College-high school partnerships seem
like a way to enhance the secondary geosciences. But it¹s not ³on the radar²
for most college departments.

Enough rambling....

Keep up the spirit.

Thomas McGuire
DLESE Listserv Moderator
Earth Science Educator & Author
Cave Creek, AZ

³If we intend to live on this planet....
             we truly need to understand how it works.²

On 7/30/07 11:08 AM, "Kovach, Russell" <Russell.Kovach at hcps.org> wrote:

> This is an interesting concept... it rather reminds me of the AP Audit.  If
> the CESE group could begin a similar process for Earth System Science / Earth
> Science (possibly at the district level rather than the individual teacher
> level as AP does it), we could generate considerable exposure over the next
> few years.  Is anybody aware of any general education group other than AP that
> does similar certification?  If so, how do they go about such certification,
> and how do school districts that meet the certification rules advertise such?
> Russell W. Kovach
> Science Teacher
> C. Milton Wright High School
> 1301 N. Fountain Green Road
> Bel Air, MD 21015
> (410) 638 - 4110 phone
> (410) 638 - 4114 fax
> From: Steve M. Carlson
> Sent: Mon 7/30/2007 1:49 PM
> To: pyleej at jmu.edu
> Cc: ceselist at mailman.ucar.edu
> Subject: Re: [CESElist] chance for input: Colorado high school graduation
> requirements
> Maybe "we" need to start certifying programs that are Earth Science
> lab classes!  We could put together, if not already available,
> inquiry based criteria where a school could send in information and
> data certifying a lab based model.  Much like the National Board
> Certification model?  I am not aware of such a program, maybe it is
> already being done?  I retired some time ago!
> On Jul 30, 2007, at 10:08 AM, Eric J. Pyle wrote:
>> > Just a suggestion, but one we are wrestling with here in Virginia -
>> > do Colorado state college and university admissions offices specify
>> > what counts as a science lab credit?  Virginia schools have
>> > "suggestions" that omit Earth science.  While this does not
>> > preclude Earth science as counting for admission, some institutions
>> > may require the other three sciences prior to admission.  What do
>> > you suppose is the case in Colorado?
>> >
>> > Regards,
>> > Eric Pyle
>> >
>> >
>> > ---- Original message ----
>>> >> Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 10:01:17 -0600
>>> >> From: "Amy Stevermer" <asteverm at ucar.edu>
>>> >> Subject: [CESElist] chance for input: Colorado high school
>>> >> graduation requirements
>>> >> To: ceselist at mailman.ucar.edu
>>> >>
>>> >> To Colorado CESE folks,
>>> >>
>>> >> Colorado House Bill 07-1118 is moving forward. The bill requires the
>>> >> Colorado State Board of Education to develop state-wide high school
>>> >> graduation requirements. As currently written, the goal is not to
>>> >> require specific courses, however, there is movement to define the
>>> >> number of credits in a subject area (for instance, 3 years of
>>> >> science)
>>> >> that must be completed by all Colorado high school students.
>>> >>
>>> >> The State Board is also currently collecting feedback on the state's
>>> >> model content standards.
>>> >>
>>> >> Attached are links to the standards and to HB 07-1118, as well as a
>>> >> survey form from Edie Hudak on the State Board of Ed. Certainly
>>> >> there is
>>> >> compelling info regarding the importance of Earth system science
>>> >> education at the high school level that can be brought to the Board's
>>> >> attention.
>>> >>
>>> >> Colorado Model Content Standards: Science
>>> >> http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeassess/documents/standards/science.pdf
>>> >>
>>> >> Colorado House Bill 07-1118
>>> >> http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2007a/csl.nsf/
>>> >> fsbillcont3/5CBD607BCDE3BC2E87257251007B68B5?Open&file=1118_enr.pdf
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>>> >>> SUMMARY OF HB 07-1118
>>>> >>>
>>>> >>> On or before July 1, 2008, the State Board of Education must adopt
>>>> >>> ³a comprehensive set of guidelines for the establishment of high
>>>> >>> school graduation requirements² that each school district must
>>>> >>> meet or exceed. These are to be minimum standards or basic core
>>>> >>> competencies or skills, not specific courses or proficiency levels
>>>> >>>
>>>> >>> On or before August 1, 2007, the State Board must begin to receive
>>>> >>> public comment on the adequacy of the existing state model content
>>>> >>> standards.
>>>> >>>
>>>> >>> Among the factors that the State Board must take into account when
>>>> >>> creating the guidelines are:
>>>> >>> Recommendations from Governor Owens¹ Education Alignment Council.
>>>> >>> Recommendations from Governor Ritter¹s P-20 Council.
>>>> >>> Admissions standards established by the Colorado Commission on
>>>> >>> Higher Education for students entering 4-year education
>>>> >>> institutions in Colorado.
>>>> >>> The state¹s model content standards, particularly in math,
>>>> >>> science, reading, and writing.
>>>> >>> Skills and competencies necessary to succeed in the 21st century.
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> ________________
>>> >> COgradpolicyinput.doc (32k bytes)
>>> >> ________________
>>> >> _______________________________________________
>>> >> CESElist mailing list
>>> >> CESElist at mailman.ucar.edu
>>> >> http://mailman.ucar.edu/mailman/listinfo/ceselist
>> >
>> >
>> > Eric J. Pyle, Ph.D.
>> > Associate Professor
>> > Department of Geology and Environmental Science
>> > James Madison University
>> > MSC 6903
>> > Harrisonburg, VA  22807
>> >
>> > 540.568.7115
>> > 7100A Memorial Hall
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > CESElist mailing list
>> > CESElist at mailman.ucar.edu
>> > http://mailman.ucar.edu/mailman/listinfo/ceselist
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