California STEM Network News – May 2021

Governor’s May Revision Proposes Billions of Dollars in Additional Spending on Public Education

On May 14, Governor Newsom released the May Revision of the 2021-22 State Budget. With an unprecedented $75 billion operating budget surplus in combination with over $25 billion in federal relief, the Governor and Legislature have an extraordinary opportunity to take bold action on behalf of children and youth throughout our educational system and particularly for those who face the most daunting of challenges.

The Governor has proposed an ambitious set of investments in schools that leads with equity and focuses on the comprehensive needs of children by expanding learning opportunities; creating a new “14th grade” through universal transitional kindergarten; strengthening connections to health, mental health, and social services; and investing in the recruitment and training of educators.

Next steps for the May Revision include comprehensive reviews of all of the proposals by the education budget subcommittees in both the Senate and Assembly, as well as adjustments in spending and final approval by the full budget committees in each house. These committee hearings will take place this week and formal votes by both chambers of the legislature should occur in early June in time to meet the June 15 deadline for approval of the budget and enactment by July 1 to start the new fiscal year.

While many positive steps are reflected in the May Revision, California can and must do more for children and youth in the final budget agreement. Below are a few highlights regarding the educator initiatives and STEM instruction from the budget summary. You can read Children Now’s statement in response to the Governor’s May Revision here.

Educator Preparation, Training, and Recruitment

  • $550 million to support approximately 22,000 teacher candidates in teacher residencies and other grow-your-own teacher credentialing programs.
  • $500 million for the Golden State Teacher grants, which would support a combined total of at least 25,000 grants for teacher credential candidates who commit to teach at a priority school, in a high-need subject matter area, for four years.
  • $125 million for the Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program, to support more than 5,000 classified school staff in becoming credentialed teachers.
  • $111.1 million to establish the Roadmap to Pre-K through 12 Educational Employment Program, a long-term, comprehensive statewide recruitment and communications strategy that focuses on recruiting and developing a diverse and talented educational workforce.
  • $20 million to provide a credential fee waiver in 2021-22 for individuals entering the TK-12 educator workforce.
  • $1.5 billion for the Educator Effectiveness Block Grant, to provide local education agencies with training resources for classified, certificated, and administrative school staff in specified high-need topics, including accelerated learning, re-engaging students, restorative practices, and implicit bias training.
  • $25 million for the 21st Century School Leadership Academy, to provide high-quality professional learning for administrators and other school leaders.

STEM/Expanded Learning

The May Revision reflects a five-year plan to implement expanded-day, full-year instruction and enrichment for all elementary school students in local education agencies (LEAs) with the highest concentrations of low-income students, English language learners, and youth in foster care (representing approximately 2.1 million children). By 2025-26, these students would have access to no-cost afterschool and summer programs. The estimated costs of this proposal are $1 billion in 2021-22, growing to $5 billion in 2025-26.

In addition, the Governor proposed $15 million to support 6,000 teachers in completing the coursework necessary to receive state certification to teach computer science. There is also support for Humboldt State University becoming designated as the state’s third polytechnic university, which would build upon the University’s high concentration of programs in STEM and $25 million to support construction of the CSU Northridge Center for Equity in Innovation and Technology.


Draft 2021 Mathematics Framework Update

On May 19, the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) reviewed the written public comments received during the first 60-day public review of the draft 2021 Mathematics Curriculum Framework (Framework). More than 240 groups and individuals provided comments via email or the online review form. The IQC meeting offered an opportunity for the members of the Mathematics Subject Matter Committee as well as other members of the IQC to review the comments received, the actions on those comments as recommended by the California Department of Education (CDE) staff, and to receive public comment by phone. While a small handful of callers, mostly representing organizations, called in to offer general support and request changes consistent with their written comments, the majority of the callers representing themselves as parents of kids enrolled in public school called to request that the Framework be revised to provide more guidance on accelerated math pathways beginning in middle school (the draft Framework discourages acceleration prior to 11th grade) and to change language in the Framework relating to gifted students. Other comments, both written and oral, requested the removal of links to the Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, claiming the resource was divisive. After reviewing the recommendation and considering public comment, the IQC voted to remove the link and all references to A Pathway for Equitable Math Instruction from the draft Framework and directed the writers to rework language regarding gifted students and include additional guidance on acceleration.

Between now and this summer, the writers will work with CDE staff and IQC representatives to make revisions consistent with the direction of the IQC. In June or July, the second public draft of the framework will be released for a 60-day public comment period. Given the amount of attention, media, and input the first draft received, it is anticipated that the second draft will receive a similar level of engagement.


CuriOdyssey Launches STEM Corps

CuriOdyssey, the science museum and zoo for young children located at Coyote Point in San Mateo and a champion for early science learning has launched a new initiative titled STEMCorps. Started as a pilot program, STEMCorps will connect educators, mentors, caregivers, and community partners to support youth from underrepresented communities and empower them to pursue opportunities to engage in STEM learning. CuriOdyssey created STEMCorps because it believes that developing future generations of problem solvers is more important now than ever before and the STEM processes are building blocks for an effective critical thinker. While the access gap to STEM learning has long existed for Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), as well as for women, the pandemic has exacerbated their under-representation in STEM fields and careers. When in full effect, STEMCorps will engage a diverse team of individuals and organizations influential in a child’s learning journey to build skills, access to opportunities, and representation in STEM fields.

As part of STEMCorps, CuriOdyssey will train a team of STEM professionals in their approach to science education and pair volunteer mentors with students to prepare them for success through career advice and academic support. In addition, through a professional learning program, CuriOdyssey will build the comfort, confidence, and capacity of teachers to develop and integrate inquiry-based STEM learning for BIPOC students. CuriOdyssey will connect youth with resources to take charge of their STEM education and career exploration. Youth will develop leadership, STEM skills, and the ability to advocate for change in their community. Through STEMCorps, CuriOdyssey intends to form strong partnerships with schools and community-based organizations that serve BIPOC youth to amplify STEM learning throughout the Bay Area. For more information, check out the STEMCorps website.


US Department of Education Directs $36 Billion in Relief to Colleges and Universities

On May 11, the Education Department released $36 billion in federal aid from the latest coronavirus relief package to more than 5,000 colleges and universities with the aim of bolstering schools that serve students and families hardest hit by the pandemic. In doing so, the Biden Administration sent a record-breaking windfall of federal support to community colleges, historically black colleges, and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions.

Roughly half the funding, which was allocated to schools based in large part on the share of students who receive federal Pell Grants, will go directly to students with dire financial needs to help them cover food, housing, computers, internet, child care, and other essential expenses so they can stay enrolled. Unlike previous rounds of coronavirus relief from the last administration, the aid can go to students in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that offers protections to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

The other half of the $36 billion will be used by colleges and universities themselves to stem the spread of COVID-19 on campus, vaccinate students and staff, re-engage students who may have dropped out – including by discharging student debts accrued during the pandemic so they can re-enroll – and provide academic and mental health support, among many other things. The aid more than doubles what community colleges, HBCUs, and minority-serving institutions currently receive from the federal government, and it represents the largest single investment ever made to HBCUs and minority-serving institutions.

The funding includes $10 billion for community colleges; $6 billion for minority-serving instructions, including Hispanic-serving institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions; $2.6 billion for HBCUs; and $190 million for tribally controlled colleges and universities. The relief is considered critical to bolstering enrollment at colleges and universities that serve lots of low-income students, first-generation students, English Learners, and students of color. (U.S. News & World Report)


Million Girls Moonshot

The Million Girls Moonshot seeks to re-imagine who can engineer, who can build, and who can make. It will inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators by engaging one million more girls in STEM learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs over the next five years. The Moonshot will be active in out-of-school programs in all 50 states, leveraging the Mott-funded 50 State Afterschool Network, which has access to more than 10 million youth and 100,000 afterschool programs across the country.


Upcoming Events

Breaking Down Silos: Expanding Work Environments, Equity in High School STEM, and Foundational Math Catalysts (Virtual)

Cost: Free
When: Thursday, May 27, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm (PST)
Join the 100Kin10 Network and explore the insights and resources emerging from their collective work on the Catalyst challenges of nurturing positive work environments for teachers, ensuring students have joyful foundational math experiences, and making high school STEM more equitable.
For details and registration, visit

2021 Early Math Symposium – Maintaining Mathematical Momentum (Virtual)

Cost: Free
When: Friday, June 25, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (PST)
For details and registration, visit

California STEAM Symposium – Call for Proposals

The CDE Foundation is now accepting proposals for the 2021 California STEAM Symposium. The event will take place online October 21 – 23. The deadline for submitting proposals is June 16. Several Q&A sessions will be offered to help those interested in submitting a proposal. For more information and to submit your proposal, visit