California: Working in Education in California

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To alleviate its shortage of educators, California has developed a variety of programs to encourage people to enter the education field. The California Teacher Recruitment Program, for example, helps in the recruitment, selection, employment, and professional development of teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals.

According to a recent assessment on school innovation by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and the Center for American Progress, California does a good job encouraging thoughtful innovation in its schools. The state has high academic standards and a very good charter school law. California also does a good job encouraging career and college readiness. The state fails, however, in its efforts to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom, according to the study.

Educational Management

The National Association of Secondary School Principals recognized a San Diego high school as a 2010 Breakthrough School for its high level of achievement despite its high incidence of poverty. Only ten schools in the country received the award, which carries a $5,000 grant to each school.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the mean annual wage for elementary and secondary school administrators in California in May 2008 was $101,500, which compares favorably to the nationwide mean annual wage of $86,060.

Teacher's Aides

The Paraprofessional Teacher Training Program is a career ladder program for paraprofessionals (instructional/teacher's assistant/aide) that leads to teacher preparation and eventually a teaching credential. Participants receive help with tuition, books, and fees as well as other support services. For many paraprofessionals the first step is to get a bachelor's degree. A few colleges and universities have blended programs that allow students to complete course work for a bachelor's degree and a teaching credential at the same time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for the 163,120 teacher assistants in California in May 2008 was $29,090.

Curriculum/Instruction and Technology

Curriculum and technology services are available to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms, increase educational applications of technology, and use data to make decisions around instruction. Internet resource links connect educators to tech-related topics, podcasts, and other media resources.

The California Technology Assistance Program is a group of consortia that provide technical assistance to schools and districts on educational technology. Another technology initiative is the Robotics Challenge Project, in which students in grades 4 to 8 design and build robots using Legos and special programming software.

California launched the country's first open source digital textbook initiative. Open source digital textbooks contain free materials that teachers can easily modify and share, and are part of the state's efforts to use technology to transform education. In addition to addressing the state's textbook problem, the initiative could help the state save money.

One position involved in the integration of educational technology into the learning environment in California is the education programs consultant, who supports the adoption of instructional resources and development of curriculum framework. The salary for this position ranges from $5,724.00 to $6,954.00 per month.

The mean annual salary in California for instructional coordinators, who develop instructional material, coordinate educational content, and incorporate technology into curricula, was $70,320 in May 2008, the second highest in the country for this position, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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