Missouri: Working in Education in Missouri

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Technology Education and Curriculum/Instruction

While many states limit virtual courses to high school students, Missouri offers online classes for K-12 students. Under Missouri's Virtual Instruction Program (MoVIP), small schools can offer a broader curriculum as well as Advanced Placement classes. Homebound students can take their classes online and students who need remedial help can take online classes instead of going to summer school. MoVIP classes must meet state standards; credits earned through these courses are equal to traditional academic credits.

Started in 2007, MoVIP provides a wide range of online academic courses. About half of the students supplement their private, public, or home school education with online classes, while the other half take all their classes online. Because the number of students MoVIP can accommodate depends on the level of funding appropriated by the legislature, demand for classes may exceed capacity in the 2009-2010 school year. In fact, budget cuts may force MoVIP to close midway through the school year.

In 2008 the Center for Digital Education (CDE) surveyed state education officials about the status of online learning, and ranked Missouri 18th among the states for its online learning policies and practices. In addition, CDE named Missouri's Rockwood School District 2006 Best of the Web in the K-12 district website category. This CDE competition rates elementary and secondary school websites on their innovation, web-based delivery of public services, efficiency, economy, and functionality.

Missouri is part of an eight state online professional development program funded by the U.S. Department of Education to develop and deliver high quality online professional development for the purpose of increasing teacher knowledge and skills in order to improve student performance.

Missouri is one of four states in the country that have not agreed to participate in formulating national standards for what students should learn and be able to do in the different grades.

Teacher's Aides

Missouri has mandatory requirements for instructional paraprofessional jobs but not for non-instructional paraprofessional jobs. Instructional aides, teacher's aides, and other paraprofessionals who assist teachers with instruction must have 60 semester credit hours of education from a college or university. Paraprofessional jobs that involve non-instructional services are not subject to federal requirements. For example, translators who are not involved in classroom instruction and paraprofessionals who help with parental activities must have a high school diploma or equivalent but they do not have to meet the federal standards that instructional paraprofessionals must meet.

Educational Management

State budget problems have led to the closing of the Missouri Center for Safe Schools, which trains schools administrators to respond to disasters and emergencies. This leaves administrators in smaller districts without a source of information and assistance on these issues.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated mean annual salary for preschool and childcare administrators in Mississippi schools was $41,870 in May 2008; the nationwide annual mean for these positions was $46,370. For elementary and secondary administrators the annual mean was $76,740; the nationwide annual mean was $86,060.

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