Teaching in California
California is the center of the technological universe, home of Hollywood, and privy to some of the best weather anywhere in the world. To live and work in this state is a dream to many. And yes, recently California has endured some deep budget cuts. However, there are still great opportunities for aspiring young teachers throughout The Golden State. California sets the pace for diversity in education. Lawmakers and educators consistently look to ensure that all students are given equal access to the best educational opportunities, catering to the preferences of each individual student and his or her family. California schools are on a mission to make every student proficient in each subject area at each grade level, and have put many of their resources toward that goal. For educators who are looking to make a significant difference in their students’ lives, it’s a great place to start a career.California is poised for some major changes to their curricula across all subjects at all grade levels. As a finalist in the Federal Race to the Top program instituted by President Obama, in August of 2010 the state formally adopted a whole new set of standards known as Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The implementation of these standards will foster sweeping reform not only to curriculum, but also to the mandated state tests that measure school performance. These changes will move the focus away from rote memorization to more critical thinking and literacy skills for every subject—skills that are in increasing demand in just about every career, even those currently considered “blue collar.” In short, the state is looking to significantly reform its system. Therefore, now is a good time for young teachers to join up with California’s mission to improve its schools.For public school teachers, retirement is handled through the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CALSTRS). The program is a hybrid between defined benefit, cash balance, and defined contribution, which gives each individual a measure of control over his or her level of comfort in retirement. Eligibility for this benefit begins at age 55. An attractive benefit for young teachers who are fresh out of a credentialing program would be the Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) grant. APLE is available to prospective teachers who teach at schools that fit the criteria—such as schools that perform in the bottom 20 percent of the Annual Performance Index (API). Normally, teachers will make a four-year commitment to teach at one of these schools in order to become eligible for the program, and the amount of loan forgiveness ranges between $11,000 and $19,000 (with an extra $2,000 for math and science teachers). There are other federal loan cancellation programs California teachers can sign up for, such as the Federal Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation program or The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, although these programs are open to teachers across the nation. There are also many smaller benefits available to teachers in California. Many financial institutions, such as credit unions, offer plenty of incentives for teachers, like a summer-savers program, a lower percentage on auto and home loans, and better return for savings accounts. Every insurance company offers a discount to those with a valid teaching credential within the state. Even some of the major wireless providers (like Verizon) offer up to 17-percent discounts to teachers within certain counties. When adding up all of these offers, incentives, and discounts, it’s clear that there are quite a few benefits to teaching in California.
- What’s the education climate in California?
- How’s the job outlook for California teachers?
- What benefits do California teachers have?
- What are California’s credentialing requirements?
- Find schools offering Masters in Education programs in California
What’s the education climate in California?California stands on the precipice of fundamental change to its statewide curriculum. Since the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was signed into law, California educators have been working vigorously to implement its provisions. However, within the last two years California has run up against the limits of NCLB, and recently petitioned for a waiver for several facets of the law. If approved, this will free up some financial resources currently tied to the documentation. Instead of solutions coming from the top tier of the education system, more local, cost-effective solutions are being proposed.
California Teacher Salaries
- Average CA Starting Salary: $35,760
- Average CA Teacher Salary: $59,825
- Average Starting Salary Nationwide: $30,377