California Educator

October / November 2018

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Wage Gap for Teachers Grows T E A C H E R S A C R O S S the country have been vocal recently about their struggles to make ends meet, some taking on additional jobs or living in less-than- ideal conditions. Indeed, an analysis released by the Economic Policy Institute in September shows that the wage gap between teachers and comparable professionals has grown over time, with teachers now earning 18.7 percent less than other college-educated workers. (In California, the gap is 14.8 percent.)The institute found that teachers earned just 1.8 percent less than comparable workers in 1994. And while teachers receive better benefits packages than their college-educated peers, that only covers part of the gap: Even including benefits, teachers face an 11-per- cent compensation penalty. Low pay, of course, was a major factor behind teacher strikes and protests in multiple states last spring; Arizona, one of those states, topped the wage-gap list with 36.4 percent. But even in California, wages in many areas do not keep up with the cost of living, particularly in expensive cities. The institute's findings are certainly relevant to the national teacher shortage. " The opportunity cost of becoming a teacher and remaining in the profession becomes more and more important as relative teacher pay falls further behind that of other professions," write report authors Lawrence Mishel and Sylvia Allegretto, fellow/former institute president and research associate/UC Berkeley economist, respectively. The authors note that in many states, cutbacks in education spending and a squeeze on teacher pay were enacted by state legislatures to finance tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. While states are well into the economic recovery from the Great Recession, funding levels have not been restored. For the full report, go to Computer Science Standards for California I N S E P T E M B E R , the State Board of Education adopted California's first-ever computer science standards. While voluntary, the stan- dards are expected to increase the number of computer science classes taught in classrooms and will help students reach their digital potential. "California's new standards will not only enable students to understand how their digital world works but will encourage crit- ical thinking and discussion about the broader ethical and social implications and questions related to the growing capabilities of technology," said State Board Member Trish Williams, the board's computer science liaison. Developed by educators, the standards are designed to help stu- dents move from passive users of technology to creators and innovators who interact with computers. They push students to communicate as scientists and find creative solutions to difficult problems. They also place a strong emphasis on equity by providing educators with examples of ways they can broaden participa- tion in computer science to include diverse students. The standards cover six core computer science concepts (such as algorithms and programming) and seven core prac- tices. 10 In the Know N E W S & N O T E S

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