A new television series called Inside California Education is now airing on PBS stations throughout the state. The purpose of the series is to provide viewers with an insider’s perspective on how California parents and children are impacted by the state’s complex and evolving education system. Inside California Education features administrators, teachers and classified employees—including several CSEA members.The first season consists of 13 episodes.
Jessica Esperanza is a school librarian and member of Natomas Chapter 745. She enjoys passing on her love of books to the children of Two Rivers Elementary School.
"Being a school librarian is such a different experience because you are getting kids when they are right at the beginning of their relationship with books," Esperanza says. " Being able to help them figure out where that works for them is really fun."
Kristina Munoz is a paraeducator and member of Patterson Unified Chapter 174. She works with an 11-year-old student with Down syndrome.
"The teacher has almost 30 other students they're focused on," Munoz says. "The teacher can't stop what she's doing to help one student when there's 30 other kids in the classroom that need her support as well. So, that's where I come in."
Vince Crittendon, a head custodian for Yuba City Unified and member of CSEA Chapter 265 walks us through his daily routine and points out what he does to keep the school safe and clean. He coaches several school sports and describes his job on a personal level.
"We are kind of like role models to kids," Crittendon says in the episode. "Because they look up to the custodian as the first person you see in the morning when you walk in the door and probably the last person they see when they go home. We really touch kids' lives. It feels very rewarding at the end of the day."
Liz Schott, a cafeteria manager II and member of CSEA's Ceres Chapter 140 shares her contribution to education through school nutrition.
"The service I provide here helps our students daily," Schott says. " I believe it helps them get through their studies to help with their concentration and to feel better not only physically but mentally as well."
Karen Sweet of Galt Chapter 362 shares the joy she gets from driving a school bus for students with special needs. As a grandmother, she understands the responsibility she has looking out for other people's children.
"They're trusting you to take care of their babies," Sweet says. "It doesn't matter if they're two or three when they first start to school, or they are out of the program at the high school. They're still their babies. They still want them to be protected, and that's my job."
The series will explore dozens of stories from across the state, from the teacher shortage and housing crunch in San Francisco to an artistic revival in San Diego schools and a summer school program in Sacramento that kids actually want to attend. Reporters cover issues from Redding to the Southern California town of Brawley near the Mexico border.
Inside California Education aspires to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of public education in California and, by so doing, foster better educational public policy and, ultimately, improved student learning, say the series’ Executive Producers Richard Launey and Larry Miles.
Please Note: As future episodes and video clips of Inside California Education become available online, links will be added to this page.