The CSI franchise on broadcast television has produced enough spinoffs and reboots to satisfy even the most hardcore procedural drama fan. Though some of us in Texas are holding out hope for a CSI: Lubbock that could feature cowboy poetry, shots of the Buddy Holly Plaza and foul play involving a chuck wagon cook-off.
Of course, the grandfather of all the procedural shows would have to be Dragnet with Sgt. Joe Friday and his laconic "Just the facts, ma'am".
Actually, "Just the facts" is a trend in schools today as an emphasis is put upon Career Technical Education or CTE.
The focus has long been on college preparation for students but what about those kids that don't have the financial wherewithal or educational inclination to go for a bachelor's degree and need the skills to successfully enter the workforce upon graduation. That's where CTE comes in and one of the hot topics would surely bring at least a half-smile to Sgt. Friday's stern face as it features criminal justice teaching jobs in Texas high schools.
The Trend Toward Career Technical Education
The reality of education in America is that everything we learn we don't put to use. While quoting from Dante's Inferno ("They yearn for what they fear for") or knowing the capital of Lesotho (Maseru for those crossword puzzle fans) is all well and fine, it likely won't pay for the chips and salsa in your H.E.B. grocery cart.
CTE programs aim to teach students skills that will earn them a paycheck. The basis of Career Technical Education is a hands-on, work-based curriculum that prepares students for jobs that don't require a four-year degree.
Last year, the federal government funded some $200 million in grants to facilitate apprenticeship programs in high schools and other postsecondary institutions. Apprenticeships are the epitome of hands-on learning.
States have also been given leeway to support Career Technical Education in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Provisions in the legislation allows schools to fund professional development of CTE teachers and spending on other strategies to incorporate CTE learning.
Criminal justice professionals often retire in their 40s or 50s, and teaching is a great second career for them. It's a way to share their expertise with the next generation.
Are There Jobs Teaching Criminal Justice in Texas High Schools?
When we talk about criminal justice careers, we are talking about more than just becoming a local sheriff or police officer.
Criminals justice careers that can be started without a bachelor's degree include such jobs as bailiff, blood splatter analyst, conservation officer, correctional officer, court clerk, crime lab analyst, crime scene investigator, customs and border protection officer, fire and police dispatcher, fire investigator, fish and game warden, fraud investigator, security guard, TSA screener, United States Park Police, and youth correctional counselor.
The predicted job growth is about five percent for all law enforcement as well as the corrections field, so there is a need for criminal justice teachers in Texas high schools.
Columbia Southern University says "As the economy continues to move upward, many law enforcement and corrections agencies are hiring. Add in the numbers of baby boomer senior officers who are reaching retirement and there will be a big demand for highly-qualified applicants to fill the void."
Schools are addressing these needs. In Conroe ISD in the suburbs of Houston, for example:
There is a graduation endorsement in Public Services with a track in law, public safety, corrections and securities.
Students can take dual credit classes at nearby community colleges in EMT basics, law enforcement and phlebotomy training.
On campus students can take a Forensic Science course in which students learn to conduct fingerprint, ballistics and blood splatter analysis.
Check out the job boards for teachers across the state and you will see school districts seeking teachers that have the Trade & Industrial Education - Law Enforcement teacher certification or the ability to obtain such a certification through professional experience.
What are the Requirements to Teach Criminal Justice in Texas High Schools
The Texas Education Agency lays out some simple steps for teachers or would-be teachers to gain CTE certification:
Have two to five years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past ten years
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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