Fixing new shortage of CTE teachers

Fixing new shortage of CTE teachers

(Calif.) Next week, the state’s teacher training and oversight board will consider a variety of options for addressing the growing need for teachers trained in career technical education.

Along with educators specializing in math and science, as well as those able to work with students with disabilities, California also has a shortage of teachers that are credentialed for work-based instruction that today covers an expansive list of activities.

It is unclear how many more teachers are needed today and in the coming years, but based on new state funding of CTE program, the challenge is daunting.

Beginning in 2013 and 2014, the Legislature appropriated a total of $500 million in one-time grant money to support programs that linked rigorous academic curriculum with career pathways. A year later, lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to provide another $900 million over three years for similar programs.

Brown has proposed another $212 million in his January budget for 2018-19.

A big part of the problem surrounds the vast number of different disciplines that the state will need to respond to. The modern CTE program in many districts includes agriculture and media arts, building trades, engineering and architecture, health care, information technology, fashion design and public services.

There has been an increase in the number of CTE credentials issued—growing from 869 in 2013 to 1,827 in 2016. A far smaller number—826 in 2016—have gone forward to fulfill all requirements of the license.

Given the state’s goal to link career education with rigorous academic standards, the problem is both short- and long-term.

At this month’s meeting of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the board will consider several options aimed at helping both in the short-term and the longer-term.

Among the ideas is to promote teaching candidates with significant industry experience into an expedited process.

Under existing law, candidates with 3,000 hours of industry experience qualify for a streamlined preparation program. But the problem here is finding enough individuals interested in leaving private sector jobs that often pay more than teaching.

Another hurdle is the expectation that courses that include a significant amount of a core subject, such as math or English, be taught by a teacher with a single subject credential. The policy is especially important to the goal of upgrading CTE instruction to higher academic standards.

Thus, “CTE credential holders teaching a mathematics-credit bearing course who do not hold an authorization in mathematics would be considered misassigned, even if that course is offered in a CTE program,” the staff report said.

To address this issue, staff has offered two ideas:

  • Allow CTE credential holders that hold a bachelor’s degree to earn a Single Subject teaching credential by verifying subject matter competence, satisfying basic skills, completing a TPA, and a subject-matter pedagogy class.
  • Allow a CTE teacher who has a job offer as a single subject teacher and has completed all prerequisites to be an intern (bachelor’s, basic skills, subject matter verification and fingerprint clearance) to begin teaching in that subject area. The teacher could earn the preliminary single subject credential through an existing internship program.

There is also interest in developing a permit to allow teachers that have a single subject credential and a minimum of 500 hours of industry experience to cover a corresponding CTE class. This proposal comes with an expectation that the candidate would continue working within the industry to increase the number of hours of experience.

Finally, CTC officials have also proposed waiving the preliminary CTE preparation requirements for community college teachers. The concept here is that community college teachers should be given credit for their years teaching adults most of the same skills.

One problem with this plan, however, is that community colleges do not all require instructors to have stills in working with English learners and students with disabilities.

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