Strong CTE Starts With Strong CTE Teachers
Across the country, school districts are witnessing growing interest in career and technical education as students and their families see CTE as an important component to job and life success. But as more and more students look to the pathways that CTE makes available, schools are struggling to find effective teachers to lead those CTE classrooms
As the Pew Charitable Trusts recently reported, CTE teacher shortages are a very real issue, with two thirds of states experiencing CTE teacher shortages, according to a Stateline analysis. As Pew notes, some of those states – including Maine, Maryland, and New York – have been experiencing these shortages for decades now.
There is a wealth of data demonstrating the impact an exemplary teacher can have on the success of the student. We often think of this research in terms of math or reading, but the same holds true for CTE as well.
There are many other reasons for the shortage that are harder to tackle: Teacher salaries are too low to compete with salaries in technical fields. Too few young people are specializing in career and technical education in college. And it’s hard to attract teachers to isolated schools in rural areas.
It is essential that schools recognize that teacher shortages are just as significant in CTE as they are in special education or English language learning. Just as communities invest to ensure a strong pipeline of special education or ELL teachers, perhaps the time is now to focus on similar pipelines of effective CTE educators.
The demands for CTE education will only continue to grow. We need to ensure that every CTE classroom has a great teacher leading it, one who can help all students see the opportunities and pathways available.
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