Reforming Career and Technical Education Teacher Licensure and Preparation: A Public Policy Synthesis Information Paper

Publication February 2002

Almost one-fifth of all credits accumulated by public high school students are in courses categorized as Career and Technical Education (CTE), formerly termed vocational education. One or more CTE programs are offered as electives in most public high schools. Not surprisingly, therefore, there are well over 100,000 CTE teachers in the nation’s middle and high schools. The preservice licensure and preparation of this group of teachers is the topic of this monograph. Specifically addressed is the issue of whether changes in CTE teacher licensure requirements and teacher preparation programs are necessary and, if so, what should they be?

Analysis Framework

An immediate problem encountered in this analysis was determining who to include as CTE teachers. The benchmark National Center for Education Statistics (Heaviside, Carey, and Farris 1994) study identified 11 different types of CTE teachers/programs. Among these are the traditional six: business education, trade and industrial (T&I) education and health occupations, family and consumer sciences, technology education, agriculture, and marketing/distributive education. Although federal funding legislation regards them all as CTE, the reality is that there are all quite different from each other. In particular, they all have different missions; some, for example, have labor market student outcome goals and some do not.

In light of this diversity of programs, the approach taken in this analysis was to examine CTE teacher licensure and preparation from the perspective of CTE.s mission within the public schools, not program titles such as T&I, agriculture, business, etc. The guiding rationale used in this monograph was as follows: (1) the mission of CTE, as reflected in how it is practiced in the public schools, should drive the specifics of teacher licensure and preparation; and (2) there may be several different missions among the various CTE programs and thus different licensure/preparation models.

From a review of the literature, two overarching missions were identified: traditional/tech prep (TTP), and a more general combination of education through occupations, work/family/ community/ technology, and tech prep (ETO/WFCT/TP). In some cases unique recommendations are made for the two differing missions. The following discussion summarizes the external context for reform, the internal context for reform, policy implementation constraints, recommendation for CTE licensure reform, recommendations for CTE teacher preparation reform, and recommendations for implementation.

Gray, K. C., & Walter, R. A. (2002, February). Reforming career and technical education teacher preparation and licensure: A public policy synthesis (Information Paper No. 1001). Columbus, OH: National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education.

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