This post is written by the NOCTI, a Gold Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.
For the past decade, our community has grown accustomed to the public’s perception about CTE and how the perception swings back and forth like a pendulum. At times, the perception is focused on how beneficial CTE is to both our students and the nation, and at other times, CTE is viewed as a path for only “certain” students. Recently, the pendulum has been swinging toward the side of positivity and credibility. CTE has gone from “odd-man-out” to the person everyone wants to befriend.
It is a bit ironic that this popularity is occurring at a time when some of the factors that attributed to CTE’s popularity are weakening a bit. It is critical that the entire CTE community focuses on addressing and strengthening any shortcomings if the growth and “popularity” of CTE are to be sustained. NOCTI has been working in the CTE arena for over 50 years and our mission is to provide tools and services to build a world-class workforce. There are four important factors that we believe should be part of every quality CTE program:
- Quality Administrators: Organizations like Advance CTE, ACTE, NOCTI, SREB, and numerous others have all noticed a disturbing trend. Many CTE administrators are not coming from the ranks of the CTE teaching community. In addition, most universities have eliminated formal programs that prepare CTE administrators. This creates a situation whereby a large cohort of well-meaning individuals are being hired in CTE administrator positions and are continuously challenged with understanding the nuances of a quality CTE program. Those nuances are essentially the differences in basic education and CTE including mission, governance, instructional delivery, financing of CTE programs, as well as the professional development needs of CTE teachers. The over-arching difference also relates to the ability to embrace and determine a strategy for engaging business and industry.
- Quality Programs: CTE responds to the needs of local economies, helps individuals become independent, assures our nation’s standard of living, and helps maintain our infrastructure. It is critical that the programs are not only high quality, but are also offered based on need and potential growth within the community. This is an entrepreneurial model and one that may be foreign to those who do not have a CTE background.
- Quality Teachers: Like quality administrators, CTE teachers need a deep understanding of and experience in the related technical content they deliver. Often CTE teachers are individuals coming to CTE as their second career and follow what many refer to as an “alternate pathway” to CTE teaching. It is important that the processes for bringing new CTE teachers to the classroom are straightforward and that efforts are made and supported to ensure these individuals are kept up to date with new methods, materials, and products that are occurring within the workforce. At the same time, it is as equally important that classroom pedagogies are reinforced.
- Quality Tools and Data: CTE schools, programs, and teachers need tools that can help to objectively measure and reward both individual and program success. Third-party data is important for schools, programs, and teachers for a variety of reasons. It can be used to underscore a program’s credibility, help in identifying instructional areas of improvement, and serve as a useful tool in determining areas in which professional development should be offered.
The four components briefly described above are critical to program success. As the focus on CTE increases, these topics—as well as others—will be in the spotlight. NOCTI has developed collaborative products and services that can assist state leaders in addressing these and other areas within CTE. Check out our website for further details. We are looking forward to seeing you at the Fall Meeting in Baltimore. Stop by our table and say hello!
John Foster, NOCTI President/CEO
Amie Bloomfield, NOCTI Executive Vice President