As a longstanding member—50 years to be precise—of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, NOCTI has watched many changes in both perception and reality as it relates to CTE in popular media and public policy. Sometimes the changes are favorable and currently CTE is experiencing some significant support. Although it appears that federal legislation regarding CTE will be stalled until after the presidential election, the reauthorization did receive almost unanimous support in the House of Representatives for the “Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century” Act at 405-5. Yet, there is a looming issue that affects us all—an issue that has a significant impact on the success or failure of all CTE programs. That issue relates to finding quality CTE teachers and ensuring resources are available to support and retain them. Primarily, this applies to CTE teachers who enter the classrooms directly from industry—something typically referred to as an “alternative certification.”
Over the last few years, the CTE community has experienced increased interest which has fueled the need—or the demand—side of the equation. Yet, at the same time many states have struggled to keep supply channels open. NOCTI is aware of the issue because we are part of the certification process for CTE teacher candidates in approximately 25 states. An additional number of states use NOCTI resources to determine if candidates are competent in all aspects of their technical fields. In just the last three years, the number of assessments used for teacher credentialing has jumped an average of 40% in approximately ten states. In addition, five other states have requested to establish NOCTI teacher candidate testing centers in their states. Lastly, if one looks at the Advance CTE two-minute roundup report from 2015, the biggest struggle at that time was recruiting, retaining, and supporting quality CTE teachers.
It is common knowledge that CTE teachers are a “special breed” of teacher; they bring workforce experiences to the classroom, are passionate about what they do and why they are working in education, and have a “whatever-it-takes-to-accomplish-the-goal” attitude. These individuals make up 14% of our nation’s teaching force—it is critical that they have a strong and useful support system.
As a non-profit entity lead by a Board of Trustees elected by the 56 state directors of CTE across the country and in US territories, NOCTI is determined to stay ahead of the needs of the field it serves. Since NOCTI’s primary focus is in serving the CTE community, we’d like identify a few resources which may be helpful for your state.
- Teacher Certification and Competence Resources: NOCTI’s initial goal was to help states secure competent CTE teachers and, as mentioned above, our resources are used in a number of state teacher certification systems. Remember, however, that even if your state does not have a formal process for alternatively-certified CTE teachers, NOCTI’s resources are available for you to provide an objective third-party assessment of a candidate’s competence. Learn more!
- Awareness of Resources for New CTE teachers: NOCTI works in every state in the nation and because we have a strong focus on accountability, professional improvement, and credentialing, we have encountered numerous examples from several states. As a brief example, the work underway in California’s “CTE TEACH” program utilizes the development of a support structure for CTE teachers during their “formative” years. Learn more!
- Partnerships: NOCTI’s focus on assisting CTE teachers in experiencing success has led to partnerships with like-minded associations like ACTE. There are currently two publications available that focus on new CTE teachers with a third installment on the way. NOCTI and ACTE also collaborated on a publication focused on instructional improvement. Learn more!
Since we’ve mentioned ACTE, it is important to note that they also offer resources through their online Core Community which focuses on different aspects of CTE teacher skills. NOCTI has collaborated with ACTE to provide individuals taking advantage of this resource with a digital badge.
We hope this blog serves two purposes: 1) that it highlights the importance of the CTE teacher shortage, and 2) that it identifies some helpful resources to use. If NOCTI can be of service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you. NOCTI is excited to be a GOLD sponsor of the Advance CTE fall meeting; be sure to seek us out and say hello!
This post was written by NOCTI, a sponsor of the Advance CTE 2016 Fall Meeting. Thank you NOCTI!