Career and technical education teacher shortage must be addressed with a sense of urgency

[NOTE: Troy Haugen is today’s guest blogger for the Capitol Connections. Haugen is a member of the Career and Technical Educator Licensing Advisory Task Force, representing the Perkins Consortium Leaders. We are hopeful that this task force will address the career and technical education (CTE) teacher shortage in our state’s high schools. In today’s post, Haugen makes the case for the sense of urgency in addressing this topic. His perspective and interest in this topic is indicative of what many of our school districts are facing.]

By Troy Haugen, Perkins Consortium Leader

The Career and Technical Educator Licensing Advisory Task Force initially met in mid-August, to frame the work that the Legislature has charged the group to do. The task force membership includes administration (superintendents, principals, assistant principals), CTE/Perkins consortium coordinators, CTE teachers, leadership in STEM, teacher prep programs of Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota, as well as a member of the Minnesota Board of Teaching.

The membership reflects a variety of institutions and organizations — and is well-balanced between metro and rural. The ultimate goal (aside from what is legislatively mandated) is to provide a set of achievable recommendations to remove barriers and increase opportunities around getting high-quality CTE teachers in the classroom. The work this task force is doing is in parallel with the Legislative Study Group on Educator Licensure — and we are hoping the recommendations that the CTE task force makes is able to inform and set direction to that larger work group.

In my region of west-central Minnesota, between 50 percent to 65 percent of CTE teachers will be eligible to retire within the next few years. In the past three years, in the 26 school districts I work with, at least six CTE programs have closed due simply to the fact school districts can’t find teachers. The number of community experts are increasing, but that is not a long-term solution based on the lack of opportunity for those teachers to obtain permanent licensure. This pattern is not sustainable!

My personal hope that the task force is able to provide solid recommendations around a number of barriers.

First, teachers that are licensed as a community expert need to have a system in place to be able to obtain a full teachers license.

Secondly, the sheer number of licensure function codes that are CTE-related need to be streamlined — particularly clarification between non-CTE and CTE funding-eligible teacher licenses. With that, a system in place that allows the teachers that do not have CTE licenses have the ability to “upscale” their non-CTE license to the commensurate CTE license to make the districts eligible for program approval and ultimately CTE funding from the state.

Many of these systems will likely need to be viewed outside of the credit-based system. We need to find a way to provide pathways to licensure outside of the traditional seat-based college credit system.

In my honest opinion, as long as credit-based is the only pathway to licensure, we will never have enough teachers to fill our needs!

Visit http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/about/adv/active/ctelic to more information about the Career and Technical Educator Licensing Advisory Committee.

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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