States and school systems looking to improve students’ college and career readiness have increasingly expanded career and technical education (CTE) opportunities in high school, but this rapid expansion—coupled with the very specific technical expertise required to teach these courses—has led to strained CTE teacher labor markets, with CTE being one of the most common teacher shortage areas in states across the country. While teacher licensure policy in academic subjects has long valued formal teacher preparation, the policy response to CTE teacher shortages in some states has been to create CTE-specific pathways to teacher licensure that typically prioritize prior industry experience over formal teacher preparation. Despite the potential impacts of these decisions on staffing and student learning, policymakers have little empirical evidence to guide choices.
This multi-phase, multi-state project seeks to address this shortcoming through a three-stage exploration of CTE teacher labor markets, CTE teacher attributes, and the outcomes of CTE students related to their teachers across four states: Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Washington. First, the project team of Celeste Carruthers, Shaun Dougherty, Thomas Goldring, Daniel Kreisman, and Roddy Theobald will conduct a comprehensive overview of how CTE teacher characteristics and preparation vary across CTE clusters and within clusters across schools. Next, the project will employ a mixed-methods approach to both quantitatively evaluate teacher attrition and qualitatively contextualize strategies addressing CTE staffing via a survey of and semi-structured interviews with state and district-level administrators. The third phase will examine whether teacher characteristics and preparation influence student outcomes such as test scores, college enrollment, employment, and earnings.
- How do teacher characteristics vary within and across CTE pathways, clusters, schools, instructional settings, and by student demographics?
a. How do teacher characteristics vary within clusters and programs across schools?
b. How do teacher characteristics vary across clusters and programs within schools?
c. Are teacher characteristics equitably distributed across student subgroups?
- What CTE staffing challenges are districts facing, and what strategies are they employing to address them?
a. What are the predictors of CTE teacher attrition within and across pathways and schools?
b. What strategies are districts employing to recruit and retain qualified CTE teachers?
- Do CTE teacher characteristics influence enrollment in CTE coursework and pathways?
- Do CTE teacher characteristics predict student outcomes?
The research reported here is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A220172 to the Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.